We ran a Mad Scientist's Laboratory in the garage of Elmwood Park and had several visitors. All seemed to enjoy it and were quite impressed. I thought our setup was rather scant and I know we can do better. Everyone's favorite item was the Jacob's Ladder—my 15,000 volt spark gap
made from a neon sign transformer and copper pipe. Nothing says Mad Scientist like a Jacob's Ladder and the sound alone sets the tone. I don't like to run it continuously because of the head generated and in the future would like to connect it to a motion sensor.
The lab was made by covering the garage with our painted canvas. We have several canvases that are either painted to dyed black, and then painted with florescent paint. These are group creations made at events like our Black Light and Bass gathering where we setup the living room as a black light lite painting area, so we have several. I made a tunnel out of the canvas on one side of the garage from the canvas and used two black light fixtures with illuminate the area. Then I used Xipho's lighting truss to form a drop-down fixture that hung over the monster. Jumper cables and other random wires ran from the truss to the monster. The truss also held a couple lighting interments so illuminate the monster.
Our plan was to have a lab where our scientist was building a monster, so we wanted additional body parts laying around. We setup a miter saw with a severed arm in it, but we didn't have a collections of "spare body parts." We also had several large bottles full of liquid sitting on a table in the back that was suppose to look like chemistry experiments. Having run out of time, this didn't come across so well. I've done this in the past to good effect by filling jars with water, adding a bit of food coloring, and a touch of laundary detergent. Laundry detergent contains phosphors which glow under a black light. At some point we ran out of food coloring so I had to skip that. The setup could have used more plastic tubing, and bubbling.
Austin had found a baby crib on and we turned it upside down into into a cage for our experiment
. Inside was a baby with gloving eyes and a fork with blood all over the floor around it. But that was about it for the setup. I had considered doing something with the basement stairwell, but didn't have time to implement anything. I also didn't do anything with lasers which probably would have gone over well.
One item we need to address for next time is advertisement. Our street gets a lot of trick-or-treat traffic, but the garage is not on the main street. So most people didn't know we had a setup in the garage. We need a sign or something to get people to come have a look.
But the kids who visited loved the setup. It wasn't overly scary or gory and something I think set a good mood to enjoy the holiday. So hopefully this will become a tradition and improve each year.