Stew requested a "fake campfire" for last night's Pack Meeting and since I vaguely remembered googling how to do it a while ago when we'd thought about doing it before, and therefore figured I knew the general approach (lights and fan), I was like sure no problem. Well I can't remember when he asked exactly, toward the end of last week probably, but we had a pretty busy weekend, so I of course didn't get started until yesterday afternoon. Actually I had gathered some of the supplies I'd had on hand on Sunday evening (streamers, strobe light) and made a mental note to run to WalMart on Monday for a fan and red light bulb. Well turns out fans must be a seasonal product because I couldn't find any! Nary a fan to be found. In their place were dehumidifiers and space heaters. I stuck it out though, browsing aisles twice for good measure, and finally found a small USB powered "personal fan" for a dollar in the clearance section. I crossed my fingers it would work with my phone's USB wall charger, snagged it and hightailed it out of there as by then it was 3 pm, time to get boys and then home for the hellish homework hour. I pulled all my supplies into the bedroom and shut the door and tried very hard to not be dragged into the chaos that roared outside my door. Sitting there, frustrated before the homestretch, I felt very much like a cave woman, growling at her wild young and tearing away at a cardboard box, going Grrrr! Fire! Fire! Fire! A little over one hour later I was happy enough with what I came up with... plus I had no time left to tinker. Though as they finished up their soup dinner I did take a few minutes to take a knife to it, stabbing here and there to let more light through.
Basically it is a strobe light (mine from back-in-the-90s house parties [what? OF COURSE I still have it]) plugged into a power bar and both wedged into a small canned food cardboard flat, alongside a plastic trouble light with red bulb, also plugged into power bar. Then the USB powered fan, which hallelujah worked with an old phone charger (and actually ended up being the perfect size and air strength, a small desk fan would have been too big and bulky), got plugged in too... Next it was time to creatively camouflage all those innards with cardboard kindling and logs, plus yellow and red streamers for the flames. The last yards of a roll of yellow duct tape and some light brown shipping tape held it all precariously together. It is likely a fire hazard itself but less so than an actual indoor campfire so give me a break. Also it stayed together during transport to-and-fro (Stew had good idea to set it on a tray of some sort so I used our big pizza cookie sheet), and it held up to one of the boys in my Tiger den sticking his hand in there enough to stop the fan a couple times.
It looked pretty good in the dimmed hall lights at the Pack Meeting, served its purpose, and stayed together, so yay! I forgot to take pictures at the meeting, so I snapped these afterward once back home. We will leave it assembled in case we need it again, or until I need to scavenge it for parts. You never know when we might have our next wild house party in need of a strobe light.
And here is a video clip to fully capture the lovely ambience. :)