Today is
November 28th

After having to give up pyrotechnics, I needed a new hobby. Halloween props allow for mechanical, electronic, and artistic expression, plus they're fun. This page will show different projects and eventually haunts from various years.

I got a lot of really good information from Dave Korr at If you're new to haunting, there's a lot of detailed explanation on electronics, animatronics and pneumatics.

July 24, 2011

Re-constructing My FCG (Flying Crank Ghost) - Part 2

This is the second part of my FCG re-build and covers the torso. Part 1 covered the head and can be found here.

I wanted the upper body of the ghost to be more 3-dimensional, realistic and creepy, so I decided to build a near anatomical torso, starting with a spine. (Why would anyone throw out perfectly good cardboard and newspaper?)

The ribs were made by rolling single sheets (2 pages) of newspaper from corner to corner, keeping them as thin as possible. A piece of 19 guage wire was then inserted into each one to give them shape.

Unformed ribcage
Each rib was attached to the back of the spine, the top ones cut shorter. I only gave it 10 total ribs instead of 12 to keep it light. The last 2 will be attached later.

The sternum and shoulder blades were made from folded newspaper. The collar bones were paper tubes with wire. All the ribs were attached in front and the bottom two were added in the back.

Hand and forearm
I made the hands from soda straws with wires through them and a piece of cardboard to keep the knuckles in the right place. Yup, the forearms were more paper tubes.

Full torso
Here it is with the arms attached, ready for a little papier mache and paint. I reinforced the sternum with a piece of cardboard.

Painted skeleton
I used as little papier mache as I could to just strengthen the ribs and hands, then painted the whole thing with grey and black.

Glowing skeleton
The final touch was to coat it with blue and white UV reactive paint. It looks really nice under a black light, but I noticed that the eyes weren't reflecting enough from the eye sockets. I'll fix that next.

Drpaed ghost
Next the body was draped with cheesecloth and cut to give it a ragged look. You can also see how I painted the eye sockets white to reflect the LEDs. You won't see the white at night. The face and ribs were pasted with dyed cheesecloth in the end for a better glow.

UV ghost
The cheesecloth was treated with RIT fabric whitener to make it glow nicely under UV. The ribs are much more visible with the pasted cheesecloth. The eyes glow properly now too.

Ghost in action
The final ghost looks amazing with the pasted on cheesecloth. It really makes the ribs stand out and allows the motion of the jaw to be easily seen. The background is a CD I will be playing on a loop outside during Halloween. (Alternate link to .mov here)

Other Projects
The final part of my FCG project - November 4, 2011
Re-constructing my FCG - Part 1 - July 10, 2011
A corpse I made from a skull model and latex - October 19, 2005