This Week In Animatronics

Say what you will about Spirit Halloween, but year after year, they keep knocking it out of the park when it comes to animatronics, those life-size figures that have some sort of repetitive motion. The kids (and adults) absolutely love them when they come to the door on Halloween.

As with most "off-the-rack" animatronics, a little love is needed in dressing up the scant fabrics, and padding out the flimsy wire frames to give definition to arms and legs. I've used big bubble wrap, popping sections of bubbles at folding points like elbows, and used masking tape to hold in place. I also temporarily tape the joints of the metal frames so that it all holds together well. Add some bricks at the base to hold the frame in place since trick 'r treaters like to grab at the figures or throw arms around them for a selfie. Finally, these animatronics all have motion sensors that typically require a change of light (shadow passing in front) to activate them. Some are sound activated. They will not always work great on their own so if a step pad is an option, get it and save yourself the activation headache.

Here are some fun animatronics from Spirit:

This Smoldering Zombie twitches and glows red from within! Very cool!

The Boogie Man looks a bit Slenderman-ish and quite creepy to look at. The head shimmy-shakes back and forth and theres that one red eye.

Last year's favorite Cerberus three-headed dog sold out instantly upon debut. It requires a dedicated fog machine and a dark, shrouded background to really sell the effect. But it's guaranteed to scare most trick 'r treaters.