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DIY Haunts is upon us! This year’s Halloween contest, sponsored by Jameco Electronics, challenges makers to build the creepiest animatronic prop possible using sound, motion, and light. You can either design your own masterpiece or follow along as we build the Spooky Fun Tombstone Project, a scary styrofoam tombstone that splits in half while lighting up and playing creepy sound effects!

The project is a riff off of Cory Derenberger’s excellent Styrofoam Tombstones from Make: Projects, with the obvious electronic enhancements.

Do you have to make the tombstone to win? Will making the tombstone prevent you from winning? Hecks no. As long as you put your own spin on the project, execute it well, and document it clearly, you’re golden. You may want to grab the optional Jameco Electronics parts kit, or you can source the components on your own.

Make A Tombstone

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If do you want to make your own version of the tombstone project, you’ll find lots of inspiration online.

On Make: Online, we have a how-to describing DIY pneumatic tombstones, as well as concrete tombstones, and even breakable ones. On Instructables, you can find guides to making a tombstone that sports an animated hand, one made out of pizza box & papier-mâché, and a guide to creating an entire graveyard in your yard. YouTube has some great videos of Halloween tombstones, such as a talking skull, one that bleeds fake blood, one that opens up, and a really cool-looking tombstone with a flying Grim Reaper that flies out of it!

Decorating a tombstone means more than slapping on some gray paint and writing “R.I.P.” on it. This YouTube video contains lots of painting tips. On another website, we found more great tips on creating a stonelike finish. And don’t neglect what you write. There’s a long-standing tradition of writing punning and/or creepy inscriptions on your Halloween props. I found two really good sites for creating Halloweeny epitaphs for your prop.

DIY Haunts Newsletter
Keep your eye out for our creepy contest newsletters which will slink ghoul-like into your mailbox… but only if you’ve subscribed. To find the newsletter sign-up form as well as a lot more information, contest rules, and inspiring links, check out the DIY Haunts Landing Page.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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