A Haunted Blueprint Pt 3: Tools Of the Trade

I mentioned the pic-a-boo and the boo-box in the first part of “A Haunted Blueprint”. I am willing to bet that not many of you know what these actually are. Simply put, they are a brain. These control everything from sounds to lights to animatronics. You attach a trigger to it (IE Motion sensor, tripwire, or pressure pad) and it plays the “Scene” that you dedicated to that trigger.

They come in many different sizes, usually the bigger the size, the more scenes you can do with one controller. Every respectable haunt will have some type of brain that is working behind the scenes. These are how you are able to cue up lighting sounds and lights (apart from lightning machines which they make). Some places use them for guns or cannon blast. It really only depends on what effect you are attempting to do. I used them last year to trigger Dr. Steele’s voice over the intercom, I also set up alarms and loud sounds timed with the air blaster. Really the way you use them is endless.

But the brain is only a small part of the production. I also like to use raspberry pi’s. For those of you that don’t know what these are, they are literally just a mini computer about the size of an over-sized credit card. One of my favorite uses is a looped video playback. Pick an Mp4 file, toss it on a USB, and put it in my raspberry pi which has been configured to just continually play any movie that the USB has on it. Great for picture scares/video blogs/people stuck in a tank.

Projectors, I figured this one went without saying, but the amount of fantastic effects you can do with a projector is almost endless. Always love the creepy crawlies coming out of the stone floor or wall, that’s a good one.

I almost don’t want to mention fog machines, only because there are many places that can’t even use them. It all comes down to if you are ventilated enough to disperse the fog when/if an emergency arises.

The sound is a big one. I have a leg up in this area only because I have been in bands since I was a young kid. The amount of pro audio I have is ridiculous. You need loud, clear sound. A lot of the effects you have rely on quick loud sounds to get jump scares, plus we always play some type of backdrop music that makes sense with the haunt. Last year we had rips right from fallout itself, not sure if anyone noticed but we thought it was a nice detail that we added.

Last but certainly not least is lighting. Lighting is a crucial part of any haunt. specifically the lack of. I have many different colors, for all sorts of occasions, it depends on what I am attempting to do in that set at any given time. Black lights are always super popular and allow for different effects. We had some great concoctions of Dr. Steele’s elixir last year. It glowed in the black light.

Ultimately your tools of the trade are going to be everything you can get your hands on. With enough ingenuity like we talked about in the previous blog, you should be able to create something that is not only fun but scary as well.

As always stay scared my friends.

 Author: Kevin Butler

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