Grass cutting season is over and your remote control mower is just collecting dust, what a horrifying thought. Halloween is upon us so let's see what we can scare up, pull that unit out of the garage, toss a costume on it and give the neighbors a good BOO!
Step 1: Requirements
Remote controlled electric motor base
Of course you already have a remote control mower or similar unit because they are all over this website. I use mine to haul wagon loads of firewood or with trimming attachments but this time of year the sirens call cannot be resisted, I must make it into something spooky. With the quiet electric motors it is begging for a flowing sheet and glowing eyes to give neighborhood children a ghoulish surprise.
The base unit has two 12v batteries that will serve as ballast since we'll have a higher center of gravity and can also power any additions, the 24v motors won't have any trouble with getting around. It moves at a human pace but rolling will give it an eerie lack of gait and if it hits bumps it will shake and cause an abrupt flick accentuating the flowing sheets. With the controller one can change direction quickly in response to people around it but do be careful.
Bedsheet, lampshade and some LEDs
We ran out to an overstock store and found a bedsheet, two small flashlights and a lampshade, all for $11
Charge up your old phone and set it to play some wails of the un-dead.
Drill and 3" screws
Heavy duty stapler
2"x4"x8' pine or similar
A small plank about 1"x6"x6"
Duct tape, you always have duct tape
Step 2: Cut the Lumber
Cut a couple of 7" pieces off the 2x4 and screw them to the frame of your R/C rig.
Cut a piece of 1" plank so it will fit inside the lampshade (picture 2).
Measure the width of the sheet and divide it in half.
Cut the remaining 2x4 into lengths a couple inches shorter than the half width of the sheet. This will allow the sheet to drape over the base.
Step 3: Make the Eyes
For this you can use red LEDs, another color or in a quick pinch color the flashlight cover red with a marker. It is low tech and easy to do and turns out well since fabric will be diffusing the light.
A strip of velcro is stapled across the 1" plank, flashlights set on each side, approximately 5" apart, another strip of velcro is then wrapped around to hold them in place.
Test fit this inside the lampshade. Be careful not to scare yourself at this point.
Step 4: Assemble the Parts You Have Made So Far
Screw the two long 2x4 pieces to the 7" stubs on your frame.
Screw the 1" plank to the ends of the long 2x4s. Everything should be pretty firm now, give it a test run if you have doubts.
Attach lampshade to the plank using a screw through a washer.
Turn on the lights and cover it all with the sheet.
Staple the sheet to the 1" plank.
Trim the sheet so it won't get caught up in the wheels.
Step 5: Scary Sounds
This ghost needs to moan and wail and rattle chains. Also this helps mask any noise from your wheels.
Pull that dusty old smart phone off your shelf, you know you keep one around just for an occasion like this, download some freakish sounds and press play. Duct tape that under the sheet, the plastic box housing the R/C gear makes a good surface for tape to stick on. If that old phone has a weak battery it's no problem, you can add a car 12v car adapter and matching USB charger to posts on a 12v battery. I've even run a car stereo on this little rig with speakers mounted.
Turn on your hand held controller, power up the rig and take your fine new ghost for a stroll. It has an uncanny movement and if you make it dart a little left then right every few seconds it keeps the sheet fluttering around for a good effect.
Any number of things can expand from here: go build one and show what you added! I'm already thinking about next year's upgrades. Muwahahaha