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!


  1. very cool but I like the flicker receptical that you referred to in the extreme TV DVD. I bought a few from ACE but now wish I bought a few more since I'm not sure they still sell them...

  2. I truly appreciate this post. I've been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again
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  3. Would this work with a led light attached to the sensor socket?

  4. i cant find the photo cell ???? and do you really need the circuit interrupter??

  5. Question! I am wanting to use this with an LED (UV) and most photo sensor outlets say "for use with incandescent only"

  6. Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info on how to replace Flickering Fluttering Light! It is so appreciated! You can find Led Flicker Flame Light Bulb on 99FAB.