Step 9: Make it come alive

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Making things come alive is another great way to set the mood. A mannequin with a rubber mask and cloak is almost a piece of furniture until its eyes start glowing red. Use helping hands to direct laser pointers at the mask’s eyes, and alligator clips to wire the battery terminals to the controller. I discovered that baby Furbies behave very strangely when given half their nominally required 6 VDC. Instead of batting its eye-lashes and making baby sounds, mine moaned and screamed like it was just skinned alive. So, I completed the effect by actually skinning it and wiring it up to the controller and an appropriate 3 VDC source. In fact, almost any skinned animatronic children’s toy will make a great prop, and many of them, such as Teddy Ruxpin, can be hacked to say whatever you want. In the dark, you often need only to suggest something rather than fully recreate it. For example, two bright white lights and a rush or air from a fan along with the soundtrack were enough to evoke the feeling a truck stopping just short of trick-or-treaters at the door.