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We are *not* responsible for your card decks. If they get dropped or knocked over you're out of luck.
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Fri, 18 Sep 2009
Materials

One key is: If you intend to build props, Halloween shopping is a year round effort.

Buy at the end of season sales - Halloween *and* Christmas. Christmas decorations can be re-purposed for Halloween. (I think I like the term "re-purposed") If you're going to make props and merchandise is on deep discount, don't be afraid of buying something that is beaten up or might be broken. You're only going to tear it apart (or break it) yourself. If it's at full price but is obviously busted (I see this often at Big Lots), always ask for a discount. You'll probably get 10% without question but with the stipulation that you can't return it. This is win-win so don't feel shy. You get a discount and the store sells something that they otherwise couldn't sell. (don't expect to get a "broken" discount when things are already on a "no returns" clearance)

99 Cent Store (now the 99.99 Cent Store)

I've mentioned on other pages that I like the 99 Cent Store and other similar stores, like The Dollar Tree. You can pick up neat little things there like costumes and masks. They always have some sort of blinky/noise making thing that can be re-purposed. The skulls and the flicker candles for the fence project came from the 99 Cent Store. I found "talking" picture frames there. They are plastic picture frames that have digital voice recorders in them. I bought several to tear apart to add voice/sound effects to props. 99 cents each! They have laser "pet toys" (a laser pointer). I bought several for a future laser "vortex" project. The Dollar Tree has little stands for glass sculptures which have color cycling LEDs in them. Lots of possibilities there.

Big Lots

My rule of thumb with Big Lots is to always hit the 99 Cent store first. I'll find the exact same thing in 99 Cent that is more expensive at Big Lots. Of course, that is for little stuff. The Big Lots stores around where I live are really trashy. Lots of broken or scuffed up stuff. Seems like a lot of brat kids with no adult supervision. If I'm looking for an item that will actually work I have to pick one carefully. Unless I really want something and I'm afraid that they'll sellout (which they can) I won't buy until the clearance sales. I've missed some things that I would have liked but nothing I couldn't do without. Then again, I'm a cheap bastard.

posted at: 04:30 | path: /Projects/Halloween/Materials | permanent link to this entry

Halloween project builds.

Over the past several years I've been slowly building up an assortment of Halloween props and displays. Every year I try to add something new to the front yard. Our giant spiderweb, hung between two palm trees, has become neighborhood Halloween tradition. People come back year after year to take pictures of their kids in front of it and are always happy to see that it is back up.

The spiderweb build was pretty easy but it has a great, and enduring, effect. Included here are some other projects that I've either completed or are in the process of being built.

I find it much more fun to either build something myself or take some existing prop/toy/decoration/costume and repurpose it to my liking than just buying a pre-built prop. Of course, I do have a number of pre-built props just because I can't built *everything* from scratch. I just don't have the time.

posted at: 03:30 | path: /Projects/Halloween | permanent link to this entry

Little Ghoul

Simple static display. We had an old "My Size Barbie" doll that stands about three and a half feet tall. Threw a kids cloak costume on it, some skeleton gloves and a skeleton mask. Added a skull staff from a previous year. Setup a caldron with a ultrasonic mister. The mister has color changing lights to add an extra spooky effect.

posted at: 03:07 | path: /Projects/Halloween/Others | permanent link to this entry

Spider Web

For a number of years, I can't remember how long but this photo is from 2005, we've been putting up a spider web between two big palm trees in our yard. The version above has a stuffed chihuahua as the spider and her children's dinner. I think that was the year when I had just too much of the Taco Bell chihuahua.

Building the web was fairly simple. With some nylon rope I laid out the spokes and used a cable tie to join them at the center. I spiraled out the rope starting from the center and used a cable tie at each intersection. I used additional rope and cable ties to hang it across the trees. It's probably about six foot in diameter. The spider is just store bought from Target or somewhere else.

posted at: 02:56 | path: /Projects/Halloween/SpiderWeb | permanent link to this entry