Our Nimble Fingered Organist, aka “The Skeletal Organist”, is an effect we first created back in the 90’s for our home haunt, and turned out to be a perenial favorite as the best Halloween prop in our haunted house. Everyone assumed it was an animatronic skeleton and wanted to know the secret behind how we achieved such natural, fluid arm and hand movements.
The secret, as you’ll find, is a surpisingly simple one. Moreover, this DIY project is fairly easy to build, especially as far as creating animated Halloween props goes. It doesn’t require any special skills, tools or know-how. Most prop builders should be able to build this do-it-yourself Halloween project in an afternoon. Ready to begin?
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Here is a list of items you’ll need for this project. See the links page at the end of the tutorial for recommended brands and links to where you can buy some of these items online if you don’t already have them in your haunter’s tool kit.
• Skeleton (Good posable plastic skeletons have become available for cheap recently)
• Skeletal gloves (the kind with the raised plastic bones on them work best)
• Black Light (get a good tube type black light, the light bulb types don’t put out much UV light)
* Glow-In-The-Dark Paint (spray paint is easier to apply and glows more brightly)
* Masking Tape
* Zip Ties (the “Natural” colored ties are best for this project. Short ones are fine)
* Black fabric (3 yards should be plenty) plus some tacks, staples or duct tape to secure it
* 1-inch Threaded Floor Flange (your local hardware store will have these in the plumbing area)
* Reducing Male Adapter” (1” x 3/4”) (also available in your hardware store’s sprinkler dept.)
* 3/4” PVC Pipe (a 2-foot scrap piece will do just fine)
* Black paint (spray paint or liquid form is fine) (You can also use black duct tape instead)Black long-sleeved shirt (for your operator to wear during performances)
Optional: Piece of plywood, 35” x 14”, (if you don’t want screw holes in your organ bench)
Optional: Clamps or black duct tape (if you don’t want screw holes in your organ bench)
Optional: Talking Skull (Swap in a talking skull if you want your organist to speak or sing)