Fog Cooler
One of the problems they never tell you about on the side of the fog cooler's box is the fact that fog rises.  Yeah.  It's nothing like what you see in the movies.  This is because fog is made by heating "fog juice" (mostly glycerin or glycol)... and hot air rises, especially in the cool air of a certain evening in late October.  So here's a solution...



I should note that this project was based on the best elements of several designs found around the web.  Feel free to explore other ideas and combine the best of them to suit the materials you have on hand.
I started with a regular plastic ice chest.  I never would have gone out and bought one since this was more an experiment than a sure-thing.  Fortunately my neighbor was throwing this one out as it belonged to her ex-boyfriend who never claimed it when he moved out (and the bottom was gunky as well).  In short, perfect fodder for this kind of project.

Next you need a hole boring attachment as you might use for cutting a hole in a door to install a lock.

Cut one hole near the bottom of one end.  This is where the chilled fog will exit so that it will stay close to the ground.

Here's a close-up of the hole and the plug that came out of it.

Cut another hole up high on the opposite end.  You'll see the two holes together a couple pictures down.


Now you need some wire screen.  The variety I bought is somewhere between chicken wire and screen door mesh.  As long as it holds ice up, you're good.  This stuff stayed in whatever position I bent it, so that determined how I was going to hold it up.

After cutting a square so it fit snugly across the ice chest, I cut a few more sections and curled them to serve as pillars.  This turns out to be a very sturdy arrangement.

As I promised above, you can also see the position of the two holes I cut through the sides.  The higher-up one is offset only because I was avoiding the handle on that side.


Perch the fog machine high enough that it blows into the ice chest.  As you can see here, there is a layer of ice across the mesh.  You've figured it out already: The fog is injected through the top hole, goes over and through the ice layer before exiting the bottom hole and creating a spooky atmosphere for the Trick or Treaters.

The white and blue are anything but Halloween colors, so I added a layer of black, then followed that with some matte black spray paint to cover any hard-to-reach spots (i.e., in the grooves).

Test run.  Not much ice in here, but it does the trick at keeping the fog low.

Here's the makeshift assembly on Halloween night: the fogger stacked on top of a container up against the back of the cooler.  The whole thing is supposed to be "hidden" behind a gravestone.  That really wasn't the case until it grew dark enough for the spotlights in front of the "stones" to cast a shadow in that direction.

Houston, we have a problem.  The fog wasn't pushing through the ice very fast.  I had loaded it up with a full bag of ice cubes, and that meant there was too much solid material blocking the path.  I put a doormat over the whole thing, but to no avail.

Dani solved the problem completely with a few inches of aluminum foil to bridge the gap.  This sealed it 100%.

Removing some of the ice helped as well.  There needs to be some space between the ice cubes.  If there's a solid layer, then the fog is just going into a dead end and can't help but back up.

Ta da!

UPDATE (late 2012): I made a custom connection between the fogger and cooler.  Measurements will vary depending on what size hole you cut and the opening on your fogger, but for mine, I found that the hole in my ice chest was approx. 2", and the "spout" on the fogger was approx. 1.5".  A 2" PVC pipe fit flush into the hole, but the fogger cooler was a little larger than the inside diameter of the 1.5" pipe.  However, a 1.5" coupling caught it, so I used that.  I don't have a picture of it on this page, but it's a much better approach than any of the other attempts on this page.

Before long it was coming out pretty fast and staying low.  Very, very awesome.  Dani's the Baroness from GI Joe, just in case you weren't a boy in the '80s.

A nice shot of the fog.  Unfortunately, periodic gusts of wind helped dissipate it and put it into the air, hence the picture is a bit hazy.

A good blanket of the stuff.

Ah, and here's a good idea for next year: Light effects!

The undead just love creepy low-lying fog.

Here it is on Halloween day in 2010 with the fogger running through the cooler to get the low-lying fog.

That's the other member and a half of the Conehead family.


Plans for next year?  After checking out the awesome set-up at my friend Liz's house, I'm considering her design that incorporates a hose with a computer fan to better distribute the fog.  She also has a higher-quality machine, so it may be worth it for me to upgrade.  Stay tuned, true-believers!


Copyright 2007-2010 the Ale[x]orcist.
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