The first props created in '97 were the tombstones, made from 2in thick styrofoam cut into various shapes and painted for realism. I added only unreadable scratches to simulate severely eroded headstones. The cemetery gates are constructed from milled pine to about 3/4in square, approx. 3ft tall and painted with gloss black paint. The pvc style fences are certainly easier to construct but I went for the most realistic style that I was capable of. A table saw, router and miter saw are essential if you go this route.
The gargoyles, columns and column gates were added in '98. The columns and gate are also made from pine, 2 x 3s and 1/4in plywood. The gargoyles are custom made from liquid latex cast in multi-part molds from a sculpture I made originally for a cable controlled special effects puppet. The wings and head are assembled to the body, which in turn is secured to a piece of plywood and screwed to the column top. I added a simple pendulum battery powered alarm to warn me if anyone tried to make off with them. I used a circuit from one of the Radio Shack projects books by Forest M. Mims.; cheap, simple and effective.
Yes, that is real wood nailed to the shutters. They are in need of painting so until I get to it why not attach them in the easiest way.
"Mr. Bosco" was also added in '98, this is my animated 1/2 corpse using some of the techniques from "How to Build A Corpse" from DiStefano. The coffin door is actuated using a low rpm motor connected to a timing circuit that is activated by a motion detector mounted in a tree. A variable strobe light is built into the base of the coffin and is activated by a contact switch; so as the door opens the lights flashes. I will be modifying the timing circuit electronics for next year to include a double pole/double throw relay to control the motor and strobe light.
"Mr. Bosco's" hands were made from sculpture wire covered with foam and then coated with cotton soaked in liquid latex. Depending on the degree of decay you can add or remove as much detail as necessary. They are then painted with acrylic paint mixed with some more liquid latex so when the fingers are positioned the paint doesn't crack.
This is my version of the FCG (Flying Crank Ghost) with the sound activated LED eyes. A loop tape with ghost sounds really added to the effect. I had it at the top of the stairs to block access to the second floor. As I am sure anyone who has already constructed one of these knows the outstanding effect it creates from the most basic of materials.
"Death" (over 9ft tall), was created to greet my guests, he also utilized the sound activated LED eyes. I recorded a portion of a Halloween Sound fx CD on a loop tape activated by another timing circuit. The robe is actually my old college graduation robe with some added material at the bottom, draped over a wire hanger frame covered with foam, latex and cotton for the ribcage and a styrofoam head. The stained glass window to the left was used to cover a small light in the vestibule to provide a dimly lit area. I used one of those skeleton model hands for the right hand and carved a left hand version to match from balsa wood and attached it to a flexible wire frame used with clay sculpting.