Build a "werewolf in a Box" Haunted Crate for Halloween!

Introduction: Build a "werewolf in a Box" Haunted Crate for Halloween!

About: My girlfriend and I run a company called Deville's Workshop in Toronto, Canada. We build weird props for film and television and love this website - such a great resource for inspiration and discussion!
Guests to our Haunted House 2011 will be invited to sit on an old wooden crate while they wait for the tour to begin. Silently, a panel is removed from the box and SUDDENLY A WEREWOLF HAND GRABS THEIR ANKLE!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!

No worries, it's just Joe with a werewolf glove on. In this Instructable I will show you how I made the "haunted crate". Check out the youtube video (below) to see how it works!

Tools and materials I used to build this crate:

raw 1x6 cedar (I got it cheap at Home Depot because i chose all the cracked pieces)
1 x 2s
chop saw
watered-down latex paint (for aging the wood)

Tools for the "werewolf-oxygen-intake fan build:
12V fan
8x AA batteries
12V switch
3/4 spade bit
spray paint

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Step 1: Measure and Cut the Wood

The size of your crate will depend on how large a werewolf you're putting in it. Mine, sitting upright, was about 30" high, so I gave it some width (about four feet). I made the depth about 27".

This part is quite straight-forward so I won't spend too much time on it - it's really just a box build at this point. First I cut the lengths for the front and the back of the crate. I moved on to the sides. I measured out and cut the lengths for the top. I left the bottom open.

To figure out the length of the two vertical 1x2s I laid the boards on the ground and added the board I was using for the top - with this measurement I cut out the vertical 1x2s for the front and back of the crate.

For the removable panel I figured out where my vertical 1x2s would be placed (offset from the edges by 11") and used the 1x2s to hide the seams. That meant cutting the panel out at 11 1/2" from the sides.

Cutting tip: when cutting with a chop saw the blade is 1/8" thick. Make sure the blade is on the "cut off" side of the material you are cutting or you will lose an eighth of your measurement. It might not seem like much but it only takes eight mistakes to lose an inch!

Step 2: Assemble and Paint the Crate

Once you have the pieces cut for the front, back, sides and top simply assemble them into a box! I used some 2x2s on the inside corners to help keep the crate strong and sturdy (people will be sitting on it, after all!).

For the sides I made a rectangular frame (I just thought it looked nice).

To paint them I used water-diluted latex house paint. On film jobs I use a slurry of different watered-down browns and greys to spritz onto sets to make them look older - I had a few buckets of this "slush" lying around the shop so I slopped it on. I then sprayed it with water to make the colours run; this has a more natural look when you're aging something. The paint job you see in this Instructable isn't finished - I still have to had stencil letters and more spritzing of different shades until I feel it looks old enough, but you get the idea.

Step 3: The Removable Panel

I routered the back of the removable panel to make it easier to remove it silently. This might be overkill but I didn't want to give the gag away if the guest heard the panel being removed!

To keep the panel in place I made a "panel lock" - simply a paint stir stick that swings clockwise to hold the panel flush to the crate.

I also made a quick handle so that the werewolf has something to grab to pull the panel away when he's ready to catch an ankle.

To remove the panel all the werewolf has to do is turn the panel lock counterclockwise and quietly pull the panel into the crate.

Step 4: The Werewolf Fan

I almost forgot to add ventilation for the werewolf inside the crate! I went back afterwards and added a 12V fan that runs off 8xAA batteries and a switch (the switch is so that the werewolf can turn it off when a guest is approaching - wouldn't want them to know that there's a surprise in the box!).

First I started to cut a hole with a circle-cutter bit in the back of the crate (where it wouldn't be noticed by the guest. I then drilled a hole with a spade bit; this allowed me to use the jigsaw to finish cutting the hole (this hole has the same diameter as the fan).

To set up the fan I first made a rectangle out of a piece of 1x6 wood. I cut out the circle where fan would go, then the battery box and the switch. I added a small piece of MDF to the base of the switch because it was thicker than the wood I was using.

I also routered out grooves in the back of the board to place the red and black wires (not pictured). Once I had the pieces cut out I glued and screwed them together. I spray painted them with some brass and bronze and copper - for no reason, I just had the paint close by. Or maybe I'm giving a nod to the steampunkers. I dunno.

Et voila! Now you just have to stuff a trained werewolf into that crate and wait until your next victim sits down on it! A good scare for anyone!!! :)  Happy Halloween folks!


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    4 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    great idea ! I don't think I have room or actors for it in this years haunt but its going in my ideas folder ! Thank You for sharing


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmmm.... I wonder if you could design an actorless version... maybe a pressure pad that activates a pneumatic werewolf arm or something. If a guest sits down on the crate their weight makes the arm pop out?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, that would be a hilarious "monster under the bed" prank... When you sit on the edge of the bed a mechanism shoots a prop monster arm out at your ankles. Hmmmm.... I have to figure this out!!