Halloween 2019: Thalassaphobia

We didn’t do a Halloween thing this year, so I thought I’d post about last year’s Halloween because I never did get around to posting about it.

Originally we were thinking a Lovecraft theme, maybe a cult situation, but then I played a PC game called Subnautica. It’s an underwater adventure game set on an alien planet and I was sort of obsessed with it for a while: according to Steam I spent 77.7 hours playing it, which isn’t that much for hardcore gamers but it’s a lot for me. We pivoted to a “thalassophobia” (fear of the sea) theme which allowed us to retain the giant tentacles from the Lovecraft idea.


I found some tutorial online that I have since lost the link to, but the basic steps were:

  1. Chicken wire for the main tentacle
  2. Dryer vent tube for the wiggly bit at the end of the tentacle
  3. Cover in duct tape
  4. Glue on suckers (made of sliced pipe insulation tube)

If I recall correctly, the original tutorial also had you cover the tentacle in shrink wrap (or that packing plastic wrap) and then spray paint the whole thing for a shiny (“slimy”), lightweight tentacle.

We decided to use sculpt-a-mold for something more robust and it turned out to be a mistake because it was too heavy and started cracking. The tentacles looked awesome–especially with Bren’s expert spray paint job–but we had to lay them on the ground and they didn’t get as much as a feature as I would have liked. 🙁

We created an entrance tunnel with plastic sheeting (same as last year) and hung “kelp” (from Amazon) from the ceiling, with the tentacles lining the tunnel.

Disco Eel

I used the same concept from the tentacles to make an eel. My original idea was to also cover it in sculpt-a-mold for something “realistic,” but it was too derpy to look real but not purposely cartoony enough to look cute. I scrapped it and just went with a black duct tape tube with paper plate eyes and I LOVED HIM.

We put disco lights inside for the “electricity.” I had to cut a hole in his side so I could run the cords out and plug ’em in–luckily it was dark and he was close to the wall. But in the pic you can see the cord tangle on the floor. 😛


These turned out really well and were very simple to make. Just take tissue paper (I think I used two layers) and shape it on a balloon, glob on a bunch of decoupage glue, and let dry. For the tentacles I just used long pieces of tissue paper and glued them to the edges. Then, put battery-powered LED twinkle lights inside. We hung ours from the ceiling.

Shark Cage

This one seemed simple but I also didn’t have to do it. 🙂 Bren made a cage door out of PVC pipe and used a heat gun to bend the bars where the shark took a bite out of it. We just leaned it up against our squat rack (pro-tip: get a squat rack, they come in handy for Halloween setups).

For our hapless scuba diver we just used the bottom half of a mannequin covered in fake guts. The fake guts were pantyhose filled with crumpled paper and soaked in fake blood.


I was very pleased with how my starfish turned out–I gave them many tiny teeth. I found the crab croissants on Pinterest–very simple but I love how they look (just glue googly eyes to some toothpicks). I also tried making “fish eggs,” which were gelatin with little fruit inside. They weren’t all that great–probably partly because I was using vegan gelatin and partly because the fruit was not completely thawed; I think the extra liquid from it thawing out made the “eggs” too squishy. But the idea was there.

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