Ghost in Window Halloween Prop

Cheese cloth ghost in windowglowing cheese cloth ghost

This is a ghost in window Halloween prop I made of cheese cloth. It can also used as a “flying crank ghost”. This is much simpler to make and set up. The secret is cheese cloth, a wig stand for the head (from a wig shop) and clothes hanger wire for the frame. A “black light” causes it to glow. The ghost actually glows white. Not blue as in the picture. See video at the end. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Cheese cloth ghost close

Cheese cloth ghost support


This was originally inspired by the pdf you can view here Phantasmechanics. Go to the very end of the pdf for the relevant part ( page 17 and 18). Print it out. This is just the marionette part, but I do hook it up to a “flying crank” too. On this one I use an oscillating fan to give it motion. It is very eerie, her looking out the window– Waiting.  A 2 foot black light on the couch makes it glow. It is supported by a camera tripod with a tube attached. A bolt in it just sticks into the styrofoam head. Fishing line attached to the hands and tacked to the wall hold the arms up. I find it is better to support the head the way I have done, instead of a stand going straight up. It lets the fabric move in the wind of the fan without hitting a pole.

You don’t have to use a tripod. The marionette is light. A stick tacked to a 2×2 nailed to a plywood base would work. Use coat hanger wire for the frame. Bend the wire ends into loops with long nose pliers. You MUST soak the cheese cloth in laundry detergent with brighteners (bluing) to make it glow under black light. I think all detergents have bluing to make whites brighter.

Ghost skeletonCheese cloth ghost head

Things I did different than the Phantasmechanics pdf. I drape one layer of cheese cloth over the head and face. It gives a darker look to the face area when glowing. I only glued the cloth to the hands. I used a double layer of cloth for the hair. It looks more like a shawl. They talk abut putting a hook through the head to suspend it. You don’t have to do that since you are supporting it from below. I didn’t paint anything. I put blue LED lights in the eyes, but I didn’t like them, so don’t use them. They were too bright and drew all attention to them. I think a ghost should be ethereal.

I measured my arms for the wire length. I am a guy, so they may be too long, but it works. The hands are made from thin cardboard, like that from a cereal box. I think mine was from the packaging of a shirt. Just trace your hands. I glued the cheese cloth on it with watered thinned white glue.Cheese cloth ghost handcheese cloth ghost hand 2

I used Trilene low vis green fishing line to suspend the arms. Tacking it to the wall. You can use black thread too.

I have had many compliments on this ghost and a few wouldn’t come to the door. Too scared! It is an excellent project and will wow them year after year.

See the video for the ghost hooked up to the flying crank mechanism.

Grim Reaper Halloween Prop

Grim Reaper Halloween PropReaper Looking Down




Here is a Grim Reaper Halloween Prop I made to put on my balcony. It has scared many a person as it stands 6 feet tall. At a distance it looks like someone is standing, looking down, ready to do evil. People don’t like things looking down at them. Probably a primal fear. I hear “I thought someone was standing there” often.

It is made from a costume I got from a shop. Similar to this one California Costume Mens Horror Robe (weapon not included)

You can do this with any full costume if you make a “skeleton”, also known as a figure armature, underneath. This one is made using 3/4″ PVC pipe and some 90 degree fittings, 1 Gallon milk jug for head, bubble wrap or paper to fill out shoulders, 2″x6″ wood base. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Reaper Costume Bag

Reaper Frame


Here is the cutting list for a 6 foot guy using schedule 40 3/4″ PVC Pipe 164″ total. So 2- 10′ sticks.

  • 2 legs 33.5″
  • 1 spine 20″  1 neck  2″
  • 2 upper arms 13″  2 lower arms 10.5″
  • 2 shoulders 8″   2 hips 5.5″

PVC Fittings needed: 1 Tee (at hips), 1 Cross (at neck), 6- 90 degree elbows

I dry fitted everything together and in the end, I only glued the hips when I had the proper angle to lean against the balcony rail. I want to be able to take it apart for storage. Glue the parts you don’t want to move, but be careful. If you glue all the parts, you may not be able to get the costume on. The base is just a 2×6 with 1″ holes drilled it. you may have to rock the drill when boring to oversize the hole a bit. My PVC was just over an inch wide. You will have to put a weight on the base. It will not stand on its own. I have it leaning against the rail for support. Depending on how you have your prop setup, you will have to make a suitable base. A larger piece of plywood with the 2×6 nailed to it, for example.

wood base reaperReaper head

For the head I used a gallon water/ milk jug sprayed black except where I masked it for eyes. The back it opened up so I can put a light in it to make the eyes glow. A couple of those LED tea lights would work. I wrapped tape around the PVC pipe neck to make it fit the head (jug spout) tightly.

reaper head backlight reaper head

I used bubble wrap- wrapped around the PVC shoulders so the costume fit better. You are going to have to customize it for the costume you use. Email me pics on what you come up with.