FAST, FUN, CHEAP...
We are not rich, unless you think like the IRS...but that is another scary subject!! So when we need a special effect we have to think on a budget. Below are a couple of the ideas we have found over the years that work great. The good thing is they don't cost you a arm and a leg, you can use them for props.
The first few years we rented fancy colored lights for the areas where we wanted a desired effect. Then a fellow haunter told us a very cheap and easy way to add colored lighting to your haunt.
Most hardware stores sell silver light reflectors with a cord and clamp attached. They can cost between $5-$8. Then you need to add a party light bulb. These can be found in most hardware stores. I have even seen them in my local Luckys. They cost around $3 each. So for less than $10 you have put together a custom colored light. And to change the color you just change bulbs.
Most people forget a very easy simple use of lights to add effect. If you point the light facing up and under the subject you get very severe sharp shadows. This is a very dramatic evil look.
Place the lights off to the sides and you get a different effect. One side of the object is lite with strange shadows, while the other side is in shadow. This gives a feeling of something hiding in the shadows...leaving people to wonder what is there?
Using Blue lights gives a feeling of coldness and shadows. The darder the blue the colder the feeling.
Red, Orange, and Yellow lights can be used for a feeling of fire. If set up to blink on and off you can get the feeling of flames flickering.
Green lights give the feeling of oldness and mold. Things that are damp and smelly. This color works good in dungeon scenes, or swamp scenes. Stay with the darker bulbs for a deeper color.
Blacklights are all the rage again. And you can purchase small Blacklights, fixture and all, on sale for around $20. Blacklights can not be beat for effect.
A dark hallway painted with flourecent eyes can cause a lot of screaming. You can also paint your face, or your mask, with the paint so when the lights change you go from scary to DEATH! Paint blood running down your face that only shows up when the Blacklight is on. You can buy the paint at most any craft store in many different colors. With a little thought you can come up with all sorts of uses for the blacklights.
So you want a light to come on just when a person gets there, but you don't want to spend a fortune...no problem. Go to your local thrift store and purchase a motion sensor light. You can find them on sale year around for less than $25. Set the timer on it to test so that the light only stays on for a short time. Put in your bulb of choice and set up your scare. If you want it to be a very small area that triggers the light sensor just tape some cardboard on the sides of the light to narrow the field.
Now that you have the lights worked out lets add some scare action. We purchased several of those popout pictures last year. The only problem being that we wanted to use them in a dark area, and the sensors did not want to work. So we found a small penlight and taped it across the path from the popout. The breaking of the light beam was enough to cause the popout to work but not enough to ruin the feeling in the dark hall.
You have a nice foam filled rat and you want to use him in your dungeon scene...but he is lacking something. Go down to radio shack and buy a couple of red LED lights, and a 9volt battery. Attach the lights to the battery (follow the directions on the bag). Cut a small slit in your rat and insert the lights and battery. Poke out small holes in the eyes and push the LED's through. You now have a rat with red glowing eyes. A much scarier rat!
You can use this with any prop that you have. Even masks can be setup with glowing LED eyes. They come in several colors so you can pick the one that gives the best effect for your need.
Here is a really cheap way to give your simple jack-o-lantern a new look. I again got this idea from another haunting friend. Cut out your pumpkin like you normally would. Instead of putting a candle or whatever inside your pumpkin put a bicycle flashing reflector light inside. This flashing red light will really give your jack-o-lantern a flaming look.
This idea does cost a little more, but the effect and the fun you can have with it is worth every dollar. Take a mask of choice, we use a large dragon mask. Rent a tank of C02 from your local welding shop. Mount the mask on a piece of plywood, and cut out a hole in the back for the hose to go in. We put the hose up to the mouth of the dragon mask and then stuffed around it with newspapers to keep the hose in place. This also keeps the C02 from coming out any place else besides where you want it to. When the victims come up to the mask you give them a quick blast of C02!! First the noise and blast itself scares them, but when the smoke is cold that really confuses them. We have used this scare the last three years, and even though some of the kids have seen it they still get scared.
We even have several adult neighbors that got so scared the first time they saw it that they ran home and called their friends to come over and check us out.
WARNING!C02 is very cold and can cause injury. Make sure that a adult is controlling the C02. Also make sure there is a barrier to keep the victims far enough away from the blast so no one is hurt.
These are just a few of the things that we have done over the years. I will be adding more over the months. If you want to see a ton of great ideas and plans I will give you the URL to the Halloween Archives Page. This site has more information on all levels than anywhere else on the web!