Last week, Jai and I made a trip to Kmart to pick up everything we’d need to create our best Halloween display yet! This weekend, we set about setting it all up (Ha!) – here’s a little sneak peek of our haunted house, along with some DIY tips for your own ghoulish goings-on!
The first thing I did was get my porch prettied up by knocking down cobwebs. You would think that a Halloween party would be the one time I’d want to leave cobwebs around for effect, but I seem to end up cleaning up the real spiderwebs and replacing them with fake ones. What’s wrong with me?! 😉
While I worked on replacing real arachnids with fake ones, Jai was setting up our light display in the driveway.
This is “Marcus The Carcass”, who looks like he’s trying to crawl out of the leaves!
Next, we began setting up our DIY photobooth!
These were the supplies we bought to make our homemade Halloween photobooth:
- Canon Rebel T3
- Lowepro Adventura Camera Shoulder Bag
- Targus Tripod
- Craftsman Work Light with 60 LED Lights
- Essential Home Curtain Rod
- Essential Home 5-Piece Black Curtains
- Essential Home Halloween Tablecloth
The first step was taking the Halloween tablecloth and nailing it to one side of the porch to create the backdrop.
Next, we installed two small hooks in the porch roof and tied two pieces of twine to them, which were used to hang the curtain rod.
Finally, we hung the curtains to form the front of the photobooth area and frame the pictures.
The LED light is hung by twine using the same hooks supporting the curtain rod and hidden behind the curtain. Since we have a number of other lights on the porch as part of the display, we had no trouble plugging it in. The light put too much glare in the photos at first, so we wrapped a plastic bag around it to deflect some of the light. Fancy, I know. 😉
To snap photos, simply have your subject stand in front of the backdrop and use your tripod to capture their portrait, as Jai so kindly demonstrates here:
We also discovered an unexpected way to use the photobooth that is perfect for Halloween. Since we set it up on our porch, the photobooth directly faces a window, and Jai noticed that it was reflecting his image back in the window. He told me to turn the camera around to take a “Selfie” of our reflection – with all of the lights and decorations, it makes us look like ghosts! This is our ghostly selfie, straight out of the camera – no editing or Instagram filters necessary for this spookacular effect!
Another DIY project that we took some time with was our “Pepper’s Ghost“, an illusion which is created when you reflect an image using a piece of glass.
This illusion is often created by propping a piece of plexiglass over a TV, as demonstrated in this video; we actually used a vintage jewelry display cabinet which we already owned, since it not only allowed a spot for the flatscreen to sit, but its lid was much easier to prop up than a freestanding piece of glass. We ran a black piece of cord through the latch on the lid and tied it to a hook in the ceiling:
The cord actually belongs to the Tekky Toys Scary Flying Ghost, which we had hooked up in the living room so that it could “Fly” by the window and create a fun effect. It made sense to tie both of these together, literally and figuratively. Har har!
Once the TV and piece of glass was in place, we could get started with the fun part. Since the RCA 24″ LED Flatscreen HDTV that we bought for this can also hook up to a computer, we simply plugged it in to my PC and used it to play an animated GIF. We set the display case up on a card table in the living room, so the illusion would be shown in the front yard – here’s a short video to give you an idea of what it looks like:
I created the animated GIF of the floating head myself. I did this by propping up my Totally Ghoul Light Up Reaper with Flames in front of the black plastic tub I bought and filmed a short video of it with the Canon Rebel. I then converted the video to a GIF with openAviToGif, and played it at fullscreen on my computer, creating an endless loop. We adjusted the contrast on the TV to reduce the backlight glare as much as possible. Since the display case does have a border around it, we minimized its appearance by pulling the curtains partly shut and taping black fabric over the top and bottom of the lid.
Here is the floating head GIF that I made for this Pepper’s Ghost illusion – please feel free to use it for your own haunted house illusions!
So there’s your sneaky peek at what we’ve been working on thus far – I will be unveiling my finished haunted house the week of Halloween, so check back to see how all of my devious decor turned out! In the meantime, I’d love to hear how all your Halloween decorating is coming!