Beheaded Punchbowl Fountain

Introduction: Beheaded Punchbowl Fountain

Why settle for a boring punchbowl at this year's Halloween party?  Why not make one the guests will never forget. (It may haunt them for years to come.)

This Instructable will show you the steps on how to transform a punchbowl into something more suitable for this haunting occasion.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

Needed materials:

For the fountain and bowl:

A wicker basket
A small fountain pump
Rubber hose that fits the pump
Two large bowls (or a bowl and something else to hold a fountain pump and the punch)
Hardboard paneling (or sturdy cardboard)
A sheet, blanket or fabric that can be cut down to size.
A (fake) severed head. (Available at most good Halloween stores.  A baby doll head works too.)

For the dummy:
Three 8 foot length 2x4s.
Four 3.5 inch bolts with matching washers and nuts.
Box of 2.5 in wood screws.
A large robe style costume. (For ours, we used a friend's grim reaper costume and added to it other sheets of black fabric)

General tools:
Safety glasses
Power drill/screwdriver
Tape measure

Step 2: Construct the Punchbowl

The first step is to construct the punchbowl. I designed the bowl this year to try to hide the cord and the hose that were coming from the pump. To achieve this, we will be hiding the larger bowl (a black cauldron) inside the basket and will have the smaller punchbowl resting on top. When selecting the larger bowl, keep in mind that it needs to fit into the basket underneath the other bowl.

Start out by tracing the general shape and size of your basket onto your piece of paneling. (Picture 2) Inside of your traced line, draw another line about half an inch smaller. Cut out your board following this line.  You want this piece of paneling to rest securely near the top of your basket (Picture 3)

Next, lay the punchbowl top side down on the cut piece of paneling and repeat the above steps. It may help to drill a hole inside your circle first to allow you to insert your jigsaw's blade. Your bowl should be able to rest in your cutout without falling through.

Drill enough holes in the upper punchbowl so that the punch will drain through fast enough to keep up with the pump. (Picture 5)

To prepare the head for use, you simply need to cut a small circular opening in the neck of the head and another one on top.  Thread the hose through the head to make sure it fits without being pinched shut.

Step 3: Constructing the Dummy 1: the Base

We'll start off this step by cutting the 2x4 studs into pieces needed for the next two steps.

Cut the first stud into four 2 ft sections.  These will form the feet of the base.
Cut the second stud into four 1.5 ft  and one 2 ft section. These will form the shoulders and arms.
Cut the third stud into two 5 in blocks, two 3 in blocks, an 8 in section and a 6 ft section.  These will form the collar, head, and torso.

Lay your torso piece down, and at the bottom, at a right angle lay one of the 2 ft sections. You can use picture 4 below as a guide. It may help to lay another piece of wood under the foot to keep it level.  Use two screws to attach the foot piece to the torso.  Flip it over and repeat with another piece of the feet.

Now, stand one of the feet up so that it touches the torso, and both feet. (Picture 5)  Use the screws to secure this piece by putting one into the base, and one into the topmost board.  Flip it over and repeat this process. After this is done,  add another screw into these boards through the pieces they were initially standing on.

Your base should be ready and stable now.

Step 4: Constructing the Dummy 2: Shoulders, Collar and Arms.

For this step, we will assemble the top part of the dummy.

To start off we will assemble both arms and add the elbow joints. Take two of your 1.5 ft length pieces. Lay them nearly end to end, with about an inch and a half overlapping. Drill a small hole through both boards. (See picture 2.)  Now, using a drill bit the same diameter as your bolt, drill all the way through each board.  Place a washer on the bolt, push it through both boards and cap it off with the other washer and a nut.  Repeat these steps for the other arm.

Now you need to decide how you want each arm to move.  It can swing  from front to side, or up and down.

To allow the arm to swing sideways, attach it to the shoulder in the same way you attached the two pieces of the arm at the elbow.  This is how we mounted the arm that will hold the severed head.

Allowing the arm to swing from front to back requires a little more work.  To start off, lay your arm next to the shoulder where it will rotate at. (Picture 4) Drill a small hole through the arm into the edge of the shoulder.  As before, go back and use the larger drill bit to increase the size of these holes to that of your bolts.   Now, make a mark on the shoulder about 1.5 inches from its end.  Drill a starter hole past that line, and cut out a hole big enough to allow you to easily slide the nut onto the bolt. Put a washer on the bolt, and then slide the bolt through the arm and shoulder. Finish it off with the other washer and nut.

Next, it is time to make the collar that helps support the shoulders and then attach it to the base.   Using a spare piece of 2x4 (or the head piece), lay the four piece of the collar around in a rectangle.(Picture 7)  Connect these four pieces together using screws, but do not attach to the center block. The collar should easily slip off of the extra piece.

Finally, attach the head to the top of the shoulders with a couple screws, followed by the collar to the bottom of the shoulders.  You may find it easier to do this without the arms attached.

Slide the collar onto the top of your base, secure with a couple screws and your dummy's frame is complete. (Picture 1)

Step 5: Dressing the Dummy and Assembling the Punchbowl

Time to add some character to your dummy.  Depending on your scene you may want to try a different costume, but I will walk you through the steps on how we dressed our reaper.

To start off,  remove the arms. This will help when you put on any piece of the costume with sleeves. 

First, cover the feet of the dummy using some dark cloth with jagged edges to help give it a more ghastly appearance.  Using a long heavy piece of black fabric, cover the head an shoulders and allow it to drape to the floor in the front. Now, put the reaper costume's robe on the dummy. (Picture 3)

Once that part of the costume is on, roll up the sleeves to attach the arms. (Picture 4 shows one arm attached.) Position your arms in the pose that you want, and use a screw near each joint to hold them in place. You will probably want to do this with at least the arm holding the head.

Next, take another piece of long fabric and thread it through one sleeve and out the other sleeve.  Allow this fabric to drape down over the arms.  These will help if sleeves of the costume aren't long enough. Now, attach the gloves to the end of each arm. (Picture 5 shows the progress.) Now add the mask and the hood to the head of the reaper.  If the mask is too big, try wrapping some cloth around the head piece to give it more volume.  Drape other pieces of fabric across the shoulders and arms to give it a ghostly look. Different shades of black and grey, distressed, or translucent fabrics can all add extra levels of detail.

To prepare the punchbowl, cut 1-2 small openings in the back of the basket and slide the hose and power cord of the pump through them.  Place the bottom bowl into the basket, and the pump into that bowl.  Reassemble the punchbowl by replacing the paneling and the upper bowl back into place. Tear or cut a foot wide strip of the sheet cover the top of the basket around the bowl.  This will hide the paneling.

Cut a small hole in the costume and run the loose end of the hose through it, up the body and back down the sleeve.  Then run the hose back down through the head and hang the head from the arm of the dummy.  You can either hang the head with a loop that is often provided, or cut a few holes and run string through to tie the head to the arm.  Drape the fingers of the gloves over the head to look like the hand is holding the head.

Step 6: Finishing Up and Additional Tips

You're project is complete.  Fill up the bowl, plug it in, and fill your cup directly from the spouting head.

Here are a few additional tips for this project:

Any red punch/drink should work fine for your pump, but stay away from carbonated drinks.  They will lose their fizz in just a few cycles through the pump.

Check your punch bowl throughout the night.  The motor in many pumps will burn out quickly if they aren't fulling submerged while running.

Before using your pump, and after the party, make sure to clean the pump out full.  I usually fill my punchbowl with warm water, a little dish soap and/or a quarter cup of bleach. Connect the hose and the pump, and let the pump run in this for about 10 minutes. Empty it out and replace with clean water, and let that run for another 10 minutes.

In case of splatters from someone bumping the head, you may want to add some plastic sheeting under the area around the basket. You can also add plastic lining on the inside of the basket.

This was just part of our kitchen scene for this year.  Check out the instructions for the Guillotine here

Below are also included 2 pictures of our previous punchbowls.  They may give you some more ideas on different setups.

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    3 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i'll definitely have to make something like this next year...i've got a big bag of CPR dummy faces (don't ask why)...could make for some fun


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hell, I'm asking why! (about the heads)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    well.....while messing around online...i found a place that sells them. that's one of those purchases you can't really pass up