Thursday, November 6, 2008

Haunt Theory: Flames

Can't stress enough just how much I love using real flames in my haunt. It's a detail that people actually notice. My cornstalks at the foot of the walk each had a tin colonial lantern hosting a cool speckled glass candle holder, each with a flickering tea light. It added so much to the atmosphere to use real flames in my two pumpkin-headed scarecrows, and in the chest lantern of Dead Bird and the face lantern of Charred. Whenever the wind blew, the flickering flames each did their own thing, breathing creepy life into the props.


One of these days I'm going to figure out how to use a real log fire under my witches' cauldron without causing a Hindenburg-like event that comes to be known as something like 'The Halloween Fire of 2010."

8 comments:

jay's shadow said...

i used only 3 tiki torches that had a larger than normal flame and the few people that drove by slowed down for a better look.( with smiles on their faces)

Jon said...

That's beautiful. I'm a HUGE fan of real flame, as well. This year I added a couple of hurricane lanterns hanging on the porch to the usual array of paper lanterns. Nothing has quite the same color and motion as fire in my opinion. The only problem is that this year the wind was strong enough to periodically blow out my jackos.

Rot said...

Tiki torches add SO MUCH to a haunt. Love it.

I've never had winds strong enough to blow out a jacko. Wow.


I'm probably not articulating this correctly, but I think it also adds a certain unstable or even "dangerous" (the safe kind) quality to a haunt. It makes it real and believable.

Rot said...

and I should add that I'm in no way knocking faux flames. I'm just talking about enhancing certain props. my favorite haunts use faux candles or lanterns and they look amazing.

Grim said...

I couldn't resist using real flames this year either. I wasn't able to last year because there was a local burn ban going on from the weather being so dry. I didn't know if those torches counted, so I left them out. I was happy that I got a lot of compliments on them this year.

Bones said...

I'm all about the real flames too, though I haven't done it in a while except to use real candles in my lantern with my reaper costume.

But my old indoor haunt use to be lit almost exclusively by candles. The trick was to place them such that they couldn't be knocked over by kids, or accidentally ignite the kids... and simultaneously have angles that didn't reflect on the fishing lines that made items levitate, etc.

I've been using faux lanterns with my display, and will probably add some LED candles next year. My artificial JOLs use C7 bulbs, but I make a point to use real candles in the real pumpkins.

My JOLs actually blow out frequently, unfortunately. I usually have one go out at least once. Usually the breeze is very light, but it's just something about how the houses are arranged that it blows straight into the faces or something. Lately I've been using glass votives, and once they burn down slightly, they're pretty well self-shielding.

When you can do it safely, flame really adds to the atmosphere.

Rot said...

We used a singular tea light in each of the jackos this year. Normally I would use a votive in a holder and two or three tea lights depending on the size of the pumpkin. The pumpkins were just as bright as past years.

I'd suggest dropping a tea light into a glass votive holder to shade it from the wind. I've done that in the past with great success.

Nev said...

Great pic.
Dont ever use glow sticks for pumpkins... I thought it might be cool and it lamed up my haunt big time. All you saw was a glowing stick of plastic inside them. Boo Urns.