12 September 2014
2. Tombstone Peeper
There are many variations of this popular prop that can put
most low RPM motors to good use. The easiest one may be the
motor used to move Christmas reindeer. It takes the simple circular
motion of the motor that — when connected to some aluminum bar
and run through an eyebolt — creates a side to side motion of a
prop head or skull that works great when placed behind a
tombstone (Figure 2). This is an inexpensive and quick build that's
perfect for anyone designing their first animated display.
3. Fog Chiller
Nothing compliments a ghoulish graveyard like slow
moving/ground-hugging fog. The problem is that the majority of fog
machines use heat to create the effect, so it tends to rise and then
dissipate. A great way to counteract this problem is to build a fog chiller which will cool the fog and help keep it near the
ground. While there are many different designs of fog chillers, one of the easiest to build (and still be very effective)
models can be made from the plastic containers used to sell kitty litter and a few parts from the hardware store. Some
more complex models use water circulation pumps and small fans to move the air past pipes containing chilled water.
In all of these, the underlying principle is the same: Fog enters the chiller and proceeds through the piping in the ice
filled container (Figure 3). By the time the fog exits the chiller, it
has had time to come down in temperature which allows it to
hug the ground and stay in your haunt longer. This simple project
can be put together in an hour or two, and will tremendously
improve the effectiveness of your fog machine.
4. LED Lighting
Every haunt needs lighting and it's often one of the most
overlooked aspects. With a little preplanning, guests will be able
to see and enjoy all the hard work you've put into building your
props. As your haunt grows, you may need to start searching for
ways to conserve power. Why not start out using LED (light
emitting diode) lighting which offers long bulb life, saves energy,
and can be operated at low voltage? If soldering is not your thing,
you can save some time and effort by purchasing the LED lights
with the appropriate required resistor already attached. A surplus
computer power supply which you may even have left over from
an old computer works great for running haunt lighting (Figure 4).
Making your own spot and flood lights can keep the cost at a
reasonable level, and still provide all the benefits of the more
expensive ready-made lights currently available.