Jaynie has extensive experience with party and event planning. She has planned events for groups of 20 to 600 people.
Creating the Perfect Haunted House
For me and my kids, Halloween is one of the most spectacular times of the year. We love the spooky, chilly atmosphere, and the opportunity to dress up and pretend to me someone or something else. The season is magical, mystical and mysterious. The beauty of this special time is that you can make it as wholesome or as creepy as you like it. Quite simply, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate. So in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share some great ideas for spooking things up at your house! Have a ball!
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Haunting Your Yard
Your front yard is the portal to your inner sanctum. Give Halloween revelers a taste of what’s inside by whetting their gory appetites outside. Any house can be transformed from the Cleaver’s house to the Meat-Cleaver’s house if you apply a little ingenuity.
Lighting is essential to scene setting. Try changing your porch light and your lamppost light bulbs to red. This will cast an eerie glow that is reminiscent of blood. You may also change the bulbs to black light in order to bring out the light colors on your trick or treaters costumes when they come calling in the dark.
The yard is the perfect place to create a graveyard. Tombstones can be found at a number of Halloween specialty stores and retail chains such as Target, WalMart and Shopko for a reasonable price. Some of them even feature battery operated glowing eyes.
Piling up fallen leaves in front of the graves will give the illusion of a freshly dug grave. Try sticking skulls or silicone hands or other limbs from the leaf piles for a macabre effect.
Fog machines create an eerie accent. They can become quite warm after they’ve been running awhile, so be sure not to cover them or set them near dried leaves. Also, be sure that the hole is not blocked so that the fog can flow freely, and be sure to have plenty of fog juice available.
A hidden sound system such as a boom box or iPod player will allow you to play haunted music or scary Halloween CDs that add to the suspenseful, spooky atmosphere.
If you have a bench or bistro set on your front porch, use a scary mask, adult sized clothing, pillows and other accents to create a horrifying adult sized figure. It is hilarious to watch trick-or-treaters create a huge path around it to your front door, because they never know if it will jump up and grab them!
Halloween stores sell items such as fake ravens, owls and rats that also make great accents. Mount them to trees or fences.
You can create your own farm-like area using plenty of hay bales, corn stalks and pumpkins to add to the harvest feel. It adds ambience without the spooky element and helps to fill in the gaps where you don’t have enough scary stuff to fill the space.
If your yard happens to be fenced in, consider covering the fencing with black fabric, landscape fabric, or rolls of black paper. Paste glow in the dark gravestones and skeletons to the black background. Spray paint things such as "Help Me" or "Run For Your Life!" with glow in the dark paint. Illuminate these walls with black lighting.
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Haunting the Inside of Your House
If you are throwing an indoor party or expect to have trick-or-treaters inside to tour your haunted house then every room should be included in your spook fest. If you have rooms that you want to keep off limits, try tacking crime scene tape across the doors and leaving them closed.
Your kitchen is the perfect place to create a mad-scientist laboratory or a demented dining room. Glass mason jars filled with squishy eyeballs, fingers, red jello that looks like blood, and macaroni noodles with ketchup to look like bloody brains are always a scary hit. Be sure to have a severed head on a platter as your table’s centerpiece. You can surround that with place settings that include goblets from the Halloween store whose stems look like skeleton fingers. Place a bit of dry ice in each goblet and add water to create a smoky effect. Set smoking cauldrons about the kitchen. If you have a black canner, you can fill it with dry ice and add water to get the same effect. Lighting candles can create an eerie glow but if you’re expecting many guests, especially children who might be a bit rambunctious, this would create a fire hazard. There are flameless candles available that can be plugged in and still give the flame effect. Having someone dressed in a witch costume at the stove stirring your smoking cauldron adds a nice touch. She can even offer guests homemade Halloween treats from a platter as they pass through. Caramel apples with gummy worms draped over them, popcorn gloves with candy corn fingernails or other spooky snacks work great. Having zombies seated around your dinner table is extra creepy. As always, frightening music in the background is always a nice touch.
Your living room can be interrupted with the rapid-fire strobe effect of a small, inexpensive strobe light. Having one or two persons dressed in horrifying costumes reach out toward tourists is extremely creepy. Have them moaning and groaning, pleading for help. For decoration, try replacing your usual photos or wall hangings with creepy scene setters or pictures from the Halloween store. I got a great replica of The Blue Boy with a skeletal face that I hang in my haunted house every year. I also place a vase full of black roses as a centerpiece on my coffee table. Be sure to add plenty of fake cobwebs with black plastic spiders to doorways and around furnishings.
The bedroom can serve as the perfect death chamber or funeral parlor. Have church music playing in the background. Dim lighting, cobwebs and a body with a skeletal mask lying on the bed, holding a bouquet of dead flowers will make this a great fright! Just when the tourists step up to get a closer look… the body sits up and reaches out!
Because it becomes expensive to decorate an entire home, inside and out, you may have a few rooms that aren’t necessarily decorated. Instead, as guests pass by, someone in costume can jump out or reach out from the doorway. That is every bit as frightening, if not more so than a room that is simply decorated.
After touring your haunted property, your guests deserve a treat. Be sure that when they exit, they are offered their reward for being brave enough to complete the haunted tour. Having a less scary costumed adult handing out candy or other treats makes for a nice ending to a heart-pounding thrill ride.
Enjoy the season and happy haunting!!!
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© 2010 Jaynie2000
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 13, 2010:
Thanks Granny. I appreciate that. I'll have to check out the dollar store this year. I could use a few new tombstones. Happy Halloween!
Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on October 08, 2010:
Great ideas. Thanks. I use black lights too.I found the tombstones at the dollar store.Will vote up.
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 08, 2010:
Very funny! Hadn't thought of that. I should have included this tip in my Sin City Party hub, I guess! ( -;
Tim on October 08, 2010:
"Lighting is essential to scene setting. Try changing your porch light and your lamppost light bulbs to red."
I think this will most likely attract those wanting a treat, rather than a trick if you know what I mean ;)
David Lim from Singapore on October 08, 2010:
I'm getting scared just reading your hub. You might want to add 911 to your speeddial, just in case someone gets a heart attack before finishing your tour. :)