How Halloween Props Are Made

How Halloween Props Are Made

We have been making latex Halloween props, animatronics, and masks here at Distortions for over 40 years and want to share some of the steps we use to make our Halloween props. These same steps can be used to make your very own Halloween prop and we are including some instructional videos in this article to help you in your Halloween prop making. In the video below we show you how we make our Pumpkin Witch Halloween prop.

Basic Steps In Halloween Prop Making

  1. The Idea! At Distortions, our ideas may come from any of our crew members or a collaboration between multiple people. These ideas are brought to our yearly new product meeting or directly to Ed and Marsha who after hearing people's opinions and our vote, ultimately decide what goes forward to design and development.                                                   

  2. The Design! This is the stage we have someone sketch a design. Sometimes we do the character design in clay or just with reference photos but we often do some sketches. This is also the stage when various crew members offer their feedback. For instance, Mike might discuss the mechanical and movement aspects of the prop before going forward. 


                                                                                                                            Pumpkin Witch Halloween Prop Design

  3. The Sculpture! This is the stage when the sculptor brings the prop alive in 3D! We often use WED water-based clay to sculpt in. The sculptor works off of the initial idea and design while also exercising their eye and creativity during the sculpture phase. They receive lots of feedback from Marsha and Ed during this phase. They take the sculpture from rough to finer and finer detail until the sculpture is complete and approved.                                                         


                                                      Halloween prop sculpture           

  4. The Mold! When the sculpture is ready we make a plaster master mold of it and then pour and foam a foam master. From the foam master, we make production plaster molds.             


                                                              Halloween prop plaster molds pouring liquid latex into them                                                        

  5. Pouring and Production! Now we are ready to pour liquid latex into the plaster molds to create the props that will be painted and shipped to you. We pour liquid latex into the mold, let it sit for a certain amount of time, and then suck out the remaining liquid latex. This leaves a thin skin in the mold that will dry and be foamed and pulled.     


                                                  Raw Halloween prop unpainted made of latex and foam filled                                      

  6. Metal, Welding, and Mechanical! Depending on the prop, if it is a static prop or an animatronic this stage can vary greatly but involves lots of diverse elements. A static prop may have a metal stand and armature that needs to be cut and welded. An animatronic may need a motor or cylinder but it will require electric wiring, welding and other elements.

  7. Cutting and Prep! Now we have the pulled prop and it is ready to trim and prep for paint. The prop is cut around the edges. Some props need to be seamed before painting as well

  8. Paint! This is when we add color to the raw latex prop. We first base paint the prop using quart sprayers. Then we often do a rubout paint job to add depth to the details. After that, we use airbrushes, pens, and hand brushes to do further details such as shadows, lips, teeth, eyes, etc. Then the prop is ready to gloss. Only certain areas of the prop receive gloss depending on the character.   
         Ed Edmunds of Distortions Unlimited painting the Pumpkin Witch Halloween prop                                                                 
  9. Finishing and Dressing! The finishing of the props may involve hair, decorations, lights, or dressing it in clothes depending on the character.        
  10. Shipping! Now your prop is ready to ship to its wonderful new home or event and its spooky scene.                                                                          
  11. Much, Much More! There is actually a lot more that goes into producing Halloween props, not on this list. Customer service, creating the audio, lighting, and FX, finances, organization, running the business, website, content creation, team building, trade shows, and the list goes on. We hope you enjoyed seeing just a bit of what goes into your hand-crafted Halloween prop.

Learn How We Make The Pumpkin Witch Prop

Have you ever been curious about the steps that go into making your Distortions Halloween Prop? In the video below go behind the scenes at Distortions Unlimited and see how we make your prop.

Make Your Very Own Halloween Prop

Do you want to learn how to sculpt, mold, pour and paint your very own latex Halloween prop. Check out our Monster Lab prop making videos below. Or perhaps you want to begin by sculpting and creating a latex half mask.