14 September 2014
7. Cauldron Creep
This is a wonderfully spooky improvement to the standard stirring witch.
Credit for coming up with this design goes to Devil’s Chariot who provided a
great tutorial for building your own creep. It uses cheap and easy to get PVC,
a wiper motor, and a lighter torque/low RPM motor to create an action that
is creaky and just a bit disturbing. The build process is primarily cutting pieces
of PVC and assembling them to form the framework (Figure 7A). A little
adjustment when installing the motors may be necessary to get exactly the
motion you like but that's totally up to your personal taste. Add a cauldron
and choose either the original that utilizes a skeleton or add a costume such
as a witch or witch doctor. This great prop is perfect to add to a wide
selection of scenes in your haunt (Figure 7B).
Here’s a more advanced project, but well worth the effort. Having a character's head moving while talking to your
guests is a real showstopper. Although there have been many different designs, the popularity of this prop seems to have
really taken off due to the work of HalloweenBob. The 200+ page forum thread that detailed his and others work showed
that this was a project attainable by the home haunter. It requires taking a lightweight plastic skull and installing four
servos. These servos — which are mounted to a plastic plate — will allow the head to rotate, tilt, and nod, and will also
give the skull the ability to move its mouth to match an audio track.
There are two choices when it comes to deciding how the head will move. The easier and less expensive method has
the head moving in a random fashion. For most haunts, this is perfectly acceptable and creates the illusion of a live
character that we're after. However, you can also program the individual motions of each servo to get exactly the head
action you want. This method requires more hardware, software, and expense, as well as the willingness to devote the
extra time for the programming. In some instances, it's absolutely necessary. Who wants a guitar player in a haunted band
that can't move his head to the beat of the music? Using either method, it's a more advanced build, but new products are
making it quicker, easier, and less expensive to put together (Figure 8).