This was the year of
We tried all sorts of new things this go-round. The glowing
skulls on the roof, a string of
lights on the back porch, luminaria
a lamppost out front, but the main thing
the spotlights. For all work we've put into decorating and
props, you really couldn't see them very well at night until this year.
||A look across the yard.
also see the lamppost with the flickering bulb inside.
||This is an early experiment with
a big green spotlight across the front yard and a purple cover over a
on the front porch (the other light is an unfiltered white CFL).
There are also small
lights aimed at the gravestones, hence
||Spotlights are relatively cheap,
get what you pay for. This one was $5, but it was potted metal
broke within minutes of getting it out of the package. I
returned it along with a second one I hadn't even opened yet, and
a better set.
The baby formula can is to make a
to keep the light focused on its intended target. This also keeps
the bright bulb from distracting from the scene by drawing attention to
||Soup cans work even better with
CFL party lights.
||I used a sheet metal cutter to
||I've got it in here upside-down
the purpose of showing the approximate diameter.
||Note that I used a short length
wire to stabilize the can at the right height (angle) so it wouldn't
on the bulb.
||A coat of paint on the outside
cans so they aren't so obvious in the daylight. The inside of the
cans is still reflective which makes them more efficient.
||Here's the baby formula can (now
painted as well) covering the floodlight.
||Here's a failed experiment: A
(and, unrelated, the almost-assembled lamppost
in the background).
UPDATE: Even though this failed with an incandescent bulb, it works
perfectly with CFL spotlights.
||I used glass paint on this bulb,
was never sufficiently dark and creepy, even after two coats. The
result leaned more lavender, and that's just not scary in the ways I
Note: The purple light on the
the second picture on this page was a plastic cup lined with this same
paint and sitting over the top of a CFL. We abandoned that
for the same reason: Weak effect. It just wasn't purple enough.
||Fully painted bulb.
was the paint just didn't hold up with the heat an incandescent bulb
out. No big investment in this case since I have many of these on
hand from the previous owners and never use any for house lights.
UPDATE: Like I said above,
you can't get away with this on an incandescent bulb because it puts
out too much heat. However, it works perfectly with CFL
spotlights since they're much cooler.
||The house isn't normally this
I swear! This year we ripped off the exterior walls and insulated
as well as updated the wiring (much of which dates from the 1920s!)
adding additional outlets all over the house, particularly out front.
I hadn't gotten everything in
for Halloween, so everything ran through just the one outlet (GFCI, of
course) that had its own dedicated breaker. Fortunately, most of
what was run through here were those CFL lights which are low-wattage
begin with due to their inherent efficiency, plus the colored "party
are lower wattage than the conventional white variety.
||Early in the evening. I
the porch lights on yet, and it's still so early that the blacklight on
the Halloween Countdown Clock is only barely
And yes, that's a nearly-full moon above the house.
||From a different angle with some
or Treaters out front.
||Looking up the walkway with the luminaria
Note the gravestone to the
The green floodlight gives it a tint around the edges and white in the
center from its own dedicated white spotlight.
||A look across the front
you look past the piles of scrap wood (formerly a couple of the haunted
tvs), you can see the spotlights back-lighting the ghosts. I
have them jammed in flower pots.
||I also added a strobe light
backlight this spirit in the window.
||The moon overhead.
This may grow into its own
later and isn't really appropriately described as spotlights anyway
we're talking about low-power lights in every case.
Color-changing bulbs have the
of making things look alive, not just lit-up. Pulsing
a series of color changes does wonders, almost animating something
the need for motors or solenoids.
||These are sold as pumpkin
They have three LEDs and can be static lights in any basic color of the
red, blue, or green LED (or combinations) via the button on the side,
even better, they also rotate through the colors either fast or
As you can see with the one on
I had Dani apply some adhesive velcro to drop these inside the tv sets,
as seen on the Haunted '50s TV page, for
However, the problems with this
the fact that they require either 3 AAA batteries or can accept an AC
supply (not included; has to be a 4.5V adapter, and you need one for
If you're using batteries, then
to be able to physically get to the light to turn it on and off, which
is difficult if it is inside of a prop.
||As a result of the above, I
AC-only bulbs that fit conventional sockets.
The first I found (most left)
around $60 here in the States, but you can order it via eBay direct
Hong Kong for $15. In fact, the picture here was lifted from the
auction listing for one. I believe it is 3W, although I have seen
5W versions for the same price lately. This was the first one I
It has a number of advantages:
- The remote control allows
color or color-changing mode you prefer. You can also dim it,
the light really isn't powerful enough to need dimming.
- It remembers the last
I always prefer to have it on color-change mode, so this means not
to re-set it every time I turn it on.
- It has a smaller profile
on top, so it fits inside of or under things like the glowing
skulls or the canopy of the flying saucer.
||That's it on the left. The
light pictured was a more recent discovery (and its packaging is shown
here to help you track it down). Found at Home Depot. Like
the pumpkin lights, it also cycles through modes (one of each color,
change, and smooth transition) via a small button on the side of the
My only complaint is it doesn't remember the last mode once turned off,
unlike the more expensive (and smaller) version at left, so you still
to have access to it. However, at $5 a piece, though only 0.6
I bought four of them just because I know I'll use some no matter what.
2009-2010 the Ale[x]orcist.