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Just as your guest thinks all the scares are over, they exit your haunt, right past some innocent garbage cans, when the lid opens to reveal a scary mask, and an arm reaches out for them. What could be more fun?

This is the first pneumatic prop that I built, back in 2000... But I can’t find any pictures of it...
I re-created this in 2010, but without the extending arm (which used a screen door closure... Pressure opened it, the mechanism pulled it back in). My 2010 version doesn’t do this, but is much simpler as a result.

Trash Can Trauma 2
(in a toxic waste barrel)


• Garbage Can or Toxic Waste Drum

PVC Pneumatic Cylinder

• Materials to hold cylinder upright

• Air hose, Air Valve and Compressor

• Foam head or ball and mask

1)Set up the pneumatic cylinder so it stands upright. (I’ve built stands out of wood, or used a pre-made stand for cutting lumber, and simply zip tied the cylinder to it)

2) Connect the cylinder to a high volume valve, which in turn is connected to the compressor.

3) Place a foam head or ball over the end of the cylinder’s piston. (I’ve drilled a hole through the piston PVC and pushed a nail through the foam and throught that hole to attach it.

4) Place mask on the foam head. (I’ve used roofing nails pushed through the mask, and into the head to keep the mask from moving during the actuation of the cylinder)

5) Hide the entire mechanism inside of a trash can or the Toxic Waste Drum.

6) Trigger the event when your guest is not expecting it... air pressure will force the head up with a good “whoosh” (air escaping the PVC Cylinder) and it will be reset by gravity when the air is turned off).