Large scale foam props are something we often create for theme parks and events, but our services are available to anyone, even home haunters or people looking for truly one-of-a-kind holiday displays. Here at Tom Spina Designs, we are huge Halloween fans, and we always love the chance to help a client bring their fiendish dreams to life! Last year we created a large collection of vintage looking life-size custom tombstones for a client looking for some over the top Halloween decorations for the cemetery display at his home. This year, they contacted us again to add even more headstones to their annual haunted graveyard… including a life-sized mausoleum!
We started planning for this display in the early summer, which gave us the necessary few months to work on his props. In addition to the life-sized mausoleum, the design intent for this year was to create some more modern style gravestones to provide some variety to their Halloween displays. We were provided a budget and discussed some basic details including sizes and potential characters for the tombstones. Then we were asked to dream up the final designs and details. It grave… er, gave Richard Riley, our lead foam artist, something to really sink his teeth into.
To create the prop headstones Rich started with the basic geometric forms in a dense EPS foam. He then added layers of decorative elements to give each piece its own individual design. Sometimes that was additional foam, sometimes those were other real-world elements. The work itself combined machine foam work and hand carving. For these tombstone names we used characters from different horror films, all chosen with the client’s input. The process for creating the mausoleum is very similar, but on a much larger scale! That piece also required some engineering to break down for delivery and also for storage when its not Halloween season.
Once the foam prop sculptures were finalized we added a hard coating which will help the pieces to be durable enough to remain outdoors for the annual Halloween season. This hard poly urea resin coating was also applied in a way that adds some addition stone like texture to the large foam props. Each piece is then given several grey shades and washes in various colors to create a realistic distressed aging headstone look. The finished sculptures looked nearly indistinguishable from real stone grave markers.
The client loved the glow paint effect from their previous pieces so much that they wanted the same treatment added to these new pieces. The effect is really effective, because during the day or under normal lighting the UV reactive glow paint is essentially invisible, but once you put the pieces under blacklight, the spooky and other worldly effect really shines! We used this effect to also sneak in some ghostly messages and references to the films and characters and use of different colors of glow paint added some great variety to this haunted Halloween cemetery!
Do you need one of a kind custom foam props for your next event or party? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!