Category Archives: Halloween Props

Cauldron Creep 2011

Take a look at our only new prop for the 2011 Halloween season. Get an up-close look at the mechanics behind the operation of this prop, and a few modifications that I found beneficial to the overall look and operation. This was our first attempt at building an animated prop, and the results were great. Inspired by the original creation by Devil’s Chariot, here is The Haunting Grounds’ interpretation of The Cauldron Creep.


Again this summer, HauntForum held their annual $20 Prop Challenge; a contest in which members are tasked with creating an original prop at a total cost of less than… you guessed it… $20. Each year, several members show off their imagination and ingenuity, and bring fantastic new ideas to the DIY Home Haunters of the world. One of my personal favorites from this years contest was member Operatingnurse’s “Skelesconce”. An idea I knew I would have to duplicate.

My interpretation of HauntForum member Operatingnurse's Skelesconce

Since my Skelesconce would adorn a stone wall background and was intended for a Witch’s house, I chose to make the back look of old wood rather than the stone finish of the original. This made the project easier, and I was able to make use of smaller, less usable scraps of foamboard. I also used a larger skeleton than was used by the prop’s original creator.

The build was simple and took very little. Here’s a look at the materials list for my SkeleSconce:

  • several 3″ strips of scrap 1″ thick foamboard
  • a 36″ mini plastic skeleton (Wal-mart)
  • an 8″ x 35″ strip of scrap 1/8″ plywood
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Black, Brown and White acrylic hobby paints
  • 1 PVC candle (1.5″ pvc, Hot glue, LED tealight)

The build was very quick, and I never thought to document the process, but here’s how it went:

The strips if foamboard were cut to lengths so that 2 pieces, matched end to end, would equal a length of 36″. We cut 3 of these 36″ sets and with a woodburning tool, gave each of the foam pieces a wood grain pattern. The foam “planks” were then glued to the plywood, painted with a liberal coat of black paint and left to dry overnight.

Once dry, the piece was given a heavier drybrushed coat of brown paint, then a light drybrush of a lighter brown made by mixing the brown and white paints.

After the foam back piece was complete and dry, the Skeleton was positioned and glued to it with Gorilla Glue. The Gorilla Glue was also applied to each of the joints to further support the pose. Due to the nature of this skeleton’s joints, the left arm had to be unscrewed at the elbow and glued into position. Each of the fingers had to be cut halfway through at each joint, bent into position, and glued into place.

Finally, the hands were glued to the PVC Candle which had been made earlier this summer.

SkeleSconce SkeleSconce SkeleSconce

Celtic Cross Update #3

Well, the Tombstone is all carved up and painted. I’ve decided to try adding some stray vines to the stone before calling it finished. This should be the last update before I can post the completed prop along with some video footage of the Chiller test.

The names and dates were fabricated at random, and any similarity to any persons either real or fictional are strictly coincidental. For anyone who cannot read the epitaph, it reads as follows:

March 13th, 1803
July 17th, 1866
My bones they lie beneath
these earthen mounds.
Yet cursed, my soul
still walks these
Haunting Grounds.

Witch House beginnings

Well, we’ve finally gotten a start on our the Witch House portion of our Halloween display, from which my wife will be handing out the candy to the Trick-Or-Treaters. While there is still a lot left to do, we have made some pretty good progress this past week. Here’s a peek at some of the props so far.

This cabinet was made from a cheap bookshelf we had purchased from Wal-Mart several years ago for my sons' bedroom. They no longer needed it, so it was given a face-lift and re-purposed for the Witch House.
This shelf unit was made from old planks that used to make up a ramp to the back door of our garage. Last years landscaping projects rendered the ramp unneccessary, but I had kept the planks just in case.
One of our Witch Lantern jars, and a small plaque I made for my wife bearing the short version of the Wiccan Rede.
Last years prisoner skelly took a beating during storage, so he was disassembled and repurposed as lunch. The Cauldron is one of last years projects.
After about 2 hours, my son and I got most of the wall covering up. The witch's pet crow sits in an old boxy bird cage for now. With any luck, we might be able to find a more appropriate style cage before Halloween.

Witch’s Cabinet

A new part of our haunt this year will be the inclusion of a witch house.  With that in mind, I’ve been picking away at a few of the props needed to make this happen. This past week, we’ve gotten a few things lined up for the witch house.

The bookshelf/cabinet was made from a cheap Wal-Mart bookcase that we no longer had a use for. The sharp edges of the shelves were shaved down to add a more aged look. A front trim was added, as well as 2 foam pentacle rosettes in the top corners. The whole unit was then painted brown to cover the faux wood-grain laminate, then dry-brushed with a light tan to add to the aged look. The unit was then donned with some of the trinkets that we’ve collected up so far.

The chair to the right of the cabinet was picked up at the local thrift store for $5. The broom was made from last years decorative “Cinnamon Brooms”. My wife has a few of these hanging up around the house, and since they had lost their scent, I replaced them with fresh ones and repurposed the old ones.

Celtic Cross Update #2

Well, it’s been a while since I posted the first photos of the Celtic Cross Fog Chiller, and for good reason. The next portion of this project was to complete the front of the base, where the Epitaph was to be bordered by more knotwork. The knotwork border ended up taking a total of 23 hours to carve, which is much more time than I really wanted to spend on it. Nonetheless, it came out looking good, and my peers on and all assure me that it was time well spent. The next step is to finish up the epitaph, get it painted up, and give the Fog Chiller a test run.