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Today's Tip: Don't set zombies on fire. You just create a flaming torch heading right for you!


Swamp Theme Rope Bridge

Swamp themed areas in a haunted attraction are horrifying, especially if your haunt is in a city. I have seen actual swamps outdoors and indoors for haunts. The indoors haunt people know is fake but still are equally amazed at the possible terrors lurking within. I mean, if builders are capable of creating such a thing, the terrors must also be equally spook-tacular.

Unfortunately, I have experienced some haunts that have the scenes but nothing happens. Or something was supposed to happen it just didn’t. There are pneumatic props that don’t work well under water and there are lights and sounds that are equally difficult to work with. I know your haunt is an exception, no need to brag in the comments. But, until someone comes out with water proof motors or pneumatics the swamp, river, pond, or body of water scene is going to be very difficult to work with. The plex-bridge is no exception, but I offer it here anyway.

Walking through a swamp scene, there is an old wooden boating house. From the door, there is a bridge that stretches over the swamp to the other side. The bridge has thick ropes for handrails and wooden slats for stepping. The wooden slats are aged and damaged from the watery swamp below and most of them have floated away.

As you walk onto the bridge it sways, it’s your only way out. The middle of the bridge is out so you have to walk into the water. The thick black water looks to deep to step down into. But, you step from the bridge and onto the surface of the water, you do not sink. You are walking on water. Keeping in line by holding the rope, you make it to the center of the swamp. There in the water, adjacent to you, is a floating human body. It turns it’s head to spit water at you. You make it to the other side of the swamp to the very end of the rope bridge. Suddenly there is a blast of air from under your feet that scares the ba-jeezus out of you. That is the idea of the rope bridge.

Swamp Bridge
Swamp Bridge

I know that some of you have rope bridges in your haunt already. The ones at the Darkness are amazing. But, I drew out this one for the Hex House in Tulsa, Ok. It was never made as, at the time, funding was low. So, instead of letting the design go to waste (like my other ideas you will see here), I am giving them away.

The rope bridge beginning and ending are just that, a rope bridge. It’s the part where they reach the water when things get tricky. A plexiglass sheet is laid down submerged in the water connecting the two bridges. Now, you can’t actually have people walking in water, but you can let them walk through a little. The plexi can be placed 1 or 2 mm below the water. Since the water is black (black because of the setting), no one can see the plexiglass. The water on it would be much like walking in the rain.

Getting back to the slats, they must be attached to the plexi or at best not moveable on it as to not have the lack of friction cause people to slide everywhere. The first few slats, however, can move about to give the impression of an actual rope bridge. If you have no idea how to make these, simply use treated lumber 4×4’s used in outdoor gardens. Run thick wire cables through each and anchor them to the deck of the house to a metal frame under the bridge. The frame can run underneath the water from the deck to the beginning of the plexiglass. Both sides of the bridge are built the same way.

As for the plexiglass, you can suspend this using wooden or metal framing. I once made a plexiglass bridge using cinder blocks. As long as the glass cannot move, it will be safe.
I added the air blast at the end for added concern of people dragging water everywhere. There can also be thick fabric to help dry shoes off. But, the air cannons are for just that, drying shoes. Granted only one or two people will get the blast but every little bit helps. I originally thought of putting a metal grid with several air blasters underneath would do it. But we are in a swamp theme, so that wouldn’t look quite right (unless you can mask it somehow, then, by all means go nuts with the air blasters). If you can contribute a creative way that fits in with the swamp theme that dries shoes please post it below.

The plexiglass bridge was drawn up by me in 2008. My black book of ideas has hundreds of ideas that I will share with you. Chances are possible that some of them were already built and thought of. But some of you, might not have known about either, so enjoy the knowledge. For those of you who either made or designed a similar idea, well, great minds…right?


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