All I can say is thank god there’s 31 days in August. Cutting it close with the quota this month, but all is good. I knew it would be in reach as long as I got within 1 of the quota. September is my stress month as it is usually a huge race month and more critical, the last month before our big Halloween event, the Haunted Trail of Tears. Thanks to Covid, the race season has been decimated so that has been taken out of the equation. We are still discussing what to do about the party, but for now it is still on assuming we can incorporate appropriate safeguards against the invisible enemy. That means the prop factory is in full swing to close out the new 2020 editions. To keep the momentum going, the final post of the month features the last of the new props from the 2019 event.
Yep, the Grand Poobah of the new props. I’ve already covered the other new additions, Westworld 2.0 Posey Line (link here), Ned (link here) and Johnny (link here), The last new prop for the 2019 trail was big.. like really big…like lifesize horse big. Whoever runs the Halloween decorations at Home Depot may actually like Halloween as much as I and that is saying a LOT. Their offerings each year are incredible.. problem is.. they kind of know it per the price tags they slap on their items. They had a life size Zombie Horse prop for the 2018 offerings. Guess what the price was? go ahead, pick a number…if you picked $200 you were to low! Their horse was $300 which is too steep for this haunter. I can build a lot of my own props for that much money.
Hit the jump to read more about the new addition to last year’s haunt
It is no secret that I purchase most of my commercial Halloween decorations on clearance after the Halloween season ends. Never miss a Spirit or Halloween City close out if you want to save a serious chunk of change. Problem is, you have to be willing to stare at it for a whole year before you can put it out on display. I had pretty much written the horse off until my Friend-in-Haunt texted me that it was 75% off – Holy Crap! Instantly went to their website and sure enough it was only $75. No hesitation there, bought!
To save shipping costs, we had it delivered to the store and picked it up ourselves. Long story there as they couldn’t find it, but I’ll skip over that. What I wasn’t expecting is the size of the box – massive – took up the entire bed of the truck and had to get Linda to help me move it into the basement. Like a little kid at Christmas, I dove into the box and started putting it together.
A common complaint online about this prop is how difficult it was to assemble. Have to agree, but eventually manhandled it enough to get the pieces to fit together. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a life size zombie horse in our basement. How cool is that! Apologies to Linda, but that horse stayed assembled in our basement for an entire year – I positioned it staring at our glass basement doors as an intruder deterrent. Nothing like shining a light into dark room and realizing there is a giant zombie horse staring at you hehehe.
As an added bonus, the horse has sound effects and the eyes light up. Okay, now I have a cool horse – a horse that greeted me every time I went downstairs, never asked for food and didn’t make a single mess the whole time – my kind of horse. I still can’t believe Linda put up with that in her basement. The good thing about constantly seeing this prop is I had plenty of time to think of ways to amp it up even more for the trail. Now what could possibly go with a giant assed zombie horse…
Well, admittedly, not a huge creative leap to think that a person riding the horse would be that extra touch my guests expect from the trail. Thinking up the concept was the easy part, the difficult part was making it happen. For months I looked at the horse trying to figure out how to put a rider on it – the sides are relatively smooth and it didn’t come with a saddle (I believe Home Depot might sell one as an accessory, however, wasn’t aware at the time, although not sure I would have spent the money). Thankfully, I had a lot of time as it took over 100 different PVC configurations before finding one that would work. Problem was the width of the horse’s belly and the back had a lot of curves in it.
I did splurge a bit and picked up a few PVC connectors that were spring loaded allowing for you to simply press a button at the midpoint, move it to the angle you wanted and then release to lock it in place. Those things work awesome! With the frame designed, the next step was to start fleshing it out. My go to body material is Great Stuff. Using the Posey Line design (link here). Pulled out my clothes mannequins, put the frame in it …
… covered the plastic form with Vaseline, sprayed some hot water on it and filled that sucker up with the Great Stuff. Word of caution, be sure and go easy on the spray foam and allow space for it to expand and fill the form. Pretty much have it down to an art now.
Now it is taking shape. You will probably figure out what I was going for in the next shot.
Next task was to get the appendages on. This is where I needed Linda’s help. She’s the horse person in the family so I had her come down and help me figure out how to position the legs so it looked right. This is where the new PVC joints came in handy as I could adjust them quickly to meet Linda’s recommendations
Slapped on some pool noodles to give the legs some thickness. Ha, I just noticed the spooky witch hand holding the reins (was another prop getting ready for the trail).
Again, the movable PVC connectors came in handy for figuring out the arms. At the time, thought it would be cool to have it throwing a pumpkin – the skull was just a way for me to get the positioning right, although it did look pretty spooky. Can’t imagine what a burglar would have thought at this point … yes, it was still positioned right next to the door.
A quick shot from the back
As with the legs, added some more pool noodles to bulk up the arms – larger one for the bicep and a smaller one for the forearm. All coming together very nice.
This is where I ran into a snag. Finding a decent Headless Horseman costume ended up being harder than expected. Most of the costumes are made for people to wear so they basically have to use your whole head for the neck which doesn’t look authentic at all. After spending about 2 hours in Spirit decided that a knight’s costume would do the trick. Although that costume was expensive, it already had the cape and chainmail which really looked nice on the body frame (did manage to get it 25% off thanks to a coupon).
Here is a shot from behind … and even has an early prototype of the new Westworld V2.0 Posey line in the lower left. Trust me, there are many projects in flight at any given time leading up to the party.
Linda and I did head over to or local Salvation Army store to get some pants and boots to complete the costume. Kudos to Linda to convince me black stretch pants would work perfectly. While we were prepping for the trail I placed the rider on my tractor for safe keeping – snapped a shot as it made me laugh when I saw it a few days later still sitting there.
The day of the party I decided the neck was too clean for a headless horseman. Disassembled him and grabbed several spray cans that I thought would work – a deep red, pink, black, grey and some lime for a bit of gang green. Put a number of layers on until I thought it looked like a properly decapitated neck.
Got the paint to dry and had it reassembled in plenty of time. We have had a flaming pumpkin on the trail for a number of years (link here). Problem was I knew the arm wouldn’t support the weight of the pumpkin. After thinking about it awhile, decided to make a stand out of four pipes and two pieces of treated lumber. Safety is always priority one with the trail and I definitely did not want the pumpkin falling on anyone. The stand was simply placed next to the horse and the horseman’s arm positioned like it was throwing the pumpkin.
It took a solid year and a lot of hard work…
…. based on how the end product looked that night – WORTH IT. Everyone really enjoyed it. Note, we moved it off the trail and had it up near the house so I could keep an eye on it. A week before, I had a nightmare of that flaming pumpkin rolling after one of my guests. Oh, and big thanks to my nephew Craig for carving the pumpkin mere minutes before the guests started arriving. So much to do that day and I forgot to carve the pumpkin – sigh.
Hope you enjoyed the walkthrough of the pinnacle prop for the 2019 trail.
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