How to use a fog machine and frequently asked questions (2023)

How to use a smoke machine for your spooky Halloween decorations

The Halloween experts at Spirit Halloween are here to educate you on how to use afog machineindoors or outdoors to scare your neighbors and guests by creating the creepiest Halloween scene they've ever seen.

To make things easier, we've put together a list of fog machine FAQs below. Checkout!

What is a smoke machine?

A fog machine is a machine that produces what appears to be "fog" to the human eye. The idea behind a fog machine is to hide what lies beyond it. The fog is usually thick enough to prevent those directly in its path from seeing what it covers while creating an eerie scene. Fog machines pump different amounts of fog depending on their power and, if desired, can be controlled by a timer or remote control to produce continuous fog.

How do fog machines work?

Most fog machines work with fog "juice" or fog liquid made from a combination of water and glycol. This mixture is heated to create the white mist you see in the air.

How do I use a smoke machine?

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Step 1: Make sure you have all the necessary parts, including the appropriate fog machine fluid (juice), cleaner and, if desired, a smoke machine timer and remote control. Follow the instructions on your smoke machineexactly.

Step 2: Test your smoke machine before you debut it at a party or as part of your decor. This way, you will know the exact visual effect you are creating with your home and other accessories. You'll also want to test it beforehand to make sure it works properly and that you know the setup time. Many machines take a few minutes to warm up before fogging, so you should allow plenty of time for this. If you need dry ice or other supplies, make sure they are nearby.

Step 3: See how much mist your machine produces so you can place it where you want. If you're not sure where you want to place your machine, try it out in different areas to see which location looks the scariest.

Step 4: Set up your timer or remote control, if you're using one, so you know exactly how it works. So you are ready for Halloween!

How do I check the timing of my fog machine?

As mentioned above, there are two ways to control the fog machine: manually or with a timer. If you want to be free to roam your Halloween party without worrying about the smoke machine all night, the timer is definitely the way to go. With a timer, the fog duration can be set from 0.5 to 10 seconds and the intervals can be between 10 and 200 seconds. You can give your guests a little taste of what's behind the fog and, once they're curious, bring it back to full force.

Some fog machines operate remotely, allowing you to add more fog or stop the fog from up to 30 feet away.

How long will my fog machine generate fog?

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How long the fog juice will last depends on the power of your machine. A liter of fog juice typically burns for six hours in a compact 400 watt fog machine (four hours on a low engine) and a 1,000 watt machine burns for two hours. Store your fog machine liquid accordingly to ensure you get fog effect during party or entertainment.

Fun fact:Your mist juice will last up to three years unopened and two months when opened, properly sealed and uncontaminated.

How can I use smoke machines as part of my Halloween decorations?

Fog machines are a perfect addition to the rest of your Halloween haunted house. After all, you are creating an illusion that will attract the fear lovers. They will want to know exactly what the mist covers... as they walk very slowly ahead and prepare to peek and find out.

You can use the light to play with the fog and create even scarier effects. A reflected light, whether from a lens or another source, will give viewers a now-seeing-now-not-seeing feel that's perfect for making them jump whento dosee a hand come out of the mist.

Another way to incorporate fog into your spooky decor is to use animatronic Halloween props to combine fog and other spooky elements. A popular animatronic is oursman possessed friend. Connect it to your machine (sold separately) and it will look like the fog is escaping from under Bubba the dog as he prepares to slash his sharp teeth at anyone who passes by. His bark will make everyone shudder in terror when they see his beastly glow with the mist swirling around him!

Check out this YouTube video to see Bubba the scary animatronic dog in action:


Other scary animatronics that can be greatly enhanced with the use of a smoke machine include the Fogging Skull Pile and the Fogging Gasous Ghoul.

What types of fog machines are there?

Fog machines vary in wattage, which determines how much fog they will emit. Which type of fog machine is ideal for your Halloween decoration will depend on the mood you are creating and the area you want the fog to cover.

The higher the wattage of your fog machine, the more fog it will create. For example, the 400-watt metal fog machine produces 2,000 cubic feet of fog per minute, while the 1,000-watt fog machine produces 3,000 cubic feet of fog per minute.

Some smoke machines are rated as professional and last longer. There are also special low-altitude fog machines that are meant to cover the area closest to the ground. These require special low mist juice to create the right effect. What makes these floor misters different from other fog machines has to do with how the mist is dispersed. These machines are specially designed to keep the fog from rising into the air, creating an eerie sight for anyone who dares to walk on it. They have an ice or dry ice compartment which helps keep the mist on the ground so you get the perfect spooky look. Please note that only 400 or 1000 watt fog machines can be used with Spirit Halloween animatronics.

Fog Machine Safety Tips

When using a smoke machine, you must follow safety precautions so that everyone can have a fun and exciting Halloween or Halloween party without getting hurt. The main thing you want to make sure is that the fog is used properly and that there is enough visibility where people are going to walk. Fog machines can create the perfect spooky atmosphere while still allowing your guests to mingle freely, but you don't want to completely hide the areas people will be traveling to.

You want to set up the fog machine away from anything that might be flammable and plug it into a grounded outlet. Also, make sure it's in an easily accessible location, as you'll want to check it periodically, even if you're using a remote or timer. Place the smoke machine far enough away from your smoke detector to avoid the possibility of setting it off.

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Be sure to use the proper fog juice and cleaner in your fog machine. Do not attempt to make your own as it may adversely affect the operation of your machine. Also, make sure you are using the right type of mist juicer for the type of machine you have purchased. You don't want to mix and match juices as each type of mist juicer is designed for a specific type of machine. Use only officially authorized products with your machine.

What other uses do smoke machines have?

Of course, we are talking about October 31st.Stand days before, but there are many other uses for fog machines. You can definitely use the machine all year round, whether it's for other celebrations like New Year's Eve or when you're DJing at a party to add some fun effects to the dance floor. You can even use them during a film production or a theater performance.

How to care for your smoke machine

We can't say this enough: make sure you only run your fog machine with the specific type of fog juice you need. Do not attempt to build your own or replace anything else as this may damage the machine.

When you are done with the fog machine, unplug it and let it cool. Then be sure to drain all the fog fluid before adding the fog machine cleaner. Run the fog machine again until the cleaner is completely gone. This ensures that your smoke machine runs smoothly and safely the next time you use it. If the instructions tell you to test periodically, be sure to do so.

If you have any questions about which smoke machine is right for your home or how to operate it, Spirit Halloween experts are here to help. We are available to answer all your questions so you can have the best Halloween ever. Contact Dr. Zombie and his team of experts today! Start a live chat, call 1-866-586-0155 or send an email

Happy Haunting!

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How to use a fog machine and frequently asked questions (1)

how different types of fog machines work


How to use a fog machine and frequently asked questions? ›

Don't overload your circuit breakers or fuses. Don't overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground. Make sure that the cord is placed in such a way as not be become a hazard to guests. Do not leave a fog machine or any electrical device unattended.

What not to do with a fog machine? ›

Don't overload your circuit breakers or fuses. Don't overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground. Make sure that the cord is placed in such a way as not be become a hazard to guests. Do not leave a fog machine or any electrical device unattended.

How long can you leave fog juice in a fog machine? ›

How long your fog juice will last depends on the wattage of your machine. One quart of fog juice will generally burn for six hours in a 400-watt compact fog machine (four hours in a low lying machine) and a 1,000-watt machine will burn for two hours.

What to know before buying a fog machine? ›

Things To Look For When Buying Fog Machine Fluids
  • Volume. Most fog machines hold between 33.81 and 67.62 ounces of fluid, but some larger models can even hold up to 169.07 ounces. ...
  • Longevity. ...
  • Odor. ...
  • Flammability. ...
  • Residue. ...
  • Water-based. ...
  • Glycerin-based. ...
  • Oil-based.
Feb 28, 2023

Why is my fog machine spitting liquid? ›

Using the wrong fluid in a machine can result in the fluid exiting the machine either too HOT or too COLD. Too HOT can result in a 'spitting' or 'squirting' of VERY hot fluid straight out of the output nozzle and onto whatever/whoever is directly in front/below the machine.

How long do fog machines take to warm up? ›

Typically, fog machines take about 5 minutes to warm up, and you'll need to use the manual button to start making fog. Most machines also come with a ready light that automatically turns off when the machine has warmed up.

Is fog juice safe to breathe? ›

While many brands of liquid fog are FDA approved, they still come with lots of warnings and use regulations. While it's recommended to only use fog machines in well-ventilated areas with good air circulation, even then the smoke can be hazardous to inhale.

Is inhaling fog machine bad for you? ›

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology notes that extreme exposure to the “fog” created by fog machines can cause eye irritation, voice/throat symptoms and even asthma- or bronchitis-like symptoms in those without asthma.

What is the difference between a fog machine and a smoke machine? ›

Smoke machines produce a similar effect to low fog machines, however the heated smoke produced by smoke machines rises and dissipates around the room, whereas low fog machines produce cold liquid particles and the fog remains close to the ground. Use smoke machines for: shows, concerts, parties, spooky effects.

Can I put regular water in a fog machine? ›

You'll need a small 6-ounce container to make enough juice to fill your bottle. The other ingredient is distilled water, which is also available at drug stores. You don't want to use tap water or mineral water because both contain impurities that will clog up the fogging machine.

Do you have to refill a fog machine? ›

Always monitor tank fluid level during operation. The fog machine can suffer damage when run without fluid. If the machine does not function after having been run without fluid, please contact your Fogger dealer for service.

How does a fog smoke machine work? ›

Smoke machines work by heating a fluid, usually a water and glycol based fluid, which rapidly expands and is then forced out of the nozzle of the machine as a jet of 'smoke'. The vapour produced is warm and with high humidity, and mixing this with the cooler and less humid air in the room produces the smoke / fog.


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