halloween 2006: baying wolves

Note: This entry is part of my Halloween Projects category. You can see all of my posts documenting my projects by clicking the “Halloween Projects category” link above. You’ll also find images and movies of the projects and their construction in my Halloween Gallery, which can be accessed by links in these posts or directly here.

Welcome to Halloween 2006, friends. Starting this year, I’ve decided to better document the creation and function of the Halloween props/projects I so dearly love to create yearly. I wish I’d done this in year’s past, but in lieu of inventing a time machine to remedy that I’ve tried to tag as many past-project related entries into my new Halloween Projects category (linked above). Beginning this year though, each project will have it’s own entry describing the idea and construction, and hopefully documenting the final working product. Let’s begin then with Project #1 of an ambitious two-project year: Baying Wolves 2006.


Credit where credit is due, my friend Kristi came up with this prop concept – and I did some “imagineering” to come up with a proposed implementation. The idea is simple: a faux setting moon with animated wolves baying in silhouette. Picture a ~7ft tall illuminated circle (like a partially set full moon on the horizon) silhouetting a couple wolves whose heads move up and down as piercing howls split the night. Yeah, that’s my best sellup of this prop folks, I’ll let the pictures and effect do the rest of the convincing. First, let’s outline the concept and we’ll get to the numbers and instructions later:


What the visitor will see from the front. This prop is ideally located where you’ll not get many passers-by walking directly to the side or behind the prop (I plan on putting mine very near the fence in my yard). You want the visitor to get a mostly head-on view of this one, and that’s what this concept is supposed to show. The “moon” is just a semi-circle of somewhat sheer fabric (think old sheet) with a “sleeve” sewn around circumference where a piece of PVC pipe will be inserted to frame it.


Here’s my terrible attempt at a 3D representation of the prop. The whole thing is stabilized via a “cross” of 2x4s and an additional “guy-wire” piece of PVC.


An illustration of the base structure, no measurements here – those will come later (remember, these are just my concept drawings).


A side-view of how the actual silhouetting effect will work. The light source will shine on the “moon” from behind, with the mechanical wolves placed just inches from the sheet for maximum effect. The wolves are simply 2D flat cutouts of wolf shapes with motorized heads – more about that to come. If all goes as planned, the wolves block the light and cast wolf-shaped shadows (which will look like silhouettes when viewed from the front) on the sheet. The beauty here is that no great effort need be made to make the wolves any more realistic than being able to cast a believable wolf-shaped shadow.

Well, that’s the basic concept. All I need are a motor, some materials, and some traceable wolf silhouettes. Read on for my documentation of the actual construction.

Implementation & Actuals

Coming soon, stay tuned.

Finished Effect

Coming soon, stay tuned.

Also written on this day...

3 Replies to “halloween 2006: baying wolves”

  1. good idea but your basic concept is flawed. placing the wolf shapes close to the sheet will not give the desired effect if silhouettes are what you want. it will just light up the wolf shape directly. you should experiment with the size of the wolf shapes (smaller), distance from sheet and light source and the angle of the light source..think of the late afternoon shadows when you were a kid or when you made hand puppets in front of the projector at school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *