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!

Mystical Glowing Walkway

Categories: Decoration. Cool. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 1 hour
Expense: $10 - $25

"Mystical Glowing Walkway"

Assuming you have your black-lights all set up, you’ve probably already put up a lot of cool hanging decorations. Have you thought about adding something to the floor/ground to make it glow? What’s particularly wild about this effect is that we are used to walking on dark (non-illuminated) surfaces, so when we introduce a glowing, luminescent walkway, it’s almost like you feel like you’re “hovering” as you walk. You don’t feel “secure” or “grounded!”  It’s a little dizzying and disorienting. It’s a GREAT feeling to give to your Halloween guests! Keep ‘em a little “off balance”. It makes them even easier to scare!

There’s two different versions. Either you can have glowing “bricks” or “shapes” on a non-glowing base, or there’s non-glowing bricks or shapes on a glowing base. Technically there’s a third version (glow on glow, but, if you choose that option, you can surely interpolate from the other two.)

Version 1: Glowing Bricks on a Non-Glowing Base


Duct tape.

3M “Spray Mount” spray adhesive & Fluorescent sheets of paper
or Fluorescent spray paint.

A roll of paper from home center: paper-bag brown.

Go to the home center, and, most likely, in the paint section you will see a few options on rolls of paper. The rolls may vary from small footage (10 feet long) to hundreds of feet long! They should be at leat 2-3 feet wide. There will typically be both brown (the stuff used to make brown paper bags) and white. Sometimes you can also find other colors. (If you want other colors, you will most likely need to special order it on the internet. I’ve NEVER found rolls of fluorescent paper---now that would be great!)

For version 1, we’ll be using the brown paper. It is NOT reactive to black-light. This paper is fairly heavy (like brown paper bags) and can withstand some heavy traffic. I bought a thirty foot roll. Our walkway was a good twenty some feet. There’s a couple different options for adding the glowing shapes. I wanted to try something “quick and easy.” So I bought a stack of 8 ½ x 11 inch (letter size) sheets of fluorescent paper. The pack had five colors (red-pink, green, orange, yellow, and blue.) I made sure the sheets were reactive to black-light. So, if you follow my lead, here’s what you’re going to do: cut the fluorescent sheets in half, creating your 8 ½ x 5 ½ inch “bricks.” Roll the paper out on the ground (sidewalk, driveway, ….). Take the spray adhesive and start laying (pasting) your bricks to the roll. Alternate the colors (if you have multiple colors. Make sure you also alternate each row so that it does not line up perfectly. Cut some half-bricks if you want to or just start the second row a “half a brick in” from the side. Keep doing this alternating pattern.

The number of bricks across will depend on the width of the roll of paper. It turns out we only had 4 across. USE DUCT TAPE to SECURE the paper to the walkway. You don’t want anyone to trip on or rip up your masterpiece!
The results are really quite impressive for the minimal amount of complexity involved. All of the time is spent “laying” the bricks.

The picture doesn’t exactly do the effect justice since you can’t experience the dizzying glow.
 Rather than pasting fluorescent paper to the paper roll, you might choose to use fluorescent spray paint for this Halloween Decoration. If you’re somewhat “artistic” you might try making swirling patterns and such. Or, perhaps you can use several colors and “splatter” the paint atop the roll. If you would rather have “bricks,” then simply cut a stencil out of a piece of cardboard: take some cardboard and cut a shape OUT of the cardboard. The shape might be a perfect rectangle. Or, you might make the edges very uneven and more “stone like.” Of course, you can make a few different stencils. You might even choose round shapes (like river rocks.) No matter, once you have the stencils in hand, simply lie one on the paper, apply the spray pain through it, and move on to the next. NOTE: watch out for “build-up” and “drippage” from the stencil. You can choose to either completely fill the shape (make a solid brick or shape) or simply “hit” the edges of the stencil so that only the edges glow. This will make the middle of the shape taper off into darkness. I prefer the latter. It saves time, paint, “drippage”, and  looks more “cool.”

Cut some shapes out of cardboard  to create a stencil.

Spray paint a pattern onto the paper roll.

Version 2: Non-Glowing Bricks on a Glowing Base

Duct tape.

3M “Spray Mount” spray adhesive & black sheets of paper
or black spray paint.

A roll of paper from home center: butcher paper white.

All you need do is “reverse” the above project. Get a roll of glowing white paper (commonly called butcher paper.) (MAKE SURE IT IS REACTIVE TO BLACK LIGHT!) Paste non-fluorescent paper bricks to the top or spray paint black bricks or shapes using the stencils. Again, be sure to secure the paper walkway to your permanent walkway using duct tape.

If you'd like to check out  all kinds of other Halloween articles, how-to, tips, fun-facts, then you simply must go to The HALLOWEEN BLOG CARNIVAL! Check it Out!

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!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Out on a Limb for Halloween

Every year people spend a lot of cash on Halloween Decorations. Unfortunately, a lot of the Halloween stuff is just cardboard, paper and plastic sold at 1000 times the production cost. Some of it is good, but no matter, there's little "boo per buck" because the items are typically small. If you want some real Halloween Power in your decorations, one of the best things is free!

We shared this tip many Halloweens ago in our “X-treme Haunted House Makeover” DVD (see It’s so powerful, we want to share it again, especially because it is one of the most overlooked decorations you can do…for FREE! And…you might just find it in your own backyard!

Categories: Decoration. Cool. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 30 minutes – 1 hour.

"Out on a Limb this Halloween!
"Trees are NOT just for Christmas!"
Find some dead tree branches! For indoor centerpieces or “trim”, gather up a lot of twigs and small branches. I live in Los Angles (very urban…not a rural country road), and I see branches and limbs on the ground every single day on the streets and sidewalks. These are yours for the taking, and they will give you the biggest bang for “no bucks!” For outdoor decorations, the size of the branches are merely limited to what you can carry or haul away. I head out in my car and carry a battery operated saw so that I can trim down massive limbs to fit into the back of my car.

The awesome thing about dead tree branches is that they are typically “made to order” perfect for Halloween. Obviously, look for the more “spooky” ones with some density and a lot of “branching” because this may come in extra handy if you want to add spider webbing.

Use rope and/or bungie cords to fasten the branches to pillars, posts, mailboxes, entry ways…wherever you can find a sturdy place to support the weight. Use some extra awareness regarding your Halloween visitors: Make sure there are no (sharp) branches pointing out at eye-level (both adults’ and kids’ eye level.) Make sure there’s no way a heavy branch can easily be pulled down by a child or slip off of its mount. Safety with huge “props” is a paramount concern.

The bigger the branches and the more branches that you use outside, the more decrepit and awesome your haunted castle will be. Aside from “filling in the vacant holes” in between your store-bought or home-made props, it adds to the ambiance. I say “no home haunting is complete without ‘em!”

Another great thing to do is to add decorations to the branches! (‘sounds familiar! But don’t pull out any Christmas ornaments!) The best thing is to add the readily available Halloween spider webbing to the branches. You can do this on small interior centerpieces or the massive exterior haunted trees. The webbing is extremely easy to work with on tree branches because you can easily spin, pull, and threat strands from branch to branch. A quick “side bar” on webbing: If ever there was a Halloween Decorations decorating “offense” that people should be ticketed for, it’s blobby webbing on bushes and walls. What the heck? Webbing is just that: WEBBING. NOT BLOBBING! A spider web should have taught strands and look like…uh…webs! --not clumps of cotton! The trick is to work the bag-o-webs down to little clumps and then pull them long and far into strands from branch to branch. Put a little time and art into this. Would you throw a pile of garland onto a Christmas tree? (Don’t answer that…I have a feeling the same offenders might do just that!)

If you are using any of the black-light tricks and the tree limbs will be near the lights, you might consider spray painting the limbs with fluorescent paint. You can either coat ‘em, or lightly dapple them.

One last totally free “trick” that’s overlooked is leaves! If you are “lucky enough” to have them already on the lawn…leave them there over Halloween. If, like me here in Los Angeles, you don’t have any on the lawn, just go looking for a pile somewhere. Again, even though we live in a warm climate here, there are many, many trees that lose their leaves. I take a garbage bag, hunt some down, and bring them home to sprinkle on the lawn. It’s especially great to put them around tombstones and such. There’s nothing more “half decorated” than a bunch of “scary tombstones” on top of a well manicured lawn. For Halloween…messier is better!

Without a doubt, these “nature’s freebies” are the best, easiest, cheapest, biggest tricks to add to your Halloween Decoration displays.

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!

Graveyard / Cemetery Fence

We started out years ago showing people how to make huge, awesome tombstones for Halloween Decorations out of inexpensive Styrofoam insulation sheets found at most home-centers. We always found it outrageous that a bland store-bought Halloween tombstone would cost ten to thirty bucks! --For something made out of pennies of Styrofoam. We even video taped a segment (a popular video on YouTube) showing people how to easily make these. This sequence was specifically video taped for our ever popular “X-treme Haunted House Make-Over” (see But it never ended up on the DVD program. Do you know why? Because the national distributor (themselves both wholesalers and retailers of Styrofoam tombstones) was worried that it might hurt the sales of their huge-profit-margin Halloween tombstones! Well….we’ve got another simple project that might make them white as a ghost. An easy, CHEAP graveyard fence! (This must be pounded into the ground---so it must be used on grass or dirt. This is not a free-standing decoration)

Categories: Decoration. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Easy, but does require a tool to cut hard material.
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Expense: $6 - $10 per 10 foot section

"Grave Yard Fence"

Believe it or not, the store have caught on to making these, and they’re dying to sell you a tiny section (maybe 3-5 feet) for fifteen bucks! It’ll take a fortune to have a decent length of it. Once you’ve made all of your fantastic tombstones, you’ll want to “finish off” the effect by fencing ‘em in. (The fence can also be used along the walk-way or for many other non-graveyard Halloween decorating applications.)
We’re not saying this is the best looking cemetery fence. Indeed, it’s pretty sloppy. But when installed around the yard, it really adds an extra touch. And “at these prices” you can easily cover some large territory for only a few dollars.

PVC pipe, ½ inch diameter.
Gray and or Black Spray Paint.
Tape: electrical or masking or cellophane.
TOOLS: hacksaw, hammer, tape-measure.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe is that white, plastic pipe that comes in 3-10 ft sections at your local home center. It comes in various diameters and it’s often used for sprinkler water piping. It has many, many uses in liquid transportation, but we’re interested in it because it is really inexpensive!

You’ll need two 10 ft. lengths of PVC pipe (1/2 inch diameter) for every ten feet of yard that you want to span. (You DO NOT need a truck to haul this—stay tuned.) The only reason I did not list this decoration as SUPER easy is because a non-craft tool of some sort will be needed to cut the pipe. Although it is rather soft and easy, it takes more than a pair of scissors. You’ll probably want to use a hack-saw because most households have one. If you don’t, cheap hacksaws (and a newer version that looks somewhat like a serrated knife) is available for a few bucks. Either bring your hacksaw with you to the home center (and leave it in the car) or purchase a cheap one at the home center. Purchase the amount of piping you’ll need. Bring it out to your vehicle. If you have and SUV, you’ll probably get it to fit inside. If you don’t, just cut the 10 ft. pipes in half (into 5 ft sections) and toss ‘em into the car.
Once home, cut four 2 ½ foot sections (out of either the five foot sections or the ten foot sections that you brought home) for every ten feet of yard length you want to span. You should end up with either a ten foot length or two five foot lengths and 4 2 ½ foot lengths for each 10 feet of yard. Truthfully, I recommend you just cut the ten foot lengths into five foot sections as well. Two reasons: It tends to look better in the finished project, and it’s easier to store for next year.

The six 10 ft PVC pipes that I bought were enough for 30 feet of fencing.
Most PVC piping has annoyingly inconvenient manufacturer information printed along the side of it. May sure you cover that over when you are spray painting it. Take your black and/or gray spray paint and “coat to taste.” Some of you may like totally gray fences.

Cover any printing on the PVC pipe.
Some may like black with a powdering of gray on top. I prefer simply powdering my white fence with black. A completely black fence is not recommended because NO ONE will see it! (And they may even trip over it.) That brings up a good safety tip: Keep the fence in areas that people will not be crossing. It’s okay to have it alongside a walkway, but note that this fence is for decoration only. It will not have any ability whatsoever to withstand any force of any kind!

Once you have your sections of PVC, this project is ready for “installation.” This project must be finished “on site,” so if it’s not time to actually put up the Halloween Decorations, then put it aside until the big day.

Once you are ready to install the fence, take a tape measure and lay a 2 ½ pipe every 2 1/4 feet along the ground that you will be fencing in. (Yes, I wrote 2 ¼ feet! You must have some overlap on your top pieces to ‘tie’ them together.) Note: be sure there are not electrical or water or other “lines” running under the ground where you will be inserting these pipes. Next, get your trusty hammer and pound those 2 ½ pipe “stakes” into the ground. (No need to be “level” or straight. In fact, I encourage some sloppy tilting and angling. (You can also add MORE vertical stakes in between at random…just to “add” to the sloppy, irregular, haunted effect. )This is a “haunted” fence! Just make sure the angling is along the direction of the route of the fence. All of the pipe-tops must be attached to a common railway.) Keep pounding until the pipe is sturdy enough to stand and endure some wobbling or tampering from curious human visitors.

Once the rows of pipes are sticking into the ground around your yard (be it grave yard or other), you are ready to attach the cross lengths (railway) to the top of your stakes. For this, use just about any kind of tape you can find. I preferred working with the electrical tape. It’s really a matter of choice. Lift the PVC rail pipe (the five or ten foot section) up towards the top of the first pipe. Wrap that tape around the stake pipe and the rail pipe criss-crossing over each a few times. Next, go to the far pipe, lift up the other end and do the same. You may want to, again, keep things “non-level. It’s recommended to put a little slant in the railway. Lastly, tape the two inside vertical stakes to the horizontal top rail. Voila!

You will continue this procedure down the length of your fence. If you followed. You will note that, since we placed the stakes into the ground every 2 ¼ feet, there will be overlap on the top rail. This is so you can “splice” together each section of top rail for each five or ten foot section of fence. Simply vertically overlap the two top rails at the “joint.” Again, sloppy comes out looking just fine.

For an added “touch”, you can cover the tape with small lengths of rope. I personally used the fence where people would not be seeing it “close-up” so I did not bother. An added touch: Use your spider webbing on the fence!

That’s all there is to it. When I was putting this together I was thinking, oh this isn’t going to look so good. But I will tell you, once installed, it really added a perfect touch along the walkways and the tombstone graveyard. It’s another Halloween Decoration that I keep in my bag-o-tricks.

Additional projects:
With longer (taller) stakes and several cross pieces, consider making tall “gates” for your entry way. There’s no need to make them functional (they do not need to swing or move in any way.) Just have them angled in a fixed position.

Don’t forget to add generous amounts of spider webbing and perhaps an “Enter if you dare”, “BEWARE!”, or “I’d turn back if I were you” sign.

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!

Giant Glowing Spider Web

We pride ourselves on doing “cool stuff” for Halloween Decorations. Although we surely like to do a lot of clever “animated” special effects for Halloween, we also like to do some simple Halloween decorating that makes people go “ooh and aah.” This Halloween effect definitely falls into the G-rated, tame category, and it’s nothing shockingly new. Still, we hope it will give you a few handy, less expensive ways to do awesome decorating for Halloween parties or for trick-or-treat visitors on Halloween night!

Categories: Decoration. Cool. Bigger is better. Cheaper is better.
Skill level: Super Easy.
Time needed: 15 – 30 minutes.
Expense: $1.00 - $15.00 depending on version.

"Glowing Spider Web"

A little ways back in our Halloween FX tips guide “Extreme Haunted House Make-Over” (see, we showed people how to use black-lights to make things glow. Our biggest angle was showing everyone how to use inexpensive workshop fixtures and where to find the least expensive Black Light bulbs. You will want to check this out. In this article, we’re going to cover a quick and easy way to make a HUGE glowing Halloween Decoration for your Halloween escapades.
This may same almost too simple….and it really is. Still, I want to share cost effective ways to do cool stuff that people may not have thought about.
Assuming you have your black-lights all set up, you need to fill the area with glowing decorations. How about a giant spider web? There’s several ways we can do this.

Spider web version 1:
Ingredients: Masking Tape.

Here’s the only real trick involved. Some masking tape glows vibrantly under black-light. Some does not at all. There’s no real way to know without buying a few samples from your local store (home-improvement, department store) and trying it out. The reason this is worth doing is because it’s just so inexpensive. Masking tape can be found for under a dollar.

If you want to be a “super sleuth”, for a few extra bucks ($7.00 + shipping) you can pick up a battery operated hand-held black-light. This can come in REALLY handy if you intend to create A lot of other GLOWING decorations by finding inexpensive fluorescent items like tape, string, paper, etc. It’s always hard to know if it will react to black-light without testing it first.

Once you have the black-light-reflective tape in-hand, pick a location to spin your web. It can either be a large “opening” somewhere (window, entry-way that will not be used) or simply a big, empty wall. I hardly think I’ll need to explain what to do next, but, here goes anyway. Stick the end of the tape at the highest point and roll down the tape-roll all the way to the floor (or as low as you can go) and press it against the wall. If it’s in an opening, just make sure each (the top and bottom) are secure. Then move on to doing this horizontally and diagonally. You’ll probably also want to dive each of the reaming spaces (diagonals) in half and put another tape strand in there.  You must then begin the somewhat more tedious task of putting in the “hexagonal” cross pieces. This does not need to be perfect. You can measure out equal spacing on each strand, but I wouldn’t bother. In fact, cooky, crooked strands make the web look all the more like a spooky arachnid spun the Halloween web. A foot in between the cross pieces in more than enough.
Spider web version 2:

Ingredients: Fluorescent Masking Tape.
This is the EXACT same scenario, but you can exchange the less expensive regular masking tape (it glows vibrant violet-purple) with a somewhat more pricey ($5-$10) roll of fluorescent colored masking tape. Again, you must be careful in choosing the tape. Believe it or not, although many brands of tape are labeled as having fluorescent colors, the colors do not react to (they do not glow under) black-light. Total bummer! Once you find a nice neon/fluorescent roll of tape that does, simply follow the directions in version 1.

Spider web version 3: Silhouette Web
Ingredients: Masking Tape. (This tape does NOT need to be reactive to black-light…ANY cheap masking tape will do.)
Fluorescent spray paint. Inexpensive generic or store  brands will do.
Black Plastic “drop cloth”  (2 mil or greater in thickness). For “smaller” webs, you can take a black garbage bag and cut it open.
I know, I know…the first two webs we spun weren’t exactly entanglements of ground-breaking decorating. But this third version is a little less obvious. In one way, it’s easier to deal with as you can do the whole “spinning” operation flat on the ground.
Get a large piece of cheap black plastic drop cloth. You can easily find this stuff at home-centers. It will come in rolls of various sizes. You will end up needing to cut out (use scissors) the appropriate size from the roll. I chose and 8 foot by 8 foot section. Roll the drop cloth onto the floor or ground (I used the drive way) and cut out your giant square. (Black plastic garbage bags which you most likely already have at home can also be used. Simply cut open two of the three closed edges and “unfold” the bag into a flat piece of black plastic.)
Next, follow the steps in version one (but obviously, you’ll now be horizontal, not vertical.)
Spin your masking tape web onto the plastic.

 Now, take your fluorescent spray paint and spray it along each of the strands of masking tape making your web. There’s no need to be accurate or careful. Let the paint hit the tape and all of the “over spray” form around the tape. Imagine your doing a sloppy job of painting each strand. You can use multiple fluorescent colors as well. (I used two or three.) The good news with fluorescent spray paint (unlike the tape) is that I have not yet accidentally come across any that does not react to black light.

Once you are finished and the paint has dried: You are going to peel the masking tape OFF of the plastic drop cloth. If you are really careful and patient (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can try it) you can peel the web in-tact off of the plastic and use the fluorescent web elsewhere. The masking tape web is merely a by-product of this Halloween Decoration. If you can’t do anything other than get the tangled mess of masking tape off of the drop cloth, that’s fine. Toss it away. The real gem is the silhouette of a web that you’ve created on the drop cloth. It looks REALLY COOL under black-light. What’s also extra great about this is you can easily hang it anywhere, even horizontally above your head from the ceiling. Another awesome thing is you can roll it up and save it for next year! It’s the web that keeps on giving!
For other crowd-stopping Halloween how-to tips on decorations and effects, please visit!
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Halloween Night Power Outage!

Halloween Decorations and Halloween tricks and special effects have remained fairly stagnant over the years. We strive to fill our Halloween bag of tricks with newer, exciting treats. We will not be covering any baked goods with orange frosting, and there’s really no point in discussing pumpkins.

Categories: Visual Effect. Cool. Clever. “Techie” technical based effect.
Skill level: Very Easy.
Time needed: 5 –15 minutes.
Expense: $15.00 - $20.00

"Power Outage"

A few years back in our “X-treme Haunted House Make-Over” DVD (see we showed people how to use their strobe lights more like lightning striking and less like a disco dance party light show. The trick uses a “PIN Flasher” to engage the strobe lights intermittently because lighting is typically not continuous. We will revisit this procedure below as it is the foundation to this trick.

In this article, we would like to share with you an additional "scary layer" for use with the lightning effect. When the lightning strikes, have the "house" lights go out! Aside from this happening occasionally in reality (and always in horror movies) it adds more "light power" to the strobes because they are not washed out with ambient lighting.

The "trick" is to have the power to neighboring/surrounding lights shut off when the strobes are engaged. I've done this trick for years using a DPDT relay switch. If you don't know what that means, GREAT! It involved soldering and there's no way I'm going to subject you to that (along with wiring and possibly dangerous voltage exposure.)This is an easy, "how-to" procedure. We're going to use "off the shelf" things that are readily available. How easy is that? This will also take less than five minutes to build. In fact, it will take you far longer to read this, get the stuff, and organize your thoughts for this Halloween Decoration Effect.

The basic concept: We will use a photo cell switch to "cut the power" when the strobe lights are on. You've seen these photocell switches before. They're typically incorporated into light bulb sockets for
outdoor lamps. When the sun comes up, off go the lights. The only difference here is we recommend you buy a photocell (we'll give you the link) that has an outlet rather than a light socket incorporated with it.

Also, you’ll want to be playing a THUNDERSTORM CD while this lightning is happening. Thankfully, in reality, lightning and thunder are always out-of-sync since the speed of light is so much faster than the speed of sound. So, serendipity will strike and the random soundtrack that is asynchronous to the random lightning will be all-the-more life-like and convincing!

Here's the ingredients...starting from scratch:

  • 2 extension cords
  • PIN FLASHER (winker)
  • Photocell switch
  • Night-Light (one with a small C7 "nightlight" bulb)
  • strobe lights
  • tape
  • small enclosure  (cardboard box, shoe box, food box, peanut canister....)

Obviously, you will also need some sort of other lights for the ambient lighting (the lighting that will "go out" with the power!)

Extension cord "A" will be your power source. You will plug this into the wall when you are finished.

Plug the Photocell switch into extension cord "A".

Also plug the PIN FLASHER into another outlet in extension cord "A".

Take the other extension cord, "B" and plug it into the PIN FLASHER.

Plug the nightlight into extension cord "B".

Plug your strobe lights into another outlet in extension cord "B."

Whatever ambient lights you use (like porch lights, window lights, etc.) will plug into the outlet in the Photocell switch. (300 watt max!)

The nightlight will be the light that triggers the Photocell to turn off. The enclosure will house this contraption so that external light will not affect the operation.

Place the clump of "stuff" into an opaque (no light can get in or out) enclosure. A shoe box or other small box is ideal. If you use one of those small plastic storage boxes (readily found at every store) then make sure it is opaque. If not, spray paint the outside of it.

Adjust the location of the night light to the photocell sensor so that when the nightlight is dim (and strobe lights are now off) the nightlight does not provide enough light to switch the photocell off. When the nightlight is bright (and strobes are on) the photosensor should switch off. Use the tape to tack down the location of the photocell and the nightlight so that the device works when you re-locate it to your haunting spot.  That's it! Be sure to enhance your awesome Halloween Decorations with this cool visual effect trick!

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!