Halloween is the only time of the year that people intentionally dirty their homes. A haunted house just wouldn’t be spooky without all the cobwebs, dust and grime. We never thought we would be encouraging dirt and grime, but here it is!
Location. The first step in planning for your haunted house is deciding whether you’ll have an indoor or outdoor display. Front yards, porches and back decks can be great locations for hosting a neighborhood haunted house. If you’re worried about the weather, but don’t want to host inside of your home, try using your garage or a garden/tool shed.
Audience. The next step is to figure out the what age you want to cater to. Are you shooting for a Nightmare-Before-Christmas-level-of-scary or Texas-Chainsaw-Masacre-level-of-scary?
There are ways to cater to both, but it’s usually better to just choose a direction and commit to it. If you try to please everyone, you could get yourself in trouble with some unsuspecting parents and young children.
Lighting. One of the most essential aspects is the lighting. If you’re decorating for more general audiences, you can use Christmas lights wrapped in black gauze to light the walkway. Jack O’Lanterns and candles are a great way to create that dim spooky mood. If you’re worried about fire hazard, you can buy flickering LED bulbs to create that candle-lit look. You can also line your walls with glow-in-the-dark images of bats, skeletons, moons and eyes. If you’re trying to please the older crowd, using as little lighting as possible is sometimes scarier than spooky lighting.
Decor. Stock up on polyester spider webbing from any party supplies store. Frame your door or entryway and apply generously over your other props. Spook up your house’s ghouls, goblins and ghosts with a little extra webbing and a few plastic spiders. If you have a skeleton, you can thread lights through him and wrap him in polyester webbing to create a spooky human-bone lamp. You can also use black paper to cut creepy silhouettes to line the windows of your house. If the budget allows, use mirrors, smoke and black lights to really take the drama of your haunted house to the next level.
Sounds. The sounds of your haunted house are just as important as the decor. If you are catering to young children, consider soundtracks from famous family Halloween films. If you are going for more of a “Haunted Mansion” feel, you can find tracks of creepy sounds and noises on YouTube. Another chilling idea is to create a playlist creepy nursery rhyme songs. Place your speakers strategically throughout the display to give an eerie surround sound experience.
Minions. If you can get your friends or family to help, having live characters is always a great way to set your haunted house apart. Having a sinister butler to greet and guide your guests is always an eerie touch.
Happy Halloween and good luck with your project! If you’re scared of the day-after clean up, just remember we’ll help you bounce back and get Thanksgiving-ready in no time!