Halloween is the one night of the year when frightening children is not only tolerated, but encouraged. After all, if trick-or-treaters are going to hit you up for free candy, you may as well make them work for it. So PopMech teamed up with Instructables to unearth some ghoulish projects that will make visiting your home a chilling experience.
Spook the neighborhood kids before they even reach your property with a from Instructables user Spiderclimber. Cut ½-inch PVC pipe to various lengths for the pickets, and cap them with plastic finials. Drill holes in 2 x 2 furring stock for the rails, assemble the pieces, and spray with flat black paint. Decorate with cobwebs and novelty skulls for extra-nightmarish effect.
Who doesn't love ? Lots of people, which is why life-size cutouts of the undead make excellent Halloween props. Use a jigsaw to fashion them from ½-inch plywood or oriented strand board. Or, better yet, do what Lime3D did: Take a VCarve digital vector file of your design to a local TechShop, where a ShopBot can fabricate zombies for you. Glue lengths of 3/4-inch PVC pipe to the monsters' legs, and slip them over 3-foot-long pieces of rebar pounded 12 inches into the ground.
Turn your well-kept home into an eerie wreck with professional-looking sets. Bryansierra built his from rigid foam insulation boards, which are lightweight, easy to shape, and available in large sheets up to 3½ inches thick. Carve the pieces with a Dremel rotary tool, and glue them together with foam adhesive. For a creepy Gothic look, add decorative moldings and coat everything in latex paint.
Don't be scared off by the freakish number of knots in Nolte919's 20 x 12–foot . If you're game, you'll need more than 500 feet of braided clothesline rope. Anchor the outer frame to the ground with trucker's hitches wrapped around bent rebar. Complete the web with a combination of bowline knots, overhand knots, taut-line hitches, double-sheet bends, and literally hundreds of clove hitches.
Rotting corpses emerging from the ground will bring life to any scene. To build anatomically correct skeletons, Garnoft suggests wiring together ½-inch and ¾-inch PVC pipe. Create putrid-looking flesh by covering the bones in papier-mâché. Use off-the-shelf Halloween skulls as heads.
Create a classic graveyard effect with low-hanging fog. But to get the fog creeping slowly across the lawn, you need to chill it first. Why? Warm air rises, leaving the cooler stuff hugging the ground. Achieve this with Adman-rocks's . Start with a 3-foot length of 4-inch dryer vent. Grab a Styrofoam cooler and cut 4-inch holes near the bottom of each end. Pass the vent through the cooler, and cover it with ice. Attach your fog machine to one end of the vent.
If the local kids make it to your front door, you've got to step up your game. A floating apparition should do the trick. NK5's reflects phantasmal images seen through a large window. You'll need an old computer monitor—the older the better; in fact, a CRT monitor works best. Lay it on its back in front of a window, and position a sheet of glass or clear acrylic at an angle above it so the monitor's reflection can be seen from outside the window. Finally, play back a spooky CGI movie—a floating skull is ideal—and dim the lights.
If all this sounds like work, why not have the beasts of the night do it for you? And by beasts we mean squirrels. Though Igough calls his project a , it's actually your local rodents that do the carving. Start by drilling ?-inch holes into a pumpkin around the areas where you want your jack-o'-lantern's eyes, nose, and mouth to be. Drill right through the skin and the flesh, but don't bother opening up the pumpkin to scoop out the guts. "The squirrels do that for you," Igough explains. Next, spackle peanut butter into the holes, and leave the gourd outside for a few days for the squirrels to gnaw away at its face. Yes, it's as horrific as it sounds.