Help me go to hell!
August 29, 2008 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Halloween Filter: Help me make my demon's lair even more cool this year.

Last year was my first year in a house since I was a kid, so I had great fun decorating the place for ourselves and for trick-or-treaters. Rather than the usual coffins and skeletons and ghosts, we decided on a theme: Hell.

As in, I was the devil, my stepdaughter and pug were dressed up as minions, and everything was themed around the fires of hell/red/black you get the idea. You can see what we did last year here.

I'm looking for help with ideas for this year, how to make it even cooler (without costing a fortune - my budget is probably $100 all told for additional props).

Ideas? Share one, share all!

Bonus points for anyone who has suggestions on how to safely incorporate fire (or the look of fire) into our front yard on Halloween night - pits? candles? But kid friendly, obviously, since we don't want trick-or-treater-BBQ.
posted by twiki to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, you're like the Halloween pro master. Cool. Love the pug. I'd make the pug into a little devil now - red cape, headband with sparkling red horns.

For the look of fire, how about those fabric flames with a fan underneath (no idea how that's called, where to buy, or how much it costs, unfortunately).
posted by neblina_matinal at 7:13 AM on August 29, 2008

Plenty of cool illusions here, from that old theatrical standby Pepper's Ghost to the more modern Breathing Door.

This site offers some ideas designed directly for a Halloween setup.
posted by Iridic at 7:14 AM on August 29, 2008

one of my first and favorite effects is hanging a rubber spider from fishing line over the front door. run the line through an eye hookin the ceiling of your porch, in the house and tie it off in the house somewhere handy so the spider hangs about 4 feet off the porch floor. pull the string till spidey is against the ceiling and close the door. now.... if the door has decent weatherstripping AND if it opens into the house.... opening the door will drop mr. spider onto the heads of appropriate sized candy mooches. taller ones wont be hurt by contact with a falling rubber spider, and shorter easier to frighten ones wont even be affected. Also, otherwise crappy cheap plastic bones and skulls can really be improved with a little liquid latex, thin cotton rags and paint. great for the whole dead skin look. also 2' thick sheet styrofoam is cheap from home despot or the like and makes for great tombstones. cut with hot knife if possible to save mess then paint with grey paint and engrave with a soldering iron
posted by Redhush at 11:01 AM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Do you have any prop ideas in mind? For me, hell means devil, horns, skeletons, and winged demons. It would be easier if you had specific things in mind.

- Here’s a couple of links to making fake fire that neblina suggests.
- How to make a winged demon using a Blucky.
- Skull Lamps
- Don’t forget the music!

Links to other websites that are helpful for creating props:

Monster Page of Halloween Project Links
Halloween Forum
Haunt Project – a visual source of how-to’s

Only 63 days left!
posted by KathyK at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for their comments so far!

KathyK: you're right, I wasn't as specific as I'd intended. I'm looking for hell-themed ideas specifically:

* anything to do with fire, devil, horns, pitchforks and tridents, gargoyles, winged demons, cauldrons with fire

Some skulls are OK but I don't want to overdo.

I'm trying to avoid anything to do with spiders, witches, graveyards, ghosts, vampires etc... since they're more "generic" Halloween items than specifically to do with Hell.

Thanks to everyone for their tips and help so far!
posted by twiki at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Heh. I was going to send you to Halloween Forum myself, but KathyK was way ahead of me.

A few years ago one of the Halloween prop forums had a cheap prop challenge - you could spend up to $20 plus scrounging on trash day. From Canto 13 of Dante’s Inferno comes the winning entry. If nothing else, take a look at his technique.

If I had your setup, I would build a shallow (maybe eight to ten inches deep) facade that you could set up around your front door, that made it the gate to hell. I'd run a set of seven faces up each side, one for each deadly sin. I might even put the names of the sins under the faces and maybe try and make them look appropriate to the sin they represent. I'd give them glowy eyes and maybe play distorted voices of the damned begging for mercy from inside the two side pillars.

Across the top I'd have a bat like imp with the standard "abandon all hope" motto. Again with the glowy eyes and maybe an speaker attached to an intercom system so someone can talk to your trick-or-treaters. If you have a PC webcam you can set it up such that you can see what you're dealing with and adjust the evil knob accordingly.

You have definite advantage in that your porch light could be inside your facade, and with one of those little screw in light-bulb-socket-to-plug thingys, you could just stick a power strip in there with a couple strings of appropriate colored pixie lights run throughout the thing.


There are a lot of ways you can do the faces: touch and foam, paper mache, whatever. The thing to remember is that it doesn't matter how misshapen they end up because a) It will be dark. b) They're the damned! If their faces aren't misshapen, jab them with you pitchfork a few times until they are!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:12 PM on August 29, 2008

Instructables has a great how-to for making a lava-like bubbling cauldron that I am planning on adopting to make a fire with. Perhaps combining this with the fabric fire linked to above would work well.
posted by rosebengal at 11:44 AM on September 2, 2008

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