Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Lighting Recommendations

After years of resisting LED lighting, this was the first year where every ounce of Haunt illumination was done by LED tealights and LED flood lamps.  Not sure if my eyes are just becoming less sensitive (and old) or if the technology is becoming less harsh, but I used to have visual discomfort in the presence of too many LEDs.  Well, we ordered six LED floods and these things are amazing.  In the past, I dreaded getting burned on (or breaking) giant old delicate bulbs or electrocuted by ancient light fixtures if they got wet.  A considerable amount of Haunt anxiety has been removed as a result of these purchases.  More important than my nerves, however, is the fact that we can now enhance the atmosphere of the Haunt in a major way.  These things have the option of providing literally any color in the spectrum, and any level of brightness.  Operated from a cell phone, you can make decisions without having to move the fixture around.  

I'm sure I'm just late to this LED lighting party, but in the event you're tired of wrangling old light fixtures with sensitive bulbs, you might want to give these a try.  We went for a bold and bright theme this year, but we're looking very forward to next year's "darker" atmosphere to experiment with lighting choices and levels.  

Here's an amazon link to the floods we used:

I've also solved a lot of my lighting issues using small and bright LED tealights.  I used to stress about running cords into the heads of my scarecrows or pumpkin-headed creatures, but if you use three or four of these little guys it's a pretty significant source of light. 

Click below for the link (I used them in my candelabras and the Pumpkin Ghost this year [and in all of the scarecrows from last year's display]):


Holy Tarra said...

I love this post...probably because I have a fixation on lighting and have amassed such a huge stockpile of almost every type of small LED light gizmos they have come out with.
I had the same experience with the harshness of LEDs and would usually have a whopping headache at the end of Halloween night from the eye strain. I was over the moon when the technology finally advanced to include a dimmer feature.

Last year I stumbled on to LED submersible puck lights at the Dollar store. I hate having to keep up with the remote control required to operate them but if you need to illuminate something in an area without having to rely on extension cords they fit the bill. Multiple colors plus a dimmer switch. They operate on 3 AAA batteries. :)

Rot said...

That's good to know! Thanks!

Kurt237 said...

I’ve been using a similar LED floods setup and can confirm it works great. I got floods that come in a set of six individually programmable units that come daisy-chained about six feet apart on a singe power cord, which is nice (I hate having too many power cords). I like that you can stand in front of your house and experiment with colors and brightness levels and that you can change color themes entirely day to day. I find that I have to keep them all really dim at a maximum of about 22% brightness. Any brighter and it looks like Close Encounters meets Friday Night Lights. I also use a couple of those LED puck lights in a cauldron for up lighting of smoke, and those work great too.

I think you recommended similar tea lights or the same in the past which I’ve also been using extensively in my haunt, so thanks for that!

Rot said...

haha...I know what you mean about full blast LED floods. We walked down the street during a test and the house looked like something on the end of a pier on a boardwalk somewhere. Something that should have been blasting club music.

Revenant Manor said...

I'm not sure I have anything more of any significance to offer here, but feel compelled to chime in because, well, lighting!

I've been on the LED train for a while, and in many ways began making the switch largely to avoid the weather related concerns. (the benefits just outweighed the not-insignificant intensity and color shortcomings in my view)

But, in the last few years, the proliferation of app controlled and weatherproof LED fixtures has changed everything.

The ability to change color and intensity on a whim is a dream come true. Many will even allow a 'show' to be designed within the app where pre-programmed changes can just be scheduled.

And the prices have fallen precipitously relative to what they initially cost, which is a big plus for anyone thinking about having to replace their old gear. (nevermind potential impact to power bills for month-long displays, and reduced risk of tripping breakers, etc.)

I guess I'll climb down off the soap box, but would suggest that anyone that is still on the fence should at least give some of the newer app controlled / weatherproof boxes a trial run...they can be a game-changer!

Rot said...

Thanks for sharing that.
It took me way too long to climb on board. Even though I'm a one-night Haunter, I lived in fear of blowing fuses or bursting overheated flood lamp bulbs if it rained. Definitely have had my share of short electric shocks from handling fixtures with morning dew all over them. And the act of treating those giant old bulbs like they were some kind of dragon egg is not something I miss.

Haunted Eve said...

We now have an armada of various LED outdoor multicolor and blacklight LED flood, spotlight, rechargeable flame, puck, and candles. The "joy" is that so many of them work on various different wireless remote technologies (Infrared, Radio Frequency, WiFi, Bluetooth) and came from different manufacturers that we ended up with crosstalk from the remotes. We had to get a different fog machine for 2023 because our older fog machine remote control's "on" would turn off the LED ripple effect outdoor light we purchased for 2021. We also had a batch of Bluetooth multicolor LED floods that wouldn't stayed paired with the phone app after you pulled the power on them. Every time they were unlpugged and plugged back in, you'd have to repair them. Those went bye-bye! We've had to do many lighting tests to figure out what LED light remotes cause issues with other lights. But that all said, one of our best (and low cost) investments were the battery powered waterproof LED "puck lights" as one commentor already mentioned. They are great for uplighting and backlighting props. We also now have app controlled WiFi multicolor light bulbs that we used in our porch lights and dining room chandelier lights for this year. It was great being able to change colors on the porch and inside our dining room this Halloween and then turn them back to ordinary lights with the app. And despite the issues with remote control crosstalk which can be avoided to some extent by sticking to one specific brand (but brands come and go), the LED lights are so much better than those old PAR38 and BR40 color glass floodlights that were extremely delicate and HOT to the touch! Numerous finger burns because while trying to decide which color bulbs looked best where, we forgot to let the bulbs cool down a tad longer before switching them out! But we still use real scented candles in our jack-o-lanterns. We've been getting custom scented batches of 4 oz candles made up for our haunt jack-o-lanterns from The Smell Of Fear Candle Company since 2021. The smell of the candles adds to the fun of the haunt on Halloween night.

Rot said...

Wow. I'm very intrigued about that company you mentioned. AND the tailored scent. Curious what you went with!
As you know, this is a particular interest of mine. haha

Haunted Eve said...

Our custom candle scents:
2021 Devil and Demons: "Smoky Cinnamon Whiskey"
2022 Classic Horror Movie Monsters: "Caramel Buttered Popcorn"
2023 Haunted Bayou: "Bananas Foster"


Rot said...

Sounds amazing!

Evil Vines Cemetery said...

So much good information here! I currently use outdoor led spot lights to back light the spiderwebs. But I have to manually change the color with theater gels. Really happy to hear about the led flood dimming feature - that brightness control has held me back. And I'm not sure the floods can create the same creepy, moonlight blue that I get with the gels. But I think the ability to change color on the fly outweighs getting the exact color. I'm game to try!

Love the tip on The Smell of Fear. I've sprinkled the lids of our jack o'lanterns with baking spices to add a nostalgic aroma to the haunt. It would be nice to have some other custom scents, especially in larger format candles. Those mini tea light candles don't last a whole Halloween night!