How NOT to Build a 10′ Walking Tree
I got this insane idea to try and build a 10′ foot tall tree out of an old backpack frame, chicken wire skeleton, 1 x 1′s, and PVC pipe. We had an outdoor haunt so we wanted a tall tree charging out of the fog covered forest. I needed light materials because it was going to be heavy. I’m a pretty strong guy but I needed it to be functionable. After observing Gore Galore’s masterpieces up close at TransWorld the inspiration burned inside me until it guided me to the garage without struggle a few days later. Seeing their tall walking stalker costumes online is no comparison to watching them dance around you as sounds of air compressors echo in your head, as at TransWorld. You must see these creations up close too appreciate them!
Anyway, here are a few pictures that I took of my build and idea pictures that I gathered for my mind map. I tried to find inspiration for a walking tree so half of the pictures are idea pictures. The tall ugly thing was my project. I tried to get the two different slideshows for each category: idea pictures and project pictures but wordpress wouldn’t let me insert two different slideshows. Sorry, you’ll have to watch them all together. You can stop each picture by placing your cursor over the picture.
The base of my tree started with an old hiking backpack frame. Got it at a garage sale for $1. Then I used wood 1.75 X 1.75′S for a strong base. They were just ripped down 2×4′s. Do not use wood. I don’t have pictures of the inside but if your constructive you’ll probably figure it out. If you use wood make your tree man shorter or use aluminum, PVC, or another material of your choice. The head was an old 5 gallon bucket with tree bark glued to the bucket. Liquid nails worked great! The arms were made of wood and now I know to use aluminum or something like golf clubs for controlling the arms. I used old landscaping plastic pulled out of a old flower bed (dirt and all). Burlap was used so the actor could see out. The arms were connected using a set of heavy eye hooks connected together. One was screwed into the shoulder joint-the other one into the arm. It swiveled nicely. I used an old Hoola-Hoop so the actor had plenty of room to move around inside. I used old limbs for the fingers. Unfortunately, the Tree Man turned out to be too heavy and we really never got to use it. We had an idea to put it on a cable so it would be supported as the actor contolled it inside but we let it sit.
I hope you guys can get an idea of this and use it in your haunt. You really need some room in your building unless you make it smaller. It will work great for an outside haunt. Use lighter materials. You can also use this type of set-up for larger than normal monsters. Get an old backpack frame and let your imagination go wild. This frame will allow you to put it on easily or with the help of another actor. It supports enough weight and moves around easily. Make sure you have a snug fit when wearing it. Add PVC pipe or aluminum and chicken wire to the frame a watch your creation come to life. Just an extra 2 feet taller will freak people out!