Foggy Notions - Part 4: Halloween Edition
October has to be just about my favorite month of the year. For starters, it's the first month (in Maryland, at least) that you really start to notice autumn. The days start to get shorter and the nights cooler, and the trees begin to shed orange-brown leaves on blustery afternoons. Of course, October is also the month of Halloween, a fairly major holiday for us here at Theatre Effects. This month we'll send effects equipment to professional and amateur haunts around the country, and probably the most requested effects item will be our fog machines and fog fluid. Today I'd like to look at one way you can use our fog machines in your own Halloween displays.
My favorite Halloween gag is also one of the simplest to set up. All you need is a fog machine with a wired remote, and a front porch. Place the fog machine under the front porch (or in some bushes next to the porch if you can't get underneath) and run the wired remote to a spot where you can watch for potential victims. Ideally, this spot will allow you to observe the victims without being seen yourself; with a 30' remote cable, you should be able to find such a spot easily. As your victims approach the porch, tap the fog button to send a jet of fog shooting out at them. The whooshing noise of the fog, and the sight of a cloud shooting out from under the porch, will send even the bravest trick-or-treater running.
Ambitious haunters can even create their own "Addams Family" effect by adding two pin spots with red lenses near the fogger. Plug both spots into the same outlet (a regular power strip will work just fine) and put the switch for that outlet next to the control for the fogger. Now, in addition to a jet of fog, your victims will also see two glowing red eyes -- just like Spike, the Addams' pet dragon!
There are a few safety concerns you should address when setting up this effect. First, make sure that the fog machine is located somewhere that is shielded from the elements. Our foggers are sturdy and reliable, but they're not waterproof! Also, you should clear the area around the fog machine of any dry leaves or twigs. Even the smallest fog machine gets very hot while it's running. Finally, never use the fogger while your victims are climbing the stairs. Remember, your goal should be to send them off with a good scare, not a broken ankle.
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