Boo! Give Yourself A Dead Hand, Plus 3 More Easy DIY Halloween Tricks

Terrify your friends 1964-style. Bonus: the simplest jack-o'-lantern ever
PopSci archives

One of the best things about children is that they’re so easy to scare. And Halloween is the one night a year when it’s socially acceptable to scare children! So what are you waiting for? Check out these four easy-to-make Halloween tricks from Popular Science‘s October 1964 issue.


You need:
An oversize pair of flesh-color rubber gloves
Cold cream
Waterproof tape

Spread the cold cream over your hands, and then put on the gloves. Have a friend pour water into the space remaining in the gloves. Use wide waterproof surgical adhesive tape to seal the openings to your wrists. “When you touch anyone with the clammy hands, the sensation is gruesome,” PopSci writer Ken Murray says.


You need:
Creepy face mask
Reflective paint
Roller blades or skates

Coat the outside of the face mask of your choice with bright reflective paint. Then, dress in black clothing from the neck down. Wait until the kids are trick-or-treating, then head outside. “Gliding along on quiet roller skates heightens the effect.” Holy crap, that is frightening.


You need:
Cardboard box
Transistor radio
Hand-held oscillator (according to 1964 PopSci, this should be “readily available from radio-supply houses.”)

Cut up and decorate a cardboard box to look like a small haunted house. Cut another piece of cardboard to fit snugly in the box to create a false bottom. Underneath, hide a transistor radio, tuned to a clear channel with the volume turned up high. Find a group of easy-to-trick kids and tell them there’s a ghost in the house. Have a friend hide in the next room and say spooky things (like “oooghhh” and “blarrghh”) through the hand-held oscillator tuned to broadcast to the radio. When the kids insist there must be a walkie-talkie in the box, you can open it up and show them it’s empty–except for the ghost, of course, which may have just escaped… Oogh!


You need:
Red or white reflective tape

So, jack-o’-lanterns are really cool, but cutting up pumpkins is messy and difficult. Here’s a better way. Cut eye, nose, mouth, and stitches shapes from the reflective tape. Stick ’em on the pumpkin. And, done! “In dim light the pumpkin ‘blazes’ more brilliantly than with a candle.”

Read the full story in our October 1964 issue.