Enter if you dare! Making a creaky gate for I SPY Spooky Night

The I SPY Spooky Night adventure begins at the gate of an old spooky house. I made this scene about 1/4 life size. The road was made out of Styrofoam and had to rise abruptly and taper sharply away from the gate to create the illusion of distance.

After photographing a cardboard mock-up of the gate, I refined the design on paper and added hidden objects as part of the design. The finished gate was made of wood and wire. The stone pillars were carved out of foam blocks made of laminated Styrofoam sheets.

Many coats of water-based paint – some just thin washes of dark color to bring out texture – were applied to the model. A mixture of natural mosses and artificial foliage were added to the background. Finally, a rubber bat was hung from fishing line and a fog machine provided the spooky atmosphere. With the help of two assistants, this set was designed, built, and photographed in seven days.

And here is the final image as it appears in the book.

Creaky Gate ©1997 Walter Wick, 
from I SPY Spooky Night