Friday, March 13, 2015

Hogwart's Birthday Party 2nd year - Aragog's Cobweb Maze

This past November's 2nd annual Hogwart's Party had many more games this year.  After opening ceremonies and the de-gnoming detention, it began to get dark outside.  It was a perfect time to encouraged students to wander around the Forbidden Forest at night, right?  Here are some details of one of the scarier after dark events, Aragog's Cobweb Maze!

The weather forecasted rain for pretty much all of Saturday, so we knew we'd have to do any outdoor activities on Friday (even through the dark of night).  When student came back inside from the degnoming, we drew attention to the line of spiders heading from our main bathroom out through the Great Hall window.

We hinted that following the spiders out to the forbidden forest they might see what was up.  The line of spiders actually started appearing from the bathroom shower drain meandering all the way out through the great hall passed the fireplace to the window.

(Our party being just after Halloween, we found tiny plastic spiders for the floor and the perfect vinyl window clings for the shower wall and mirrors for up to 80% off in the clearance bins around town. Yay!)

With about 25 acres of land out here growing wild, we had the perfect location between a couple of small hills for our Forbidden Forest.  And, there were just enough trees to hang the giant cobweb maze that would outdo our measly porch from years ago.  (The kids had requested this cobweb maze.  I may have mentioned the one I made back in my youth a few times.  We had transformed our closed in porch into a cobweb maze for Halloween where Trick-or-Treaters had to wind their way through the webs under the glow of an eerie green porch light to get to the front door for treats.)  So, I found a few bags of artificial webbing and some plastic/rubber spiders here and there, and we had our maze.  But, this time we used both white and black webs.  The white webs were pretty easy to spot in the dark and kept the students on the path, however closer toward Aragog some black webs were mixed in that are nearly impossible to see..and easy to walk into.  (Hehehe)  The webs also got lower and harder to pass by.

At the end of our maze was Aragog (or, as we say, one of his smaller relative) protecting what the students were supposed to retrieve. We would award house points for retrieving three rare acid green glow-in-the-dark spiders (not pictured) from Aragog's web for Professor Snape as potion ingredients.


For scale, here Aragog is on our Jeep at about 4-5ft across from toe to toe.  That is pretty small for a full grown Acromantula, who is supposed to be the size of a small elephant. But, we had our limits.  This size was creepy enough for the kids. :)

As I've mentioned before, we were on a strict low budget.  This event, including spiders and webs cost us no more than $10 total.  We used mostly stuff we already had.  Aragog is made of masking tape, wire hanger, paper towel tubes, cardboard, plastic bags, newspaper and is wrapped in two rolls of black duct tape.  His eyes were made from plastic bottle caps.  I hot glues tacks into them and just stabbed them into the head.  We had two sizes of paper towel tube and even used the wider tube leftover from one of the duct tape rolls to create the removable joints.  Yes, you read that right.  He comes apart for storage.  Each leg/arm, eyes, his fangs and even his trash bag bum are all removable.  His legs, being all wire wrapped in paper and plastic bags covered in tape, are easily posed, too.  We planned to use him again for the six year when Aragog is supposed to pass on.  Since his legs are bendable, we can put him on his back with the legs all crunched up.  And the fangs may be used in a future challenge.  But, I'm afraid the kids want him to hang around each year...alive.   :(

Also, in the distance near the entrance to the cobweb maze, students could see the lit up headlights of our cardboard flying car stuck in a tree.  The holes in front were for flashlight headlights.  My mom and my daughter helped make the car out of a cardboard box with paper plate tires painted with acrylic paints.  I think I had more fun running around the house with the car over my head.  Vroom...vroom... (Yes, that did happen!)  Due to it's puny size, this tree in our yard has now become known as the "Wimpy Willow".  :(

That's all for this project.  I hope to share some more things soon!