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Halloween Prop Menu : Drop Picture

Drop Picture

This is a great effect with a lot of 'shock value'. Picture this (no pun intended): A group of haunted house patrons are walking down a long, dimly lit hallway with many framed pictures hanging on each side. As one of the patrons is inspecting a portrait, the 'picture' on the inside of the frame slides down, revealing a hole in the wall and a ghoul who scares them all!

It is fairly easy to construct this effect. You need to obtain 'prints' of several different paintings, the older and creepier they look, the better. Attach them to the walls on both sides of the hallway. You will then need to build wooden frames around them, attaching them to the wall to make them look like hanging pictures.

Here is how you construct the sliding picture. Attach the portrait to a piece of heavy plywood. When you use thicker plywood, it makes a louder sound when it hits the floor. You will then need to construct a track on the back side of the wall that the 'portrait' can slide in (see rear view diagram below). A latch attached to the moving plywood piece will be needed to hold the picture in place behind the phony picture frame. Be sure that the latch you use is easy to work and has a quick release. This is important if you want your scene to preserve the element of surprise. In your hallway, more than one of your pictures can be built like this. That way, even if someone is coming through your haunted house for the second or third time, they won't know which picture is rigged. It is important to make the sliding pictures look EXACTLY like all of the others.

In order for the ghoul to know when a victim approaches, a small hole should be drilled near the picture or in the picture itself. The area behind the wall should be in complete darkness, so the audience can't see any light shining through. When the effect is triggered, lighting and sound effects can be activated to enhance the effect. A handle attached to the back of the moving plywood piece makes the effect easier to operate. Also, it might be a good idea to fasten a strip of plywood at floor level, across the track, so the 'portrait' can't accidentally fall on the ghoul's feet.


Front View


Rear View


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