we wanted a coffin that seemed to have someone trapped inside and
desperately trying to get out. This effect works well in your Halloween
graveyard, on the front porch or even as a display inside the house for a
Halloween party. Just make sure that you illuminate the prop with enough
light so that your guests can see it well.
For this Halloween project
with a wooden "Toe Pincher Coffin" as our base prop, because its functional and looks great, but you could use another type of coffin or casket. We wanted the
top (lid) of the Halloween coffin to be at about waist level when
our visitors passed by, so we purchased two plaster
pedestals from the
garden department at our local nursery to act as coffin stands,
placing one under each end of the coffin.
also build a set of coffin stands.
you could use metal chain, it tends to be very expensive,
heavy and difficult to cut. We decided to use
plastic chain and bought
fifteen feet of two-inch-link plastic chain from
(black or silver looks best) and a couple of inexpensive padlocks
from our local dollar store. We cut the
plastic chain easily with a hacksaw, giving us two pieces, one eighty-six and
another seventy-six inches long.
We then wrapped one piece of chain around the
Halloween coffin diagonally and padlocked
it together. Then the other piece of chain the other direction and
padlocked it together as shown in the picture. The longer
piece of chain wraps around the top/larger part of the coffin.
To make sure
that the chain does not slip out of position, we used
twist-tie to secure it at several points to hold the chain
together. We also
drilled several small holes through several strategic points in the
chain and hammered small finishing nails through to hold
the chain to the coffin.
some scary sound
effects, we placed a
battery powered CD player inside the
coffin set on continuously play. If you use an AC powered player, you will
need to drill a hole in the side or bottom of the coffin
that is large enough for the cord to go. There are a lot of Halloween sound
effects disk's available that have numerous sound clips on
them including screaming, moaning and banging that can be
used for making the CD.
We used a
sound clip off the "Halloween Sound Effects" CD pictured to
the right (Track #5 - "Heavy Breather").
not necessary to the effect, you can add a single hand or
skeleton hand by attaching it to the inside of the
coffin with its fingers bent around the edge and outside of the lid
as though it is trying to open the lid from
inside. Fake novelty hands are
inexpensive and can be found at most department stores
during the Halloween season. A realistic "Bucky" skeleton
hand is available from
Skeleton Store. If you use a skeleton hand, be sure to
so that it looks old.
If you want to take this prop to the next step and create a very realistic
animatronic effect, you can buy a "Coffin Lid Banger" unit. This device mounts inside
the coffin and actually bangs on the lid of the coffin, causing
the lid move and a real banging sound as though someone is trapped inside and trying to get out.
A very creepy effect!