“Another post so soon and sans birds or anything with a heartbeat – what’s up with that Bri!?!” Tis true folks. My inbox has been filling up with hate mail from the Birds Are Rats with Wings (BARwW) Consortium – when they get their dander up they can be a handful, especially when maintaining a birding blog as part of the overall Intrigued mothership. They were feeling left out along with a number of the other purely non-wildlife readers that have admittedly been slightly in my pursuit to close the gap on Ron’s birding count. Guessing based on the last post you might have been expecting a companion post on the actual 2020 foam coffin prop. That would definitely been a logical thing to expect, but that is waaay to predictable for me – I prefer to keep you guessing (especially for those sending me angry emails ha!)
In my defense, this post does carry the Haunted Trail of 2020 theme (link here). For reference, you will need to actually look back at the Project Witch Replicate post (link here). That blog post covered a new prop for the Haunted Trail of 2017 (link here and here) – can’t believe it was that long ago. This was the 2017 version of the witch.
Hit the jump to read about the 2020 upgrade!
The major problem with the original version was the head. Back then I opted for an 8 inch chandelier globe because I couldn’t find anything else that would allow it to light up (nix on basketballs, styrofoam etc.). Of course, that meant it was basically thin glass. Even that first year I had issues with the edges of the globes breaking off during the transport to the trail – the following years were scary as more chipping and two even completely cracked during the 2019 event (was able to use white duct tape to make them work for that haunt). Clearly this needed to be addressed – even just storing them was a chore making sure they were packed right and not put on the bottom of the stack. After days and days of searching I found the LOFTEK LED night balls intended for floating in pools, nursery decor etc. (link here).
8 inches round (does have a flattened point where the charger and switch are), built in lighting systems that could be controlled by remote, USB rechargeable and best of all WATERPROOF. I couldn’t ask for a better solution – except the glass globes cost me around $20 a piece and these were definitely pricier. Ended up getting a promo deal for $30 a piece. They ended up being too perfect to pass up so went ahead and got 6 to complete my set (would be more hesitation now that I am retired ha). The only concern now was getting them attached to my witch frames. I had designed and 3D printed holders for the old globes, however, that was made so part of the wood frame would go into the globe – not going to work with these sealed lights. Took my usual trip to Menards to figure out a solution. After a couple of hours discovered the drainage aisle and spotted the large reducer coupler you see in the shots above. This would allow the globes to sit on top of the frame – issue one checked off. Some quick rectangular cuts on the small end of the coupler solved issue 2 – how to attach it to the frame. Now one issue left – how do I keep the globes from being knocked off in the wind or accidentally by one of the guests.
That issue kept me awake at night for several days until I noticed a bracket in the box the globes came in – essentially screwed into the underside to allow you to hang it upside down. Noodled a bit more on that until I realized I could simply use mini-bungee cords looped through the globe handle, down through the reducer coupler and hook them around a screw on each side of the witch frame. Hard to see the bungee cord in the following shot because they are black – the 2nd shot above shows it just a bit better.
Made the required modifications to the other 5 frames and then hit the coupler with some black paint to merge them into the witches frame. The day before the big event I charged all the globes up – the marketing material said the globes would last 8 to 10 hours which would likely allow them to make it through the night – to hedge our bets, we put the frames up earlier in the day and didn’t bring the heads out until just before the start of the party.
The remote control of the LED in the globes was the icing on the cake. They could all be controlled by one remote so we did our best to get them synced to fade through the various colors – actually should give Ron credit for that as he got them ready while I tended to a multitude of other challenges that typically come up right before we open the trail. I couldn’t be happier on how they turned out – my witches were finally hardy enough for whatever the night threw at them.
We did notice some drift in the fading. As the night went on, they each started displaying different coloring as some sped up and others lagged. Still worked really well – gave each one their own little charm. I’m thinking about trying to replicate the remote signals and controlling them with my own system for 2021 – maybe synchronize it to spooky music or spell chanting or just instantly change them to one color when someone walks by.
The only downside of the new heads was having to recharge them each night (it was a three day event). Each one definitely made it to the end each night so no issues there – we just pulled them off after the last guest left, charge them back up and then got them reattached for the opening of the next night.
Oh, did I mention it RAINED two of the three nights – 2nd night was an absolute downpour for the entire night. The waterproof feature came in real handy! Also just remembered I need to give Ron another shout out. Due to some weird promo deal, Amazon wouldn’t let me get the full set of 6 I needed – think it allowed me 1 or maybe 2. Ron was able to complete the order (even same discount) from his account so not sure what was up with that.
I could definitely incorporate these into a number of other prop ideas – the sticking point is still the price. Will continue to watch them until they come down to a much lower price point. The good news is we get to use these all year round for various decorative lighting at our other night events. They look great placed around our fire pit patio and would probably look incredible floating in a pool if you had one. Hope you enjoyed another update from the annual Haunted Trail of Tears.