Introduction: Covid Safe Haunted House Treat Dispenser
In these times of social bubbles and safe distancing, you can still give out Halloween candy safely to friends or neighbors who stop by. Each treat is individually bagged with a pull tag on a string so there is no common candy bowl to touch or need to get close to the host. Groups should take turns so they stay with their own safe group. It is best if you bag the candy wearing gloves and a mask and let your guests know the protocols. Fun and safe!
This is a large haunted house that breaks down flat for storage. Treats are hidden in paper boxes behind the facade so any scamps who peek behind cannot see which window holds the best prize. Pull the string and out pops the prize.
This is adaptable for other events like birthdays, baby showers, or any party if you want to change the shape and paint a different style front instead of a creepy house.
- 3/4" x 16" x 30" plywood - base
- 1/2" x 5' steel threaded pipe - base rod
- 1/2" pipe base flange - pipe to base
- 4 bolts and nuts - flange to plywood
- 2 sheets 4' x 8' thin plywood or flat cardboard
- 36" x 60" x 2mm roll of thin foam, black from craft store - in windows
- 8 @ 1" x 2" x 6' pine - corners and edge attachment
- 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 2' pine - support pole to house brace, connectors
- 3/4" x 13 1/2" x 5" plywood - porch base
- 3/4", 1 1/2", 1 3/4" screws
- 12" x 24" x 1/2-3/4" plywood for window template, if routing windows
- Wood glue
- Primer, Acrylic Paint
- 21 32oz. clean or new Chinese food take-out boxes
- 8 @ 43" x 1" thin pine or thin plywood strips
- 8 @ 9" x 2" thin plywood or cardboard
- bright ribbon
- pull tags
- toys, candy, tricks
- ziploc bags
Step 1: Concept to Layout and Cutting
Sketch up what you want your house to look like. The dimensions on this one is 4 ft wide and 7 ft tall to be awesome. The angle of the roof is set by the first story side pieces. It is good to cut a little long then trim to the final roof angles as you go for the 2nd story to get a good fit
Plywood or cardboard cut list:
44" x 54" - front
2 @ 12" x 63" - sides, cut top at an angle for roof, 63" on one side, 54" on the other. Splice pieces together if you cannot find long enough pieces (see attached photo)
18" x 48" - roof
18" x 18" - 2nd story front
2 @ 9" x 18" - 2nd story sides, cut bottom for roof, 18" on one side, 11" on the other
20 1/2" bottom, 14" top, 18 1/2" sides trapezoid - 2nd story roof front
2 @ 7" bottom & top, 18 1/2" sides tilted rectangle - 2nd story roof sides, cut at angle to match roof
9" bottom, 12" top, 6 1/2" sides trapezoid - porch roof
1" x 2" cut list
2' - front to base brace
2 @ 43" - front to roof connector, cut at roof angle
17 1/2" - 1st to 2nd story connector
20" - 2nd story to 2nd story roof connector, cut at 2nd story roof angles on ends
2 @ 25 1/2" - porch supports cut at roof angle, can rip to 1x1
2 @ 28" - porch, ripped to 1x1
22 @ 3" - side to front connectors
2 1/2" x 3/4" cut list
10" - front to pipe support
2 @ 3" - 2nd story to 2nd story roof
3" - pipe to roof support
Layout all parts on the plywood to optimize use and minimize cuts. I put down masking tape to reduce tearout.on the plywood.
Step 2: Windows and Door
To achieve a uniform window look, I made a template out of 1/2" plywood then routed each one. The template measures 6 1/4" wide and 16" tall. I cut it out of paper, folded it vertically, then cut a nice curve to match the left and right sides.
- Lay out the windows on the front with pencil.
- Screw or clamp the template in place.
- Drill a hole inside for the router bit to start.
- Using a template following bit with a bearing at the top, route around the whole window.
- Repeat for the next 7
The door is 9" wide and 20" tall. Cut or route out the whole door opening.
Upper Story Windows
I cut these with a jigsaw, just a round top and square bottom to pleasing shape to match the drawing. One window in the 2nd story, one window in the 2nd story roof.
Step 3: First Story
The front plywood is set on the ground but held from behind by a pipe support for stability. If you are using cardboard instead of plywood, you will probably need to add stiffeners of 1x2s ripped to 1x1 and glued to the back.
Assemble the 3/4" x 16" x 30" plywood base with the 1/2" pipe base flange in the center face with 4 bolts and nuts. Thread the 1/2" x 5' steel pipe onto the base. Not too tight, you want to be able to take it apart.
Sides to Front
3 1x2x3 blocks attach the first story sides to the front on each side. They are glued to the front, set back by the plywood thickness, and screwed to the sides so they come apart to store. Screw them together now.
Lower Front to Pipe Support
Attach the plywood base of the pipe support to the front with a 2' 1x2 along the base, glued to the front and screwed to the plywood pipe support base.
Roof to Front
Cut two 1x2s at the roof angle as shown in the attached picture. The lower piece glues to the front and the upper to the roof so they can come apart but wedge together when assembled, nice!
Upper Front to Pipe Support
Drill a clearance hole in the 2 1/2" x 3/4" x 10" pine and screw it to the front roof to front 1x2 as shown in the picture.
Take it apart or just lay it flat face down and cut out the 2mm soft foam to cover the windows. Glue with wood glue all around and let dry. Do not cut X in the window openings till the end so they don't catch or tear.
Center the roof with some overhang and mark all around the inside. Add 2 1x2x3 blocks on each side, glued to the roof and screwed through the sides. Glue the roof to the front angle cut 1x2 but you don't need to screw the front to the roof together, it is held well by the 4 screws on the sides and the wedge effect of the top to front angled 1x2s.
The roof angle I chose perfectly lined up with the top to resto on the end of the pipe. I angle drilled a 2 1/2" x 3" x 3/4" pine piece for the pipe to sit inside.
Step 4: Second Story
Sides to Front
Using the same techniques as the first story for the sides to front, glue 2 1x2x3 blocks in each corner of the front and sides. Screw the 2nd story sides to the 2nd story front for a 3 sided box. The upper 1x2x3 should be flush with the top.
Roof Sides to Roof Front
Trim 2 1x2s on each side with the compound angles of the 2nd story roof. Glue to the roof front and screw to the roof sides. The lower block should be higher than my photo to make connecting the roof to the 2nd story easier than the picture.
2nd Story Roof to Second Story
Trim and fit a 1x2 from one back corner of the roof side to the other side. Screw the side to the 1x2.
Glue a 1x2x3 flush with the top on each side of the 2nd story that lines up with a ripped 1x2 when the roof is in the correct overhanging position.
Glue a 2 1/2" x 3" block in each lower corner to the front of the roof only. It should rest on the top of the 2nd story. The photo shows this connection. Screw to the sides and 2nd story.
2nd Story to 1st Story Roof
Place and mark where you want the 2nd story assembly to sit. Glue 1x2x3 blocks to the 1st story roof so the sides of the 2nd story can screw into them.
Step 5: Porch, Chimney, and Trim
Rip the 1x2s for the 4 posts to pleasing shapes, you can shave off the edges like shown in the picture too.
Cut short 1x1 pieces to go between the top of the left and right front posts and screw them together without splitting. Do the same for the back two posts. This is so they can disassemble to store flat. Glue the two connector 1x1s to the roof and assemble.
Screw the base to the 4 posts from underneath and you are done. It sits just fine by itself but you can screw it to the front 1st story from behind if you want it solidly attached
A Styrofoam block with a dowel works well for a chimney. Carve it to an interesting shape if you like as shown in the pictures.
Trimming out the windows adds depth to the wide flat front. Glue 1/2x1/2 strips beneath each window for a windowsill.
Glue 1/8x1/8 strips in the middle of each window as a mullion. Glue it to the sides of the window opening and the 2mm foam. This separates the 2 sections of each window prize opening.
Step 6: Paint the House
Before cutting the candy openings, set it all up and paint it.Use standard acrylic hobby paint after undercoating with a white primer.
Each window can have a different scene. Add shutters and other bits of fun from scraps of plywood or foam.
Step 7: Prize Slots
The whole point of this behemoth is to be a candy delivery system. I bought new 32oz. Chinese take-out delivery boxes at a restaurant supply store. Any container can work but these have nice lid flaps that hold them on the back with retaining strips and no glue.
Using a new x-acto knife or single-edge razor, cut a large + in the windows and door from the front. I made 2 +s in each 1st story window one in the upper 'pane' and one in the lower. 3 +s vertically in the door, and 1 each in the 2nd story windows. The cuts are 6" long so you could reach in instead of the string pull in less pestilent times.
Take off the roof and lay the 1st story face down. Center a paper box on each X then use 1" wide strips of plywood or wood strips across the row of boxes; one strip below and one above.
Use scraps of 2mm foam glued to the hold down strips to space them out from the foam window. Glue down the lower strip. Glue small wood blocks under the upper wood strip the screw them to the front without going through. This way they can be removed to take off the boxes for storage.
Use a scrap of plywood above and below for the door and second window boxes as shown in the last two pictures.
Step 8: Load Prizes and Enjoy
Tape a small printed tag to a length of bright ribbon that says PULL. On the other end tie the ribbon around a ziploc of candy or a prize or a trick.
Participated in the