I love to craft, and one of my favorite Halloween craft books is Halloween Crafts: Eerily Elegant Decor written by Kasey Rogers (Louis Tate from the TV show Bewitched). In this book, she gives ideas for decorating your home for Halloween in pretty unique and innovative ways. There are gourd crafts, recipes, clip art and invitations, and simple, yet effectively, haunting props.
This book was the inspiration for my Butler prop. In the book, they name their butler Gravely, but I thought Boris was a much better name for mine.
The prop was easy, and inexpensive to make. I used some lumber my pack-rat dad had lying around, an old man mask, a suit and shoes purchased from a thrift store, dollar store accessories, old pantyhose, and a bag of shredded paper.
I first built a frame by cutting a 2X4 to the shoulder height I wanted my butler. I screwed four pieces of 2X4 cut to 18" lengths at right angles to the bottom of the larger piece to make a stand. This is the time you want to put his pants on! If you finish building the frame, there is no way to dress him. I slid one leg of the pants over the frame. Then, I stuffed an old pair of panty hose with shredded paper and used good-old duct tape to attach the panty hose to the frame. Boris now had "hips" on which his pants could stay up!
I screwed another 18" piece of wood to the top of the frame to make his shoulders, creating a T-shaped frame. Using flat brackets, I attached the piece of wood to the T-frame for his arm. Since I wanted him to be holding a tray, I screwed another piece of wood at a right angle to his upper arm. His other arm would hang at his side, so there was no reason to make an additional arm.
An old wire coat hanger was shaped into fingers which were glued into hole drilled into the arm. I used another pari of panty hosestuffed with paper to fill out his arms, and used the panty portion of the hose to stuff a head shape. I attached his arms and head to the shoulders with a staple gun.
Before dressing him, I gave him a slight hunch-back by stuffing a few plastic grocery sacks and taping them to his shoulders. I dressed him in a pin striped thrift store suit with a bow tie. I put some gloves on his wire fingers, stapled an aluminum tray from the dollar store to his arm, and added his mask.
His eyes were made from styrofoam craft balls that I painted. They are a bit larger than the mask holes, but look really cool kind of bugged out.
Boris is by far one of my favorite props. He's so lifelike, that he's startled many people; myself included!
© 2006 Haunted Yard