We do large displays for Halloween, usually involving converting the garage into a haunted house. They're major undertakings, with four or more actors, so we only do them every other year. I also try to roll a "build" into every Halloween. For example, 6 years ago I built this as part of the haunted house:

And two years ago the same skeleton got taken out of the jail and laid out on a table, this time animated with pneumatics. Neat tip on this one, those sprinkler valves for watering systes work just as well for controlling air.

This year Lynne requested that we do something less intensive. Now I agreed that the haunted houses were a lot of work, but I still wanted to do something big, or at least give the appearance of something big. That's when I hit on the idea of doing a dragon in the garage, but only opening the garage door a bit, so you could only see the nose and the tail of the dragon. Let the kid's imaginations fill in the rest of the beast.

The head was paper-mache, with a hot-glued cardboard frame, and two nostrils that could be hooked up to a fog machine. Here's photos of the build. And here's a shot of the fog test:

Next came the build for the articulated tail, with a wooden frame and bicycle brake cabling for the controls. Here are some photos from the build. And here's the tail in action, first w/o the scales, and then with the scales.

And finally putting it all together, with a "Beware of Dragon" sign, and a scattering of bones across the driveway, and the Dragon Sound Effects Panel I posted yesterday:

Now it doesn't look too scary during the day, but on Halloween night, only lit by a strobe light, with the candy bowl between the nose and the tail, and the proper "story" it was quite effective. Here's Lynne's description:

The kids were told the dragon was sleeping (cue - snoring noise) but could smell the kids when they got close (cue - sniffing noise) and "probably" couldn't get out of the garage, was "probably" full from all the kids he ate earlier, and "probably" wouldn't eat them if they were careful. They had to walk to candy bowl between head and tail. As they did the dragon awoke, started to move, and then huge banging and movement of garage door as he tried to get to them. They would run and scream and then bravely try again! It was precious.

I think we had over 100 people see the dragon, some coming back for multiple attempts. It was a blast to run and just as fun to build, as the three youngest kids all participated in the build. I can't wait for 2017, I'm thinking a giant pneumatic octopus...