The Mr. Jingles Crew is Back!

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After taking a year or so off to focus on the living, so to speak, the Mr. Jingles crew is back!  We’ve re-registered our domain name, so www.MrJinglesHH.com works now, and we are ready to go!  To kick things off we’ve picked up a new “Wally” to do things to this year.

This year, our local Walgreens didn’t stock the wonderful skeletons we used and abused in past seasons, so we turned our attention to Wal-Mart.  The version for sale at Wal-Mart seems to be based on the same mold as the other Wallies, but this version is “poseable.”  Well, it has gear type connections in the joints that kind of make them stay in one position.  We’ll have to fire up the camera and do a complete write-up on it a bit later.

Mr. Jingles wanted me to let everyone know that we are working on a very special project for this year, a Pumpkin Arch.  The inspiration comes from several he has seen on the internet in past months, and he wants to make his own version.  We may need to use more of the specially wired tea lights we wrote about previously so we don’t have to change out the batteries every night.

Looking forward to spending some time with our fans.  Happy Haunting, everyone!

Black Widow

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MrJinglesHalloweenHaunts.wordpress.com

Mr. Jingles AvatarMr. Jingles is moving!  Well, the site is, kind of.

Those of you who have been accessing the website through our “premium” URL, http://www.MrJinglesHH.com, are going to notice a difference at the end of this month.  This year we have decided to NOT renew the custom URL.  We’d rather spend that money on making cool props for this year’s Haunt.  We figure most of you are finding us through Google or the Halloween Forum anyway, so why waste the money.

If you want to be able to find the Mr. Jingles site over the summer, update your bookmarks now to our “old” address:  https://mrjingleshalloweenhaunts.wordpress.com/

Happy Haunting, Everyone!

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Building Snoopy’s Doghouse

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While watching A Charlie Brown Christmas last month, Mr. Jingles was hit with inspiration.  Apparently the one thing our Christmas decorations are missing is a life-size Snoopy doghouse.  So, using scrap wood left over from Halloween, he set out to build one.  As you can see, it is still in the early stages.  As they say, anything you don’t finish for this year is an early start on next year.

The idea is to paint one side blue so we can decorate it for Christmas, matching the way it looked in the movie.  Then, we can paint the other side red to use it for other holidays.  Now we have something to match our collection of Peanuts holiday flags!  Stay tuned for more updates on this latest project.

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Getting Ready for Halloween 2013!

It’s a New Year and we’ve got Bob cleaning up the shop.  Less than ten months until Halloween!

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Marshmallow Snowmen

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Cabin fever has set in at the Jingles house.  With the unseasonably cold weather we have been experiencing, we have been forced to stay inside much more than usual.  The little Jingles have needed extra activities to keep them entertained.

One of the activities Mr. Jingles came up with was making marshmallow snowmen.  It’s really simple, only takes a few items to make it happen, and if you mess up, you can always eat the evidence!

Just get some large marshmallows, toothpicks, and and cake decorating icing.  The icing we found came in small tubes that were easy to draw with.  Then, let your creativity run wild.

As you can see, Mr. Jingles himself took his inspiration from our Charlie Brown and Lucy salt and pepper shakers.  As you know, Charlie Brown is a “perfect model.”

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Merry Christmas from the Jingles Crew!

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Simple Spider Web Maker

‘Twas the night before Halloween and all through the house…  Haunters were frantically trying to get everything set up at the last minute!  Perhaps it’s because Halloween is on Wednesday this year, and we know that most of our Trick or Treaters will be at church events, but it has been difficult to really get into the haunting mood.  So, now we are scrambling around trying to finish, to be ready for those ghosts and goblins who will brave the cold to visit us.

An unexpected addition to this year’s items is a new Spider Web Maker.  A few years ago we purchased the official “Web Caster” gun only to be disappointed by the quality of the webs it created, and then disappointed again when it came to trying to get those webs (glue) off of the walls of our house.  This year we stumbled upon an ingenious solution to the spider web problem.  All credit goes to lbwoods on YouTube.

I can’t possibly improve on his “how to” video, so I won’t even try.  Just click on the links above to take a look.  What I can do is show you some of our results.  Once we got the hang of “slinging” the webs, things really started to get good.  Even our six-year-old got a chance to decorate.  We were battling high winds, so  I’m certain we will have to do some touch-ups on Halloween, but the effect is stunning, so it will certainly be worth it.  I just hope we have enough rubber cement!

 

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Carry’s Makeover Continues…

Well, we placed Carry, the Coffin Skeleton in the garage window, stood back, admired what we had created, and then immediately started planning revisions.  You see, the garage has two large windows, and Bob, the Cauldron Creep, was quietly stirring his spooky brew in the other window, nodding his head up and down, leering at passers-by.  With all of that activity going on just a few feet away, poor Carry couldn’t compete.  That’s where the motor came in…

I call this the “everything but the kitchen sink” build.  We started off by removing Carry’s arm from his body, drilling a hole through the coffin, and running a dowel into the arm.  Then, we mounted a motor on the back of the coffin, and connected the dowel to the motor using an odd assortment of items, including a couple of my daughter’s hair ties.

If I could give you the exact measurements of what we did, I would, but I’m still not exactly sure how everything came together.  It was a cut here, an extra washer there, and a whole lot of experimentation.  In fact, since I shot this video, we’ve already tinkered and made a few more adjustments to make things run a bit more smoothly.  Below you can see how Carry looks standing in his window.  On Halloween night our plan is to roll both Bob and Carry out into the garage, to greet our Trick or Treaters a bit more personally.  We can’t wait!

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How To: Building a Better Tea Light

Flickering candle tea lights are a staple of every home haunter’s inventory.  They’re perfect for dressing up any prop or scene because they’re realistic (if you squint) and because they won’t burn the house down.  Still, they can be a pain to operate.  Replacement batteries aren’t cheap, and it can take quite a bit of effort to turn the lights on and off every night.  Thankfully, we’ve found a solution to both problems!

In the Mr. Jingles garage we’ve started hard-wiring our tea lights.  This process takes a tea light, speaker wire, a resistor, a soldering gun, solder, and a spare transformer (aka “wall wart).  It also takes some electronics knowledge/skill.  If you’re not comfortable with a soldering gun, unfortunately this may be a project you want to avoid.

First, pop the top of the light off just like you would if you were changing the battery.  Then, remove the battery out and set it aside.  Take a length of speaker wire and solder it to the piece of metal the positive side of the battery was touching.  Then, take a second length of wire and prepare to solder it to the piece of metal the negative side of the battery was touching.

To reduce the voltage  from the transformer (aka “wall wart”) to a level that can be used by the LED, you’ll need to add in a resistor.  In our case we used a 560 ohms resistor to reduce power from 12 volts to three volts.  To figure out your exact numbers, use the LED Wizard Array calculator.

Then, drill a small hole in the side of the tea light, run the speaker wires through, and snap the top back on.  You’re half way there!  The final step is to solder the speaker wires to the transformer.  In our case we cut down a transformer from an old cell phone.  Be sure to solder the negative to the negative and the positive to the positive.

As you can see in the picture above, we also included some male/female connectors in our circuit so we could fit the wires to the light through a small hole in our coffin.  Now, we can flip one switch to turn the entire scene on and off.  It makes setting things up so easy!

Categories: 2012 Props, How To | Leave a comment

Ghoulish Green Punch & Ogre Ear Wax

The little gremlins were in the mood for some fun Halloween-themed snacks this past weekend, so we whipped up some treats to make them happy.  The menu included some Ghoulish Green Punch and Ogre Ear Wax.

The Ghoulish Green Punch (recipe lifted from Betty Crocker) was made using 2 cups of sugar, 2 quarts of water, 2 packages of lime drink mix, 46 oz pineapple juice, 1 bottle ginger ale, and a package of gummy worms.  This time around, things ended up more yellow than green, so a few drops of blue food coloring were added to balance things out.  This would look really cool served in a cauldron with some smoking dry ice.

The Ogre Ear Wax was made using small marshmallows, lollipop sticks, and a combination of caramel syrup and peanut butter.  The caramel syrup is actually a bit more convincing when first applied, but it drips off quickly and can be messy.  For food that won’t be eaten right away, the peanut butter works better.  Also, to get the dimensions correct, it may be necessary to cut the lollipop sticks down a bit.

Now that we’ve had a quick snack, it’s time to get back to haunting!

Categories: 2012 Props, Food | 1 Comment

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