i'm looking for an idea to make and float ghost props on Halloween.

i've seen a couple instructables on ghosts in here, but not one that fit the bill. This year I tried a helium filled balloon with white material on it. The idea was to use an LED inside the white balloon, drape the material over the balloon and let it float in my front yard. Secure it with fishing string. But the lightest material I found was still too heavy for the balloon. The material wasn't cheesecloth, but as close to it as i could find. Any ideas or recommendations?

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Brennie7 years ago
I tie some strong fishing line from a drainpipe on the house corner to a lampost which is just by my fence. This takes it across the bit of garden where I make my cemetery. Get it as high as possible so there's no danger of anyone walking into it and then you can tie whatever you want on to it. The line is invisible in the dark and I think it always looks better when there's no apparent spot above the ghost where it could be tied to. I used a battery operated skull light, designed to be carried by trick or treaters. I took the plastic handle off and made a wire loop to tie a length of fishing line to. Then it was covered with some cheesecloth which I made nice and frayed and discoloured by soaking in some weak tea. I have also used just a shape made by covering a balloon with paper mache. Make the last few layers plain white and then drape with cheesecloth as before. I tried putting a glowstick inside but it didn't show up very well. Don't waste time/money/effort on things that won't be seen close up. It's enough just to suggest a shape and let the imagination do the rest! Hope this has given you a few ideas.
wtoddp8 years ago
Hope this helps... Use a much larger balloon or several in a cluster. Float the cluster higher than you want the ghost to float and suspend your ghost below it. Black balloons will show less against a dark sky. Floating 20 feet above a ghost that's 10 feet off the ground, they may go totally unnoticed. Use multiple tie-offs on either side of your path to keep the cluster where you want it and the strings out of the way. The ghost hanging below will still float or spin in the breeze. Be watchful of power lines or other hazards!!!
How about tissue paper, cut-and-pasted into shape as a 'ghost', working on the 'hot air-balloon' principle - with tea-lights or candles providing both the hot air and the internal illumination? (Rig a hoop at the lower end=mouth, with wires suspending the fire centrally, and I guess a tether to a weight or stake in the ground so it doesn't fly off! keep it all lightweight.)
If your 'ghost' balloon could't lift the weight of the tealight or candle, the tealight or candle could instead be set on the ground or on a post I guess, or you could pipe heated air or just a steady blast of air into it from some source (bonfire?) to keep it aloft. That all gets more energy-intensive and complex though.

This is what i got the idea from: We recently released 'sky lanterns' as finale of a children's parade event. These can be ordered online. They are tissue-paper hot-air balloons filled (one time only!) by a burning square of card suspended across the mouth of the balloon by wires from the bamboo circle lower rim. You have to hold the balloon up in the right shape, light the cardboard, then they only take about a minute or so to get buoyant and can be released to float away (and hopefully biodegrade totally wherever they come down).
The card burns out in a few minutes so they don't seem a fire-risk - but I would not advise them in dry seasons where there's flammable foliage, or in built up areas where there are erratic side-or down-drafts!
I reckon you need a much bigger balloon or equivalent gasbag. Try a bin-liner bag knotted or taped shut, with a valve or tube for filling. If you have access to a helium cylinder use that, or get a shop that seels helium balloons to fill it for you. (Check what they charge first). the bag may leak more than a balloon but is dirt-cheap and for one evening or a few hours, might do. Hydrogen gas you could generate yourself, and would be even lighter - but unlike inert helium it would pose a hazard of explosion and fire especially if around lighted pumpkins, candles etc.
klwdesigns (author)  armadillozenith8 years ago
i have a wash next to my house, all sand. Except for my north side, I have no neighbors within 100 yards of my house. so south of my house is dark. I'd like to float the ghosts over this area. 10, 15, 20 feet in the air as background. I have plenty of props for in my yard. Keep the ideas coming please.
er I meant "sells" helium balloons. Alternatively why not just use a ball mounted on a stick painted black, that you could hold; or a ball hung by a thread, if your 'ghost' is just to be in one spot? And drape the cloth over that.
necropolian8 years ago
if your wallet permits this, you can buy some 'flying earth globes'. they float about 10 centimeters above the base unit. then attach anything you like to the globe, but make sure the weight isn't one one spot.
Burf8 years ago
I used to use two or three of the large diameter, elongated (not the round ones) helium filled balloons. Tape them together with Scotch tape and a tie a sting to the end to hold them vertical. That was enough to support pieces of an old bed sheet. You can get the large balloons at most party stores.
jtobako8 years ago