So let's get started!
Step 1: Materials
You will also need a pair of electrodes. Thin copper tubing works superbly for this, as it is very conductive and easy to bend. I went cheap and used a coat hanger that was laying around. Be aware that most coat hangers have some type of paint or plastic coating that will have to be removed. I had to sand mine quite a bit before the coating was gone.
A non-conductive base must be used to mount the electrodes. A non flammable base is also a good thing to have if you are worried about setting something on fire. Note that at excessive voltages, wood no longer stays an insulator, and starts to conduct electricity. If this does happen, you can count on that wood to ignite.
Some high-voltage wire is also recommended. I couldn't find any, so I used some 12 gauge hook-up wire. The thicker the gauge and the insulation the better!
Step 2: Prepare the Electrodes
When it is more or less straight, you need to clean the coating off. In comes the sandpaper! Sand the whole thing down with some medium grit paper and wipe it down with some acetone or MEK. Then cut them in half. I didn't measure before cutting, so I have uneven electrodes. But for Halloween, it makes them look more evil!
Step 3: Put It Together!
Connect the outputs of your transformer to the base of your electrodes. You are now ready to turn it on!
Step 4: Shock and Awe!
If you have the time and are willing to put in the effort, it makes the whole thing look nice if you put it inside of a box. Some acrylic tubing around the electrodes will look cool and also protect spectators from their stupidity.
Please feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, or share your creation with me! :p