As many years as I have been acting, it still amazes me how many different hand props one person could use while acting. This past weekend I found a new one for me to use that worked very well for my character. I found a dirty used Mop. As I dragged it around the Que line and in the haunt, I would ask people if they could smell "pee" on it. They would smell it and say "no", and I would respond "well you should, I just cleaned some up". Then I would laugh and say "thank god it wasn't a code brown huh?" They would laugh their butt off and I got the desired response. I would even stop and mop the floor at the end of the haunt after people would run out to hear people laughing at me and them. So with the fact that there are soooo many possibilities, I am curious what do you use?
I myself use an old aluminum baseball bat. I've practiced for a few years with it and never even swing it full on now that I'm inside a maze. I hold it high up on the head and use it in place of just my palm to make a nice crack against the wall or I simply drag it along behind me most of the time when I want to creep people out, and most expect me to have a pipe in my hands. When they see a baseball bat, a lot of people get quite nervous, setting up a scare from me or a scare from the guys in the next room. I also have an old rusty chain that I was using in a similar fashion, but that was actually too loud for me, though the benefit of that was the noise of a chain rattling scared or freaked out many people more than even the bat.
I tried one year to use a chalkboard and have my nails drag down it to make the noise that we all love. It wasn't loud enough to get the affect I wanted. God I would love to try something like that again and make it better. Something different.
One year I was the grounds keeper in a grave yard. I had a shovel that turned out to be a gem! I could bang it on the concrete or trees, when the groups were on asphalt or concrete I could run at the and drag it creating sparks and noise.
Worked out really well.
my trusty cleaver
I had a little show I did for a while starring a dead mouse dipped in polyurethane (later I made them)
welding sparker (really awesome in the near dark)
bullwhip (practice first)
about three feet of rubber hose, great slapping noise against walls
(and hurts them less than a baseball bat)
a scream cube (truly awesome in the lanes)
I have used that in several ways
The invisible dog trick stiff leash and collar, then when they get close hit the button for barking dog
I had a "body" wrapped in canvas and as I walked by people it would plead for help and do a lot of muffled screaming. I had one button with ten seconds of silence first so that I could set the "body" down and by the time people investigated it it started screaming bloody murder.
Mr. "L" Found One.
My actor here found a very good-looking plastic/rubber hand. He had it holding his flashlight then he held the hand, sort of a thing many would not notice right away but something in your mind is saying, "Something's Wrong here but what is it?"
He would also hold it infront of him to wave a friendly wave when greeting customers.
He was so dressed up, light blue contacts, ripped nasty clothing, smiling with the waving hand then I would open a door, he would be standing waving, smiling and I would say, "$200.oo at Wal-Mart! Pretty good-looking display huh?"
As disbelief went across some customer's faces I would open the door again and say, "Well, maybe it was $220.oo? I don't remember for sure."
Then I open the door for a third time and he would be doing a different physical act.
My other helper who would be doing this had quite a "Look" too and most of it is his everyday appearence! Lots of hair, facial and otherwise.
Sort of the "Mad Monk" look...... once again...."Only $200.oo at Wally-world!"
Then the next time I opened his door he was drinking some Mountain Dew!"
I have used many a ACC femur bone. We set up a section of duct work and I would smack it with the bone. But this is something you cannot do in close proximity to customers. But it gave a serious bang and customers would jump and scream everytime. I have also used our own severed heads mounted on rope handles. We call them "Dope on a rope" and all our "Weapons of Mass Destruction". And we are also working to add many new handheld actor props to our lineup this season.
For some reason, I have a tendency to go for people's feet. When I work at haunts I usually start in a squated position with my upper body between my knees. kind of like an ape. I move forward towards the customers keeping my face down and out of sight. I know many haunts have no touch policies, but I like to pull at their pant legs and smack their feet or pull on their shoe laces. The fun part is it gets people hopping and jumping to get away. It is just so easy and it makes the customers so uneasy. But then I eventually stand up....slowly. Being 6'4" tall by the time I finish standing up they freak a little. Because they just had no clue I am so big. I do all this in the intro and in close quarters so they can't go anywhere.
Also, I really like using a weedeater minus the line. And keeping the guard on it.
People jump when you take the weedeater close to their feet. It is a very effective tool. You would NOT think about a weedeater being used in a haunt, but most any motorized equipment can make an effective scare.
We had good success with an impact chisel. We started off using a wrench but the Nascar comments were too much lol. So we switched it to an impact chisel it blows a little air forward which they feel and makes a great high speed impact sound that causes them to jump, works real well to pull it up from the victim as they pass by catching them off guard.
I love using different props with each of my characters. Some of my favorites include:
Old feather duster
Toilet scrub brush
Disgusting Girl Scout cookies
Taxidermy Fox Head
Vintage Hand fans
Anything medical (syringes, urine sample cups, bandages, thermometer, etc).
For Weapon Props, I love:
Bullwhips (as Allen H said, you need to be experienced with this)
Oh yeah. I have also used a welders sparker