I've bought a bunch of the Kmart 71cm candy canes. They are empty (no lights), but come with a ground stake that has the wiring channels built in. These canes seem to be a good size to insert (LED) lights into, and IMO would look great when at least 6 - 8 are used together. Now, what I plan to do is design a small controller PCB to fit into the base of each cane. It would have DMX input and each one would be individually addressable to allow for some more detailed sequences. I also plan to add cable tails to each with the male end being input and the female being the output / loop through. Driver chips tend to come in 8 or 16 output counts. Some preliminary LED placement tests show that 8 LEDs may not be enough to fill the tube well, but 16 is probably too many. So, maybe a 16 output driver with only 10 or 12 actually used may be the best option. I have thought about driving the LEDs directly from a PIC chip, but power dissipation could be an issue. Using a driver chip also means the power supply can be higher than 5V. I have thought about breaking the design up into two boards; one for the DMX input and processing and the other for the LED driver. This would possibly reduce the overall cost, but means that you'd need to have a separate control box between the DMX stream and the first cane. It may also require more wires between canes than DMX would use. I do like the idea of DMX controlled elements that don't need external support electronics. I did try fitting some WS2801 pixels into the canes as they are a great price per node, even if you only used the red portion. The main problem is that I think the 4 wire flat cable will cause quite a shadow in the tube. I don't have a 2801 controller handy at present to confirm this though. You'd also need to run the end of each section back to the base for feeding to the next cane which will add yet more shadows. Anyway, these are just my musings on the subject. Sometimes it's good to write these ideas up publicly and get comments before committing to a specific course of action!