Happy Halloween! - swamp theme props and more!

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Project by reedwood posted 988 days ago 3356 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Halloween 2011 – The Swamp House

Welcome to my world….. };- [

We wanted to do something different so we did a Swamp theme this year …
with 12 Alligators, lots of skeletons, spiders, 100 black birds, and a real Fox (fur) in a cage.

Hey, why not?

Smoke and Lights, Sounds and Illusions. Being scared is so much fun!
.... and I get to build cool stuff.

A friend called and asked if I was interested in some old 6×6 posts and I said, Yes!, of course. His brother, who is a carpenter had just finished replacing the deck in the back of the house. I went to pick up the 6×6s and noticed they piled the old decking against the fence and he said they planned on renting a dumpster for 450 bucks and hauling it by hand around to the front driveway.

So, I offered to get rid of it for half the cost and he said, SURE!
It took about two hours for me and my helper to load it in to the trailer and I ended up with 225.00 cash, about 300 bucks worth of 6×6 RS cedar and a ton of prop material.

I wanted to create the look of an old shack so I had to cover the big 1/2 round window somehow.
This illusion of a barn loft seemed to work!

The black busted shutters were left over from a jobsite and I got the fake barn siding wallpaper online.

That’s Spidey, our 20 ft. black widow spider on the roof. He’s been a regular for the past 10 years.

We borrowed the canoe from a neighbor who was more than happy to contribute to the theme. Yeehaw!!

The dock extension over the pond had an alligator head pop up at the end when you stepped on it

It worked pretty good and the kids jumped back when they looked down. Perfect! Too funny!

Can’t have a swamp house without a swamp outhouse.

Go ahead…look inside.

We had two sounds going….a haunted forest sound effects CD with frogs, crickets, hoot owls, etc. Also, I made a southern rock CD like Charlie Daniels, Lynnrd Sknnrd, pure prairie league, etc.

This was just right for the little kids…lots to see but not too scary

But, it’s a whole different scene when it’s dark.

so, open it….. ya big chicken.

We also had a fox cage by the front door with a real fox fur that was balled up to look like it was asleep on a pile of leaves. There was a red light in the cage and a few bones laying around. It was sitting on a whiskey barrel which put it at just the right height for curious eyes. Very realistic.

Made of left over plywood, a small gate I pulled out of a dumpster for the hardware, some chicken wire and flat black paint. I tried to make it hard to see inside to help create the illusion.


The kids were so cautious, they kept an eye on it, waiting for it to jump or move.

No animation needed…just a little imagination They loved it!

I found a bunch of “swamp stuff” at a garage sale down the street like 4 bear traps, 2 whiskey jugs, old fishing gear, a rusty frying pan, wrought iron candle holders, a cool lantern, a carved log raccoon, a fox fur and an owl made of wood, and three hillbilly hats!..... 80 bucks!

Mr. bones is a regular guest around Halloween time.

The other day, this dead limb landed on my jeep hood and dented it so it’s paying me back, kind of like community service. I burned it the next day, so justice has been served.

Jack is great with the kids. This is his 7th Halloween so it’s nothing new to him. He loves all the attention and the occasional missplaced pc. of candy or cookie.

This is our talking skeleton greeter

“Nice Halloween mask! Oh sorry, that’s your face!... Blahhhh!”
“Hey, I’d go in there with you, but I don’t have the guts!. Blahhhh!!”
“Eat some candy would ya? Your almost as skinny as me! HeHeHe!!!”

This is what the outhouse looked like at night with the red light and fog machine inside.
It was made of the same old 5/4 cedar decking only I reversed it so the gray peeling paint showed.

So…are you going to look inside or not?



The Obama dummy is animated and activated by sound so when you open the door, he starts jerking back and forth and growls at you. This dummy does the same thing! Ha Ha!!!

The Alligator head moved back and forth using an oscillating fan motor. Animated props are not as easy to make as you might think but I love a good challenge.

He had a 3 stooges tie on which the adults thought was pretty funny.

There was a fog machine and a red flood light under the seat too. It was a huge hit!

We had about 120 kids and over 80 adults. The weather was perfect and Everyone had a great time.

See ya’ll next year! Bwahh hahahahaha!!!

-- mark

8 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1760 days

#1 posted 988 days ago

Thanks for posting, that is really cute… that kind of stuff. I am in La Conner, Washington at our vacation home. It would be fun to do something here, but at home frequently we have snow by now. Leaving tomorrow for Orlando…........I will try to blog some about the trip.

Have a good one…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View rrdesigns's profile


491 posts in 1782 days

#2 posted 988 days ago

Wow! I want to come and trick or treat at your house. We “haunted” our backyard forest one year. Scared one kid so much he cried, but the dad insisted we do it again because he loved it!

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 1711 days

#3 posted 988 days ago

ha … ha …. ha … love it even in the daylighy it looks like a scary old hunted swamphouse

thank´s forsharing …. wish we had those traditions here
looking forwarward to nexxxxxxt years picturebook …. :—))

take care

View Bluepine38's profile


2876 posts in 1681 days

#4 posted 988 days ago

Sounds like you had more fun than the kids, but if we do not enjoy life, what is the sense of living it?
Great ideas and wonderful pictures. I live sort of out in the country and a ways off the main road now,
so I do not get any trick or treaters, otherwise I would borrow some of your ideas. Thank you for

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View moment's profile


2099 posts in 1277 days

#5 posted 988 days ago

Tour-de-force ! I was almost expecting a washington irving type poem at the end as i scrolled down.
Very talented production and great imagination !

View mafe's profile


9434 posts in 1685 days

#6 posted 987 days ago

It is the wildest decoration I have ever seen.
What a job, is that Obama on the toilet beeing eaten by a aligator? (Not a political question).
The dog was a release, it was the only picture where I smiled with a warm heart and not of fear.
Really impressed,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Richforever's profile


739 posts in 2316 days

#7 posted 985 days ago


-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View kyleshelton's profile


1 post in 92 days

#8 posted 92 days ago

Great Stuff! Where did you get the wood grain plastic sheeting you used in the background on the building?

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