Help me brainstorm a witch's apothecary worth of Halloween props
August 20, 2008 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Halloween is fast approaching and I need help creating some apothecary style props from the Bard's well known witches chant based on the introduction to That Scottish Play. Most of my audience isn't going to remember much past "eye of newt and toe of frog" but being a geek about details I'd like to try to create a tableaux of the entire contents of that cauldron.

Here are my constraints. I'm crafty but sorely lacking in free time this year (and I've already vowed to make a full sized papier mache cauldron...). I'm not looking for authenticity, e.g. I don't have any desire to know where I can purchase a goat gall bladder or baboon blood. Items that can handle at least a week of non-refrigerated display are desirable. Easy to find re-purposed household items a plus.

Here's the list (and my ideas).

poisoned entrails (Shakespeare was nonspecific as to whose)
toad venom -- corn starch slurry dyed maroon, or glowy...
fen snake -- rubber snake
eye of newt -- bubble tea tapioca pearls
toe of frog
wool of bat -- cotton wool, dyed black
tongue of dog
adder's fork
blind worm's sting
lizard leg
owlet wing -- raid flytying supplies for feathers
dragon scale
wolf tooth
witches mummy (powder) -- talcum powder
shark jaw
hemlock root -- errant walnut tree sprout from yard
[human] liver
gall bladder of a goat -- silly putty
yew slips
[human] nose
[human] lips
baby finger
tiger entrails
baboon's blood -- corn syrup and red food coloring
posted by rosebengal to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
[human] nose
[human] lips

Both of these are available in flavored wax versions at a lot of candy stores. Try online.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2008

You can get a small shark jaw here for $2.50. You can get a whole taxidermied (?) lizard on eBay for cheap, then just break off legs as needed. For the dragon scale, go to a fish market and get a whole fish that has large scales. I suggest carp, if you can get it, as they have large scales. For the baby finger I would go to a thrift store or yard sale and buy a baby doll, or fashion one out of putty. You can buy cheap wolf teeth online. Here's a nice tutorial on making fake intestines, which could stand in for tiger entrails.
posted by jedicus at 2:02 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: Oh, and the liver is a pretty boring-looking piece of anatomy. It's basically a dark reddish-brown rounded triangle with a bit of gloss on it. You could make a passable one by dipping foam in latex, painting it, then covering it with a polyurethane gloss. Just be careful not to stress the foam too much or the latex may crack.
posted by jedicus at 2:09 PM on August 20, 2008

When I make my jello brain, I use a standard jello recipe, with extra gelatin powder added. Also, I use a very light colored flavor of jello (peach or watermelon), and add a can of evaporated milk. The result is a nice flesh-colored... um, flesh. Maybe a google search for "jello mold" or "candy mold" will result in something to give you the nose, lips or baby finger.

How about some cleverly carved fruit roll-ups for tongue of dog?

Maybe some candy teeth can be used for wolf tooth.

Would all these things be on display somewhere? If so, a trip to a thrift store or antique shop might be good to find glass jars for storage/display.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 2:12 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: For the adder's tongue, try a rubber band cut to look like a snake tongue. An adder is a poisonous snake.
posted by k8lin at 2:20 PM on August 20, 2008

*sorry, adder's fork.
posted by k8lin at 2:21 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: For the dragon's scale, what about a plectrum (guitar pick) painted an appropriately dragonesque metallic colour? In fact, you can probably get one in a pearlised or metallic colour. They're scale-shaped.
posted by andraste at 3:42 PM on August 20, 2008

Tongue of dog - beef jerky, cut to shape?

Dragon scale - a seashell (perhaps found in the beading section of a craft store)

Entrails - stocking/hose with a bag inside (rolled into a tube?), full of jelly

Fingers, stings or teeth could be molded from flour and water

I think chicken bones could also be incorporated, maybe as a lizard leg
posted by lhall at 5:37 PM on August 20, 2008

For toe of frog you could probably cut up some golden raisins , and no one would question you.

Check your craft/model shops for doll parts, that baby's finger could be a whole hand, and a pair of shears sitting by for effect.

You can get cheap plastic cauldrons, and cover it easier than modeling a whole one I would think. If nothing else, a coat of vinyl primer and some flat-black stove/grill paint will give you a good look of cast-iron.
posted by pupdog at 4:05 AM on August 21, 2008

Best answer: You can cut the dragon's scale out of a green plastic cup, and then finesse the curves with a warm iron.
posted by acorncup at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2008

Response by poster: Great suggestions thus far!
posted by rosebengal at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2008

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