Halloween, Props, Haunts, Halloween Finds, and a Rant or two.(occasionally)


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Something Unpleasant This Way Comes

The Talking Knights

Talking Knights Video

Posted: 7:54 AM, Oct. 20, 2006

The Complete Witch

The witch is finally complete, for the most part there are a few little odds and ends to clean up like where to hang the chains from but that will be done on Halloween.  Here is a video of the witch in action.


Witch Video


Graciously posted on     http://www.eyesofhalloween.com/how.html

Posted: 7:43 AM, Sep. 5, 2006

The Witches Garb

I've got the witch all dressed and ready to go just one step left, get this witch connected to the cauldron and fire it up!  I  really like the creepy cloth used as a shawl, it give her a more age look.


I'll post a video soon of the finished prop.

Posted: 8:05 AM, Sep. 4, 2006

The Witches Body

The PVC frame work that was built in the beginning will now need to be completed.   That entails protecting the moving parts and giving the frame a more human shape.

Things to note in this picture are the aluminum guards that are protecting the moving mechanisms from getting caught in the out clothing, the chicken wire  used to create the final body shape, and the powered computer speakers mounted on the shoulder cross-section.  All the wiring was taped(red) to the PVC frame neatly to avoid any snagging, the wiring includes the power and audio cords going to the witch's head and the power and audio going to the PC speakers.  The speaker from the dougie was put into an inner seam of the hat to help create effect that the audio was coming from the mouth of the witch.  The points of the cut chicken wire are quite sharp and can easily puncture the skin so although not shown in this pic, they were bent inward to avoid snagging the outer clothing or cause any blood loss.


The next picture shows where bubble-wrap was used to build up the shoulders and upper arm to make them more proportional.  An added effect of the bubble-wrap is that when her arms are moving, the bubble wrap make a fire crackling noise.  This probably won't be noticed on Halloween due to all the other things going on around it.



This also marks the beginning of sewing the clothes, while it is true that I'm no Betsy Ross, I manage to sew some tubes together to create clothes for a prop(They don't complain so...).  This was 1st attempted at sewing when building the 18' Jack Skellington two years ago and I've picked up a few tricks since then to make it less frustrating.  I started by making a few tight fitting under-sleeves so that if someone was to see up the arm of the more drooping outer-sleeve, the would just see more cloth.

 You also get a better view of the speakers mounted on the shoulders.  I mounted them by removing the cover and screwing the back plastic case and into the PVC framework and putting the covers back on.

Posted: 6:58 AM, Sep. 1, 2006

The Completed Head

Well the head is finally finished and all systems are working pretty good.  I color of paint was supposed match the hands I've chosen to use which(no pun intend) are the Dementor hand from the Harry Potter movies.  I wasn't able to concoct the exact color but the green glow of the LEDs(more to come on those) and the dark of night will work out the differences in color.

This is the completed head, the flash of the camera make it appear brighter than it actually is. Two things to notice in this picture. The eyelids are made by using a mini gungun and colored glue that I got at a dollar store and I just paint the clear portion of the outerportion with acrylic paints. The moles and eyebrows are made using the same glue (diffent color though) and adding the bristles of a acid brush for the hairy portions. 

The head in action


Ok...Now let's give this gal some curves.  On to the body!

Posted: 6:34 AM, Aug. 10, 2006

The Witch's Head (cont.)

Well after a partial day of working of the witch,  the  head is begining to take shape.  Proportionately, it's a little large, but the frame of the body is too.  So it may work out.  I plan on doing more to it over the next three days and hopefully I can get this prop wrap up in the next week.

I am not an animal...I am a halloween prop.

This picture shows how I built out the head with the remaining Great Stuff from the cauldron, once it has stiffened it will be shaped just by cut away the excess with a sharp knife.




This is a picture of the head after being shaped and with one layer of paper mache started.  This is my 1st experience with paper mache, at least since elementary school.  I have to say that it was every bit a pain in the butt as latex and cotton.  Maybe it's because of the type of project that this is that forces me to be more careful not to get it in the moving parts.  But you can almost get an idea of what it's going to look like when it's done.  The wig shown in the video in the prior post was just a temp for effect, I think the actual hair is going to be long, straight gray hair and much thinner.  I'll probably use the hat after I beat it up a bit to give that worn look.  Right now I think kinda looks like Snow Miser from a "Year without a Santa Claus".( DT, You'll appreciate that)

Posted: 4:36 PM, Jul. 20, 2006

The Head is Coming Together!

I finally got the face in the wig head working and look pretty good.  I broke one of the eyes and had to reglue the stem back on(Yeah, that's right, this man is able to break 2 ton epoxy).

  It was was probably oily from the eyeball juice.


The Nose and chin have been placed using glue and some extra Great Stuff that was oozing out.  The eyes have some tape on them for a temporary eyelids, until I can get to the finishing touches.


This picture of the back of the head shows, or really doesn't show, how the circuit board and switch of the Dougie has been carved into the wighead.  I'm going to add some wire to the speaker and hide it in the neck area and also use a 1/8" audio splitter coming out of the CD player so that I can use other speakers as well.  The Dougie speaker alone just won't do the job.


Here is a video of the face in action so far.

Witch Video

Posted: 2:14 PM, Jun. 21, 2006

Will this witch ever be done?

I had a little time over the past weekend to work on the never-ending witch project.  After reading Deathtouch's blog he has apparently thrown down the gauntlet and says he'll finish before me.  Of this, I have little doubt, things have gotten busier of late.  Anyway, there are some updates to show, nothing mind blowing though.


The Mad Martian eyeballs finally arrived and I was working on the head again....



I've also mounted the Dougie corpse into a wig head to give me something to work off of when creating the final features.  At this point I'm leaning toward some type of paper mache to finish with.



Just need to carve away any interfering foam and build out from there.


I also put the finishing touches on the cauldron, finally. (except for the orange lights, no big deal though)  The stirring stick is also just about done some finishing touches on the paint and it good to go.  Sorry didn't get a pic of it...next post, swear!


It looks decent enough                       Classic Mr Unpleasant


There should be more progress by the weekend, at least that's what I'm hoping.



Posted: 8:47 PM, Jun. 13, 2006

Das Rot

  First of all, Happy Birthday to Bill (My Brother)


  If  imitation is the sincerest form of flattery the John at Pumpkinrot.com has to be one of the most flattered prop builders.  Hopefully my version will be just as complimentary...we'll soon find out.


Where do you get a cauldron to use as the head in May?  Why at a garage sale where else.   Thanks to the Stromville Fleamarket's giant sized version of a garage sale, I was able to pick one up along with some other items.  Even though Mrs Unpleasant is actually the Christmas Queen, she certainly has an eye for spotting the Halloween essentials that I need to create props.  So, a great big hug and thank you to her for all of her loving support.



Since it was fresh on my mind, I decide to start the PumpkinRot while I had some down-time from working on the witch project.  Here it is in it's humble beginnings




I don't know if you can see all the variation of faces I drew on the cauldron before I did any cutting.  It's important to get just the look and equally as import to measure twice cut once (ex-carpenter here after all).  You'd better believe that there are an equal amount of face attempts on the other side of the cauldron as well.  NOTE -  I HIGHLY reccommend the use of tin shears to cut the cauldron, I tried a few other techniques before these and nothing compared to the ease of cut of the shears.

Posted: 10:11 AM, Jun. 2, 2006

The Witch on hold and a New Beginning

Well' I haven't posted anything in a little while, with the site being down and a trip to Lawrenceville GA to visit our best buddies.  That doesn't mean that there is nothing new to report.  I continued working on the witch project and got a little more of the painting done and began working on her head.



I definitely like the contrast of the bands, it's painted with acrylic met@llic paint(Antique Copper).  I still have to give it the rusty look but so far so good IMHO



These are pictures of the soon to be stirring stick.  I used a ppiece of 2" thick foam to carve a slot to accept the pipe and capped it with a piece of 3/4" foam.  It is all held together with caulk with seems to work very well on this foam.  While things dried...Let's Hack Dougie!



Before................................................................After being stripped of his dignity.

I got him all cleaned up and ready for the next step.  I'm waiting for some new eyes from the MadMartian (2 weeks so far).  So that's where it stands for now, so while waiting I think I'll get started on a PumpkinRot.




Posted: 9:03 AM, May. 30, 2006

And the motor is...

Hi DeathTouch, thanks for the post. The motor I'm using for the head and in the cauldron is the Dayton 3M096 

The item details at 

I got a six pack of them on ebay for $30. Yeah, I know, I stole them. They have decent power and 7 RPM's, not to bad. For the head I'm going to try to hack a Dougie and make the head myself. If that doesn't work then I'm going to slap on mask on it and call it a day.

Posted: 5:18 AM, May. 10, 2006

Witch/Cauldron Continued

  Ok, over the weekend I had very little time to work on the prop but I did mange to get some time in.  It didn't take me long to realize that the motor was mounted incorrectly(That's what happens when ya build props mad), so the first thing I did was to get the neck movement operational.  It took some bending and some reconfiguring of the previous mounting but I got it all hooked up and working perfectly.



You may also notice in this pic, that the hand's armatures were also completed.  After that, the cauldron got a coat of black latex(matte finish) paint on the unfinished areas, so it's starting to shape up a bit.  I think the brass straps and rivets will make a nice contrast to the black of the cauldron. Here's a pic of the cauldron in it's current state.



Of course, work got busier today so the project is on hold for a few days at least.

Posted: 3:08 PM, May. 9, 2006

Witch progress + My very 1st Rant(on a Blog at least)

       OK, yesterdays progress was decent thanks to a slow day at the office(which is actually in the house).  I was able to start assembly of the witch and do the caulking of the cauldron.  Everything was going smoothly, I had the stereo playin', the beers were cold and something was getting done.  Until (warning to readers, RANT to follow) I had to make a trip to the Home Creepo(I prefer Lowes but it's farther) to get parts.  Sometimes this prop building is as bad as doing plumbing which usually results in at least a half a dozen trips to the store.  This trip was a result of the bins at these DIY home stores being mixed up from other people taking sizes from one and putting them in another.  So I have to waste gas, time and money to replace the pieces that shouldn't be in my possession in the 1st place.  I know what you're thinking, I should be more careful with my purchase, Caveat emptor and all of that nonsense.  Well, two words for that, ______  _______ !(I'll let you fill 'em in, I'm going to try to keep this clean) Thats what they hire people(there's that word again) for supposedly, who am I kidding though, they are never around when you need them anyway.  So I had to wait in line(that's a whole other issue) and spend more time and money for three PVC fittings and one U-bolt, Unbelievable!

Man, I need to relax, 1....2....3............10.  OK, I'm alright now.  So here are some progress pics from yesterday.


This pic shows the point at which I was forced to abdicate my project and head to the afore mentioned establishment due to the wrong sized pieces and missing U-bolt(pictured).  If you noticed the splotch of Liquid Nails on the cauldron, it's a goof.  That's where I picked to start putting the rivets on and I didn't remember the board that goes on the outside.


This is where I finished for the day, with the arm assemblies and neck motor mounted.  In this pic you'll notice that there are no green lights in the cauldron, I forgot to keep them out after Christmas, so now I have to rummage through the attic.  I'm not looking forward to that.  All things considered a decent days prop building(for me anyway)


Yeah, yeah, I know my shop's a mess

Posted: 7:43 AM, May. 4, 2006

Thanks ScareF/X

Thanks ScareF/X for the link to the face image.  I jumped the gun a bit and found another face that I used for the "Head in Jar"



It came from this face that I thought was creepy, the hair was courtesy of our golden retriever's tail.



I'll just have to have more than one face in a jar...what the heck, It's a great effect.

Posted: 9:28 AM, May. 2, 2006

April Stinks!

It seems that every year around this time I get sick. Allergies play a big part of it, they sneak on me and I'm down and out for at least two weeks(This time it was 3 wks). So the prop building came to a halt, But in the past week I did manage to put a little bit of time into that. I started the witch and cauldron project inspired by scareF/X and BlackWidow. I've got the cauldron to it's pre painted stage so far with some minor design changes including scareF/X's recommendation of just putting a big screw through the arm into the stirring stick. Here are some progress photos... 





The motor is mounted using a 12" construction strap and a 5/4" piece wood. I chose to 5/4" wood instead of 3/4 because there is a good sized ridge running across the center of the bottom of 55 gallon drum. I wanted to be able to cut a groove in the wood to straddle that ridge. Also, I chose to use Styrofoam balls cut in half for the rivets to give them more dimension. I'll probably paint the straps a different color than the cauldron, maybe a brass or copper color, I don't know yet.

Posted: 8:53 AM, May. 2, 2006

I swore I'd Never!....

 I swore I'd never start a blog, who has time for that.  Well, Here it is and apparently I have some time.  I guess, I just wanted to be in with the cool people of the HalloweenForum.com.  They are always saying Oh blog this, and such & such, blog that.  Well, here I am and I finally gave in to the peer pressure.  But this will help me stay motivated to get those props under way.  I'm starting earlier this year because my "Prop to do list" Isn't getting any shorter and I wanted to take it to the next level in '06'.  Definitely test the waters of pneumatics and add more "home grown" props to my haunt.   My haunt is just a yard haunt but I enjoy it, and TOT'ers seem to as well.

My 1st attempt this year is sort of a combination talking crank witch and a version of scareFX's Stirring Witch & Caudron (it's beautifully done). So with that said I've got to get busy!

Posted: 3:22 PM, Mar. 31, 2006