Thursday, February 21, 2019

Your Favorite Haunters' Gag

What's your favorite thing you've seen in a Haunt by way of gimmick or prop?
For me, it has to be a fake fire.  I think that's why I tried to always have a small fire pit of some kind...under a cauldron, near the Strawman warming his hands...   under an unattended kettle of stew (2015).

Just a neat little diorama of Life.  Something dangerous if you get too close.  Something making the whole thing seem a little more real than it is.

So what's your favorite gimmick or prop?


13 comments:

Joel said...

It's maybe one of the simplest and oldest ones in the book, but the fake person/real person setup has always been my favorite. A solitary, motionless figure on a porch chair, next to a bowl of candy - I remember as a kid that feeling that the haunter/s were suddenly confronting me with this one-on-one mindgame. Whichever the outcome is, it's fun; the figure either comes to life at the last second, eliciting a chorus of screams and often insistences that "I knew it!"...or the other option, which in some ways I think is more delightful, silent stillness. I always felt that that reveal is a very charged moment, one where the outcome being "nothing" is still a form of interaction between haunter and guest. It hangs in the air like the ghost of a good-natured snicker. An unspoken "Gotcha." That's peak Halloween to me.

Unknown said...

Scrim projections and Pepper's Ghost illusions in windows. I can't help but enjoy every single one I see even if the thing being projected is from one of the cheesier projection dvds.

Unknown said...

Well executed ground hugging, thick, creeping fog!

Theo said...

i really dig that thing you see where there's like the faux wall but then there's a giant cross cut out of it and moonlight streaming in and when the fog and frankincense smoke rises up it glows eerie blue with some dark sacred energy.

maybe an odd choice but I always dig it when I see that in haunts.

Rot said...

haha

Jay's Shadow said...

I agree with Joel, Life sized static props.
Not knowing if it is a real person or not.

Now when I was a trick or treater, houses were aloud to have porch lights off, which REALLY added to the ambiance.
I remember one time walking up the steps to a house and seeing what I thought was a standing dummy in real chains on a wrap around front porch. Mind racing with eyes fixed on this single prop making sure it doesn’t move, I slowly make my way to the front door. As I make it just past the prop, the man goes PSYCHO.
I don’t remember if I made it to the door to get my candy, but that has always stuck in my head to this day.

My uncle dressed as a fairly realistic looking Frankenstein, with towing chains attached to his wrists dragging on the ground, as if the monster escaped his confounds. Scared the SH*T out of me when I answered the door, just seeing him standing there.

GOOD STUFF.

Halloween when I was a kid, no wondering I am like I am now.........

Shallow Grave Cemetery said...

Hay Theo - that's cheating... My favorite haunter's gag unfortunately wasn't a gag. A few years back my planter beds were over-run with wild cockroaches. I kept treating them and just when I thought they were all gone they returned. Ironically this happened to coincide with Halloween. It wouldn't have been an issue except I had several cauldrons displayed on my patio, one of them containing the trick-r-treat candy. Yes the roaches had found the candy. All the kids thought they were fake; it wasn't until one of the parents saw the horrified look on my face they knew something wasn't right. Luckily I was able to swap out the infested candy and no roaches were harmed in the process.

Rot said...

that is delightfully horrid

Willow Cove said...

I agree with Joel, the prop dummy holding a bowl of candy who turns out to be a person is one of my favorite! Over the years a dummy in a coffin or at the front porch gets the best reactions and comments from kids .

Ryan said...

The very first thing that came to mind is low lying fog. Just an incredible cinematic effect that goes with nearly any haunt theme.

Rot said...

I agree about the fog. That's probably my second favorite.
A mesmerizing effect.

Revenant Manor said...

Yeah, the combination of the 'embers' effect, glowing cauldron interior, and the lazy drifting motion of fog is hard to top (goodness knows I've relied on it a time or two). In recent years, I've also enjoyed folks layering on top of that concept with the addition of the mechanized 'Cauldron Creep'.

However, if for no other reason than pure nostalgia, the 70's / 80's kid in me has to go with lightning / thunder effects as the top gimmick.

Long before rear-projection effects, Spirit Halloween, motion-activated props, and flying crank ghosts, lightning and thunder effects were THE way to immediately change the landscape of a basic decorated porch to something ominous...I imagine that I will probably always feel somewhat transported by a good fake storm. ;)

Steven Blumke said...

The Flying Crank Ghost has always been a favorite of mine. I built one back in 2012 and it was the talk of the neighborhood. I’ve had an idea for awhile now about doing an underwater Gangsters Graveyard with multiple FCG’s like they are floating underwater. I was just watching a vid not long ago that showed three separate motors, rotating at different speeds that gave the ghost a super fluid motion. Just talking about it makes me want to get to work!