Author Archives: BlackWidow

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Building Snoopy’s Doghouse


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


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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Fun Find: Haunted Victorian Telephone

Last year on one of the Halloween prop sites, most likely Halloween Forum, I found a set of instructions for creating a haunted telephone.  The build, which was quite detailed, involved finding an old-style phone, mounting it to a table, attaching a switch to the cradle, and wiring the whole thing to a small MP3 player pre-programmed with spooky sounds.  The prop seemed really cool, but, unfortunately, creating it would require more time than I was willing to invest.

Then, this past weekend, I spotted something interesting at my local Target store.  As you can see from my shaky cell phone video above, this phone is a lot like the prop I described.  Dialing the phone causes it to ring, and answering the phone triggers a series of spooky sayings.  The phone is made of a very light plastic, though, so light that someone answering the phone could accidentally yank it off of a table.  For use in a well-traveled haunt, it would be necessary to mount the phone securely.

The phone is priced at $15.00 and can be found in the Halloween Decor section.  The exact name of the item is Victorian Phone.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a listing for it online.  If you’re looking for a simple, reasonably priced, haunted phone, check out your local Target.

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Carry the Skeleton and His New Wheels

This year we have decided to move Carry from his position on the front porch to a featured spot inside one of our large garage windows.  To do this, we mounted his coffin on a rolling platform identical to the one we created for Bob last year (instructions to come as soon as I can find the pictures).

As you can see from the pictures below (click to enlarge), we had to zip-tie Carry into place to make him stand in the coffin.  Then, we used a series of large L-brackets to secure the coffin to the platform.  Brackets were also used to secure the coffin lid to the platform and to the coffin itself.  Only one of the angles was a perfect 90 degrees, so the rest had to be bent/muscled into position.

The final bracket, the one fastening the lid to the coffin, proved to be tricky.  The drill wouldn’t fit into the space, so instead of using screws, we came at the holes from the opposite side using a pair of bolts and nuts.  The exposed bolt heads, as well as any exposed brackets, will eventually be covered up as the prop is dressed for Halloween with pumpkins, candles, and more.

The next step is to dig up Carry’s LED accent lighting from last year and mount the spots somewhere in the coffin.  Then, we’ll hit the entire prop with a layer of spider webs, either from our Web-Caster, or from a home-built design we have been eyeing.  Either way, those are posts for another day.

Happy Haunting everyone!


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A Closer Look at “Carry” the Skeleton

Those of you who took a look at the pictures from our 2011 Haunt may have noticed a skeleton in a coffin sitting on our front porch.  This skeleton, known as Carry, got a brief mention in one of our build posts, but he really didn’t get all of the attention he deserves.

Carry, named such because he was being carried around in his coffin, was paired with the smaller of the two toe-pincher coffins we built last year.  With the skeleton and the coffin both being about five feet tall, it was a perfect fit.  Originally we were going to make this an animated prop, with a thumping lid, but the lid proved to be too heavy for the motor, so we moved on to Plan B.

We stood the coffin up on its end, drilled a few holes in the back, and zip-tied the skeleton into place.  Carry was fitted with two glowing red eyes, using the same method we used on the Cauldron Creep.  Then, he got a blinking heart, thanks to one of the bottles in the Witch’s Ingredients Bottles from Spirit Halloween.  We simply yanked the heart from the bottle and hung it in the rib cage with wire.  Finally, we hit the entire prop with accent lighting from a few home-made LED spot lights (a How To coming soon).

The picture above is a shot of how Carry looked in the daylight last year.  As you’ll see in the next post, Carry and his coffin are in the process of a make-over to prepare them for this year.

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Mr. Jingles, Back From the Dead!

Hello everyone!  It has been a long and wonderful Summer, and somehow this year’s Halloween Season snuck up on us!  With less than two weeks to go before “Haunt Day” (October 1), the Jingles Crew has shifted into overdrive.  We have to complete some of the unfinished props from last year’s haunt, and bring some new props to life.

Most importantly, we need to finish the “How To” for our Cauldron Creep.  You may have seen that we updated his body.  Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  We promise to complete the instructions so those of you who are creating your own Creeps at home can see what we did, hopefully get inspired by our ideas, and certainly learn from our mistakes.

Until next time, Happy Haunting everyone!

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