Monday, September 06, 2004

Behind the scenes: Rocking tombstone repaired

Originally uploaded by Ghost Host.
The long Labor Day weekend has been just thing to get us jumpstarted on our 2004 haunt. Here you see the "Rocking Tombstone" I referenced earlier (oh, and ignore my little toes there).

This piece (made from 2" pink insulation foam, a paper mache skull and monster mud texturing) sits in a hollow base. It's hinged at one end..see? Right where you see the little dab of duct tape is where a "crank engine" (like the kind that run those animated reindeer you find at Target) uses a bent shaft (imagine a smile shape) to lift the stone (as the underside of the bent shaft passes) and then gently sit the stone back down. The shaft had worn away the bottom of the stone significantly (as one might expect given the amount of time the stone ran). I had to rebuild the entire area. But how do you rebuild pink insulation foam? I had thought I would press some chicken wire into to base of the stone and then spray in some expanding foam (Great stuff or equivalent). This seemed like overkill once I thought about it more. So, I simply shaved off some pink foam "shims" from a scrap piece of foam I had in the garage and built the bottom back up using the "shims" and gray duct tape. Swear to God the world could not function without duct tape. The result is a smooth and (hopefully) resilliant bottom ready for another season of spookiness. Along with this repair I also had to repair the wooden "base" that holds the crank engine. When we pulled the stone last Halloween night, the entire unit came apart. Nothing that some liquid nails couldn't make better again. But a little repair that had been nagging at me all Summer. This prop is actually one that I purchased from Lothar's Lair. Lothar is a very talented prop builder and with our two very young kids at home sometimes the temptation to purchase an impact prop to augment the ones we've built is too much to resist. Not that I didn't have to do work on this prop. I have had to seriously reinforce Lothair's design to deal with KC's whipping winds and rain but it's really a great piece of work. If you plan to take up home haunting, we encourage you to patronize the craftsmen we introduce you to here (or others you may find) INSTEAD of paying way to much for way too little at a retail Halloween store.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sweeney family- I'm still trying to figure out how to post comments on your blogs. I'm posting anonymously, but its really just me -Hardy's mom, aka Gwyneth Paltrow. :) I love it!

boabhan sith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ghost Host said...

Thanks for your cool comment. I totally agree with the sentiments. However, I have deleted your post due to "scary" language. Thanks for stopping by and come again.

Anonymous said...

It was such a treat to see the Sweeney Family Horror. Thanks to you all for adding to my son's, nephew's and MY Halloween memories. The fun you shared for us was amazing. In a culture of greed it's nice to see folks interested in bringing back the fun (without all the commercialism) of the holidays.
It's great to have you in the Brookside "hood".
You're just so ghoul!

Anonymous said...

This is the best place I've ever been for Halloween. You made my memories last. I had fun watching my cousin go up the steps and get scared half to death. Who are you guys really? Email me at and tell me who you are.
Age 12

Ghost Host said...

Wow! Thanks for stopping by the Web site guys and thanks for the kind comments. We do this to make our neighborhood more fun, so it's great to know you guys enjoyed it! Spread the word! Stop back by the Web site often as we'll keep updating it through Halloween. And we do hope you'll join us Halloween night!