This is Halloween | Part Two

Halloween is almost upon us!

In case you missed my last post on the subject, Halloween is my absolute most favorite holiday.  Chris’s too!  So you can imagine how distraught I was to get tagged for a business trip to Colorado that had me flying out on October 31st.  We had some of our decorations up by the time I got the notice, but we put the rest on hold, unsure if Chris would even be handing out candy without me. But just last week, plans changed, and my trip was canceled!  The race was on.  We spent most of the day yesterday, just two days before the holiday, wrapping everything up.  That included several window treatments, more lighting effects, and spider webs on everything.

One of my favorite props is one we built last year — a life-sized coffin with a rotting corpse.  We moved into our current home just before Halloween last year, and one of the first things we did was replace all the shelving in our closets.  The old shelves combined with some spare lumber we had lying around were perfect for the coffin.  We used some wood stain and black spray paint for the finishing touch.

We built the corpse from a variety of materials.  The arm and collar bones were made from PVC pipe.  We used aluminum foil to build up the ends, drilled holes through, and used zip ties to connect them.  This allowed the arms to remain mobile.  The spine was made from 3/4 inch thick electrical cabling, like the thick cable that goes into your breaker box.  The ribs were made with piano wire, wrapped in cotton batting and duct tape.  We filled the rib cavity with spray foam insulation, the kind the expands, and let it fall out the bottom to mimic guts.  We wrapped the whole contraption in plastic wrap, and used a heat gun to shrink it and burn some holes right through.  Then I got to painting!  I covered the whole piece in some wood stain to give it a dirty, rotting effect, then used a mixture of yellow, green and red acrylic paints on a dry brush.  I bought a bottle of clear Elmer’s glue, mixed in some red food coloring, and voila!  Homemade blood, that stays glossy even after it dries.

That sucker has been out a full two seasons now — about a month each — and even through a couple of really bad storms, it’s holding up great.  The plastic wrap is starting to tear around the jaw, but that’s an easy fix.

The biggest new feature of our decorations this year is a full-on cemetery in our side yard.  I really kind of love it.  We have two moving, red lights emitting a creepy glow back there, and it’s set back just far enough that people walking by have to peer a little closer to see what’s going on. If you watched the first Halloween video, you’ll know we bought a few foam gravestones.  We also built some really spooky crosses to complement them.  We had a couple of old pallets hanging out in our shed with no idea of what to use them for.  So we ripped them up, used the mitre saw to cut some of the ends into points, nailed them together, and pounded them in the ground with a mallet.  Chris used a combination of two wood stains and some black and metallic spray paints to give each of them a unique look.

I hope you enjoyed this look into how we decorate our house for Halloween and how we build some of our props.  We hope to add to the mayhem every year!  The next video will be the final in the series — a horror film-esque montage of all our hard work.  Stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions on this or previous videos or have suggestions for future ones, let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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