Halloween 2004

Another year, and the pressure is on to make bigger and better props.  And, I think, I managed to product just that!  The Mad Monk, the man-spider skeleton, a duct-tape pumpkin … and the flying crank ghost.  The latter is an animated prop, and something that I’ve wanted to build for years.  It is basically a marionette hooked up to a motor that causes it to move slowly up and down and wave its arms.  Too cool!  I even saw one gentleman taking pictures of it with a movie camera!

The “Mad Monk” prop. The skeleton is made out of black plastic pipe with a rib-cage make out of wire. It’s about 6-ft tall, and the axe is a cheap store-bought thing with some red paint on the edge.  The feet of the armature were inserted into a pair of old hiking boots.  The cowl is some burlap from the gardening store.  I made a sort of poncho from it, and stapled the sides together.  The hood is just another length of burlap folded to shape and draped over the head … simple but effective.

mad monk

Here’s the “Mad Monk” out on the porch.  It proved to be quite effective!  The lighted plastic pumpkin head was hooked up to my standard motion detector so it would light up when someone entered the porch.  More than one person asked if there was someone inside it.  The “demon head” was a mask that I bought at a post-halloween sale for a very good price.

mad monk on the porch

This is what the Mad Monk looks like on the inside.  Note that I put a shirt over the frame, and the burlap cowl over that … makes it look as if there might be someone inside!  Note the fashionable boots.

inside the Mad Monk

The “man spider” skeleton.  It’s made out of 1/2-inch PVC pipe for the backbone and legs, with wire for the rib-cage.  I used foam-in-a-can to make the bones, and then shaped the result with a file.  The hands were made separately with foam sprayed onto a wire frame.  I’m not too happy with the hands, but they look OK from a distance.  The head is a duct-tape and foam creation from last year.   You can see how the hands attach to the skeleton.

man-spider skeleton

Here’s a closeup of the hands.

foam hands

What would Halloween be without pumpkins?  Only 2 this year.  Well, 3, if you count the one that I made out of duct-tape!

pumpkins 2004

A duct-tape pumpkin?  Hey, why not!  Something for the Red Green fans.

pumpkins 2of3

Here’s a view of the Flying Crank Ghost in all her glory.  There’s all sorts of good descriptions of a FCG on the WWW, so I won’t go into too much detail.  The y-ish shape on the top holds a motor attached to a rotating bar, the end of which has a string going to each arm and the head.  As the bar turns, the head and arms go in opposite directions, and each of the arms is a bit out of synch with the other.  The net effect is that the ghost bobs up and down and waves its arms.  The speed is governed by the speed of the motor … the one I used was a bit too slow, but it’s what I had laying around.  The ghost needs to be as light as possible … I made a simple frame out of hanger wire; one piece for the shoulder, a loop at each shoulder, and each arm is two pieces with interlocking loops at the elbow.  A foam head was stuck on top of the shoulder-piece, and cheesecloth draped carefully to give a ghost-like appearance.  The whole thing is supported with a frame made out of 2-inch PVC pipe (it’s all just friction-fittted to make it easy to take down and store).

flying crank ghost

And here’s what the audience saw.  The back of the frame for the FCG was covered in sheets of black ground-cloth to make a totally black background (aren’t garden stores great for prop supplies?).  Imagine the ghost in the window slowly bobbling up and down, and moving its arms.

view from outside the window
view of the porch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *