Introduction: Haunted Mansion Man-Eating Wreath

About: "Almost Toast"

'Twas a long time ago
Longer now than it seems
In a place that perhaps
That you've seen in your dreams.
For the story that you are about to be told
Began with the holiday worlds of old.

I know you're curious
To see what's inside.
It's what happens
When two holidays collide....

-from Disney's Haunted Mansion Holiday ride [1]

Merry Christmas Instructabrarians!

I am so so excited right now I feel like I might spontaneously combust at any second now. I mean next to Halloween, what other possible holiday can lay claim to having the most extravagant and awesome decorations, celebratory activities, or mind numbingly beautiful atmosphere like X-Mas? But both holidays are my absolute favorite times of the year and I'm always left feeling a bit disheartened at the end of each one of them That's why, for the past couple of years, I've been taken a tip from Tim Burton and combined both Halloween and Christmas together in an attempt to create a beautiful fusion of the two. In this Instructable, I present an old annual favorite of mine from my "Twisted Christmas" collection, the Man-Eating Holiday Wreath.

Step 1: Overview & Inspiration

"A man-eating plant makes a wonderful long as you don't get caught in its teeth!"

I love Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (directed by the awesome Henry Selick). Hands down, it is one of the most awesome Christmas animated films ever conceived and the everything from the art to the animation is pulled off amazingly. And every year I decorate my home to pay tribute to this awesome film.

For those of you who haven't seen the film, The Man-Eating Wreath was one of the terrifyingly bizarre Christmas presents that Jack Skellington left under his guise as "Sandy Claws". This wreath is based on both the film's version as well as the realistic toothy version in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Step 2: Materials

So this Instructable is super easy and simple and since I don't have a lot of cash, it's really not all that expensive either. The main materials are listed under the Materials section, and the other additional parts for the tentacles and the glowing eyes are under Optional.

- fake Christmas Wreath
- festive holiday bow
- 2 ping pong balls
- 6 styrofoam cups
- fake Holly Berries (or some kind of small red beads)

- Hot Glue Gun and glue
- clear plastic tape (not shown)
- Black Sharpie Marker

- 6 feet vinyl Threaded Christmas Garland (the more flexible, the better)
- Green String/ yarn (if necessary, to connect bow to wreath)
- 2 Yellow LEDs
- Dremel Tool and Soldering Iron w/ solder (not shown)
- Wire (not shown)
- Battery Pack (not shown)

Oh and you'll need at least 4 screw-in hooks, for hanging up your wreath.

Step 3: Preparing the Wreath

Before we begin, I think it's important to point out the main areas in the most important piece- the faux holiday wreath. Now I'm not sure if this is the same for all fake wreaths, but on the back of mine there were two circular wire frames keeping the entire shape round. Make sure that yours have these. These are very crucial to this project and will serve as our gluing and attachment areas for the Teeth and the optional Tentacles.

Editor's Note: This is also why I chose a fake wreath as opposed to a real one (however if anyone would like to try it with a real one, I'd love to see pictures).

Step 4: Eye Scream

Now, let's start with the eyeballs.

First, take your ping pong balls and draw two small circles in the middle of a clear white area (unobtrusive from the company label) using your black sharpie marker.   These will serve as the pupils for your wreath.  Next, place the eyes into your wreath  and  by bending the branches try and have it partially covered to create an "eyebrow effect".  When you are done, take the eyeballs and hot glue them into your wreath, making sure that they are in straight.

Optional: If you want glowing yellow LED eyes, dremel a small hole in the back of the ping pong ball to fit the inside dome of the light.  Then using hot glue again, glue in the light.  DO NOT GLUE IN THE EYES YET, we will be discussing them again in step 7.

Step 5: The Better to Eat You With

Now it's time to begin creating the teeth for your wreath! 

There were multiple ways to do this, but the easiest and most effective way I found was using the material from styrofoam cups to create them.  Start by cutting a slant down the middle of the cup.  Next cut out the bottom circle of the cup and then from the remaining styrofoam, cut two small isosceles triangular shapes making sure that they are exactly the same shape and size.  You'll need to clear tape the two halves together to create the 3D sharp cone like shape.

Create them of different shapes and varying sizes (I usually create to long ones in the middle between descending smaller teeth) and then when you're done, glue them to the inner metal rim of the wreath.

You are now finished with your main wreath's face and you can now hang it up!  Otherwise, carry on with the additionally awesome LED Glowing Eyes and Garland Tentacles. 

Editor's Note: For best purposes, the larger the styrofoam cups you can get, the bigger and better the teeth will look.  Also, remember when gluing to situate the taped sides at the side of the teeth, so the tape isn't noticeable in the final product.

Step 6: I Can't Think of a 'Tentacle' Related Pun

So now that you are full finished with the wreath itself, it's time to begin with the coolest part of this project, the monstrous tentacles! In the film, as "Sandy Claws" leaves a festive holiday wreath on an old woman's house, it slowly begins to transform into a hideous monster as several feet of tentacles protrude out if it and begin to strangle her.

Start by taking your several feet of holiday garland, cutting it up into equal lengths.  Now depending on how long you want each length vs how many you want, I tend to go with four.  Once you're done, hot glue the end of each section onto the outer metal frame and attach them to your wreath.   

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Alright you are almost nearly complete!  This step is just for small added personal touches of mine, completely optional.

In Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Holiday, their twisted version of the film's holiday wreath not only included the addition of horrific teeth but also eerie glowing yellow eyes.  I loved that addition and thought it would be really cool if I could incorporate some LED throwies into this as well.  Start by taking your LED ping pong eyeballs from step 4 and then taking four different wires, solder two wires to both the positive and negative leads.  Make sure that the wire is long enough so that it does not interfere with the teeth.  Then finish the circuit by connecting the wires through the back wreath and into the battery pack (that way the wires are only visible in the back).

I also added a festive holiday bow to mine as well as a fake holly berries for added freshness.

Step 8: Hanging It Up

Only one more step to go, and luckily it is the easiest!

Hanging up your wreath is extremely simple.  Using your metal screw-in hooks, hang the head of the muppet decoration from the outer metal frame. To hang up the dangling tentacles, using invisible fishing line and attach the hooks at a slightly farther away distance to make the garlands actually threatening.  For best results, try hanging them up in different areas further away from each other.  

Editor's Note: I've also hung mine outside my door not only to scare away neighbors, but also because the slight breeze can make the puppet seem alive.

Step 9: Finished!

And Congratulations!  You now have a completely menacing and festive holiday monster!  I think as they would say in Halloween Town:


So Happy Holidays one and all!  Kidnap the Sandy Claws!


Step 10: Happy Hallow-day Links

For those of you haven't seen Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, I highly suggest finding it on youtube or renting it from netflix.  It's an awesome film and deserves every bit of accolade. 

For finding out more about Disney's awesome Haunted Mansion Holiday dark ride overlay you can visit for an amazing and in depth review of the history and behind-the-scenes look at the amazing work the Walt Disney imagineers did in creating the masterpiece.  And, if you'd like to hear more of the amazing background music, composed by John Debney (in tribute to Danny Elfman) you can also visit Subsonic Radio which has a complete collection of the HMH music for online streaming or has several downloadable HMH music in the Tributes section.

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