As is my tradition, I did it up right this Halloween. A graveyard in my front yard, Full sized candy bars, and various other attempts at scaring impressionable youths.
Since all the action was happening in the driveway/garage, I needed to block off the steps leading up to my front door. Last year I used a hand painted sign on cardboard. This year, I upped my game with a custom printed vinyl banner.
I ran an old Spookshow poster through some photo editing software to make the necessary changes, then printed it out in our library's MakerSpace (we only charge for cost of materials, which is only $2.00 per linear foot -- so this 2 x 3 foot banner only cost me $6.00!)
I re-used the tombstones I made last year, but added in a LED blacklight spot light I picked up on post-Halloween clearance. I tried using cob webs that were advertised as blacklight reactive, but they didn't really have much of an effect. Color was good though. Also had a squawking crow in a cage (another clearance item).
I left the skull mask off until around 7:00 when the sun had set and most of the youngest kids had already come and gone. Here I am reaching out to my daughter with my GIANT SKELETON MONSTER HAND!
Basically, I made a palm-shaped box out of scrap cardboard, and hot glued on fingers made out of pipe insulation (about $1 for 6 feet).
Then I cut joints in, ran string through the hole in the middle and secured it to the "finger tip."
After that, I ran all the strings through the hole in the middle of a pool noodle (the arm), then again through a piece of cardboard with 4 holes to keep them separate. I looped each one for finger pulls, so each finger controls a monster finger.
Once it was together, I added pointed cardboard finger tips, coated it all in black duct tape and painted on the bone structure. I rigged an arm brace out of two PVC couplings and a yard stick cut into thirds. My hand goes basically at one coupling, and the other coupling rests just before my elbow, which gives the whole thing enough support to extend my reach by about 3 feet.
This was a pretty fun project -- first time I tried to make something like this and I learned a lot. I'll have to give it another go some time...The effect is pretty impressive when you beckon someone from across the street with it.
My old ghost, well...gave up the ghost. Luckily, Wal-Mart had pretty nice skeletons on sale for $30 this year. They're roughly proportional to a young teenager, and even slightly articulated -- pretty sweet!
I primed mine white to cover the cheesy paint wipe treatment it came with, then sprayed it with glow in the dark paint and added some florescent painted eyes.
After removing the legs, I draped him in cheese cloth that had been treated with laundry brightener for that extra glow under black-light.
He looked pretty good in person, but was a little too static. Next year, at minimum I think I need to add more weird stuff to look at. Also, its really hard to scare anybody without an accomplice hiding back there, so if I don't have one I should probably not even try -- just to a "cabinet of curiosities" or something.
Also on my to-do list for next year is to beef up my cemetery. I have four grave markers, and they look great, but more would be even more impressive. Maybe I should just do a big yard scene instead of a "haunted garage?"