Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Halloween Graveyard - Make Your Own Tombstones

Make Your Own Tombstones!

If you really want to make your Halloween Party or Halloween display for trick-or-treat the talk of the graveyard, you can fill your cemetery with inexpensive, easy-to-make headstones handcrafted by you! You can make an entire graveyard of Halloween headstones for the cost of one store-bought headstone!

Step 1) Call your local home center (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) and ask if they carry sheets of Styrofoam insulation. Even within the same franchise, some will and some will not. Half of our local Home Depots have it. Just call around.

Step 2) Get a kitchen knife and safely stow it in your car. You’ll see why in a moment.

Step 3) Head to the local home center with the Styrofoam insulation.

Step 4) Before you head over to get the insulation, grab a can or two of FLAT BLACK spray paint.

Step 5) Purchase several sheets of Styrofoam insulation. It comes in all sizes and thicknesses. The thicker, the better. You might also get some thinner stuff to add to the front of the main headstones (more later.) Some sheets are small, but others may be too big to fit into the car. Now that kitchen knife comes in handy. Even if you buy a gigantic 4 foot by 8 foot chunk of Styrofoam (VERY INEXPENSIVE) you can rough cut it into small squares that will fit in your car or trunk!

Step 6) If you need to, cut down the Styrofoam in the parking lot to fir it into your car, then drive your supplies home.

Step 7) When you get home, trace out a pattern. (Suggestion: leave the protective plastic coating that is on the Styrofoam on for drawing & cutting). Use that same kitchen knife to carefully and safely cut out several gravestone shapes. You might also choose to use a craft knife or box-cutter. Be VERY CAREFUL using these and ALWAYS CUT AWAY from your body. Be careful to never hold the Styrofoam by placing a hand underneath where the knife may cut through.


Step 8) Optional: Break off tiny pieces or carve out small cracks and edges to make the headstone “older” looking. (If you accidentally crack your worries! Work that crack in!)

Step 9) Optional: For some DELUXE tombstones, take the thin Styrofoam sheets and cut out some shapes. You can cut out several squares and stick them to the bigger, thicker headstones to give a brick or block effect. Cut out a skull or other ornamentation while you're "at it!"

The best way to get ‘em to stick is to apply a little spray glue and then (and most importantly) take some small "finishing" nails or even straightened-out paper clips (anything small and rigid) and stick it through the small piece tacking it onto the big piece. You’re essentially “nailing” the brick to the headstone.

Step 10) Carve out any slogans of designs. A large black permanent marker (and we mean the GIANT ones) can also be used to literally carve words into the Styrofoam as the ink will melt the Styrofoam as it sets into it.

Step 11) Use spray paint to add the final touches to your tombstone. BE SURE TO SPRAY IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA! There's no need to be precise, a random uneven spray pattern will look more realistic. Simply "dusting" the Styrofoam will give the most "stone like" results. The Spray paint will unevenly melt and disintegrate the Styrofoam creating an incredibly realistic stone-like effect.

Step 12) Cut a few wire hangers and stretch them out into stakes. Stick one end into the bottom of the tombstone. When ready, stick the whole tombstone into the ground using the other end of the "stakes." If your tombstone is large and it's windy in your area, you may want to use larger, wooden garden stakes.

Step 13) "Set dressing!" Be sure to add some leaves and twigs around the base to add realism.

To see more amazing, simple, low cost to no cost projects, visit!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Halloween Effects SCREAM MACHINE to Scare Innocent People

This is one of our “scare tactics” Halloween Effects articles. If you’ve assembled the foot-sensor (light beam) that we discussed, you may want to use this siren based scream machine as the thing to get triggered. The bummer with most store-bought Halloween multimedia stuff is that it lacks real “gusto” when it comes to audio power. Although we are not going to create a typical Halloween sound (like a growl), this will create a sound that will scare most anybody. Halloween illusions are one thing, but you don’t want to make your sounds an illusion! All we need to do is get an alarm siren and a AC to DV power adapter that delivers the very same voltage needed to drive the siren. It’s that simple. You can then wire the siren to the adapter, and plug the adapter into your beam trigger.
Category: Scare-tactic, loud, noisy, tricky, Halloween effect
Skill level: Easy
Time needed: 5 minutes
Truthfully, the only complexity and work in this project is FINDING the two main ingredients either on-line, or perhaps at Radio Shack or Fry’s electronics.
6-12 volt dc Siren (10 bucks)

AC-to-DC 6 or 9 or 12 volt adapter - 500 ma (7 bucks)

Total Price: $15-25.00

Either visit your local electronics vendor, or simply go to and search for “alarm siren.” You’ll get a lot to choose from. Each siren varies by sound, volume, price, and voltage needed. At the top of my Amazon search I got the $9.99 “Alarm Siren 5" 115 dB 12 VDC.”
I note that I will need a 12 volt power supply to “drive” or “power” this siren.
I next search 12 vdc power supply. I find one for $6.70.
When you finally get your two parts, the only “tricky” part will be to make sure that you connect the positive wire from the power adapter to the positive wire on your siren.
1)   Use wire-cutters or scissors to cut-off the little jack that is at the end of the power adapter.
2)   If the siren has a plug at the end of its wires, snip that off as well.
3)   Strip the plastic/rubber from the ends of the wires to expose the actual wire.
4)   You will twist one wire from the adapter to one wire from the siren.
5)   You must experiment to find out which wire combinations make the siren squawk because you will most likely not know which wires are positive and which are negative. After twisting one set of wires together, just quickly touch the other two wires to see if the siren blasts. If not, switch the wires. Once you have the siren working, just use electrical tape to tape up your exposed wires. Plug your Halloween Noise “scream machine” into a trigger like the previous BLOG light beam foot sensor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Swap your Wine Labels for a Make-Over in Halloween Party Fun!

If you want an all-around awesome Halloween party without leaving a single thing out, then be sure to make these crafty wine label replacements for the wine bottles that your guests will see. This will make an extraordinarily surprising Halloween Decoration at your Halloween Party. Give the guests something to scream about! It's the perfect touch for the party "with it all!"

Wine Bottle Make-Over!

The labels are perfect for your Red wines as the gimmick here is the labels are designed as though these bottles are filled with blood for the vampires to feast on. Although that sounds a little icky, and this surely is for adults (or older kids/teens---use grape juice bottles or non-alcoholic beverage bottles) it’s a fun/funny/clever trick that most people get a kick out of! We provide the artwork for many different types of “Bloodeaux” from the finest Veinyards! See! It’s a hilarious adventure in Puns! (And we have a few for white wines also!)

DOWNLOAD your labels (13 to choose from)  at  OR SEE BELOW to DOWNLOAD some selects.

Choose your labels and print them out. Feel free to mix and match. The more labels, the more entertainments for the guests! You can either get inkjet paper that has the adhesive on the back (for making labels) or you can use spray glue (spray mount) to attach regular paper.

If you do not use the adhesive label paper, you will have many types of paper to choose from. You can choose different colors or fancy paper with textures and patterns. Most copy shops will even sell these to you in individual sheets and they will have a little binder full of selections to choose from.
Once you’ve chosen your paper and the labels, simple print the labels, cut them out, and paste them on. This is an extra “bite” of entertainment that will be a real hoot at your “you’ve thought of everything” Halloween party!

STEP 1-  PRINT THE LABELS on inkjet or fancy textured paper.

STEP 2-  CUT the labels out. (There are two per 8.5” x 11” sheet.)

Step 3-  APPLY GLUE: If you are not using self-adhesive label-making paper, use spray glue (spray mount) on the back of the label. It’s best to apply this glue OUTDOORS and use another sheet of paper underneath to catch the overspray.

Step 4- PASTE ONTO BOTTLE: Carefully paste the label onto the bottle covering up the vineyard's label. Our labels are larger than most out there. If it doesn't not cover it, enlarge the image as you print it.

You can download 13 different labels at 
For your convenience, we've included some downloads to choose from right here:


For more awesome tricks and treats, visit
For the most amazing Multi-Media products for Halloween, please visit:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flickering Fluttering Sputtering Halloween Lights

Haunted houses, burning buildings, and old time electrical lighting running off of a sputtering generator all have one thing in common: flickering and fluttering lights. If you’ve gone to Disney’s Haunted mansion or the Indiana Jones ride, you’ll see this effect in action. There are pricey devices out there that you can use, but you can make a flickering power unit for around fifteen bucks. No Halloween Decorations or Halloween Illusions would be complete without this!

Categories: Cool. Tricky Effect.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 10 minutes
Expense: $12-$16

“Fluttering Sputtering Firey Light Flicker-er”

1) c7 “flicker flame” chandelier or candelabra bulb

2) c7 nightlight socket

3) 3 extension cords

4) photo-sensor outlet

5) Enclosure (like a shoebox)

The photo-sensor turns on the power to its outlet whenever there is no light hitting the sensor. (These devices are usually used to turn lights on after dark.) If we use the flicker/chandelier bulb near the sensor and put this combination in a light-tight box, the fluttering chandelier bulb will make anything pulled into the photsensor also flutter. That’s all there is to it. You will need to experiment with the distance between the photo-sensor and the chandelier bulb.

A) Plug the photo-sensor into extension cord 1.

B) Screw the c7 chandelier bulb into the nightlight socket.

     C) Plug the nightlight unit into the OTHER extension cord.
    D) Plug both cords into a power supply (the 110v wall outlet.) 
     E) Plug a third extension cord INTO the photo-sensor unit. This will be the cord that you plug the lights you wish to flicker into. Let’s call this the FLICKER CORD.

F) Run the extension cords with the devices into an enclosure like a shoe box. The enclosure must be light-tight. If you will be placing this “controller” outside, make sure the box is weather-proof. We recommend keeping this controller indoors and simply running an extension cord out to your outdoor lights.  
       G) Plug at least one light into the extension cord which is plugged into the sensor outlet (the FLICKER things socket) so that you can adjust the flicker unit. 
       H) In a relatively dark room, experiment with the distance needed between the photo-sensor and the chandelier flicker bulb.  Tape each down when optimum flickering is reached. Adjusting the distance will change how much or how little the lights stay on or off.

I) Tape down the lid on the enclosure and you’re ready to rock!

For other crowd-stopping Halloween how-to tips on decorations and effects, please visit!
To see some really awesome and hard-to-find Halloween multi-media products (DVDs, CDs, downloads) please visit!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Foot "Trip" Sensor for Halloween Scare Tactics

Halloween Decorations are certainly the foundation of a Happy Halloween, but adding some great effects or illusions and some “scare tactics” are the frosting on the cake. To create things that startle your visitors, you’ll need a way to have the visitors trigger lights, animations, and/or loud noises. Yes, you may trigger them yourself, but it’s much more fun to automate some stuff. This way you are free to hand out candy, laugh with the “victims,” or simply just enjoy and take-in the whole exciting experience. For our trick-or-treaters we set up at least three triggered “effects.” We were fortunate enough to have a forked drive-way; so we gave parents with “kiddies” an option to take the less-scary route. You may choose to warn anyone with little kids that there are some scary things ahead. It’s fun to scare the older kids, teens, and adults, but not so nice to terrorize toddlers.

Categories: Device. Foundation needed for certain gags. Cool.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Expense: $10.00 - $20.00

The major bummer with most store-bought Halloween stuff that gets triggered is it’s lame. A few tiny eyes may light up, or perhaps it will create a tiny shriek. I’ve yet to come across anything substantial (Loud, flashy, large, etc.) While I’m complaining, I’d also like to mention that I have yet to find an off-the-shelf motion sensor that is useful for Halloween. Every motion sensor I find has a minimum “on” time of a minute or so. That’s an eternity when you want a quick scare. (Not to mention, blowing horns and sirens for that long would destroy Halloween for everyone, and no new visitors would be startled because the effects would not reset before they arrived.)

Light Beam to Trigger Effects and Startle People

A good solution to the Halloween-sensor-blues is to assemble a little photo-sensor that triggers when people cross it and break the light beam. You may have seen something like this in small stores—when you enter, the attendant gets alerted to your presence.


Photocell switch 

2 Extension cords

Bright L.E.D. Flashlight

1 cardboard tube from paper towel (cut in two halves) or 2 toilet paper cardboard tubes.

1)   Take the photocell switch and plug it into your extension cord. Take the other extension cord and plug it into the outlet on the photocell. Whatever devices you will be triggering will be plugged into this cord later. If you don’t know what to plug in, see our upcoming “scare tactics” blog entries.

2)   Tape one of the cardboard tubes to the “eye” photo sensor on the sensor unit so that the cylinder projects out from (and shields) the light senor. This is merely to keep any ambient light (from other decorations or lamps) from interfering with our trigger. This is our “receiver.”

3)   Tape the bright L.E.D. flashlight to the end of the OTHER cardboard tube. This will be the light beam projector.

4)   Find a place along your walkway to set-up the beam. The light (beam) emitting side must directly face the receiver. Remember to place the receiver (which requires power) on the side of the walkway that has outlets and/or leads to your effects. The light emitter side is totally portable. You may want to try to hide each of there in bushes, between rocks, or simply put decorations or things over the devices (being careful not to cover the holes of the tubes.) CAUTION: Do not place the receiver anywhere near water or where it can get wet (sprinklers, ponds, etc.)

That’s all there is to it. The L.E.D. flashlight should last beyond any single nights of Halloween scares. We recommend plugging strobe lights, sirens, or other “gags” into the sensor. Check out the “scare tactics” Blog entry for project ideas.

For other great Halloween How-To, visit

For Spooktacular Halloween Mutlimedia Products, check out

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Being EYEd

Have a pair of HAUNTED EYES “keep an eye” on and follow your guests and visitors around! This is a static Halloween Decoration that appears to move. We are NOT going to be making full figure busts in this project (lest you assume that from the pictures below.) Rather, we will use a trick often seen in haunted houses on busts to make our eyes appear to move. First up, two definitions. BTW: You will not need to understand all of this mumbo-jumbo to have great success in this spooky project.

CONCAVE: hollowed or rounded inward like the inside of a bowl.

CONVEX: curved or rounded outward like the exterior of a sphere or ball.

If you’ve ever visited the Disney Haunted Mansion you’ve seen this amazing trick accomplished, and you most likely didn’t even know how they “did it.” And even if you did…this is a super easy, awesome variation on the “trick.” This Halloween decoration and Halloween visual effect uses the same optical illusion as the busts in the hallway of the Haunted Mansion. Several nasty statue heads appear to look toward and face you no matter where you move. They are not actually typical busts at all. Nor are they moving. A “real” bust is a convex object. It “protrudes” outward. Rather, these are concave sculptures. You might think of them as the mold that a bust might be cast in. They are concave figures that you see through a cut-out shape of a head. Although the object is actually facing away from you, your mind recognizes the image and thinks it’s convex. The result is that the seemingly convex object appears to face you when, in fact, it is facing away. The angle is reversed. So as you move away, the object appears to face you.

Categories: Effect/Decoration. Cool.
Skill level: Fairly Easy. Computer & ink-jet or similar printer is needed.
Time needed: 1 hour
Expense: $2 - $12
"Being EYEd"
"Eye Bowls!"

If you don’t understand the above “background,” it does not matter. Since carving a sculpture (a reverse bust) is surely beyond the capability of most every avid Halloween enthusiast (yours truly included), we will focus on the creepiest part of the illusion: The EYES! We can all easily make a pair of concave eyes from a few bowls or the inside of balls. Just as the bust is “inside out” (concave) in the above example, we need to make a pair of eyes that are concave. We will do this with two bowls. The size of the eyes is entirely up to you and what you find to make ‘em with. I went to the “dollar store” and found many bowls and even disposable foil serving and cookware that was perfect. All sizes: Some huge, some small.

- Two plastic bowls (or foil pans, or oval dishes.)
- Cardboard large enough to cover both bowls with some overlap. The cardboard must be corrugated or rigid enough to support the bowl’s weight. (Foam-core can also be used.)
- Red paint or a red marker. (Optional)
- Black spray paint. White spray paint (if bowl used is not white.)
- Tape or spray mount spray adhesive.
- Duct tape OR Hot glue.
- Two pictures of pupils (DOWNLOAD HERE)
- 2 cheap flashlights OR portable Xmas lights (like for door wreathes) OR perhaps 2 C7 “nightlight” lights. (Just something small and NOT HOT to light the eyes with!) The phony flickering tea lights may be bright enough.

The bowls can be either oval (eye shaped) or perfectly round, but try to get bowls that are as round in depth as possible. Most bowls have flat bottoms, that’s okay so long as it has a decent depth.

1)    If the bowls are not white, paint the insides white (or a light color.) If the bowl is translucent (let’s light through) and you will illuminate these with flashlights later, I would either skip the painting or just lightly powder the inside. The flashlights can shine through the plastic later.

2)   OPTIONAL- Use red paint or a red marker and draw radiating “veins” from the center outward. These are for a “bloodshot” effect.

3)    Determine the size of the pupil: If the bowl has a flat bottom, measure out what the diameter is. If the bowl is completely round, simply measure the diameter of the top and divide it by 2 or 3.

4)    You can DOWNLOAD PUPILS here. There are various patterns and, for convenience, sizes. Download the pupil of your taste and closest to your measured size.

5)    If you have the software needed, size the pupil to what you need. Otherwise, use the size you’ve downloaded.

6)    Print the pupil(s) out on photo or matte paper. We suggest a “good quality” print as you want decent color and contrast.

7)    Cut the pupil out using scissors.

8)    Paste the pupil to the inside bottom of the bowl. Use either tape or spray adhesive. Hot glue will also work.

Look! It’s an “Eye Bowl!”

9)    Spray paint your cardboard face black.

10)    You can either leave the cardboard square, or cut it into round shapes (LARGER than the eyes.)

11)    Take your cardboard and place the bowls (eyes) upside down on the cardboard. Place whatever distance you want between them. The distance will depend on the size of the eyes, the amount of cardboard you have, and how “big” you want the “perceived creature” to be. If you want a huge distance between two big eyes, there’s no need to place both bowls on one piece of cardboard. They can be on separate sheets so that they can be separated and placed (perhaps in bushes) in the yard.

12)    Trace the bowl onto the cardboard. DO NOT CUT OUT ANYTHING!

13)    Use the trace as a GUIDE. You do not want holes that are exactly as big as the bowls for several reasons:
a.    You will need to mount the bowl onto the cardboard or foam core.
b.    You will want to hide the light that you use to illuminate your eyes.
c.    You may choose to make a more eye-like oval cut or even add an “expression” like an angry sneer.

14)    Determine openings of the holes to cut into cardboard. Depending on what you are using to illuminate the eyeball, you will want to leave enough “lip” on the cardboard to conceal it. If it’s “wreath lights,” you’ll want to lay them in a ring between the trace and the cut-out opening you will be making. If you are using a single bulb illumination, place it at the bottom of the trace and make sure you leave enough room to conceal it there, but you do not need that much “lip” at the top. If you are using translucent bowls, you can actually tape flashlights under the bowls (on the outside) so that it does not take up any interior space at all.

15)    If you want to make oval eyes or add a little “angry” sneer, draw those cut-out shapes within the boundaries of your bowl tracing and where the light will be.

16)    Cut out the “eye socket.”

17)    If using wreath lights, glue or tape down the lights around the interior of your trace. If you are using other lights, you may want to wait until after you fix the bowls to the cardboard.

18)    Duct tape or hot glue the bowls to the cardboard.

19)    If you have not already placed the light, put it inside the bowl or, if using flashlights on a translucent bowl, duct tape them to the cardboard with the light pressed up against the side of the bowl.

20)    Place your EYEs in strategic locations: under the porch…in the shrubs, under a dark table inside. If the bowls are not attached to a single piece of cardboard, you can put a “monstrous” distance between the eyes. Palcing a single eye in one large window works well. You can also place one eye in two windows that are next to each other!


Aluminum foil pans also work. They must be illuminated from the inside.

If you have ANY artistic talent whatsoever (and can draw a creature of some sort) then you can draw/paint something onto foam core, cut out eye holes, and use the above trick INSIDE the eye sockets of the creature. This is an extra awesome effect!

Draw or paint a creature onto foam-core or cardboard.
Paste “eye bowls” behind socket cut-outs in creature.
It will appear as though the creature is watching you as you move around.

For other crowd-stopping Halloween how-to tips on decorations and effects, please visit!

To see some really awesome and hard-to-find Halloween multi-media products (DVDs, CDs, downloads) please visit!