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Skeleton Tree & Fence
The Skeleton Tree Seen Through the Picket Fence
This haunt was sort of "last minute" idea for the 2007 Wyandotte Jaycees haunted house. Well, it was inasmuch as anything like this can be done last minute in my world. It started with the idea to create a skeleton tree - basically a large tree trunk with bones embedded in it. I had thought that the Jaycees had some similar tree trunks that someone had made several years ago for another room and I was going to use this and the other two trunks to create a forest room.

Alas, the other two tree trunks had been destroyed and discarded, so there was to be no forest. Add to that the fact that the haunted house this year was hospital themed and the forest idea just seemed like a no go. Someone suggested making the room into a sort of atrium, so I though...Skeleton Tree Atrium! (What else?) Rather than having three large trees, I would have one small one like you would find in an atrium and the large skeleton tree. The big tree makes almost no sense, but I started the prop before I found out about the theme. So they got a skeleton tree. A bench would be by the small one and one of my skeletons would be sitting on it, like you might find in a skeleton tree atrium. Assuming you found a skeleton tree atrium, that is.

This is what happens when you start with a non-atrium idea and shift it. You wind up with a confusing combination of ideas. In this case you have a rickety fence with skull fence-post tops in front of what is allegedly a hospital atrium. Below are some pictures of the haunt in normal (non-haunt) light that show the structure a little better. People walk along the fence line and look into the haunt at a small tree with a bench on which is sitting a skeleton (trying to get that atrium fell) and a large skeleton tree.

Skeleton Tree Fence
The Skeleton-Headed Fence Line and Tree Looking in and Left
Skeleton Tree Fence 2Femce amd Tree Looking Right

As mentioned, the skeleton and the tree were the central features on the atrium front. You can see this in the normally lit and haunted house lit photos below. The tree was a sycamore branch I found on one of my sojourns through the neighborhood one Saturday morning after a storm. I liked the "look" of the sycamore bark, so this branch seemed perfect for the room. I wound up trimming it to make the bottom straighter so I could mount it to the floor to look like a tree. I incorporated the trimmed piece into the skeleton tree - it can be seen in pictures where Jack the Monkey is sitting on the branch. (For more on that,  see the page on the Skeleton Tree prop.)

The skeleton was supposed to be sitting on a spackled bench - the sort that can be found in hospitals and government offices the world over. (They often have small pebbles in them.) My friend John suggested that we just mount him on a board and call it good so we could go have a beer. So that's what we did. I figured no one would see the seat anyhow. (Can you tell in the black lit pictures?) By the time they got to him, someone would be jumping out at them anyhow. John nonchalantly crossed the skeleton's left leg over his right and that was that. The skeleton also looks somewhat human when you first enter the room, so he makes for a nice distraction.

The Skeleton by the Tree
The Skeleton on the Bench (Behind the Fence)
The Skeleton in Black Light
The Same Scene (Slightly Different Angle) in Black Light

Of course the key feature was Uncle Zeke, the first prop I ever bought. He was sitting inside the tree with a black light in there with him so he'd glow.As you can see in the two photos below (one with black light only and the other without), it looks far different in the haunt setting than it does in "daylight." You can read more about it and see better photos on the Skeleton Tree prop page.

The Skeleton Tree
The Skeleton Tree with Uncle Zeke inside
Uncle Zeke in the Tree - Black Lit
The Skeleton Tree with Zeke Black lit

When I learned that the haunt was supposed to have a hospital theme, the Skeleton Tree prop was half done. Since it was my impetus for doing a room this year, I plowed ahead and hoped it would work in the environment. Below are some awfully blurry shots taken with a hand-held (ie. slightly moving) long exposure camera. I liked the effect, so I decided to post them. The tree looks really creepy, doesn't it? I particularly like the one at left peering through the branches of the little sycamore. It's similar to what people entering the room would probably see.

Skeleton Tree Black Lit Entry
The Entrance in Black Light
Black Lit Tree
Looking at the Skeleton and Tree with Uncle Zeke Inside
Skeleton Tree
The Skeleton Tree Black Lit

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