Instructables

Halloween: cheap and easy dropping spider silhouette

Picture of  Halloween: cheap and easy dropping spider silhouette
This was my dirt simple, zero cost, last second prop for Halloween.

Since I had setup a lot of spider webs in my front door, essentially making it look as if you are walking into a cobweb, I figured a large spider was in order.
 
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Step 1: Making the spider

Picture of Making the spider
I searched for some good spider images that I could convert into a silhouette but found none. I did find lots of good reference images though.

I fired up Google Sketchup, as it can work as great and easy line drawing program with a mirror function. It also allowed me to layout my frosted glass panel to scale and visualize how large I wanted the spider to be on the glass.

I drew a cool looking spider, and a few minutes later I had a to-scale print out to use as a guide to cut my cardboard.

The template I made is online here: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=f25f707c99ef38358b62e185294e8b2e

Step 2: Setting up the dropping spider.

Picture of Setting up the dropping spider.
Once the cardboard was cutout I spray painted the outside surface black, as it is visible during the day though the glass.

On Halloween night I wedged a PVC pipe against both walls.
I made a crude pulley by applying tape to the PVC pipe.

I used garden twine to suspend the spider.
I used a spot-light to back light it, it makes a VERY strong silhouette from the outside, vs standard house lighting.

The spot light was used to anchor the spider up just enough to catch your eye.

When the door rings I walk up and pull the string before approaching the door. The spider drops quickly to the bottom of the window, just about eye height on a kid.

It made for quite a few screams and a few people jumping back. Some had to have me show their kids it wasn't real. (Sorry)

It cost virtually nothing, took no time at all to do and was very effective.

Next year I think I will make the spotlight flicker before I drop the spider, just to make sure people's eyes are on the door when it drops.
ZapWizard (author) 3 years ago
I used this for two years, it was effective both years even with some of the same kids.

Last year I had a much larger spider web and spider that I modded LED eyes into.
I also had the spider drop at the door.

LED modded spider

This year however I have stepped it up a notch to down right unnerving.
I am using a ultra-projector I bought last year along with a animation of dozens of spiders crawling across the door glass. In person in the dark it is very hard to tell they aren't real.

annark2 years ago
think theyre both great, the animated one is very effective!
FatCatDaddy3 years ago
Where can we find that animation or one like it?
ZapWizard (author)  FatCatDaddy3 years ago
http://goo.gl/ZVWP
Granny_Leah3 years ago
Very effective.
Have you continued to use it, or made any changes?
askjacob6 years ago
Nice and simple. I like it!