Halloween Props: Trash can jack-in-the-box

Last year [Bob] didn’t let the little kids get some candy and continue on their way without giving them quite a fright first. His modified trashcan lures you in and then scares the bejesus out of you.

He calls it Oscar the Trash-bot. The image on the left shows a ghoulish-looking head peeking out of the partially opened lid of the trash can. It has some movement, but is slow and quiet. The small, slow movements catch your eye and seem safe enough. Until you get a bit closer. A range finder triggers when the unsuspecting victim draws near, causing a much bigger, faster, and bloodier beast to pop up and stick out a claw. Check out the two videos after the break. One of them shows the claw mechanism, which is made with the help of a brake cable and shows very realistic and blazingly fast movement. The other is an overview of how the entire setup works.

[Thanks Alex]


  1. Effigy says:

    OMFG is it Halloween already?! I love halloween hacks…

    Oh? whats that? It’s nowhere near Halloween yet this year? oh….

    moving on….

  2. 34 says:

    Wow. I wanna see a video of this thing in action- scaring the bejeezus out of passing kids (and adults)! LMAO

  3. Matrixis says:

    Just because it’s not Halloween yet, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to start designing and building stuff months before.
    Rome wasn’t built in a day and I can imagine this wasn’t either.

  4. Blastar says:

    Excellent work and really scary.

  5. Frank says:

    I thought the face thing on the left looks like a troll face

  6. Pete says:

    …which reminds me, I haven’t seen Troll 2 in quite a while.

  7. James says:


  8. Pete says:


    I believe it is “NILBOG”. Which is, of course, goblin, backwards. Which is a “wait, what?” kind of moment when you recall the name of the movie is Troll 2.

  9. Olivier says:

    Very cool! And the sounds from Duke Nukem 3D is great.

  10. Thopter says:

    Aw, I used to have one of those puppets. Now I’m all wistful and desirous of another one.

  11. Thopter says:


    James is right, it’s a Boglin, a puppet toy from the ’80s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boglin

    I had one as a kid. Seeing this video has made me want one again.

  12. ice9er says:

    When I saw the picture on the front page, I went straight to the comments to say… “OMG BOGLIN!!” but you guys beat me to it.. a bunch of you. I’m feeling the boglin love. I had that exact one. hurray for growing up in the 80s.

  13. Bob and I made this is about 8 hours of build time. We used the robot controller that was designed and built by us as the first product in a new startup called Neuron Robotics. The code is all in java and is all open source and can be found here:


    under the projects folder in the svn.

  14. pete says:

    Yup, i was way off on that one.

  15. Andres says:

    Excellent stuff guys :)

    Adding a tumble drier to make the trash bin rattle would bring it to the next level.

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