A haunted house is a great way to let loose and have fun around Halloween! But making your own? It can take some serious planning and manpower to make it work. Here are some haunted house ideas to make your decor extra scary this Halloween.
How Do You Make a Good Haunted House?
Tip 1: Scale Down.
Your house is probably not inherently spooky. The boho rug and fiddle leaf fig plant will probably de-rail your creepy vibes. That’s why it’s easier to turn a smaller space into a haunted atmosphere. Try making a haunted house out of just your garage, or section off parts of your house with screens/bedsheets so you can properly set the tone and reduce the haunted square footage. Try making it a “haunted tunnel” in your hallway or decorate a “haunted maze” in your backyard.
Tip 2: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Lighting and Sounds.
While it can get easy to get hung up on stellar costumes, don’t neglect the full sensory experience. Lighting, sound, and even smells can create an equally frightening atmosphere. Special effects can be as simple as a strobe light, projector, black lights, Bluetooth speakers with a werewolf howling, or a fog machine to really set the tone for your visitors.
Tip 3: Make Haunted House Rules and Expectations Clear at the Beginning.
In this day and age, you don’t want to get into a heated fight with your neighbor after they complain their 4-year-old has chronic nightmares after seeing your haunted house decor. Make it clear that those who enter, do so at their own risk. Signs can make expectations and boundaries clear. Don’t physically touch haunted house visitors, nor have any real dangerous items like chainsaws or knives. Props only.
Tip 4: Make a Statement With the Entrance.
You only have one chance to make a first impression. And with a haunted house, you want to make sure that the first impression sets the frightening tone. Make sure the front porch or front door is decked out. Turn your front door into a monster mouth about to swallow any victims who enter. Use lots of cobwebs, signage, skulls, eerie lighting, and music to set the tone (“Thriller” by Michael Jackson is always a classic).
BUT if you live near small children or people who are especially sensitive to scary decor, you might want to keep the creepy things inside or in the backyard where they’re not visible from the street. And if you’re a parent with a sensitive child, let your neighbors know so they can modify outdoor haunted house decorations if needed.
Tip 5: Use What You Have.
Whether you turn the dog crate into a makeshift “prison” for pretend “captors” or toilet paper for “mummies,” don’t feel like you have to tap into your savings for Halloween decor or haunted mansion decorations. Get creative with a wood pallet and turn it into a wall where you display maimed “victims” (these can be live actors, skeletons, or “mummy” dummies.
How Do You Make a Haunted Tunnel?
Sometimes, a haunted tunnel is much easier to manage than an entire house, especially if you want to work on it for more than one day. You can use PVC pipe, wood scrap (from pallets), chicken wire, black garbage bags, and/or black tarp to make your haunted tunnel. Don’t forget fun effects like screams, footsteps, scary music, dim lighting, and smoke machines. Check out these spooky glowing eyes, too! You can make it a drive-thru attraction, too, if you have the space.
How Do You Make a Simple Haunted House for Kids?
If you’re making the haunted house a little simpler and kid-friendly, stick to simpler gags and less fake blood. Make it “spooky and fun” and less “gore-y and terrifying.” Little kids don’t need to be chased by a man with a severed head or see a tortured girl trapped in a cage, even when it’s all pretend. Keep the effects light and fun. Skeletons, cobwebs, spiders, witch’s brews, drippy candles, ghosts made from bedsheets–these are all things kids of all ages can probably handle.
Kid-Friendly Haunted House Tips
Not everyone wants their Haunted House to be over-the-top terrifying, especially if your neighborhood has a lot of small children on the search for Halloween candy. Remember, if you have a child who’s really sensitive to anything remotely creepy, don’t push it! There’s nothing wrong with foregoing spooky festivities with your little ones for a year or two if you need to. It’s much, much better than having a preschooler who has vivid nightmares after seeing a ghost.
But for those who want a kid-friendly haunted house that keeps the gore and psychological torture to a minimum, here are some fun and lighthearted decorations you can use:
Use Chicken Wire to Make Creepy Floating Ghosts.
Trick-or-treaters and passers-by will do a double-take when they see think they’ve experienced a ghost sighting! With chicken wire, you can mold old-timey ghost figures with a whimsical quality. You can get a bargain on chicken wire at Walmart or any home improvement store. Ghosts with skirts are typically easier because they free stand better. You can leave them bare (creating a transparent ghost effect) or you can drape them with white bedsheets if you want! Another tip: To make the head, use a hat or wig form to make a realistic shape. Pool noodles are great molds for arms, too.
Make Your Haunted House Come Alive With Floating Candles.
While this may remind you of the Great Hall in Harry Potter, it does have a spooky “Haunted Mansion” vibe to it, too. And it’s a lot simpler than it looks! All you need is some empty cardboard paper towel rolls, flameless LED tealights, hot glue, antique white spray paint, and a clear fishing line to make spooky enchanted candles that hover below the ceiling. Speaking of candles, check out this tutorial for an embossed haunted house canvas that’s accented by some spooky candles!
Add Some Silhouetted Figures to Your Windows.
We all remember that scene from Home Alone, right? The one where Kevin makes silhouettes dance in the windows? Well, it’s like that, but make it spooky. Use backlit paper, skeletons, or creative lighting to give the impression that terrifying paranormal things are happening inside your home. Or maybe the ghosts and goblins are having their own Halloween Party.
Use Old Frames to Make Creepy Home Decor.
Check out these spooky changing portraits. Your visitors will love thinking they’ve has a ghost sighting as they pass your seemingly normal portraits
Add Some “Potions” to Your DIY Decor With Empty Apothecary Bottles Filled With Mysterious Liquids.
You don’t necessarily have to buy them, you can easily make them from bottles and DIY labels that say “dragon’s breath,” “beetle juice,” “fingernails,” “spider venom,” “witch wart oil,” or any other creepy elixirs you can think of.
What Do You Put Inside a Haunted House? (for Older Kids and Adults)
Old Creepy Dolls
You can get old dolls from thrift stores and turn them into ultra-creepy decorations that you can scatter around your haunted house. Nothing like a creepy, haunted baby doll to set the tone.
A Graveyard of Skeleton Zombies.
Have undead skeletons crawling out of the ground or out of their graves by their gravestones. Make your own gravestones by carving out of foam and painting them to look old and weathered.
A Bloody Walkway to Your Haunted House
Use white paper and red paint to make the walkway look like previous travelers haven’t fared well on their journey. Or that a bloody ghoul inhabits your haunted house.
Spooky Mason Jars
Add “severed heads” a.k.a. funny pictures of family members to mason jars to make them look like specimens. Or, suspend doll heads/hands or eyeballs in jars of liquid to make your haunted house look like a mad scientist’s lab.
Create a PVC Jail
With PVC pipe and spray paint, you can turn a friend or family member into a victim of the haunted house’s horrors. This isn’t a small project, so maybe make it one of the centerpieces of your haunted house decor.
Get “Actors” to Help Set the Tone
Friends and family members can be helpful in setting the spooky tone and giving your visitors a proper fright with Halloween-themed disguises. Whether they dress as a mummy, ghost, witch, corpse bride, zombie, Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, Chucky, Michael Myers, or Pennywise, it will take your DIY haunted house from tame to terrifying.
Happy Haunted House Season!
Are you ready to use Halloween decorations and props to make a Haunted House that the whole neighborhood won’t soon forget? Share your spookiest decorations with family, friends, and neighbors on FamilyApp!