It’s about that time of year again when I start pulling things out for one of my most FAVORITE holidays…Halloween!!!
The transparent bridge has been one of my favorites for years. It’s a very unique effect and really entertaining to watch trick-or-treaters cautiously approach the bridge, carefully eyeballing what lies below as they walk across it.
As with most Halloween special effects, this one looks completely different at night than it does during the day. When darkness falls, the carpeted Astroturf platforms disappear and all that is seen is a winding, creepy pathway leading up to an dimly-lit bridge that crosses gross, terrifying dead things below….
- 8-10 Washer head wood screws at least 1 1/4in long (For screwing Plexiglas to wood frame)
- Two 2x3s at 4ft (bridge frame)
- Five 2x3s at 1ft 9in (bridge frame)
- One night light with bulb (for illuminating hole below bridge)
- One can of black spray paint to paint night light (optional)
- One extension cord (to plug into night light)
- A few large zip ties (to secure light and extension cord to bridge)
- One box of 2 1/2in wood screws (to screw together bridge frame)
- Something scary, spooky, or gross to display in hole beneath bridge
- One sheet of pre-cut 2ft x 4ft Plexiglas of at least 3/8in thickness or thicker.
A quick thought on Plexiglas: The thicker it is, the stronger it is. For years I had actually been using a 1/4in thick sheet of Plexiglas that I had bought straight from Home Depot. It had worked just fine, although I noticed that it did flex a little when a 200lb plus person walked across it. Therefore, I don’t recommend using Plexiglas this thin because you just don’t know if or when it will eventually give way. After speaking with a specialist about my particular bridge measurements and the details on the spacing of the braces, he felt I would be just fine with a 3/8in thick sheet. However, since I like to be better safe than sorry, I opted for a 1/2in thick sheet and it works great. I bought it from a plexiglass specialty store near me for $80 and although it was a little more money than the thinner stuff, I would rather be safe than sorry! If you’re having trouble finding a specialty shop near you to purchase your Plexiglas, you can order a 1/2in thick sheet HERE.
Entrance and Exit Platforms (Optional)
- Six 2x3s at 1ft 8in
- Four 2x3s at 3ft 4in
- Two sheets of 3/4in plywood at 2ft 1 1/4in x 3ft 4in
- Two pieces of Astroturf or carpet at approx. 2 1/2ft x 3 3/4ft
- Chop saw
- Hand drill with bits
- Shovel and pick to dig hole
Part 1 -Transparent Bridge
Assemble and screw together the 2x3s, making sure to place pieces upright instead of down flat. Doing this will make the bridge stronger.
Drill holes along edge of Plexiglas. You will be securing the Plexiglas to the wood frame with the washer head screws, so make sure holes are large enough for the shaft of screws to pass through, but smaller than the head of screws.
Align Plexiglas with frame and screw together
Now to secure the night light. Night lights are safe to use for Halloween because they stay cool to the touch and use low wattage. I prefer using this type with the removable bulb guard so that I can direct the light in any direction just by twisting the bulb guard around, but any night light will work just fine.
I actually sprayed this light fixture with black spray paint to help conceal it when mounted to the bridge
Flip bridge upside down and place the light on the middle brace
Notice how the light fixture is sitting sideways on the brace. Also, if you have a light like mine, you can twist the bulb guard sideways so that the light from the bulb is facing away from the wood brace. This will keep the light shining downward towards the hole when bridge is in the ground.
Secure the light fixture with a zip tie by sliding the zip tie in between the brace and Plexiglas
Tighten and trim off the excess
Plug the extension cord to the light fixture
Secure cord with a zip tie
PART 2-Entrance & Exit Platforms (Optional)
The reason I made the carpeted entrance and exit pieces was to prevent excess dirt and mud to be tracked onto the transparent bridge. These worked out well for me but you can always experiment by building the bridge first, to see if you will even need these or not.
First screw together the frames, making sure to lay the 2x3s down flat instead of upright. Doing this will prevent you from having to dig a deeper hole when you submerge the platforms into the ground
Now screw the plywood onto the frame
Staple on the carpet or AstroTurf to the plywood
I used staples to secure my AstroTurf
Part 3-Digging the hole
Dig an oval hole approximately 2ft deep
Dig a recessed area around the edge of the oval hole to sink the frame of the bridge into the ground.
Here is another diagram to help explain how the bridge fits inside the hole
Now dig and submerge AstroTurf entrance and exit pieces so that they are also level with ground
Boards should be level with each other and flush with the ground to prevent tripping
The light and cord are concealed underneath the frame of the bridge
You can unscrew the plexiglass to turn the light on/off and also to put your dead corpse into the hole to be displayed! If the hole is damp, condensation may accumulate on the plexiglass overnight, preventing you to see through it the next day. Removing the Plexiglas when not in use will prevent this and help to air out the hole…but don’t forget it’s been removed when walking across!!! 😉
This effect works best when it’s dark outside!
It’s time to scare some Trick-or-Treaters across the bridge!