Tag Archives: pallets

The Haunted Fairground

Remember Backyard Carnival? Well, after a bit of Blue Petering and DIY yesterday it became the Haunted Fairground!

Having a kids’ Fright Night has become a bit of annual event after last year when I spooked up the garden for a haunted treasure hunt. The kids were terrified and delighted in equal measure while I thoroughly enjoyed myself cooking the whole thing up and executing it.

Following the success of Backyard Carnival this year I wanted to create a spooky version for Halloween, with the kids performing Crystal Maze type challenges at the carnival stalls.

I set up the stalls and manned them with classic ghouls such as killer clowns and vampires. The playhouse got a spooky makeover (including a Blair Witch stick figure set in a pile of rocks at the doorway, an excellent touch I thought but it didn’t get a second glance from the kids on whom the reference was lost lol). I also placed a few candles on an old piano I’d recently taken outside and scary music played through the outdoor speakers (a mix of Silent Hill soundtrack and creepy child laughter).

The challenges were as follows:

Spooky Snacks1. Spooky Snacks
The kids had to race against the clock to find the talisman hidden at the snack stall. An easy challenge to start them off… and lull them into a false sense of security!

2. Blood Bath
Guarded by a killer clown, this stall featured a bucket filled with blood and body parts, along with two smaller buckets connected by a pulley. The kids had to figure out that filling one small bucket raised the other and revealed the talisman.

“This was the candy floss stall” I told the kids, “until the candy floss maker fell into the machine!”

“It smells like jelly.” One of the kids announced.

“Erm, yeah, blood sometimes smells like jelly!” I answered. 😀

3. Very Bad Piggy
A can from my Angry Birds Tin Can Alley game connected to a talisman via a pulley. The kids had to throw a ball to knock the can off which would pull the talisman into reach.

The THING4. The THING!
Three boxes with a talisman in each. All the kids had to do was reach inside and retrieve them. But there was one catch, they had to search through brains (trifle) and intestines (spaghetti), food left for the THING, which could wake up at any moment. Even worse, the final box had a sneaky back door… When the kids reached inside I was waiting for them and grabbed their hands with my own! Think of the test of manhood in Flash Gordon 😉

5. The Piano of Purgatory
“What you are looking for is D E A D” read the clue. It took the kids a few minutes to figure out that they needed to look at the keys which spelled out D, E, A, D, but when they did they found four further clues that read “I’m… Behind… The… Lid” which led them to the talisman.

Blood Bath
Blood Bath
6. The Witch’s Lair
I’d hidden four bumper tubs of sweets inside the spookified playhouse, all they had to do was enter the witch’s lair and find them. However by this point the kids were pretty freaked out and needed some encouragement! They got in there in the end though and found their prizes! More importantly, they made it out alive! 😀

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Backyard Carnival Birthday Party

Yesterday my eldest son turned 7 and we had an amazing carnival themed party. This was an idea I had back in February and after months of conceptualising, planning and DIY it was great to see it come to fruition – and even better to see how much fun my son and his friends had (not to mention the grownups).

Early in the morning I was out back setting up the stalls and giving the garden a fairground atmosphere with some bunting. We had 4 game stalls – Angry birds Tin Can Alley, Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball, Ball & Bucket a Shooting Gallery – a stand alone Hook a Duck game, and a snack stall.

When the kids arrived they dove straight in.

Archery was very popular, and I managed to send the kids home with all the eyes they came with!

Face painting went down a treat!

And candy floss making sessions drew a big crowd.

Kids young and old enjoyed the photo booth 😀

But by far the most popular part of Backyard Carnival was Splash Dunk and the Wet Sponge Stocks. The kids loved soaking the grownups and each other in equal measure!

The evolution of pallet carnival stalls: marks I—III

Lately I’ve been working on a new pallet carnival stall design for my son’s carnival themed birthday party. So far I’ve completed three with another two to go.

Carnival stall mk1The original stall I made back in April was more of a fascia than an actual stall. I used a full pallet and fastened two posts to the side which supported a small marquee made from small pallet pieces. The two problems I encountered with this design were stability (the stall had a tendency to topple over, even when I attached feet to it that could be pegged in the ground) and painting (the gaps in the pallet boards were very awkward to paint).

Carnival stall mk2The next stall I made was for a local youth centre who wanted a carnival style snack stall for their birthday celebration party in June. This time I completely dismantled the pallet and built it up again from scratch, making sure the boards were flush together to facilitate painting. I also included small sides to give it a more authentic stall look and added stability.

imageFor my third effort I had bought a £3 striped table cloth to try as an alternative to painting the stall (undercoat and gloss are both time consuming and costly). With this method I didn’t need to worry about gaps in the pallets as the table cloth would cover them. I spent a couple of weeks bringing home the pallets I needed, some of which were used in full, others dismantled for the sides and marquee.

First I attached a couple of feet to a full pallet. Then I made the stall sides from pallet boards and blocks. Next, the marquee went up, using long pallet boards for the posts and shorter ones for the marquee frame. Then I painted the posts and finished off by stapling the table cloth (in two parts) to the fascia of the stall and marquee.

I’m really pleased with the end result – it looks much more like a bona fide carnival stall, and it’s much sturdier than the previous designs, plus it’s already proving popular with the kids! 🙂

Duck Coop Almost Complete

Since my last update I’ve completed several jobs that were on my to do list:

  • Completed the roof (now changed to a flat roof)
  • Sunk the pool
  • Attached side rails
  • Laid turf
  • Made and hung the coop door

image

Remaining:

  • Finish painting the duck house
  • Secure the perimeter, especially the doorway
  • Finish off the surrounding area

All going well my next post on the duck coop will mark its completion (fingers crossed). For now though the remaining jobs will be put on the backburner while I focus on the Backyard Carnival project for my eldest son’s birthday in just a few weeks. I’m excited but also feeling the pressure, not least from my son and his daily reminders! 😀

Recycled Pallet Wood Lawn Edging

A couple of months ago I had the idea of using pallet wood as a cheap lawn edging solution. Lawn edging is something I’d wanted for a while but with around 80m to cover the cost was always prohibitive.

When I first thought of using pallets I tested out some self made stakes along a metre stretch and really liked the results. So, for the last two days I’ve been making hundreds of pallet wood stakes and making my way around the lawn. I think the result is great!

The wood is untreated so it won’t last forever but since pallet wood is free and these stakes are so easy to install I didn’t consider the benefit to be worth the cost and effort of treating it.

More Duck Coop Progress

The duck coop is starting to take shape now as the walls near completion. There’s still a long way to go overall but we’re a few more steps forward at least. It’s just a basic frame at the moment but a few more pieces of pallet wood will bulk it up as things progress.

Duck coop progress

Other things on the to-do list are:

  • Gable type roof (I’ve no idea how to do this yet
  • Sink the pool
  • Lay some turf
  • Finish painting the duck house
  • Finish the retaining pallet and brick wall
  • Make and hang a door
  • Finish the surrounding area with paving or gravel

 
Here are the ducks enjoying an afternoon outside.

Pic-post: Pallet Duckhouse Update

Lately I’ve been afflicted by a deficiency of motivation and an excess of hangover, making progress slow and posts few and far between, so I’m breaking the silence with an update on the duckhouse. The door is now hinged, the roof felted, and painting is soon to follow (fingers crossed).

Pallet duckhouse

Ducks…

The blog has been a little quiet lately, simply because things have been so busy in the backyard. To cut a long story short, we are expecting ducks, imminently, and all of my spare time has been going into creating some housing for them.

Google
Google
A few days ago my wife announced that her friend was giving us three Aylesbury ducklings once they hatched. Far be it for me to turn down a challenge (or free eggs) I set about making a pallet duck house.

I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out whereabouts in the backyard they are going to live, and I think I’ve finally made a decision. One of the “dead space” corners has been chosen, but it needs a hell of a lot of TLC.

Potential duck area

Like many of its fellow corners before it it has attracted a lot of rubbish and become a bit of a dumping ground, so that will need shifting first. It’s also home to an old makeshift pergola which has seen better days. This will likely need to come down.

I’ve got my work cut out for me, as usual, and I’m stumbling along into the unknown, as usual, but I might get some free food so I’m game.

Pallet duck house

The duck house has been making slow and steady progress and I hope to finish it in the next few days so that I can move onto clearing the pen area, a job I am NOT looking forward to! 😀

DIY Roll-a-Ball Carnival Game Made From Scrapwood

The latest addition to the Backyard Carnival project is this Space Invaders themed Roll-a-Ball game. This was a very quick and easy project to complete. The most time consuming aspect of the job was waiting for the paint to dry!

The last time our family went to a theme park my son spent hours at one of these stalls so I knew it had to be a fixture at Backyard Carnival. After acquiring an old furniture board that would serve as a base I got a few other pieces of scrap wood together and got to it.

Putting it together was just a simple matter of cutting a few pieces of pallet wood to size and fixing them to the base once everything had been painted. It’s worth mentioning that the base is slightly warped due to being left in the rain for some time, but this simply adds an element of classic carny rigging! 😀

Another step closer to bringing the carnival to the backyard! That’s three games completed now.