Halloween Materials

Some generic construction materials just turn up over and over again in Halloween projects.  I think it's a good idea to have some of the following on hand pretty much all the time.


Canned paint - Cheaper than spray paint (by volume), whether you're getting latex or oil-based stuff.  I stock up on a lot of the basic colors: black, white, and red.  You can always use that for base coats, then apply effects on top such as washes.
Example projects: The Halloween countdown clock, Enter At Your Own Risk sign, and Haunted house fence

Spray paint - Good for getting to hard-to-reach places or following up with touch-ups after you've brushed on a coat and happened to miss a few spots.  You can also get specialized colors like stone paint (e.g., for gravestones) or fluorescent colors (see below).
Example projects: Haunted house shutters, Haunted house fence, and Gravestones

Glow-in-the-dark paint - Works well for outlining lettering, then it pops out under blacklight.  Can be found at most craft stores.
Example projects: The Halloween countdown clock or my Blacklight primer

Fluorescent paint - I found a small set of eight colors online for cheap, but can be found at most craft stores.  Works great on props, especially touching up existing ones to be even more dramatic under blacklights.
Example projects: Halloween Jack or the Pool room planetarium

Acrylic - Good for small projects, especially indoor props.  Can be blended easily to get custom colors.
Example project: Angels and Demons


Plywood - Don't get anything too porous.  It's cheaper in the long run to get more expensive wood.  The cheap stuff sucks up too much paint otherwise.
Example projects: Gravestones, 3D gravestones (page under construction), or the Halloween countdown clock

Old fence boards - Make great signs or dilapidated fencing or just the sides of your coffin.
Example projects: Haunted house fencing, toe-pincher coffin, or the Area 52.5 sign

2x4s - Good for building sturdy framing for props, walls, signs, etc.
Example projects: Haunted fencing or the UFO crash site


Light sockets - Save these off of broken lamps to put inside of props or to mount elsewhere and use for mood lighting or lightning effects.
Example projects: Spotlights, haunted tv sets, the Lamppost, or the Light(ning) organ

Cords - These come in handy for wiring up things like the light sockets or other AC devices (e.g., motors).  You can also turn them into flicker circuits.
Example project: Flicker circuits

Extension cords - This is almost self-explanatory, but you will find you need miles of the stuff to adequately run power to everything: your foggers, spotlights, animatronic props, etc., especially if you're going all out in the yard.

X-mas lights - I prefer strands with C7 and C9 bulbs as those light up the inside of props better than tiny lights.
Example projects: Ghosts, Glowing skulls, Halloween Jack, or the Pumpkin light string

Light bulbs - Blacklights and colored "party bulbs" can be used in props or to light whole rooms.  Additionally, there are plenty of specialized lights that work well with Halloween props like rope lights, color-changing bulbs, or flicker-flame bulbs.
Example projects: Bathroom bloody bathroom, the Lamppost, or Fun with blacklights: Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3


Black cloth - Good for curtains/drapes/table cloths, but you can also make props out of the stuff.
Example project: The roof spiders

White cloth - D
rape sheets of it over the furniture or cut it up and makes ghosts to hang in the trees.
Example project: Ghosts

Muslin - Any color will do, and you can dye it.  Very easy to tear and otherwise distress.  Makes great curtains between rooms.
Example project: The front room

Misc. Materials

PVC pipe - This is incredibly cheap by the foot, and you can form it into all sorts of shapes either by bending it or using the right set of fittings.  It's very easy to cut as well.  Makes a good structural framework for the insides of props or can be painted to suit the prop in other ways.
Example projects: Halloween Jack and the Lamppost

Cobwebs - Great accent piece, and it also fluoresces under blacklights.  Works inside or out.  You can use a little or a lot, depending on the look you want to achieve.
Example project: Kitchen of the spiders

Fishing line - Perfect for suspending props from the ceiling.
Example projects: The blacklit living room or The front room goes batty

Junk - Things you fund on the curb like old fenceboards, pipes, etc. can be used to produce industrial-looking props.  See for example, my page about Projects made from junk.

The moral: If you see any of the above on sale or (better yet!) free on the side of the road or whatnot, gather it up.  Collect whatever you can because most of this can be used in so many different ways in various Halloween projects.


Copyright 2012 the Ale[x]orcist.