A Bit of Haunted Déjà Vu

Retail Trades is a group which meets once a month down at the art center. It is the intention of the group to attract shoppers to downtown Lamar and to promote local businesses. To do this they need a budget, and the big money-maker each year for this budget is the Retail Trades Haunted House. This takes some money to put on, as it has to be insured and takes some upkeep. It also takes a lot of coordination and volunteer hours. Last year, we did a haunted book shop as I described in a previous post. That involved sitting in the room for long hours on six relatively chilly nights.

This year we could not see how we could be on site for the Haunted House, as it begins before we get close the shop for the day. So T. made arrangements for us to furnish a room. The room would be decorated with a theme and would not need an actual human being there. The guides would have a story to explain the room, which they would recite in a scary voice as they toured the groups through.

This year our room is one of the smaller ones upstairs, because the things we have to carry up will not be all that heavy. In some of the other rooms, this is a factor. The guys with the big metal barrel drums would find it harder to haul them up the stairs than say…SNAKES!

Yes, we have been put in charge of the snake room.

So far we have collected or ordered something like 246 rubber and plastic snakes in various sizes, some of which are advertised to glow in the dark. Am I going to have to put the snakes out in the sun each day to renew the glow? Flipping them over to bake on the other side, too? Because if we have to expose the snakes to the sun, that also means recreating the display daily and that sounds like a real bummer.

We are going to make snake posters for the walls, and perhaps have some tricks with the lighting to fuss with the mind. Does anyone have any good ideas for the creative uses of snakes and ways to make the snakes present well?

Sometimes, I can not BELIEVE the questions I have had to ask folks since we started the bookstore.

We already have a fake skull to have them creep over and around. We are thinking of having hissing and rattling sounds, but on the whole we are technologically Neanderthal. I don‘t know if we can carry this off. Especially if no one is on hand to protect the equipment from little hands, and to start the sound for each tour.

So suggestions are totally welcome.

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  • Some hopefully helpful suggestion:
    If there are windows in the room, in your design insure the glow-in-the-dark snakes are placed where the light can reach them. If there are no windows, leave the light on during the day. It should charge them up enough. As for creepy sounds, create a cassette tape (low tech) or cd on your computer (slightly higher tech, a teenager can help immensely)of snake sounds. Be the snake(s)yourself or download snake sounds (again, find a teenager). Borrow a baby monitor or walkie talkie set. Place the speaker/wt up where little ones can’t reach it, say on top of a cabinet, draped with a cloth. Place the sending unit/other wt in the shop and play the tape/cd as needed.
    To attach snakes to walls, etc, use a double stick product. Scotch and 3M make all kinds of products that won’t leave a mess or ruin your walls and they are cheap. The dollar store or Walmart/Kmart, etc. are the best places to look. You may even find a pre-made cd/tape of creepy sounds. It is that time of year!
    Best of luck on your snake room!

    Carol

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  • Yes, the glow in the dark ones will need to be charged in light of some sort to actually glow.

    Though if you want glowing snakes, you may be able to get much the same effect with a blacklight. Or if they;re a clear plastic, run an LED into the mouth and you can light them internally. (LEDs are generally cool to touch, so safe to use this way)

    You could probably make a fairly decent “giant snake” out of the hose intended for venting dryers. Paint it like it’s a giant boa, hang from rafters.

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