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Miniature Railway Halloween


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Hi all



Just finished another weekend of Halloween specials at the miniature railway I sometimes work at (second hobby). I'm after a few creative and cheap ideas for next year! To briefly describe what goes on;


Miniature ride-on railway, open carriages and a "cast" of 12 or so doing their best to terrify people! Night time (6.00pm till 9.30pm ish)


Families arrive at 5 minute intervals, are met at their cars by "the undertaker" who leads them by hurricane lamp to the station, board the train and leave. Railway is lit by tealights in jam jars (hundreds of them!). Trains are fitted with magnets underneath, mainly for signalling but I use them to trigger reed switches activating ghost lights (car reversing lamps and a simple relay latch) lighting very well painted wooden ghosts. Several cast members jump out dressed as all sorts of horrible characters. The woodland surrounding the site is lit by PAR lanterns (domestic garden types on spikes) gelled blue with generators driving them.


Grave yard at one point round the site lit by candles and the mausoleum (sp?) lit by another Par lantern.


Ideas so far for next year -


The railway crosses a stream at 4 points. I'd love to get it lit in red (river of blood?). Initial thoughts were underwater lights, but I don't really have a budget, so whatever happens between now and next year is scrounged and bodged! One thought was a periscope type arrangement with the lamp above water in a seaked drain pipe. Anybody seen it done? Any other ways of getting a lamp under water. Clearly low voltage is the order of the day. Battery power would be helpful (small sealed lead acid 12v are in abundance, so I'm thinking car reversing lamps are the way to go).


230v is possible at most points by my stock of armoured 2.5mm flex with IP44 connectors, but when it is used, I need to cluster effects together to save on cable runs.


I fancy playing with UV. We have UV reactive skeletons which float. We had one in the stream this year (unlit) and dobody saw it. I quite fancy hitting the UV as a train crosses the bridge and 3 or 4 skeletons "appear" in the stream.


I also had an idea for a tree covered in UV reactive cobwebs. Not visible until the train gets right next to it at which point it appears, spiders and all (I know terralec have a decent stock of these).


The stream features quite heavily in the ghost story told by a story teller halfway through the evening (train crashes into the beck, killing all except the guilt-ridden driver and railway owner, who then has a year of terrible nightmares before hanging himself) so I'd like to have something to do with that in there. I'd like to arrange a net of hosepipe, drilled with air holes and connected to a compressor so the stream can "froth". Suitably lit of course.

Another idea is for lit jets of water (windscreen washer pumps?) flying over the heads of passengers (like ecto-plasm). I know water behaves like a fiber-optic, so a bright source of light in the stream before the jet should light it pretty well I think, or maybe UV dyed water lit from a lantern.


Finally, the audio around the site (provided by me) is reasonably hefty and next year should by synced together (running from one mixer and cd player rather than several individual ones out round the railway) so a thundercrack would be easy to do and very effective. A quick flash of lightning in the sky would make the effect even better. This only need be seen by those sat round the story teller really.


I have access to the theatre stock of lanterns, including UV and strobes (though not very big ones). Budget is as small as possible, effects should be DIY where possible (I have a decent workshop with lathe, bandsaw, pillar drills and all the other usual stuff), some "props" can be bought (UV dye and spiders, etc.) provided costs aren't extreme.


What am I after? Go wild! DIY projects for an outdoor event that will scare the pants off of people! What's worked for you? How might I water-proof some decent power lanterns for use in the stream?


Have fun!

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Brilliant link, thankyou!


Unfortunately the stream is a completely natural beck straight off the moor, so no additives to go in that one! The stream lighting needs to be purely light-based. Shame really! Nevertheless other water effects around the track can be closed loop or will use that little water we can afford it. Do I guess flourecein will glow when the water hits the floor (or leaks? as well as when its in a stream or pool of water?

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