Only 110 days until Halloween!
Here’s a quick and easy way to breathe new life into your haunted house or dark ride on the cheap, and give your mask-wearing props a whole new level of realism.
Most masks lack eyes, and when they do have them they are obviously fake, forcing away the viewers suspension of disbelief. A very simple way to solve this is to give your mask prop more realistic eyes. In this short tutorial I’ll show you how to achieve this simple effect that really gives you a bang for your buck.
For this how-to I’m using a pretty sweet Otis mask from House of 1000 Corpses that I picked up a few years ago. It’s fairly realistic already and will really show what I’m talking about.
- Styrofoam Head Available at beauty supply stores. I’ve also had good luck at thrift stores like Savers. You can also buy a dozen in bulk on Amazon with a pretty decent discount (About $3.33 each)
- Fake Half Eyes I usually buy these in bulk on eBay
- Screws Whatever you have lying around will be fine
- Hot Glue Gun + Sticks Crazy or gorilla glue also work, but hot glue is easiest to work with
Once you’ve gathered up your materials you simply shoot a little hot glue into the inside of the half eye, place the screw head into it, and then shoot some more glue over it, sealing the head of the screw in. In the past I have also used super glue, but hot glue is plenty strong enough for our purposes, sets much faster and is generally just easier to work with.
I also didn’t specify any specific type of screws, because as long as they have a flat head they’ll work fine. I usually just grab whatever is lying around.
Once the eyes have been glued let them sit for a few minutes to harden. I let them sit about 5 minutes or so, but I’m really impatient, so you may want to wait a bit longer just to make sure the glue is solid.
Once the glue has dried, take your eyes and screw them into the Styrofoam head. Leave them out about an inch or so, and pull the mask over the head. You may have to use a bit of trial and error to get the eyes to sit at the correct location, so if they don’t look right adjust where they are screwed into the head, and how deeply they are embedded.
From the before and after pictures you can really see what I mean when I say it adds a level of depth and realism to your creations.
I’d love to see how you utilize this tip with your own props, so drop me a comment and link me to your work!
Here is the 2011 list of Halloween stores I have been to this season, as well as the recommendations of others! If you have a favorite spot you don’t see listed here, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!
Halloween Specialty Stores
Legacy Place, Dedham
680 Legacy Place, Dedham MA
Decent costume selection, not too many props and decorations. Prices vary from great bargains to outrageously expensive.
Cambridgeside Galleria, Cambridge
100 Cambridgeside Place, Cambridge MA 02141
Phone: 617-494-1839 · Website
282 Mystic Ave, Medford MA 02155
Phone: 781-396-1536 · Website
331 Broadway, Saugus MA 01906
Phone: 781-233-2735 · Website
Redstone Shopping Center, Stoneham
99 Main St, Stoneham MA 02180
Phone: 781-438-3537 · Website
406 Washington St, Woburn MA 01801
Phone: 781-935-1872 · Website
570 Boston Providence Turnpike, Norwood MA 02062
Phone: 781-762-2807 · Website
Sherwood Plaza East, Natick
1290 Worcester St, Natick MA 01760
Phone: 508-651-8265 · Website
Liberty Tree Mall, Danvers
100 Independence Way, Danvers MA 01923
Phone: 978-774-6826 · Website
Hanover Mall, Hanover
1775 Washington St, Hanover MA 02339
Phone: 781-826-3486 · Website
Patriots Place, Foxborough
Patriot Place, Foxborough MA 02035
Phone: 508-543-0393 · Website
Shops at the Pond, Marlborough
739 Donald J Lynch Blvd, Marlborough MA 01752
280 School St, Mansfield MA 02048
Emerald Square Mall, 999 South Washington St, North Attleboro MA 02760
Phone: 508-695-4186 · Website
By far the best Halloween specialty chain in the area. Highly recommended!
Pool & Patio Specialists
375 Providence Hwy, Rte 1 South , Westwood MA 02090
Phone: 781-29-1222 · Website
Pretty good selection of costume, ok selection of props.
145 Middlesex Ave, Somerville MA
Phone: 617-628-5957 · Website
346 Providence Highway, Dedham MA
Phone: 781-461-2484 · Website
2 Elm Street, Woburn MA
Phone: 781-938-8391 · Website
A few nice trinkets, hopefully their Halloween section improves over the next week or so.
1580 Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway, West Roxbury MA
Phone: 617-325-9554 · Website
43 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington MA
Phone: 781-272-9727 · Website
244 Worcester St, Natick MA
Phone: 508-655-1390 · Website
Fantastic selection of decor and knick-knacks. Prices are a little steep, so wait till there’s a sale or you have a coupon.
1010 Harrison Avenue, Boston MA 02119
Phone: 617-445-1010 · Website
678 Centre St, Jamaica Plain MA 02130
Phone: 617-522-1415 · Website
678 Centre St Store
470 W Broadway, South Boston MA 02127
Phone: 617-307-6367 · Website
965 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton MA 02127
Phone: 617-254-0112 · Website
Great selection of second-hand costumes. Very reasonable
1230 Vfw Pkwy, West Roxbury MA
Phone: 617-323-8231 · Website
139 Endicott St # 20, Danvers MA
Phone: 978-777-8631 · Website
Small selection of costumes and props, although you can find a few gems.
1660 Soldiers Field Rd # 1, Brighton MA
Phone: 617-783-4880 · Website
3850 Mystic Valley Pkwy # S105, Medford MA
Phone: 781-306-1400 · Website
100 Granite St, Quincy MA
Phone: 617-471-1119 · Website
270 Bridge St # 301, Dedham MA
Phone: 781-329-3952 · Website
880 Broadway # 1, Saugus MA
Phone: 781-233-4433 · Website
34 Cambridge St # 17, Burlington MA
Phone: 781-229-7555 · Website
321 Worcester St, Natick MA
Phone: 508-650-8811 · Website
35 Pleasant Street #3105, South Weymouth MA
Phone: 781-682-9600 · Website
1 Harrison Blvd # 2, Avon MA
Phone: 508-583-1666 · Website
300 Andover St, Peabody MA
Phone: 978-532-0050 · Website
Ok selection, a little pricey. Not the best year iParty has had in recent memory.
Big Box Retailers
7 Allstate Road, Dorchester MA
Phone: 617-602-1921 · Website
180 Somerville Ave, Somerville MA
Phone: 617-776-4036 · Website
550 Arsenal St, Watertown MA
Phone: 617-924-5987 · Website
1 Mystic View Road, Everett MA
Phone: 617-420-0000 · Website
36 Furlong Drive, Revere MA
Phone: 781-922-6030 · Website
Nice selection of reasonably priced props, decor and costumes. One of the best in years!
Ok, so me and the wife just got back from my first real trip around the area to scope Halloween stores and pop-up shops for the season. We managed to get find a few cool things. As always, the stores we discovered will be added to The Greater Boston Halloween Store List. I’ll also give my impressions of each store we went to, so hopefully my review of these Halloween shop will help you on your own outings this year.
So the first place we went to was Halloween Extreme, located where the old Borders store used to be at Legacy Place. I first became familiar with this chain last year, where they had a great selection of both costumes and props.
Unfortunately, while their costume selection was decent, the prop selection this year left much to be desired. Also, as I found last year, this particular store has the strange distinction of some items being great bargains, while others are insanely overpriced. I contemplated getting a vacuformed skull and rubber brain while I was there, but ultimately left empty handed.
Next up was Spooky Town in Westwood MA. Known officially as Pool & Patio Specialists, this place transforms into a Halloween haven every year around this time. Certainly a step up from Halloween Extreme (at least so far), there was a good selection of costumes, and a few larger props, which always makes me happy. I saw some sweet severed heads and a huge zombie ground breaker, but they were a bit pricey. I did get an awesome deal on two all black jumpsuits (Only $14.99 each, a bargain) that I will be utilizing in my yard display this year. I picked up some other knicknacks as well, including a couple foam gravestones and a zombie hand, all of which will be used in my yard haunt.
After Spooky Town we headed further on down the Boston-Providence Turnpike to my old standby, Spirit Halloween in Norwood MA. Spirit is by far my favorite dedicated seasonal Halloween shop, and with good reason. While they tend to be a little pricey (as all stores of this type are) they have a great selection, and gems a plenty can be found in between all of the typical consumer junk, so I highly recommend this place to all Halloween enthusiasts. If you don’t have a location near you they have an even more extensive selection on their website at www.SpiritHalloween.com.
With all of this high praise you would think I’m on their payroll, but alas I am just a fan of the franchise (as of the moment, Spirit personnel, feel free to get in touch to discuss a sponsorship deal), and they happen to be damn good at what they do, so I will give praise where praise is due. Anyhow, I didn’t actually pick up anything because I’m intending to go back tomorrow to get 25% off for their Facebook only Columbus Day sale.
After Spirit we backtracked to A.C. Moore so my wife could pick up some crafting supplies for the sweet snake wreath she’s making. They were still setting up their main Halloween display, so sadly there wasn’t too much to be found. I did end up getting some sweet 28″ stone columns that were on sale, and I plan on spraying a stone-texture grey to put some of my gargoyles on.
Once we left A.C. Moore we were famished, but after a quick stop at Taco Bell (Nothing spooky there), we headed over to Jo-Ann Fabric. For a fabric/craft store they have some pretty sweet Halloween items. Most of the sticker prices are shockingly high, but a 60% discount on pretty much everything coupled with a 20% Columbus Day weekend coupon meant we walked out with a couple bagfuls of stuff for only $40. Some of the highlights were some sweet LED bat lights, twin metal spider web candle holders (over a foot tall each) and some nice metal spooky tree centerpieces.
On the way back into Boston we stopped at Savers. This thrift shop has an ok costume selection, and a few cool props. We got a couple pictures that transform from 18th-century portraits to horror imagery, right up our alley, as well as some clothes to dress up the mannequins we’ll be using in our yard haunt. I was disappointed that there were no foam heads for displaying masks, as they had a ton last year (and of course I cleared them out).
After dropping the wife off at home, I continued on the thrift store circuit and found myself at the Goodwill store in Boston, down the street from my house. It was the first time I’d been in there and I was duly impressed. They have a great selection of second hand costumes, perfect for my needs in having to dress both a zombie apocalypse and the military response.
After Goodwill I headed down the street to the iParty at South Bay Center. Last year this was one of the iParty dedicated Halloween pop-up shops but they have since turned it into a full-fledged iParty location. Sadly this means the selection is a fraction of what it was before, and I didn’t see anything that impressed me too much. I will probably end up back there at some point to get some random knickknacks like a couple body bags and a walking hand prop, but overall I feel it is a bit overpriced, and best left to November 1st to get some good deals on the clearance merchandise.
My final stop of the day was Target, also at South Bay. I’m very pleased to say that they have one of the finest selections they have in years, and while I didn’t get anything this time, I made a mental list a mile long of things to get when I go back, including some sweet stone gargoyles.
Well, that’s it for now, hopefully you found my reviews of these places helpful. I’ll be sure to post updates here and o The Greater Boston Halloween Store Listas I continue on my search for all kinds of Awesome Stuff™ Also, feel free to leave comments about your favorite haunts to shop for the season!
The Legend of Stingy Jack is the theme behind my yard haunt this year, and aims to tell the story of Stingy Jack and the origins of the jack-o-lantern. It originates from Ireland centuries ago, and as part of the haunt I wrote a poem that I posted on a sign to retell the story. Of course, of over the 150 people that came to the door, exactly 1 read it, but hey, such as life…
Stingy Jack went to the pub with the Devil for his last drink
When time came to close the tab ol’ Jack, he didn’t blink
“Turn yourself into a coin so I can pay the man”
And when the Devil did, Jack took the coin into his hand
Into his pocket he dropped the coin, next to a crucifix
The Devil became angry for losing this battle of the wits
“Spare my soul for ten more years, and I’ll set you free”
The Devil didn’t have a choice, and accepted ol’ Jack’s plea
Ten years later, to the day, on All Hallows Eve
The Devil came a calling to take payment on his fee
“Before we go, could you fetch me an apple from this tree?
If I’m to be damned I need some food inside of me”
The Devil scrambled up the tree to fetch the man his snack
Jack carved a cross into the trunk, and again the beast was trapped
“I’ll release you if you vow to never take my soul”
“Never shall I take it!”, the angry beast bellowed
Eventually Jack died from drinking to excess
He climbed the stairs to heaven for his eternal rest
Heaven didn’t want a scoundrel or a thief
So down to hell descended Jack, to try to make his peace
Standing at the gates of hell, the Devil turned him down
“I said I’d never take your soul, and I shall keep my vow”
“What am I supposed to do?!”; Jack fell to his knees
“You are damned to walk the earth, for all eternity”
Jack carved a pumpkin lantern, and asked the Devil for a light
“A burning ember of hellfire, to see you through the night”
As he roams the earth, his Jack O’Lantern lights the way
Beware the night of Samhain, you may see his pumpkin face