The folks over at Anakeesta Mountain Park in Tennessee reached out to us over the summer, looking to create several custom foam tombstone props to help create a one of a kind Halloween display for their theme park. Probably no surprise to anyone will be the face that we are all huge Halloween fans here, and we get so excited anytime we get to create custom cemetery or otherwise spooky props! The team at the park had some ideas about what they were looking for and gave us a great look-book with some comp images showing the overall vibe and, of course, provided a budget. Beyond that, they kindly left the details to us and we were able to work very collaboratively, coming up with concepts as we worked and ultimately crafting what they were looking for at the price they needed.
Once we had come up with our plan of attack, Patrick Louie was able to take plain blocks of dense EPS foam and carve them into a variety of different shapes and style of tombstones, working to get maximum variety but maintain a common feel. Once the shapes were carved he was able to go back in and add cracks, chipping and distressing for an extra level of detail to give their faux graveyard a more realistic look. When the sculptures were finished we added a thick spray-hard coating of poly-urea, which will help the pieces to be durable enough to remain outdoors during the Halloween season. This hard resin coating also added some additional texture to the various headstone and obelisk props.
Once the pieces were coated they were handed over to Melissa Ocampo, Matt Beagan, and Lydia Gjonbalaj for scenic painting. Each tombstone prop was painted with several grey shades and washes in various colors to create a realistic stone look. The goal is to make these foam carved props nearly indistinguishable from real stone grave markers. We also added areas of staining to indicate bits of moss or mold and to give the impression of an old decaying cemetery that’s been around for many years.
Since the park is still open after dark we added an additional spooky effect… a ghostly glow! The team added a UV reactive glow paint. During the day or under normal lighting the UV paint is nearly invisible, but once you put the pieces under blacklight, the paint gives off a eerie glow. We were even able to hide a secret message on one of the gravestones, inspired by something the park’s team suggested. The finished pieces give a one of a kind experience for the guests of the theme park, and will look great for years to come!
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!