Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

For the last few years, I’ve stopped at the front of my favorite box stores where I search for Halloween supplies to peruse the array of digital and lighting effects. But, little friendly ghosts spinning around on the front of my house didn’t entice me. Then, a few weeks ago I received an invitation to take a gander at AtmosFX’s digital decorations. As I explored atmosfx.com, what came to mind was my childhood trip to Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  But, unlike the cheesy, friendly ghosts there, AtmosFX has created spectacular, realistic effects like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Few deliveries have been met with as much anticipation as my package from AtmosFX containing the 2017 Digital Decorating Kit.  The kit comes with an all-in-one projector, 14 digital decorations, a tripod, a remote, and a screen. It sells for $199.99.

DDK box 600 x 600

The setup was very simple.  Just pop the SD card into the back of the projector, screw on the tripod, put batteries in the remote and you are ready to go.  For a quick preview I hung the projection material in a doorway and looked through the included options.  I was surprised what good choices came on the SD card without buying one of the premium packages.  The image below is the “Beckoning Beauty” from the card.

screamer

It even included options for holidays other than Halloween.  I can’t say I’d be likely to use most of those, although I may add fireworks to my front window next Fourth of July and the general floating party balloons would be cool for a kids party

My only complaint with the equipment is that the ball on the tripod is not stiff enough, particularly when the projector is mounted vertically. It wouldn’t take much of a jar for it to come tumbling down.  It is also short, so you need a table to set it on.  Therefore, I swapped it out for an inexpensive standalone tripod that allowed me to easily adjust the height too.

Just a few minutes after opening the box I was ready to go.  I simply hung the included material from two plastic hooks stuck a few inches above the back of the hallway door frame with the projector set up behind it.  I also connected my computer to the television and played one of the selections from Unliving Portraits on it.  The below video shows Unliving Portraits‘ “Withering Heights – Trio” on my television and “Beckoning Beauty” from the included SD card in the hall doorway.

 

Hollusion is AtmosFX’s word for effects projected onto a special material creating the illusion of a hologram such as a ghost floating in the air or passing by a window. And, while they do have some family friendly alternatives like the Boo Crew or Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree, it was the creepier collections that caught my attention. I choose three to try out. That wasn’t easy with all the cool options. But, hard as it was to pass up Zombie Invasion, Bone Chillers, Macabre Manor and others, I chose Phantasms, Blood Walls and Unliving Portraits to test.  You can also purchase individual scenes from each package.

Phantasms includes variations on four characters: the “Demonic Poltergeist”, the “Seductive Siren”, the “Sinister Spinster” and the “Wicked Wraith”. The siren and the spinster are both humanoid figures while the poltergeist is sort of a demonic skeleton like creature and the wraith more along lines of a reaper.

Each featured creature has clips optimized for different purposes such as using AtmosFX’s 3D form, creating a Hollusion, projecting onto a wall or showing on a television. The TV folders for example show clips from an old movie that becomes staticy and then the phantasm breaks into the scene.

For my cemetery by the pond I chose “Rise of the Wraiths” which features various reaper-like characters floating upward among whisps of glowing smoke as they wail and moan.

Blood Walls includes three options, “Bloody Massacre”, “Dripping Blood” and “Words of Warning”. The first two include blood splatters and drips while the third has various options for writing such as “join us” being written in blood.

joinus

To test how the digital decorations work outdoors, I set up the projector in my workshop projecting the window version of “Bloody Massacre” from Blood Walls onto the material hanging from the inside of the door so it could be seen through the window.

I then hammered two electric fence posts into the ground behind the plants surrounding my small pond and cable-tied a piece of bamboo to each.  I put clips on the projection material and cable-tied them to the bamboo. The video below shows the result. If you listen closely you’ll notice the effects include sound.

Note than the darker it is, the better the effect.  The wraiths in the above video appear to float up from behind my plants and the screen isn’t visible.  The indoor scene in the first video doesn’t appear to blend quite as well, because lights were on in the surrounding room so I could read the directions.  With the lights all off, the effect is amazing.  You can add lighting without showing the screen though.  The tombstones have spotlights on them and I actually forgot to turn the porch light off when filming the massacre inside in the lab, but it still looked good.

ghostlab

All in all, I was very impressed with AtmosFX products and can’t wait to choose a permanent place for them among my displays.  Visit atmosfx.com for some fantastic videos showcasing hollusions in action as well as instructional videos on setup options.

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Burning candles can enhance any Halloween set whether it’s an apothecary case or a grave yard.  To avoid the expense and potential danger of real candles, it is easy to make your own reusable candles that work indoors as well as outdoors.

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For this project you will need: PVC pipe, something to cut the PVC pipe, a razor or knife, spray paint, a hot glue gun, glue sticks and a piece of thin foam insulation or cardboard.

Start with PVC pipe the circumference you prefer.  In this case I used 1 inch pipe with the thin walls as that was the size that my battery operated tea lights could fit into.

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Cut the pipe into various lengths.  Be careful to make straight cuts so that your candles will stand on their own.  If they do not, use sandpaper to create an even edge.  Next, using a razor or knife, cut scoops out of the top edge so it looks as if the edge has been melted in various locations.  Then sand around your cuts on both the inside and outside to smooth the surface and eliminate any bits of PVC handing on.

Now paint the PVC any color you choose.  Spray paint made for plastic adheres best.

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After the paint has dried, plug in your glue gun and choose your glue sticks.  You can use clear glue sticks and paint your “wax drips” or you can purchase colored glue sticks.  Your candles can be the same color as your “wax” or a contrasting color.  I’ve seen black and red used most commonly for the “wax drips” and white, black or red for the candles.

Carefully run a bead of the glue around the top edge of your candle.  This will hide the PVC. But, don’t let the glue run down the inside or your tea light won’t fit.  Once you’ve completed the top, squeeze out enough glue on the upper, outside edge to cause it to run down the candle.  Repeat around the entire candle, letting the glue run different amounts to create a random look.

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Once you are satisfied with the look of your candle, create a ledge for your tea light to rest on so that the top of it is even with the top of your candle.  Above, scraps of foam insulation were glued into the candle about an inch deep to hold the lights.

You could burn real tea lights, but I chose battery operated lights.  In the top picture you can see the difference in the look of a black tea light and a white tea light.  The black ones are much more expensive.  But, you can easily create your own by putting masking tape on the “flame” and spray painting the base of the tea light with spray paint for plastic.

I liked the contrast created using colored glue sticks.  But, with my first attempt at creating candles I used paint.  You can see the result of that on the supersize candles pictured below.

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witchburnWhether you plan to burn a witch, stage a demon rising from hell or BBQ a corpse, this simple, inexpensive bed of coals can be created with minimal time and effort to make the scene pop.  The resulting prop is also light weight and water resistant.

I began with a piece of corrugated plastic board from an old yard sign.  I also covered it with aluminum foil to hide any of the image on it that might show through. This forms the base of the coals and is sturdy enough to carry the prop.  For this example I cut a hole in the center and took care not to cover it so that I could drive a short piece of rebar into the ground to support a piece of bamboo with a doll tied to it.

Collect a variety of clear plastic bottles.  Cut off the top part of as many bottles as you need to cover your base.  Be sure to cut them into various heights.  Colored bottles could be used, but I chose to stick with clear bottles so the light would be as bright as possible.

coal bottles

Next, place a set of orange or red holiday string lights on the base.  Leave some extra cord on the end with the plug sticking out past the edge of the base.   Push some lights up into the bottle necks.  You can tape or glue them to the inside of the bottle necks if you wish, but it’s not necessary (I did not).

coal foam 2

Once the lights are evenly spread out and the bottles placed, randomly spray expanding foam over the entire thing.  Be sure to leave some holes in the foam for the light to show through.  After the foam has dried completely, spray a combination of red, gray and black paint on it so that it also looks like hot coals during the daylight.  Take care not to spray into the holes too much or you will block the lights from shinning through.

witchburnBelow is an attempt to show the finished product in the dark.  My doll needs some work to show the result of her torturous demise.  But, you get the idea.  And, as you can tell in the above photograph, she actually stands on her own indoors.  Outside she is even more stable as a short piece of rebar is driven into the center hole in the prop to support the bamboo stake to which she is tied.

coal lit dark

 

The recent cold spell, or rather return to traditional Kentucky winter weather forced me from the garage to instead work on some indoor projects last week.  And, the resulting bloody, severed fingers are now one of my favorite creations to date.  This project takes a bit of patience, so a good movie in the background is highly recommended.

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The first step is to mix a small amount of flesh toned paint into Elmer’s white school glue. Pour the glue about a 1/4 inch deep into a small paint container.  Next, squeeze about a 1/2 inch of Portrait Pink acrylic paint into the glue as well as a small dot of Yellow Ochre.  Mix the paint and glue well with a wooden popsicle type stick.  For subsequent batches substitute other colors such as Burnt Umber for the Yellow Ochre if you would like a variety of skin tones.

Once the glue and paint are mixed, simply brush them on your fingers making sure to cover the entire surface.  It will take about 30 minutes for each layer of paint to dry completely, even using a fan or hair dryer.  Take care not to let your fingers touch. When they inevitably do, carefully cut the connection formed and pat it back down against your fingers.

Thea Higgins has a series of YouTube videos showing the process. She suggests at least three coats of glue. I found four to be the minimum. Even with five coats, my first attempt resulted in torn joints which you can see in the insert in the photograph below.

freshfingers

To avoid this, be sure the glue is completely dry in the areas that tend to take the longest such as the inside of the joints, at the base of the fingers and around or under the fingernails.  I found that when each layer is added it re-moistens the previous layer.  So, you can cheat a bit by adding a layer before the previous one is completely dry and spending the longest drying time at the end.  It is fairly easy to tell where the glue is still wet because it becomes translucent as it dries. In the final coats it also begins to stiffen and pull away from your skin on its own.  Anywhere you fail to completely dry the glue there will be tears or disruptions in the imprint.

Once you are satisfied the glue is completely dry, dust each finger completely with baby powder using a soft brush to eliminate the tackiness of the surface.  Gently begin peeling the glue back from the base of each finger and rolling it over itself.  Dust the inside with baby powder as it becomes exposed.  Once you have it started it will easily just pull off of your finger.  But, go slowly with frequent pauses to avoid tearing it or stretching it out of shape.  Once off brush the excess powder away.

bones

Stuffing the fingers and adding a bone to the end of them is the next step.  If you let the fingers dry overnight they will stiffen substantially, making this part easier to do without damaging them.  For the bones I had a necklace and a skeleton hand garland I picked up during post Halloween sales.  My new dogs had not learned which toys were mine and which were theirs at that time and chewed the skeleton hands a bit before I discovered their transgression.  But, I was glad I kept them as they were perfect for this project.  So, I spent an evening breaking the knuckles apart and trimming them with an X-Acto knife.

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Ms. Higgins stuffed her fingers with plastic. But, I was concerned about the durability of that.  Having recently watched Allen Hopps’ Stiltbeast Studio video on Gorilla Glue foam, I opted to try that.  You simply pour some Gorilla Glue into a small amount of hot water and stir it with a wooden stick as fast as you can until it starts to expand.  You must work very quickly as the more it expands, the more porous and hard to work with the material becomes.  The foam in the cup pictured above is from about a teaspoon of Gorilla Glue.  Once it expands to the volume pictured it is very hard to work with.

The result of this method was actually very nice as those fingers have a more realistic feel to them.  However, it’s a sticky, messy process and it is very easy to accidentally collapse your finger or leave a gap inside of it. There is no correction once this happens, but they did look a bit like mummified or rotting fingers, so I kept them.

Regardless, on future batches I used hot glue to stuff the fingers. These came out very durable.  You still must be careful though because when you add the hot glue the finger becomes very soft.  To avoid having one rupture, I only filled the tip at first. Then I gently cradled it between two of my fingers, holding it upright and used a fan to help cool it down faster.  Once this hardened I could do the rest by holding the tip of the finger.  I stopped the glue just before the place the bone needed to be embedded.

Finally, I glued in the bone and filled the hot glue almost to the top.  Then I mixed some Gorilla Glue the same way as I had before and put very small dabs on top of the hot glue because the foam did look more like mutilated flesh than the smooth hot glue.  Even with tiny dabs I still had to poke it with a small corner of paper several times as it dried to knock the puffiness out of it.

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After the fingers are completely dry you can adorn them with a fingernail. This step can be skipped as your life cast finger will already have an impression of your nail on it.  To add a nail use inexpensive press on type nails or cut the shape out of clear protector sheets used for notebook dividers.  I used fake nails from a drugstore. Trim the nails to fit the fingers. Next, take sharp scissors or a knife or razor blade and put scratches lengthwise down the nail.  On the ends make many scratches, pressing all the way through the nail in some cases.  You can then take the scissors and snip out chips or cut deeply into the nail for a broken fingernail look.  Finally I scratched up the entire nail surface with the coarse side of a emery board and glued it on with Tacky Glue.

As you can see from the above photograph, some fingers were painted before adding the fingernail and others were not.  A bit of blood or blue paint under the nail looks like real bruising.  However, it turned out that this could be achieve just as easily before or after the nail was glued down.

To finish the look, I stained my pieces, finger and nail, with Minwax Red Mahoganey wood stain.  I stain all of my skeletons with this for a cohesive look across displays. Simply apply the stain with a cotton ball or sponge brush and immediately wipe it off with paper towels. This antiquing process leaves a bit of color in the creases to make them stand out and also gives the fingers a bruised and aged look.  The final step is to add blood.  My preferred mix is Allen Hopp’s recipe using clear Elmer’s School Glue with a few drops of red food coloring and one small drop of blue food coloring.  You can mix this straight in the glue bottle to always have some on hand.  The result is a translucent, shiny blood that looks great!  Just dot the fingers with the blood and blotch it around with a brush.

Since these fingers will be indoors, I won’t need to do anything else to them.  However, if any would be used outside it would be necessary to coat them well with some kind of acrylic or polyurethane finish to make them waterproof.

finished

 

Halloween playlists can be found on just about any music service you choose.  However, they tend to be short and chock-full of kiddie type selections like Monster Mash.  I needed a longer playlist I could set to shuffle and not bother with again.  Also, one that had appeal for three generations of attendees.

Below you will find the songs/artists on my Spotify playlist called “Frau Mason Halloween Bash” (username kimmason65).  The 385 song list boasts 24 hours and 51 minutes of playtime – plenty of time to last an entire party as well as the preparations.  It encompasses genres from punk to bluegrass.

Comment with suggestions for additional songs.

  1. (Don’t Feed) the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
  2. (It’s A) Monster’s Holiday – Buck Owens
  3. 19th Nervous Breakdown – The Rolling Stones
  4. 9 Crimes – Damien Rice
  5. All on Black – Alkaline Trio
  6. A Nightmare on my Street – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  7. A Spindle, A Darkness, A Fever and a neck – Bright Eyes
  8. Abercrombie Had A zombie – Fats Waller
  9. Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band
  10. Adam’s Song – Blink-182
  11. After Midnight – Dorothy
  12. Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still
  13. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage The Elephant
  14. Aliens Exist – Blink-182
  15. Am I A Psycho – Tech N9ne
  16. American Psycho – D12
  17. Angel is the Devil – Steve Earle
  18. Animals – Maroon 5
  19. Arsonist’s Lullabye – Hozier
  20. Back in Black – AC/DC
  21. Bad Company – Bad Company
  22. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Rivival
  23. Bad Things – Jace Everett
  24. Bad Things – Rayland Baxter
  25. Ballad of Dwight Fry – Alice Cooper
  26. Bang Bang – Nancy Sinatra
  27. Bang Bang Bang – Dorothy
  28. Banks of the Ohio – Joan Baez
  29. Barbara Allen – Joan Baez
  30. Barton Hallow – The Civil Wars
  31. Basket Cast – Green Day
  32. Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf
  33. Beat on the Brat – Ramones
  34. Because – The Beatles
  35. Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus
  36. Best of Burden – The Rolling Stones
  37. Billion Dollar Babies – Alice Cooper
  38. Black Magic Woman – Santana
  39. Black Peter – Grateful Dead
  40. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
  41. Black Saint – Witch
  42. Black Skinhead – Kanye West
  43. Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) – Concrete Blonde
  44. Bloodsucker – Southern Culture on the Skids
  45. Bloody Mary – The Horrors Remix – Lady Gaga
  46. Blue Devil – Hank Williams III
  47. Blue Moon – Frank Sinatra
  48. Body Snatcher – Billy Idol
  49. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  50. Bones – Little May
  51. Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
  52. Bottom of the River – Delta Rae
  53. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
  54. Brain – Banks
  55. Braineaters – Misfits
  56. Break on Through (To the Other Side) – The Doors
  57. Burn – The Cure
  58. Burn She-Devil, Burn – The Cramps
  59. Burn the Witch – Queens of the Stone Age
  60. Candyman – Grateful Dead
  61. Candyman – Grateful Dead
  62. Caroline Says II – Lou Reed
  63. Castin’ My Spell – Johnny Otis
  64. Change (In the House of Flies) – Deftones
  65. Climbing up the Walls – Radiohead
  66. Close to Me – The Cure
  67. Cold Ethyl – Alice Cooper
  68. Country Death Song – Violent Femmes
  69. Creep – Radiohead
  70. Criminal – Eminem
  71. Curse of the Mummy’s Hand – Misfits
  72. D.O.A. – Bloodrock
  73. Dammit Janet – Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon
  74. Dance with the Devil – Breaking Benjamin
  75. Daughter of Darkness – Tom Jones
  76. Dark Lady – Cher
  77. Day-O – Harry Belafonte
  78. Dead Flowers – The Rolling Stones
  79. Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
  80. Dead! – My Chemical Romance
  81. Dead Souls – Nine Inch Nails
  82. Deal with the Devil – Pop Evil
  83. Death Death (Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Song) – Voltaire
  84. Demon Woman – Flight of the Conchords
  85. Dentist – cast
  86. Desperado – Alice Cooper
  87. Devil – Papa Roach
  88. Devil – Southern Gothic Revival
  89. Devil Boy – Tech N9ne
  90. Devil Don’t You Fool Me – Josh Farrow
  91. Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro
  92. Devil in a Sleepin’ Bag – Willie Nelson
  93. Devil In Disguise – Elvis Presley
  94. Devil in my Car – The B-52’s
  95. Devil Inside – INXS
  96. Devil May Dance – AJ Roach
  97. Devil Pray – Madonna
  98. Devil Rides – Mogwai
  99. Devil Town  – Bright Eyes
  100. Devil Town  – Daniel Johnson
  101. Devil Woman – Marty Robbins
  102. Devil Woman – Cliff Richard
  103. Devil’s Backbone – The Civil Wars
  104. Devil’s Dance Floor – Flogging Moly
  105. Devil’s Daughter – Vaudeville Etiquette
  106. Devil’s Daughter – Hank Williams III
  107. Devil’s Food – Alice Cooper
  108. Devil’s Got a Hold – Travis Barker, Slaughterhouse
  109. Devil’s Got a New Disguise – Aerosmith
  110. Devil’s Night  – D12
  111. Devil’s Plaything – Danzig
  112. Devil’s Right Hand – Johnny Cash
  113. Devil’s Swing – Godsmack
  114. Devil’s Whisper – Raury
  115. Devils – Amelai Curran
  116. Devils & Dust – Bruce Springsteen
  117. Devils with a Blue Dress – Mitch Ryder
  118. Did You Ever See a Dream Walking – Al Bowlly
  119. Dig It Up – Hoodoo Gurus
  120. Digital Sea – Thrice
  121. Dire Wolf – Grateful Dead
  122. Disturbia – Rihanna
  123. Down by the River – The Dirty River Boys
  124. Dracula – Gorillaz
  125. Dracula’s Duece – The Ghouls
  126. Drag Me Down – One Direction
  127. Drag The River – Southern Gothic Revival
  128. Dragula – Rob Zombie
  129. Early Sunsets Over Monroeville – My Chemical Romance
  130. El Paso – Marty Robbins
  131. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  132. Enter the Circus – Christina Aguilera
  133. Every Breath You Take – the Police
  134. Evil Eye – Billy Idol
  135. Evil (Is Going On) – Howlin’ Wolf
  136. Fear of the Dark – Iron Maiden
  137. Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper
  138. Fiction – Avenged Sevenfold
  139. Fire – Jimi Hendrix
  140. Fire on the Mountain – Grateful Dead
  141. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  142. Fresh Blood – Eels
  143. Friend of the Devil – Grateful Dead
  144. Funeralopolis – Electric Wizard
  145. Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin
  146. Gang Bang – Madonna
  147. Ghost – Ella Henderson
  148. Ghost on the Dance Floor – Blink-182
  149. Ghost Riders in the Sky – Johnny Cash
  150. Ghost Town – Adam Lambert
  151. Ghost Train – Southern Gothic Revival
  152. Ghostbusters – Ray Parker jr
  153. Ghosts that We Know – Mumford & Songs
  154. Ghosttown – Madonna
  155. Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson
  156. God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash
  157. Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult
  158. Gollum’s Song – Emliana Torrini
  159. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
  160. Graves – Whiskey Shivers
  161. Graveyard Boogie – Buster Doss & Arkansas Playboys
  162. Greenwood Sidey – Anna & Elizabeth
  163. Halloween – John Carpenter
  164. Halloween – Misfits
  165. Halloweenhead – Ryan Adams
  166. Halloween Parade – Lou Reed
  167. Haunt you Every Day – Weezer
  168. Haunted – Evanescence
  169. Haunted – Charlie Simpson
  170. Haunted – Poe
  171. Haunted Blues – Memphis Minnie
  172. Haunting – Halsey
  173. Hearse with a Curse – Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos
  174. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  175. Heathens – 21 Pilots
  176. Helena (So Long & Goodnight) – My Chemical Romance
  177. Hell Hole – Spinal Tap
  178. Hell in a Bucket – Grateful Dead
  179. Hell’s Bells – Cary Ann Hearst
  180. He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) – Alice Cooper
  181. Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
  182. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  183. Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
  184. Hotel California – Eagles
  185. House of 1000 Corpses – Rob Zombie
  186. House of Horrors – Insane Clown Posse
  187. House of Leaves – Poe
  188. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
  189. Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys
  190. Hungry like the Wolf – Duran Duran
  191. Hurt – Johnny Cash
  192. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
  193. Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte – Patti Page
  194. I Appear Missing – Queens fo the Stone Age
  195. I Can Make You A Man – Tim Curry
  196. I Love the Dead – Alice Cooper
  197. I Miss You – Blink-182
  198. I Put a Spell on You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  199. I walked with a Zombie – Rocky Erickson, The Aliens
  200. I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
  201. I Wanna Be Well – Ramones
  202. I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow
  203. I’ll Fly Away – Ralph Stanley
  204. I’m a Ghost – Scrappy Cartoon
  205. I’m Your Boogie Man – KC & The Sunshine Band
  206. I’m Your Witch Doctor – Them
  207. In The Pines – Lead Belly
  208. Inmates (We’re All Crazy) – Alice Cooper
  209. Iron Man – Black Sabbath
  210. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Bob Dylan
  211. Jack’s Lament – The All-American Rejects
  212. Jack the Ripper – Screaming Lord Sutch
  213. Jack the Ripper – Misfits
  214. Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark – Dolly Parton
  215. Jeepers Creepers – Al Donohue & Paula Kelly
  216. Jim in the Line – Harry Belafonte
  217. Keepin’ Halloween Alive – Alice Cooper
  218. Killer Queen – Queen
  219. Kim – Eminem
  220. Kiss Kiss Kill Kill – Horrorpops
  221. Kiss Me Deadly – Lita Ford
  222. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
  223. Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones
  224. Let Me Hear you Scream – Ozzy Osbourne
  225. Lil’ Devil – The Cult
  226. Li’l Red Riding Hood – Pharaohs, Sam the Sham
  227. Little Devil – Neil Sadaka
  228. Little Drop of Poison – Tom Waits
  229. Little Ghost – The White Stripes
  230. Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie
  231. Long Black Veil – Lefty Frizzell
  232. Lotion – Greenskeepers
  233. Lonesome Road – Joan Baez
  234. Love Is a Murder – The Constellations
  235. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
  236. Lucifer – Jay Z
  237. Lullaby – The Cure
  238. Mack the Knife – Bobby Darin
  239. Mad House – Rihanna
  240. Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  241. Me and the Devil Blues – Eric Clapton
  242. Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones
  243. Millie and Billie – Alice Cooper
  244. Misguided Ghosts – Paramore
  245. Monster – Kanye West, Jay Z, Rick
  246. Monster Mash – Bobby Boris Pickett
  247. Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osborne
  248. Mr. Ghost is Going To Town – The Five Jones Boys
  249. My Body’s a Zombie for You – Dead Man’s Bones
  250. Nightmare – Jack Turner
  251. Nightmares – Violent Femmes
  252. Night of the Vampire – Roky Erickson
  253. Nocturnal Me – Echo & the Bunnymen
  254. No More Mr. Nice Guy – Alice Cooper
  255. No Quarter – Led Zepplin
  256. O Death – Ralph Stanley
  257. Oh Coely – Neutral Milk Hotel
  258. Once Upon a Dream – Lana Del Rey
  259. One Way Road To Hell – The Guess Who
  260. Ouija Board – Morrissey
  261. Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones
  262. Party Time (as heard in  – 45 Grave
  263. Perfect Day – The Constellations
  264. Pet Sematary – Ramones
  265. Play With Fire – The Rolling Stones
  266. Please Mr. Grave Digger – David Bowie
  267. Posin Ivy – The Coasters
  268. Pretty Polly – Vandaveer
  269. Psycho – Muse
  270. Psycho – System of a Down
  271. Psychobitches Outta Hell – Horrorpops
  272. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
  273. Psychopath – St. Vincent
  274. Railroad Boy – Joan Baez
  275. Renegade – Styx
  276. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
  277. Road to Hell – Bruce Dickinson
  278. Runnin’ with the Devil – Van Halen
  279. Scary Monsters – David Bowie
  280. Science Fiction, Double Feature – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  281. Screaming Bloody Murder – Sum 41
  282. Screaming Skull – The Fleshtones
  283. Season of the Witch – Donovan
  284. Seven Devils – Florence & the Machine
  285. Severed Crossed Fingers – St. Vincent
  286. Shadows fo the Night – Pat Benetar
  287. She Put a Hex on You – Them
  288. She Wasn’t Nothing But a Devil – John Lee Hooker, Jr
  289. She’s My Witch – Southern Culture on the Skids
  290. She’s So Cold – The Rolling Stones
  291. Shout at the Devil – Motley Crue
  292. Shovel and Bone – Terrance Zdunich
  293. Silver Dagger – Bob Dylan, Joan Baez
  294. Skid Row (Downtown) – Soundtrack
  295. Skin and Bones – Foo Fighters
  296. Sleep Tight – The Creepshow
  297. Some Folks – Alice Cooper
  298. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
  299. Somewhere That’s Green – Alan Menken, Ellen Green
  300. Somewhere That’s Green – cast
  301. Song of Joy – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  302. Sorcerer – Stevie Nicks
  303. Speak of the Devil – Misfits
  304. Spooky – Dusty Springfield
  305. Spooky – Classics IV
  306. Spooky Movies – Gary Paxton
  307. Spooks – Louis Armstrong
  308. Steven – Alice Cooper
  309. Strange Brew – Cream
  310. Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
  311. Suddenly Seymour –
  312. Sugar Cane – Southern Gothic Revival
  313. Sugar, We’re Goin Down – Fall Out Boy
  314. Suicide is Painless – Johnny Mandel
  315. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  316. Surfin’ Dead – The Cramps
  317. Suspiria – Goblin
  318. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Marilyn Manson
  319. Swingin’ at the Seance – The Deep River Boys
  320. Sympathy For the Devil – The Rolling Stones
  321. T’aint No Sin (To Take Your Skin Off) – Fred Hall
  322. Tear you Apart – She Wants Revenge
  323. Teenage Frankenstein – Alice Cooper
  324. Teen Angel – Mark Dinning
  325. Teenage Lobotomy – Ramones
  326. Teeth – Lady Gaga
  327. Tell Laura I Love Her – Ray Peterson
  328. That Little Old Graverobber Me – Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians
  329. That Old Black Magic – Sammy Davis Jr
  330. That Ole Devil Called Love – Billie Holiday
  331. The Boogieman – The Jackson 5
  332. The Boogie Monster – Gnarls Barkley
  333. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Tony Bennett, Sting
  334. The Creature from the Black Leather Lagoon – The Cramps
  335. The Devil Beneath My Feet – Marilyn Manson
  336. The Devil is Me – KISS
  337. The Devil Made Me Do it the First Time – Billy Joe Shaver
  338. The Devil’s Chasing Me – The Reverend Horton Heat
  339. The Devil Takes Care of his Own – Band of Skulls
  340. The Devil Went Down To Georgia – Charlie Daniels
  341. The Devil’s Rejects – Rob Zombie
  342. The Devil’s Rising – Southern Gothic Revival
  343. The Devil’s Son – The Creepshow
  344. The Devil’s Workday – Modest Mouse
  345. The Devils Movin In – Hank Williams III
  346. The Ghost of Eli Renfro – The Nashville Bluegrass Band
  347. The Ghost of Smokey Joe – Cab Calloway
  348. The Ghost Who Walks – Karen Elson
  349. The Graveyard Shift – The Ghouls
  350. The Green Manalishi (with the two pronged – Fleetwood Mac
  351. The Hanging Tree – Angus & Julia Stone
  352. The Haunting – Anberlin
  353. The Killing Moon – Echo & the Bunnymen
  354. The KKK Took My Baby Away – Ramones
  355. The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
  356. The Mercy Seat – Johnny Cash
  357. The Curse of Millhaven – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  358. The Monster – Eminem, Rihanna
  359. The Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden
  360. The Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber
  361. The Quiet Room – Alice Cooper
  362. The Raven – The Alan Parsons Project
  363. The Skeleton Rag – The American Quartet
  364. The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkle
  365. The Third Death – Isolbel Anderson
  366. The Time Warp – Patricia Quinn, Richard O’Brien, Little Nell
  367. The Witch Queen of New Orleans – Redbone
  368. The Wolf – Ben Rice
  369. The Woman is a Devil – The Doors
  370. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
  371. They’re Hanging Me Tonight – Marty Robbins
  372. This House is Haunted – Alice Cooper
  373. This is Halloween – Citizens of Halloween
  374. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  375. Time Warp – Patricia Quinn, Richard O’Brien, Little Nell
  376. Tombstone Shadow – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  377. Toxic – Britney Spears
  378. Tribute – Tenacious D
  379. True Blood – Justin Timberlake
  380. Twighlight of the Dead – Misfits
  381. Twilight Zone – Golden Earring
  382. Undertaker – Southern Culture on the Skids
  383. Undertaker Blues – Buddy Moss
  384. Unholy – KISS
  385. Vampire – John & John
  386. Vampire Blues – Neil Young
  387. Vampires Will Never Hurt You – My Chemical Romance
  388. Vicious – Lou Reed
  389. Voicething – Goldtrapp
  390. Voodoo – Godsmack
  391. Voodoo Cadillac – Southern Culture on the Skids
  392. Wafaring Stranger – Jack White
  393. Wake Me up Wehn September Ends – Green Day
  394. Walk Like a Zombie –  Horrorpops
  395. Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
  396. Wayfaring Stranger – Jack White
  397. War Pigs – Black Sabbath
  398. Why Didn’t Rosemary? – Deep Purple
  399. Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra
  400. Welcome to my Nightmare – Alice Cooper
  401. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
  402. Werewolf – CocoRosie
  403. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
  404. White Room – Cream
  405. Wicked – Southern Gothic Revival
  406. Wicked Annabelle – The Kinks
  407. Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
  408. Wild Thing – The Troggs
  409. Witch Doctor – David Seville
  410. Witchcraft – The Spiders
  411. Witchy Woman – Eagles
  412. Wolf Like Me – TV On the Radio
  413. Yellow Floicker Beat – Lorde
  414. You Look Like the Devil – Willie Nelson
  415. Zombie – Natalia Kills
  416. Zombie Dance – The Cramps
  417. Zombified – Southern Culture on the Skids
  418. Zombie Zoo – Tom Petty

This playlist will be updated overtime. You can also view it as a spreadsheet on Google Drive here – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QhTfACX4e2OouqIE3uMsBs2fc7Q8I1uGvN5LbnUZet8/edit?usp=sharing

DIY: Homemade meat hooks

Posted: October 13, 2016 in DIY
Tags: , , ,

hook-finishedNo torture chamber, butcher shoppe or mad scientist’s lab is complete without some rusty meat hooks to display body parts. Plastic and foam chains with hooks are readily available from just about anywhere during post-Halloween sales. But, they aren’t very realistic.

Luckily, Allen Hopps of Stiltbeast Studio (watch his video tutorial) has an easy tutorial for meat hooks which I followed to create them.  The one pictured here has a simple skinned face hanging from it that I created from a melted garbage bag.  I’ll post that project after I’ve experimented with it a bit more.

Start out with some cheap plastic coat hangers.  Simply cut them at angles to form two hooks out of each hanger.

hook-supply

After you have the basic shape of a hook, use a heat gun to soften the top end.  Once it is soft, simply use a pair of pliers to bend it into a circle.  Next, I used my soldering iron.  Actually, it’s the first time I’ve used that tool to solder!  In this case, instead of solder I took a piece of the leftover plastic from the hanger and laid it across the gap between the end of the hook and the end of my newly created loop.

hook-sauder-4

A little practice would lead to a less rough looking hoop, but I did like that they looked homemade.  I purposely made them in various sizes.  Note, because I used a very cheap coat hanger, these will not hold much weight.

The final step is to paint them.  These were sprayed with Rust-Oleum Orange Ultra Cover Paint & Primer which adheres well to plastic.  Then, using Rust-Oleum Brown Rust Resistant Enamel, I lightly dusted them, taking care to leave some of the orange showing through. After drying an even lighter coat of Rust-Oleum Black Hammered Rust Resistant Enamel was used.

These photographs do not do them justice as they really look like rusted metal.   One thing that helped them look more realistic was that the brown paint was apparently old and came out in chunks.  If this would not have been the case, I probably would have sprinkled a bit of sawdust on them to give some texture.  Others use oatmeal or grits to give texture to witches’ cauldrons or other items that are suppose to look like weathered, rusted metal.  But, I avoid any food products as my props are stored in an attic where mice have access.

hook-hanger-suater

demon-specimenNo mad scientist’s lab is complete without a demon specimen.  This project is very similar to several faerie skeletons I’ve seen online and plan to make.  In most cases the faerie wings are made of either leaves or feathers, whereas my demon has bat-like wings and is based on the design found on the Witch Craft blog by doll artist Arley Berryhill.  You can also find a very nice large scale demon over at Davis Graveyard.

Start with the miniature skeletons found in just about every home improvement, craft or dollar store around Halloween.  They usually come in six packs, often on a piece of rope to hang as a garland. They come with various shading and in black.

The wings are made from coffee filters. Arley used tissue paper for his, but I always opt for the most durable version I can think of as they are subject to some wear and tear and possibly even being put outdoors. You can start with brown coffee filters, but they seemed a bit too dark. So, I started with large white filters.  First soak them in water with a tea bag or coffee grounds to darken them.  This also eliminates the folds and flattens them nicely.

Cut each filter in half.  Next fold the halves and cut an arc from corner to corner of the outside edge.  Or you can try a more complex cut for scalloped wings.

demon-filter-cuts

Take a thin piece of wire and attach it to the skeleton.  I wrapped the wire around the spine and formed the top arc of the wings by just sliding my thumb across it pushing up.

demon-wing-part

Place the folded edge around the wire.  Next, I watered down Elmer’s School Glue using a 1:1 ratio of water and glue.  I painted this on generously on both the inside and outside of the wings.  This fused them together; made them harden when they dried; and also resulted in a slightly translucent look.  I then hung the skeletons on a cup to dry.

demon-dry

While the wings dried I added several details to the skeletons.  Create horns by adding a small drop of hot glue on their foreheads and quickly shape them into points before it hardens.  I used a small piece of fairly stiff twine for a tail.  I chose a stiff twine so that I could shape it to curl up instead of hanging.  One end of the twine is glued to the tailbone area of the spine and the other is sandwiched between two little triangle pieces which are glued to it.  The triangles were cut from a coffee filter and treated with the same process used on the wings.

Once the wings dried I watered down some acrylic paint and did a quick wash over them with green and brown.  Be sure to do this over newspaper or plastic as they drip considerably.

I placed one inside a cloche which I found at Goodwill and removed the clock.  I found an example of an old specimen label online and customized it with the Frau Mason brand.  As I like to incorporate my love of horror films into all my displays, this specimen was captured in Amityville New York on November 13, 1974, the day that Ronald DeFeo murdered his family.  My laboratory is located in Smiths Grove Sanitarium, where Michael Meyers was held.  Smiths Grove happens to be in the county I live in as this is where John Carpenter grew up.  So, not surprisingly references to his work appear often in my displays.

I also created several more mini demons and hung them from microfilament.  They may be trying to free the specimen.

 demons-on-blackdemon-specimen

DIY: Moss for tombstones & props

Posted: September 9, 2016 in DIY
Tags: , , ,

img_2417I plan on updating my cemetery this year with some nicer tombstones than  I created in my first project. I saw a haunter on Pinterest who made their own moss and thought this would be a perfect detail for them.  But, when I checked out his recipe it was made from grits.  This would not work for me as I store my props in an attic where mice have access, necessitating the avoidance of any food particles.  So, I thought I’d experiment with some other options.

The photo below shows the materials I tried.  From the top, left to right, they include: dryer lint, store bought grass powder for model train displays, foam board shavings, paper insulation, real moss from the hobby store and sawdust.

The foam board shavings were not fine enough for moss, but it was clear they would be perfect if I wanted to add crumbled stone to a broken tombstone.  The model train grass powder was too fine so it was too flat.  The lint, insulation and real moss all seemed too bulky and overpowered the prop.

 

My preference was undoubtedly the sawdust for moss.

img_2408

Next I divided my sawdust into several cups.  To each I added a bit of water and some acrylic paint.  I used various greens, yellows and browns to create several different colors.  I found that a very small amount in a cup would color all the sawdust.  I simply stirred it until it was coated in the color.  I was also able to add quitet a bit more sawdust and it would continue to absorb the color from what was already colored in the cup.

img_2414

Next, I took a bit of each color and mixed them together.  Unfortunately, they absorbed color from each other and after being handled became a large pile of the same color.  To avoid this, I let them dry overnight.  Also, instead of mixing the colored sawdust first, I applied it in layers.  I started with the main color.  I generously spread Elmer’s wood glue on the prop where I wanted the moss. In this case, I applied it to a cheap Dollar General skull cut in half and painted gray and glued to a foam board tombstone.  I sprinkled the colored sawdust onto the glue and pressed it in.  Then I sprinkled bits of other colors on top and pressed them in.

A bit more perusing of real tombstone’s covered with moss I’m sure will help with the placement of the sawdust to achieve a more realistic look.

img_2415

 

 

face-frame---new
A skinned face for your torture chamber is one of the quickest and easiest projects to do.  I first saw an example from Hocus Pocus Customs on eBay and realized it looked very similar to a mask I had picked up for $1 after Halloween.  Choose a mask that has only the face.

You will need: a mask, various colors of paint, something to poke holes through the mask, either an old frame or wood to create a frame and string.

face-frame-supplles

Using scissors or an Exacto knife, cut out the eyes, nostrils and mouth.  Also, cut around the face so it is not as curved and to give it an uneven edge. Be sure to cut off the holes that the strap went in.  Take a needle or awl and poke a hole at the top, bottom and sides of the mask as well as the diagonal points midway between. You could also use something to burn the holes in the mask.

face-mask-green

I grow bamboo for use in my Halloween projects and my garden.  So, this was an obvious material for creating a frame.   I cut 4 pieces large enough to give a nice border around the mask.  Secured the corners with 2 cable ties on each corner.  Leave some of each end protruding past the square of the frame. Then wrap one cable tie through the inside corner and between the two ends sticking out. Crisscross it with another diagonally across the two protruding ends. Use pliers to pull these very tightly, then snip off the ends.  Repeat on each corner.

Next, wrap string around the corners in every direction until there is no sign of the cable ties. The cable ties are not necessary, but you will find that if you only use string the binding can loosen over time and eventually unravel. I added some Elmer’s glue on the string to prevent it from unraveling.

face-mask-frame2

Using acrylic paint mix a pale skin color and cover the entire mask. The surface will remain a bit tacky but it did seem to adhere.  Then use various red and black mixes to add shadows and blood to the wrinkles in the mask and along all the edges.  Tie strings through the holes you created and tie the other end to the frame.

face-mask---complete-old

Above is my original creation.  However, after it was finished I happened upon Stiltbeast Studio’s video “Blood on the cheap” in which he compares 36 homemade blood formulas.  I immediately mixed up a batch using his Elmer’s clear glue, red food coloring and a touch of blue food coloring recipe.  The thickness and transparency, make it the best blood recipe I’ve used to date.  The first photo in this post was made after I splotched the new blood on it.  Elmer’s is washable, so the prop is no longer safe for outdoors unless it is also covered with acrylic, polyurethane or some other clear, weatherproof coating.

 

jess-dremelMy first Halloween DIY project was a family effort and I treasure the results.  These holiday keepsakes were very simple and allowed each family member to personalize their unique creation.

I started by searching online for epithet ideas. Unfortunately it was long enough ago that I no longer have the links.  But, I searched various terms to cull a list made up of both joke and real epithets.  Several we used were from the old west.  For example one was by a marble cutter who used his wife’s tombstone as a sales pitch for future work. Another of my favorites from a real cemetery was  “She lived with her husband fifty years And died in the confident hope of a better life.”  We each chose an epithet as well as a name from these lists to pair.  Most of the names were jokes, such as Stu Pitt or Claire Voyance.

Next I showed the kids the fonts I had on my computer and everyone picked their favorite.

After the choices were made, we looked a photos of cemeteries and everyone choose their preferred tombstone shape.  I limited the options to simple ones that I could easily draw, either freehand or by using objects of different geometric shapes to get what I needed.  For round tops I used a piece of string and a nail to draw arcs.

foam-with-epithetThe material we used was 1 inch thick foam board insulation. It is easy to cut with a serrated knife, hack saw or box cutter.  It is also very easy to smooth with sandpaper.

After drawing the shapes to get as many as I could fit on a sheet of foam board insulation, we cut them out, measured the space and in an actual size document laid out our names, dates, flourishes and epithets on the computer using the chosen fonts.  I then used tiling in the print options to print them and taped the resulting letter size sheets of paper with the print on them together to form an actual size pattern.

Once the pattern was taped in place we used exacto knives to trace the letters and designs.  These were cleaned up after the pattern was removed using either an exacto knife or Dremel tool to remove the foam.

Once the carving was finished, we highlighted it by painting them with black latex paint.  It is not necessary to stay inside the lines, but it is important to completely cover the foam inside the lines with black paint.

stones-enamelAfter the epithets were highlighted, we treated the foam with enamel spray paint.  The enamel paint reacts with the foam, slowly dissolving it.  The thicker the paint, the more foam was dissolved. This step resulted in giving the surface an aged, worn look similar to stone with water and wind damage. We also sanded the edges to soften them as a weathered tombstone would be.

The last step was simply to spray or use a brush to paint them gray.  The result was a fairly quick, easy family project with a big impact for our Halloween display.

While pleased with the tombstones, there was one ongoing issue – how to make them remain standing in the often windy fall weather. Initially I used some thin metal stakes that I pushed into the stones & the ground.  These were hard to work with and the tombstones would bend over. Next, I tried small rebar spikes in the front and back of the tombstones.  These worked well but were visible and hard to cover as they had to be left high enough the tombstones could fall over them. They also caused pressure points that made an indent in some of the tombstones.

I saw later that some people drilled holes through the bottom of their tombstones and placed them over the rebar.  standWhile this seemed like a good idea, especially if one used a piece of PVC in the drilled holes so that the rebar wouldn’t pop a hole through the front with too much pressure.  But, having used only 1 inch thick foam, I was afraid to do this.  Instead, I created some stands out of furring strips and scrap plywood.

I cut the furring strips just slightly longer than the tombstones and drilled a hole on each end so that I could drive a barn nail or small piece of rebar through them without hitting the tombstone.  I screwed a small piece of plywood on the front side and a larger one on the back to prevent the tombstone from falling.  The front of the stands were very easy to cover with leaves, but unfortunately this stand design does show from the back and therefore won’t be our choice for any future tombstones.  I plan to use slightly thicker foam board and try the drill method with a PVC insert.

Regardless, the entire family had fun with this project and it is one that can be tailored to fit a scary horror scene or a kid friendly, funny Halloween display. Care should be used in storing your tombstones.  Though they are weatherproof and fairly sturdy, it’s very easy to chip off pieces of the foam if they are rubbed together.  You can see the specks of blue showing through in my finished photo as it was taken a couple of years after they were made. It is easy to touch them up if this happens.

original-tombstones

One final note – if one of your tombstone breaks, be very careful what you use to attempt to fix it. Many adhesives will eat through the foam.  Be sure to choose one the specifically mentions foam board on it. Liquid Nails and Gorilla Glue both make versions of construction adhesive that is safe for foam board.