Devil's Advocate

I don't think I've achieved the level of ability where I can innovate haunt and prop designs. Instead, I'm still in the "imitate" stage where I can look at an already existing prop and create a relatively decent copy of that work.

However, I want a repository -- a crypt, if you will -- of prop building tutorials that I'll be able to refer to again in the future without having to hunt down myriad reference sources. There are a lot of lists out there with various tutorials on them, some good, some not so much. Here you'll find tutorials with clear, concise, step-by-step instructions on building props.

Now it won't be an exhaustive list. Rather it will be a roll call of props that I have built myself (or want to build) and where appropriate I'll provide insights that I've learned to make the process as easy as possible.

The stretchy web material, when pulled apart properly, can give an effective web look to whatever it is you're covering with it. However, that can be expensive if you have a lot of area to cover and it doesn't always give the right look. But cleaning it up can be a bear. That stuff sticks to everything!

That's why a webcaster gun using hot glue is a worthy addition: the supplies it uses are cheap (glue sticks) and equally important, it cleans up easily. The major drawback is the commercial models are pretty pricey, going for $50 or more. But haunters being the resourceful people that they are have come up with a few home-made designs that can be had for around $10 or so.

The first one comes from a fun magazine/webzine called "Make." Its webcaster uses an 80 watt to 100 watt glue gun (that could be an expensive [read $25-$30] addition to the toolbox), but I'll be trying it out with a 60 watt version sold at Wal-Mart for around $6. With a few plumbing parts and copper tubing it should be an easy build, considering there is no soldering involved. The one drawback is that you'd need to have an air compressor.

The second webcaster I've found is even more simply than that. It uses a lower wattage glue gun (40w, though higher ones would give even better results) and as an added bonus, no plumbing connections or copper tubing is required and no compressor is needed.

Instead it uses a blow similar to those you'd use to blow up an air mattress. Attach the glue gun to the blow with electrical tape, cut a small length of poly hose to fit in the blower opening and viola! You have a webcaster on the cheap.

It just so happened I had an air mattress blower on hand and a dollar-store 10w glue gun. While the effect wasn't as dramatic as shown in the video, it did spray the glue in a web-like pattern (I also didn't have the bit of hose either; it was just a quick dry-run demo to see if the concept worked). When I get my 60w gun from Wal-Mart, I'm going to run it with the blower and see how the effect turns out.

In either case, however, I should be able to cover my props in a quick webbing that should increase their creepiness.

PIR Motion Sensor Prop Trigger
There are literally dozens of motion sensor hacks out there. I like this one particularly, and not just because it's from my fellow NJ haunter hpropman. I like it's compact design, along with the options available to you.

For example, a length of black pipe could be used to create a mounting pot for the sensor as it screws right into the threaded holes in the box. Using water-tight clamp connectors and a GFI outlet can make this a trigger that can stay outdoor even during inclement weather.

In hpropman's tutorial, he uses a screw in motion sensor, which is important to giving you the most flexibility. The first one I built the PIR sensor was actually built into the fixture itself so I had to use a round box rather than the square one shown here, but was able to do everything else. Future sensors will definitely be the screw-in style.

2012 Project File

Cemetery Pillars

Cemetery Gates

Cemetery Fence

Casa Fear Groundbreaker

Coffin Creep

Cauldron Creep

Mausoleum (or Facade)


Cellarer (with Monster in a Box)


  1. i have no idea how i came across your blog but love that i did!! i love your creativity. Do you have any tips or tutorials for easy nightmare before Christmas props? my sons 4th birthday is coming up and that's the theme he wants. :) thanks!- Bree


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