As a distributor, we do not compete with our customers and do balloon jobs. But once in a blue moon, we get a request from a friend that is too good to pass up. This was one. We could do whatever we wanted, had a professional handyman to assist and a friend that we knew would actually follow through on her committments. These rare occasions allow us the opportunity to test product and better understand our customers world. Here is what we did and learned.
Provide "balloons" for an annual Halloween party at a residence. Her passion is Halloween and she starts setting out her Halloween collection in August. Approximately 100 people attend and this years theme was "circus". The circus theme meant there would be carnival games, concessions, a jump house and attendees would be dressed in circus costumes, but the balloons were to be Halloween.
Set up could be Friday night and/or Saturday morning for a party on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and going until midnight. It would be nice if decor was also there for Halloween night on Monday, 2 days later.
Decor is outside and needs to survive temperature changes. House is full of Halloween Collectibles and any floor space available is needed for guests. There is no room for decor inside.
Trees in back yard have alternating strands of orange and purple mini lights to make a "big top" for the performances of the attendees. A lighted 3' Jack-o-Lantern could be added at the top of the "big top".
A spider over the pool could provide decor over a space that will not be used for people.
Balloons can be added in the trees in the front and back yard to enhance the decor.
Execution - Spider Over Pool
Legs of spider were made by inflating Black 646Q with helium leaving a 1" uninflated tip. Monofilament was tied to knot of first 646Q to attach to rigging points on pool. 646Q's were tied neck to tip. Outside pair of legs were made with 10 each 646Q's. Inside 4 legs were made originally with 9 each 646Q's, but shortest pair of legs was adjusted to 8 balloons per leg after the body was attached. Each leg was tied to it's opposite leg with a square knot and monofilament was tied to rigging points on pool edge.
Body was made from a 3 foot and a 24" black latex, inflated with helium and tied together into a duplet. Round balloon duplet was then twisted into duplet intersection points of the legs. 24" latex was decorated with Metallic Balloon Markers to make a face for the spider.
We requested rigging points of their choice, in pool or on edge, that would handle a 10-15 pound pull. Rigging points on pool were "nail straps" bent to fit concrete edging of pool. Spyderwire was looped between two of the holes several times on the nail strap to provide a rigging point for monofilament. (See discussion at end of article - line should not be attached to metal.) A wood block was then pounded into space between edge of pool and concrete decking to secure the brace.
Note: Spider was put up early Saturday morning and was up through midnight, but was down the next morning because the 646Q's were not Hi-Floated. This job was at sea level, but be aware there are float problems with them at higher altitudes.
Execution - Lighted 3' Jack-o-Lantern
We requested a pigtail above the intersection of the strands of light with a 25 watt bulb (instructions from a BHQ post were emailed to them). 1/2 inch EMT pipe was bent into a V shape. The two points at the top of the V had a screw drilled through the pipe into the tree. The bottom point of the V was out about 2 feet from the tree and over the intersection of the twinkle lights. Aircraft cable was attached to the point of the EMT pipe and strung to several other trees, thus providing a stable rigging point.
2 holes were drilled into a piece of 2" x 4". The piece of wood and EMT pipe were spray painted black. One wire from a standard socket pigtail was inserted into each of the holes in the wood and wired to electricity. A standard socket 25 watt appliance tube light was screwed in. By separating the wires on the pigtail into separate holes it added to the stability of the pigtail.
To install the 3' latex Jack-o-Lantern, the light bulb was unscrewed from the pigtail and inserted into the 3' balloon. The 3' balloon was inflated with helium. The neck of the 3' balloon was then rolled up past the base of the bulb to expose the socket and taken up to the pigtail where the bulb was screwed into the pigtail. The neck of the balloon was rolled down over the pigtail so the balloon was not touching the light. A cable tie was secured around the neck of the balloon and pigtail. 260Q Lime Green were air-filled and tied into duplets, twisted into a ball and tied underneath the rigging point with monofilament to hide the wiring.
Execution - Balloons in Trees
The only balloons that really made sense to enhance the effects of a graveyard, etc. were foil designs. The balloons were inflated with helium. Jiffy Tape was put over the foil balloon's valve and monofilament was tied to the neck. The balloons were then tied to bushes and tree branches to enhance the decor.
Pleasant Surprises and Interesting Discoveries
The 260Q Lime latex under the 3' balloon looked great in the sunlight - gave the effect of greenery around the pumpkin. However at night, the 260Q Lime looked washed out and had no color, actually looked sort of gray.
The 25 watt appliance tube light was much easier to deal with than a standard round bulb. Glass on the bulb was sturdier and the fact that the bulb was straight up from the socket made it much easier to keep the latex off of the light bulb.
Metallic Balloon Markers gave the face of the spider an iridescent look that worked well. They were easy to apply in wide strokes using the side of the pen tip.
The Nail Strap worked well on the pool and could be useful for other rigging jobs as well. Syderwire is an interesting discovery, but really should not have been used in this application - we got lucky. Had it been windy the friction of the line on the Nail Strap could have cut the line. Syderwire is a brand name, that has also become a generic name. Another brand name for this product is Spectra. It is line that is 1/3 the diameter of monofilament or dacron braid for equivalent strength. It has no memory so coiling is not a problem. It costs about 3 times that of dacron braid, but could be worth the expense in situations where strength is needed and visibility is an issue.
646Q's for the Spider were awesome. The 646's made the spider legs move in a jointed fashion like a spider's leg would. While the spider was high for the pool, it could be seen from anywhere in the yard - be sure to consider attendee's perspective when designing decor. The spider needed to be seen from the main event area over all of the shrubs around the pool fence.
Jiffy Tape from MagMovers is great. Foil balloons that were full at maximum daytime temperatures were full the next day at maximum daytime temperatures. Jiffy Tape prevented the foil balloon from losing gas when temperatures decreased at night. Normally at night there would not be enough pressure in the foil to keep the self-sealing valve from leaking. Jiffy Tape allowed the foil balloons to float for days outside without a problem.
Latex Balloon Warning: Choking Hazard. Children under 8 years can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.