Class Up your Haunted House with a Disney Mansion Prop

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Die-hard Disney fan [Brandon Etto] must have one of the coolest houses in the block around this time of year, especially now that he’s built his own Master Gracey changing portrait. If you’re unfamiliar with the Disney Haunted Mansion attraction, there are a few different versions at theme parks around the world; the Orlando one features a portrait above the fireplace that miraculously ages into skeletal form.

[Brandon's] recreation uses a Raspi loaded with a Video Looper SD image that cycles through a clip of the aging man image. He fabricated a box to hold a 19″ LCD monitor and mounted an inexpensive IKEA frame to the front. The magic is hidden with window film applied to turn the frame’s glass into a two-way mirror: a technique [Brandon] borrowed from this Halloween Instructable.

For a step-by-step tutorial, you’ll want to head over to [Brandon's] writeup on MAKE, but stick around for a quick video demonstration after the break and check out another Haunted Mansion hack: the Singing Heads.

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Halloween Hacks: A haunted house project for the kids


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If the kids have been bugging you to get started with your Halloween decorating, [Dale] from BasicMicro has a neat and interactive project that’s sure to satiate their thirst for ghoulish fun.

His wife was looking for some new decorations for this Halloween, so he took a quick trip to the craft store and found a DIY foam Haunted House kit. After convincing her to do the assembly, he outfitted the display with some Starlite RGB modules, which have all sorts of interesting lighting modes built in. When the lights are turned low, the house jumps to life, as you can see in the video below.

The construction and wiring are not an overly complex job, so it’s a great starting point for little minds and hands that are beginning to develop an interest in electronics. For those kids with a little bit of experience under their belts, the house could easily be modified to use servos to create swinging doors and shaking grave stones.

The limit is truly defined only by their imagination (and your electronics budget), so why not give it a try this weekend? We’d love to see what you and your budding hackers put together!

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Halloween Hacks: Building a dark ride in a garage

Instead of the usual Jack-o-lanterns and creepy Halloween decorations, [Rick Murphy] built a dark ride in his garage a few years ago.

In case you’ve never been fortunate enough to see one in person, a dark ride is a track-based haunted house meant to be experienced on a small cart. Usually featuring sound, light, and animatronic displays, dark rides can be just as entertaining now as when you were eight years old.

[Rick]‘s dark ride, “Scream in the Dark” was built in his 2-car garage over a few years. The kids that went though the ride were genuinely scared, but that made the kids in line even more curious – just the reaction [Rick] wanted.

The build is for the most part completely modular. The track is made up of 4-foot square panels that have either a straight track or 90 degree bend. The modular design means [Rick]‘s garage doesn’t need to be a dark ride the entire year. The cart rides on this curved, raised track with the help of a few gear motors and 12 V battery pulled from a Power Wheels.

There’s a great gallery of the interior of the dark ride and a video after the break. If you’d like to build your own dark ride, check out dafe.org for a whole bunch of dark ride and fun house enthusiasts.

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