With Halloween in the wings, it’s time of the year to get creative by creating a space that will have your guests and neighbors looking for an escape! Get started with spooky Halloween decorations to turn your yard or home into a ghoulish party setting. And what’s a better way to set up a thrilling stop for little trick-or-treaters than building a haunted house?
Instead of shelling out huge bucks on pricey scare materials to transform your cozy home into a bone-chilling haunted harbor, follow the DIY route. There are many cost-effective and fun-filled DIY solutions to give your home a spook-tacular makeover to create a crazy Halloween upgrade without breaking a sweat.
Start with Planning
Building a haunted attraction that becomes the talk of the neighborhood takes careful thought. Before investing time and money, draw up a schematic encompassing the entire scope of the project to ensure your attraction is what you envision it to be. From the scale and size of the yard to the supplies needed and the corresponding budget, leave no stone unturned to map out even the little nuances before you go ahead with it.
Build a Realistic Time Budget
Once you’re done this, make as exact an estimate as possible for the time it will take to set up your haunted house, the number of people it will require to run, and how many trick-o-treaters you can safely accommodate at one time in your backyard boo-fest.
Prep the Yard
With your supplies and plan in hand, it’s time to get rolling with execution. Before using your yard’s landscape to your advantage to come up with something terrifying, move your patio furniture and other equipment to safety. First, sheath them with outdoor lifestyle covers and equipment covers to ensure their overall protection. If you’re thinking of incorporating your furniture in the spooky decorations, adorn them with outdoor covers and pillow covers customized with Halloween graphics.
Create the Ambiance
Prune the bushes and shrubs in varied shapes and sizes and put a pair of disembodied glowing eyes into the recesses to watch trick-or-treaters jump when they blink. Next, DIY spiderwebs with cotton balls or stretch webbing. Pull either apart into thin strands and begin placing your webs. Cover fences, bushes, trees, custom outdoor patio blinds, equipment covers, and high corners with your cob- and spiderwebs. Add big and small spiders to heighten the fright.
Build a Graveyard Out Front
Take the bone-chilling Halloween decor to the next level by setting up a creepy graveyard on your front lawn. Litter your lawn with DIY gravestones and super inexpensive zombie skeletons.
Crafting the gravestone is simple. All you need to do is cut cardboard into the shapes of gravestones. Get some textured stone paint paint, black paint to paint on the epitaphs, and skeleton hand props to plant in front of the gravestones to simulate the dead rising from their graves.
Use PVC pipes to create a body-like frame. Take some old, ripped and stained clothing splattered with red, black, and brown paint and drape it the pipes. Skeleton heads can attach to the PVC structure to give it an apocalyptic vibe. You can go as simple or as complex as you want with the heads. From styrofoam heads painted and eyeballs added to zombie masks to zombie heads from a prop store.
Next Level Zombies
Take your home’s exterior to 11 by dangling plastic skeletons to your roof or windows. Attach them to the side of your house as if they’re crawling up/down. Augment the fun by inviting the grim reaper to welcome your guests. Make use of chicken wire and PVC pipes to build the structure of your death prop. Then, cover it up with a ragged black cloth and fit in a hand and accessory such as a traditional scythe or a lamp.
Make an Amazing Maze
Hallways and walkways play an integral part while transforming your haven into a haunted house. Build up the gloom and mystery by creating frightening mazes. PVC pipes and tarps can be used to create the framework of walls and black tarps attached with zip ties finish the job. Then anchor your PVC into the ground with U-hooks.
Utilize the Garage
Your garage can be a great retreat to stage a haunted house with its dark, dingy, suspicious air. Before getting started, cover up your workbench, tools, and lawnmowers with durable and sturdy equipment covers and place them in a corner hidden behind your horror house’s custom tarps. Black tarps are perfect for blocking out any light piercing through the windows and for covering the walls. Now it’s time to get busy.
Dangle some ragged & damaged dolls, witches, ghosts or monsters from the ceiling. Replace the garage lights with soft black lights to give just enough light to see – but not well enough. Fake coffins with someone hidden, ready to reach out and grab your guests, is a great scare. So too is leaving space between the tarps and the walls for hidden jump scares. You can also dress all in black and press up against the wall to hide in plain sight – then suddenly grab unexpecting visitors.
Consider Pop-Up Tents
Customized with spooky graphics, a pop-up tent housing ghoulish characters, creepy clowns and garish anomalies can be a dramatic sideshow addition to your haunted house. Besides buying a tent, you can construct your own via the DIY route. Use PVC pipes to construct the frame, industrial tarps for the roof, clear vinyl tarps for the base, and curtains for walls. Amp up your entrance’s gore appeal with floating ghouls, glowing Jack-o’-lanterns, skulls, and metal chains.
Have Activities for Little Ones Who Can’t Go In
If these scary strolls seem overwhelming for little trick-or-treaters, better reserve a carnival pop-up tent housing amusing activities and a gaming parlour for them. Some of the exciting activities for the ones who aren’t keen on scares are mystery bowls, bobbing for apples, corn mazes, lantern making, scavenger hunts, and more.
Incorporate some scary props such as floating figures or creepy doll heads with glowing eyes or decapitated hand signboards which keep the ambiance just a little scary so they can feel like they’re part of the fun. The holographic illusions might seem straight out of a sci-fi movie and can be an engrossing visual for smaller kids to witness.
Outside Your Garage
Make your garage’s entrance a bone-chilling gateway to hell. Create an arch stuck with numerous plastic skulls flanked by glowing Jack-o’-lanterns. A bloodied, disembodied skull whose eyes follow visitors is always good for some creep factor. Take a page out of it and have your own Pennywise staring down at them from atop the roof. Keep the opening super dark with black curtains and a jump scare can be added with a Zombie maitre dis.
Incorporate elements of surprise such as scary clowns, serial killers peeping through the walls, moving disfigured arms, floating bloody candles, or hands reaching out through the walls. You can strategically use signboards with messages in fake blood to instruct your guests moving through the maze.
Tone down the scare level for your little guests and design a colorful maze more suitable for children. Create a standalone noodle maze using foam noodles, inserting some silly, fun, and maybe a little scary elements inside it. Make it even more interesting by placing a prize inside the maze.
Play a Spooky Soundtrack
Now that your haunted mansion has been raised from the dead, you can focus on setting the scene. Stream a playlist of Halloween sound effects and creepy music throughout the haunt. Accompany your creepy sounds with strobe lights and red bulbs to create a chilling ambiance.
Invest in a Fog Machine
Fog machines can easily uplift the Halloween decor to the unearthly. They can fill the room with vapors and help mask the horrifying elements. If you want to get creative with producing DIY fog effects, dry ice fits the bill. Just drop ice into hot water to a lot of dense low-lying fog. Make sure you follow safety precautions while handling it as dry ice is solid (frozen) Carbon Dioxide and is extremely cold. It can cause instant cold ‘burns’ on contact.