Halloween props 2012 - House of Horrors

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Project by reedwood posted 613 days ago 1257 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Welcome to the House of Horrors!

Halloween is a big event in our neighborhood.

For the last 20 years, my wife and I have enjoyed decorating the house and making it more fun for the kids -

especially the kid in me.

And, every year it gets bigger and bigger.

You go in the front door, walk about 14 ft. through the dark spider’s den, get some candy,

then turn right and come out through the side to the front grave yard.

This skeleton slowly raised up every 1 1/2 minutes and made a loud breathing sound. very cool.

I built this coffin out of 1/2” plywood, painted flat black, lined with a red silky table cloth.

I also use it to store all the plastic pumpkins, rubber rats and snake props.

Spidey, our twelve year old prop, was rebuilt this year with a double row of purple lights on the legs and an orange lit net for the body. We put it in a different spot on the side of the house every year.

He has red eyes that blink, the legs are 10 ft. 3/4” conduit wrapped in black pipe insulation, the body is an old excersize ball, the head is my volleyball from back when I had knees, the hairy fabric was sewn inside out and then reversed, the balls were blown up inside and there is a pc. of plywood for a mounting block.


Wanna see inside? Come on in!

But first, check out this “4” ft. door illusion! WOW!..... It worked great!

Halloween night, I stood by the door to let people in. Several people started to duck right before I opened it! Ha!

The head in the window has animated eyes and moaned, “Go Away!”

The 3 ft. wide pre hung door came from the scrap bin at Menards for 20 bucks. I used a 1” pc. of alum. strapping to hold the head in place. The lighting proved to be just as important as prop detail.

So, I mounted a white 10 watt bulb just below the chin. It worked perfect Fooled a lot of people!

We had hidden surround speakers and a subwoofer for the thunder and spooky sound effects. Sounded great!

There were 5 bats with blinking red eyes hanging from the ceiling.

This three ft.spider sat on top of our japanese maple and had legs that moved.

A 10 ft. tall skeleton ghoul towered over you on the left and glowed from the black lights.

There was a four ft. spider, 12 ft. high up on the ceiling – one of ten.

A seven ft. skeleton on the right was caught in the web.

The Two Face Ripper greeted you by the front door.

“You think you’re mask is scary? Check this out!!! Bwahahahahaaaa!”

I used a 12 ft. tall dead tree as a prop for birds, bats, moss, illusion of height, great shadows and a big snake.

Step this way….the door is to the left.


Mr. Bones, a true replica of a real skeleton, has been a halloween regular for over 15 years.

I used fishing line to tie his hands to a mechanical motor from an old ghost prop which made his hands randomly go up and down. Three tiny black lights light him up just right. One Awesome prop.

It was very dark inside so it’s hard to see the laser show on the floor in this picture.

It looked like crawling bugs everywhere!

“Is….he real?” this 6 ft. ghost was right by the front door too. I wasn’t too crazy about the blood though.

This animated guy was stuck 5 ft. up in the web and jerked all over and growled like he was trying to escape!


Exit this way please….

Just….step right there….

Step to the right and this jumpimg spider gets you every time! Worked great!

Our neighbors, like Diane here, enjoyed coming over to see the progress.

Here’s Frankie. He’s been around since the beginning.

This year, we rebuilt him with a new classic movie character head, a new five gal. bucket body with 4” pvc elbows for shoulders, 6” flex pipe and rolled insulation for legs and a one gal. jug for a head…good for another 20 years.

Jack and Hunter were a big help too.

The Construction:

I used 6 – 4×8s, 1/4” plywood, pre-painted in the garage and 16 ft. 2×4s to make the 12’ by 16 ft. tall. cost -300.00.

Everything else was made from leftover materials from previous jobs including a 3/4 roll of Typar house wrap which worked great as a gray back drop for Spidey, the 20 ft. spider. Good thing I’m a recycling wood hoarder.

There was a 12×4 ft. platform above for easy access to the two fog machines and electrical, and just in case some crazy clown wanted to get up there with a chain saw.

I mounted flaming caldrons in the top windows to look like the whole “3rd” floor was on fire!

They had fans in them to blow the fake fabric flame which also sucked the fog through. The flames were OK for an illusion, (needed more caldrons!) but the fog pouring through the windows was very realistic – almost alarming.

We set up the window boxes in the dining room to see if the flames worked.

We made the 12” deep window “shadow” boxes out of 1/2” plywood, painted flat black. The boxes and framing were hidden behind black plastic and landscaping fabric which curved around to create a round spider’s den.

The framing was fun…if you like standing 16 ft. walls in 30 mph winds!

At least I knew it wasn’t going to fall down.

That Super Storm was heading right for us. I kept thinking, Bail! Shut it down! but, I didn’t.

They had 22 ft. waves and 50 mph winds in Chicago! We are just one hour north, near the Wisconsin border.

I thought the Typar spider wall was going to blow down the night the storm arrived, but it held strong.

By Halloween, the wind had died, the sun was out and the temp was about 45 – 50 degrees.

The weather couldn’t have been nicer.

Well that’s it for this year.

I had a lot of fun building this set and I get the feeling the neighborhood kids had fun too.


See ya next year!

-- mark

7 comments so far

View Richforever's profile


739 posts in 2303 days

#1 posted 612 days ago

Wow! Well done, but scary. Lots of behind the scene construction and planning. Thanks for sharing.

Raised in small towns; being the son of a high school teacher; halloween was always the worst time of the year. Car tires were slashed, etc. Guess it helped prepare me for combat later in life. Now I just turn off all lights, put out a perimeter defense, and stand by with baseball bats ready.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View USAFPOL's profile


90 posts in 633 days

#2 posted 612 days ago

LOL, amaizing, love it!

View Jim Barry's profile

Jim Barry

25 posts in 2096 days

#3 posted 612 days ago

Stunning, simply stunning.

-- Woodwork Safely, Jim Barry, Nova Scotia, CANADA

View MsDebbieP's profile


18614 posts in 2743 days

#4 posted 612 days ago

that’s crazy .. and awesome.
I love it when I see families and communities really get into the fun and excitement of an event.. and, um… go a litle overboard?? hehe

and how long did this take you to set up?
and take down?
and storage?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View reedwood's profile


858 posts in 1258 days

#5 posted 612 days ago

I started with the idea of a tall building on fire right after last Halloween.

At one point, it was 24 ft. tall but, reason prevailed and the wife said no.

After numerous drawings and lots of input from friends and neighbors, we started making wall panels and window boxes on Oct. 1st.
We started framing 4 days before Halloween and had it completed by Wednesday eve, right at the last minute.

We took it all down the very next day which is the tradition. Plus, there’s less chance of it getting damaged or stolen. It took one day to take it down and another day to put it in containers, store it and clean up the yard.

I never re use the props that I build, so I usually burn them. I’ll save any good materials for the next year.

Go overboard?... Yea, maybe just a little. Ha! Hey, it looked easy to build on paper!

-- mark

View MsDebbieP's profile


18614 posts in 2743 days

#6 posted 612 days ago

that story makes it even MORE impressive!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View mafe's profile


9413 posts in 1672 days

#7 posted 606 days ago

Amazing, the kids are lucky to live in your area.
Best thoughts,

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

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