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Halloween Propmaker's Handbook Paperback – August 21, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0786424634 ISBN-10: 078642463X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (August 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078642463X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786424634
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Pitek lives in Northbrook, Illinois. His work has been published in Haunted Attraction Magazine and other publications.

More About the Author

Ken Pitek was born in Chicago, Illinois and later moved to the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, where he now lives with his wife Judy. He is currently a telecommunications specialist with AT&T. He hopes to someday retire and pursue a career as a fulltime writer.

He learned his love of Halloween as a young child. He would would spend the entire day of Halloween trick-or-treating door-to-door, returning home, after dark, with a large bag of candy. When he grew too old for trick-or-treating, he began decorating his home for the holiday. He soon learned that freightening young childern and adults alike was even more fun than trick-or-treating. He later decided to share this joy with others by writing his first book Halloween Propmakers Handbook.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Parisi on July 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
The projects are explained well, the directions are clear, and I feel I would be able to re-create the clever props. Unfortunately there are no instructions for large sized props such as figures, monsters, etc. that are expected in a haunted hosue. All the props are on a small scale..at least half the book is devoted to creating different painting effects on skulls. There are also ideas for masks, brains, severed hands, and other small props such as skull flowers, flatware, salt & pepper shakers, candy dish, etc.
There is useful information on lighting, black lights, adding eyes to a prop, and general setting up of a scene which will help me with my haunted house decorating, but I won't use most of the other projects.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I was a kid growing up in the 70's, Halloween decorations pretty much consisted of those cardboard characters you taped on your windows and light up jack-o-lanterns. Heck the main decoration was the pumpkin you carved yourself. Today, Halloween decorations generate millions each year. There are entire superstores selling nothing but Halloween décor and costumes that spring up every Fall. The Fright Catalog has Hollywood-caliber props that cost in the thousands of dollars. It's easily become the biggest holiday for decorating next to Christmas and getting bigger every year.

The Hollywood Propmaker's handbook is the perfect book for those who love decorating for the season but who don't want to spend all of their hard-earned cash at those stores. The book is written by Keith Pitek whose work has been seen in Haunted Attraction Magazine. Pitek presents some two-dozen projects that can be made with inexpensive items, many of which you might have lying around the house.

Pitek begins by covering various techniques to setting up your outdoor display covering things which seem so simple and make perfect sense such as where to set-up speakers for sound, the best ways to display props, the use of remote controls, and lighting. Pitek also covers the use of black lights, techniques for painting skulls, wiring your props for light, and using two-way mirrors.

In the project section, Pitek provides several different types of skulls using inexpensive plastic skull props that are available at the Halloween stores as well as major retailers. Create one with light up twinkling eyes that doesn't take an electrician to wire; paint one so that it looks like it was just dug up out of a grave.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Halloween Propmaker's Handbook arrived too late for October mention but deserves ongoing recommendation for any avid party crafts person who enjoys putting together unique Halloween props. Here are recipes for fake blood, papier-maiche projects such as skills, two-way mirrors, and other techniques just perfect for Halloween decorators. No color photos, but the step-by-step black and white images and clear directions need little color to prove involving.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Martin on March 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Halloween is my favorite holiday and I'm always looking for new ideas and instructions to improve the spooky fun. When I got this book from the library I noticed that it has a few flaws, but decided that it might be worth having - then I saw the price. Personally, I expect more for $35 than this book delivers. For one thing, I expect color illustrations, but all the photos are in black-and-white. For another, I expect that every page will be worth reading, but there is a lot of repetition. Do I really need to be told twice how to make a gelatin hand or how to attach wires to LEDs? Those pages could have been better utilized.

I'm also disappointed by some of the projects. A lot of space is devoted to flatware, vases, candy dishes, salt and pepper shakers, and napkin rings. I'm not going to quibble over whether these things are props or decorations, but I do think those pages could have been used for projects that would actually enhance a spooky atmosphere, which is supposedly the book's focus. A section on how to construct and wire objects to make them move, for instance, or at least how to adapt purchased animatronics so they aren't so generic, would have been nice.

Realistically, this book would probably sell a lot more copies at a lower price. As it is, I'll be keeping my money until I find a book that delivers more value for the cost.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Meg on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Has some great ideas. Clearly was meant to have color pictures showing the black light projects and black light reflective goo. A little irritated that they are black and white for the price of the book. Otherwise, the information in the book for online resources is of great use, even though most of them have moved to different sites they are all easily accessible. Most of the ideas have encouraged us to try other ideas and ways of making things. Very creative and helpful to find a good starting point!
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