For many people nothing creates the effect of chills running down your back more than walking through a silky spiderweb and having it tickle across your face. This year I decided to add a bit of 'ambiance' for visitors to our house by making them experience that spine tingling feeling as they approach our door. I used to do this in a haunted house I ran years ago and it was always a winner.
This project is super quick (15-20 minutes), super cheap (you probably have everything you need already), and really gives people the heebie-jeebies.
Step 1: Get Your Supplies
No pics for this step and the exact materials may vary based on location and what you have on hand. But here is the most that you'll need:
- Fine fishing line or thread (I find fishing line works a little better) - preferably a dark color
- String or twine, something a tad bit stronger than the fishing line or thread(you may or may not need this depending on where you are hanging your webs).
- Duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, or electrical tape (you may or may not need this depending on where you are hanging your webs).
- Scissors or a knife
- Tape Measure (or just eyeball it - nothing needs to be precise)
Step 2: Choose Your Opening
Choose the opening that you want the webs to hang from. I did mine at the entrance to my front porch. You might choose another opening (this works great for indoor doorways and hallways, too). Maybe you have an arbor, or trees that overhang a sidewalk. Wherever people will be passing under something will be great. You can even hang these over a more open area (like a driveway) if you have supports on either side, even a long way apart.
Once you choose your opening, measure the distance across it. In my case the opening from porch post to porch post was about 6', but the steps leading up to it are only about 3' wide. So that is the area that I want my webs to hang.
Step 3: Provide a Top Support for Your Webs
Examine your opening and decide the best way to hang your webs. Some openings may have a good place to tie your fishing line or thread to (an arbor, tree branches, etc.). Some may allow you to tape your thread up (inside doorways or hallways). My opening worked best by tying a string from one side to the other side.
If you are typing a string from one side to the other, make sure it is high enough that nobody will bump into it as they are walking. You can use the string technique to bridge longer distances (like across a driveway).
Here I tied my length of string to one side of the porch. The string is cut long enough to reach to the other porch post and tie around it.
Step 4: Attach the Webs
Measure the length that you will need your hanging webs to be. This doesn't need to be accurate, so if you don't have a tape measure just eyeball it. You'll want the hanging webs to go from your top support down to about a foot above the ground (so people don't step on it and rip it down or trip). You'll also want to make sure that there is enough distance between the bottom of the hanging web and any walls or doorways that the web is able to slide past the visitors' faces.
In my case that meant the webs had to be about 5'6" long. Cut enough lengths of your fishing line or thread to have one hanging about every 3-4 inches. So that's about 4 per foot.
Attach the hanging webs to your top support. If you are using string for a top support tie a web every 3" or so. If you are tying onto something else (arbor, tree branches, etc.) you'll still want to space them about 3-4 inches apart, even if they aren't all in a straight line. It's important to have the webs dense enough that people will feel them, but not so dense that they'll be easily visible.
Step 5: Finish and Enjoy!
If you were tying your hanging webs to a string now is the time to attach the other end of the string to your other support. Once the entire thing is hanging you may need to untangle some of the hanging webs (another reason I like fishing line - it doesn't tangle as easily as thread). Now try walking through your webs. You should have one or two gently brush against your face as you walk through. If you aren't getting the right effect you may need to make your hanging webs a little more dense. Just tie or tape up a few more (I found that making the webs about 2" apart for the middle 8" or so of my opening worked well).
If you did everything right the hanging webs should be virtually invisible, especially in the evening and at night. Sit back and enjoy the fluttering arms, 'eeews', and jumps as people try to get away from the webs!
THINGS I'VE LEARNED:
I started doing this about 18 years ago when I ran a haunted house in college (wow, that makes me old, doesn't it). Over the years I learned a few things:
1. Tying the hanging webs to something works much better than tape, even duct tape. People have a tendency to catch onto the hanging webs as they try to brush them away. Stuff that is taped down rather than tied down gets ripped off easily.
2. Fishing line works better than thread. Thread tangles very easily, plus it catches on clothing a bit easier. Because fishing line is smooth plastic it doesn't catch or tangle as easily. And it slides past people's faces very smoothly.
3. Dark thread or fishing line hides itself easier in the dark. White line or thread catches the light much more than dark, especially if you have black lights in your display. I use a spool of Stren Easy Cast 10lb test fishing line in coffee color that I bought about 15 years ago for about $6 for 330 yards. It'll last you quite a while! It looks like Stren doesn't have the coffee color any more, but any low-visibility color should work. Just don't get high-visibility or fluorescent.