Hopefully with this latest barrage of non-wildlife posts, I am putting to rest all those false accusations Intrigued has completely gone to the birds. A quick count puts this at the 5th consecutive post featuring non-living topics. Some would say this is getting out of “hand”! Speaking of which…
Yep, we are bringing another Halloween prop project that was first introduced in last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. Halloween may only be a day in most people’s standard year, but around Intrigued it is 363 days a year (we have to take two days off from prop building in order to hold the actual two day event ha). Today’s feature was in the works for probably 3 years and the pieces were just not coming together very well. Made the head first, wasn’t really happy with it as there were issues during the foam filling process. Fixed that issue the next year, got the iconic Freddy hat and then ran out of time to build the Posey frame (link here and earlier versions here). It wasn’t until Covid (more accurately the Covid “response”) that it finally provided the spark …err needle to get me going.
Hit the jump to read about how the key element of this prop came to fruition.
There was a deep seeded memory of a Freddy Krueger scene where they had replaced the standard knife hands with hypodermic needles (example here and top of here). With all the Covid shot frenzy that was going on leading up to our party (and trying to decide how to safely hold the event) it was a perfect fit. I did not have a lot of runway on this initial version and had to go with what I could get my “hands” on at the time. Went down to my basement’s PVC aisle (all haunters have one!) and started tossing ideas around until I came up with this combination.
Each fingertip would have the threaded white end cap attached to a custom designed 3D printed needle finger handle (flat while pieces) and then screwed to the beige PVC end cap on the other side of the glove. Plan was to hot glue a piece of tubing to the threaded cap to serve as the serum repository. From there I needed a structure to create the rest of the hand. More noodling in the basement bought this solution. Each hand is made out of a 1″ ‘T’ Connector with four matching beige PVC end caps screwed to the top for the finger joints. Big fun trying to get those inner lock nuts put on.
Each finger was made using beige PVC pipes with 45 and 90 degree couplers for finger joints that were then connected to the caps on the inside of the glove’s fingertips. Good time to point out that I couldn’t find brown leather gloves at the time and went with this other pair I found on sale at Menards. Will probably swap the glove material out for this year, but you will see why I went with the pair that had fluorescent yellow along the fingers in just a bit.
The thumb was a simple attachment of a pipe to the front of the ‘T’ connector. I was quite shocked how well the hand structure worked out for the limited amount of design time available. There is a late design change coming (you should start to expect that with all my prop efforts now ha).
It did take me awhile to figure out how to handle the scary end of the needle. There had to be a good seal to keep from the serum leaking out. The tube side was easy, just find a standard plastic tubing connector. The other side.. not as easy. Ended up finding a reducer of sorts that even had an elongated narrowing which kind of mimicked a real needle. Already had some thick galvanized wire from another project which fit, albeit a bit loose, in the reduced end. Once again, grabbed the hot glue gun, stuck a piece of the wire in and filled up the inside making sure the wire stayed centered until the glue cooled. Note, the dimensions were purposely exaggerated to increase the scare factor.
Repeated this process for the remaining 9 needles and test fit them into the fingers. The connectors inside the gloves could be rotated in various directions providing a multitude of finger positions. It was definitely starting to look like my vision if not a bit too realistic. The metal protrusions were looking a little dangerous and I was concerned that a guest might hurt themselves on it in the dark.
Okay, it occurred to me that initial approach would be a “one” shot approach as the hot glue would likely prevent any chances of easy changes if I didn’t like how the rest of the syringe came out. That concern led me to Menards for another option. Eventually found a male electrical conduit connector that would screw into the existing threaded end caps. Unfortunately, those had a hole through the middle (apparently not understanding the needs of us haunters hehehe). That was an easy fix – grabbed a washer to cover up the gap and a screw to cover that smaller hole in the washer while providing something for the hot glue to hold onto. Filled up each of those 10 connectors with glue and then screwed them into the original white caps.
The other end of the tubing could be hot glued into the now smooth (and removable) connectors. Main thing was to make sure the end of the tubing was completely sealed. As you have probably guessed, this part had to be done with the tubing filled – the other end was already done and I wasn’t sure if I could remove the other end without messing up the glued in wires. Just filled up the tube to its fullest with serum and then slammed it into the connector which was nearly full of glue. Wasn’t sure what to expect when the fluid hit the hot glue, but it worked and a perfect seal was made.
Now, you are probably asking, what did you use for the serum fluid. That ended up taking the most time on this project. I wanted it to glow so the serum looked toxic. Best way to make something glow is to use UV lights – just needed a concoction that would product a glow under that condition. After reading a number of Pinterest posts, haunt forums and some products seen online, I came to the conclusion – a controlled experiment was needed to see what would work best. Tried the following options, Mr. Clean, Vitamin B complex liquid (I think the key element is Riboflavin) and a package of large multi-color highlighters. Mr. Clean was easy as I just watered it down a bit and poured it into an empty water bottle. Filled up another bottle with water and added a number of Vitamin B drops – was not expecting that to come out orange. Lastly, I pulled out the felt innards of the highlighters (pink, yellow and orange). Each of those were also put in a bottle and then filled with water. So now I have my test cases. Flipped the lights and blasted them with a UV flashlight.
Summary – they all reacted to the UV light and glowed to some degree, certainly some more than others. Vitamin B was probably the least reflective and Mr. Clean was probably marginally best over the highlighters. Looking at all the color options, eventually decided why not use them all (except the vitamin B one). Not sure how much serum I would need, split each color in half (note, I used Mr. Clean instead of the yellow highlighter) and then filled it back up with water. Maintained the same glowing properties from what I could tell. Alternating the colors, filled up each tube and stuck it into the coupler loaded up with hot glue.
With the needle hands figured out, just needed to crank out a new Posey frame and find an old pair of my pants. All the Poseys have my size dimensions so they can be dressed in my old clothes. Freddy had to have the signature striped sweater to complete the effect. That ended up being the most expensive item as that was picked iup at Spirit (the hat was bought on clearance after Halloween so it was pretty cheap). The phone camera couldn’t capture all the color details, but you could see the unique serum – they glowed even better in the dark against the heavy UV light placed at Freddy’s feet.
There was also a sound module added that would play Freddy’s count down them song when someone triggered the sensor – oh, and that would also trigger the eyes to light up. As far as improvements for this year, I will probably thicken the legs a bit for more realism and switch to brown leather gloves. Might try to pour some of that liquid on the needles for a freshly stuck look. Other than that, really happy with the overall product. We also received a lot of compliments on it from our guests who caught the not so subtle Covid vaccine reference.
For a better view of Injection Freddy out on the haunted trail, check out my friend in haunt Paul’s video he made for our event. He is highlighted around the 6:35 mark (and for the intro shot). Note you can really see the true colors in the syringes.
One last word of caution on this. I purposely tried to have all the fingers bend across the body verses the likely scarier position pointing right at the guests – looking at those pointy wire ends made me uneasy that a guest might fall forward or try to get a closer look and take one of them in the face. We make tremendous effort to make sure everyone can enjoy the haunt safely.
Hope you enjoyed another addition to the haunted trail. Stay Calm and Haunt On!