Friday, November 2, 2012

The Yard of the Living Dead 2012

Here are a few shots of the yard on the big night.  There were a lot of unfinished projects this year; but we saw a marked increase in the number of TOT's this year, so it seemed like a good year all in all.

This year saw my first foray into animatronic propmaking.  The prop was a simple shiatsu spider victim.  It is funny how home haunters who know about all of the amazing props out there can get a little embarassed about a simple prop; but the reaction by the TOT's is always positive.  Here is a short video of the prop in action.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Finally Finished My First Groundbreaker!

Well, after an interminable amount of time stuck with "analysis paralysis", I finally got something new finished for The Yard of the Living Dead this year.  I used tips, tricks, and inspiration from various sources on the web and the forums.  This groundbreaker is one hundred percent homemade from the paper mache skull to the cardboard ribcage.  Here are a few pictures of him in the garage.

I will get a few more pictures of him after he is placed in The Yard of the Living Dead later today.  One thing I learned during the construction of this groundbreaker is that I suck at making hands, the thumbs especially.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Step Closer to a Career as a Mad Scientist

Well, I made something in the garage that uses electricity and I managed to not kill myself or burn the house down. Score one for me!
As stated in a previous post, I have two great stacks of styrofoam sheets that are waiting to be made into tombstones. I also was able to find these even larger sheets of styrofoam at another construction site only a block away from my house.
I used a handsaw to cut this cross and base out of one of the large sheets of styrofoam. Cutting styrofoam with a handsaw is very messy and limits you to only straight cuts. I want to be able to have curved details on most of my tombstones, so I needed to devise another method of cutting styrofoam; one that allows for curved cuts and preferably one that is less messy. I know that many haunters use a tabletop hot wire foam cutter. That project seemed a little daunting to me, so I looked online for a less complex version. I found a couple of instructables for handheld versions of the hot wire foam cutter that seemed fairly simple.
Most of the instructables for handheld hot wire foam cutters call for wood in the construction of the base. I opted to use a length of PVC pipe that I had laying around. I applied heat and bent the pipe to create the arms of the hot wire foam cutter. I drilled holes in the arms, close to the ends and inserted eye bolts fastened with wing nuts.
Here is a close-up of the eye bolt/wing nut assembly.
Another close-up at an angle.
I stole the nichrome wire from a hair dryer that I found at the D.I. and I used an A/C D/C power converter or "wall wort" also from the D.I. to power the hot wire foam cutter.
Here is a cose-up of the wires attached to the eye bolt. No soldering required.
This picture shows the power cables secured with cable ties to keep them out of the way.
Here is a chunk of styrofoam on which I have drawn a simple design.
Here is the finished cut. Nice and smooth and virtually no mess. I am excited to cut out some tombstone forms using my new hot wire foam cutter that I made by myself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Weekend of Prop Building

I am taking advantage of a long weekend to do some prop building in the garage. I mixed up a batch of paper mache for a couple of projects.
Here is the beginning of my first ground breaker.
Here are a couple of pumpkins that will be carved and corpsed.
I am also cutting down the rest of my bottles to make more Halloween lanterns.
I made another huge haul of foam sheets for tombstones while dumpster diving. The sheets on the left measure 24" wide and 40" tall. The sheets on the right measure 16" wide and 45" tall. All of the sheets are 2 1/2" thick. The two different sizes should yeild a good variety of tombstone shapes.
I salvaged 34 sheets of each size of foam. I could have brought even more home; but my wife would have killed me. This should be enough...for this year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tin Punched Lanterns

I toss about 15-20 of these gold cans in the recycling bin at work every day. I decided to rescue a couple and try making some tin punched lanterns. I have put out the call on the forums for links to cool Halloween"ish" patterns. Hopefully I can create something worthy of The Yard of the Living Dead.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Support of a Podcast For Haunters, By Haunters.

I already have $100.00 set aside from my 2011 tax returns for my subscription. Check out this video summarizing the fan-based movement to resurrect Hauntcast.