From the dead letter office…
Minion ‘Kathy’ sent us this letter, which ended up making your old pal Spook later for dinner. She writes…
Do you have any ideas on how we could make a bruno for a scare actor? We do a “Spooky Woods Tour” in Tallahassee (south of there called Woodville) every year and we are doing some new stuff this year. I love the creativity you have. We’d like to add “Bruno” as an actor this year. I can hear the screams now…..thanks.
Thanks for the note! Ideas? I have lots.
Idea 1: A stick-around
Bruno’s terror-on-a-stick construction lends itself to the stalk-around model. Now, a real stalk-around includes a monster head that is attached to some type of helmet worn by the actor, and as much fun as that sounds to build, it would be quite a technical challenge.
The next best thing could be a terrible paper mache pumpkin on a stick with a type of shoulder pad arrangement beneath, and over which, you could drape his cloak/robes/coat to give the impression of a solid form underneath. The actor could then carry the stick around, hidden under the cloak.
A slightly more ambitious version of the stick-around may be to attach the stick to an apparatus not unlike a backpack that is strapped to the actor. He could peep through slits in the cloak. This would free his hands, which could then operate arm extensions (more sticks) fitted through the sleeves of the cloak. Attach horrible hands to the arm extensions and you’d have a very scary pumpkin monster with a loooong reach.
Idea 2: A wearable pumpkin head
Attach a hard-hat or batter’s helmet to the inside of your paper mache pumpkin head. Depending on the size of your pumpkin and the diameter of the hole in its bottom, you’ll have to use spacers (pvc pipe, scrap 1x2s) to place the helmet somewhere near the center of the gourd, or near mouth-level. Your actor would end up looking out of the mouth to see. The reason for this is so that the pumpkin itself doesn’t sit on the actor’s shoulders, but is able to turn and pivot freely. From that point, it’s a matter of padding out the creature’s cloak, which would also be worn by the actor.
A word of caution: It would be tempting to strap the helmet firmly to the actor’s head, but this could cause serious neck injury. A loose-fitting chin strap should keep the gourd from shifting around. Anything tighter that doesn’t break away easily is dangerous. You’ve seen what happens to a football player when someone grabs his face mask. Imagine the torque if someone grabbed the pumpkin’s stalk or if it got caught on something. Yeouch!
A flashlight taped to the inside of the gourd and pointing upward should provide plenty of light. Especially if the interior is painted bright orange.