Ghost and goblins alike beware’the scariest of all holidays calls for the scariest of all haunts! One of the best ways to celebrate Halloween is by decorating and showcasing your house, and this is where you can put your scariest ideas and talents to work. If you want to have the spookiest house on the block this Halloween, then think through some ideas that can bring that vision to life.
Plan In Advance
Just like any piece of construction, you need to plan everything in advance and have all the supplies ready to go. Will your house have a graveyard? Where? Will you have games and scare tactics leading up the house? How about an entire haunted house fa’ade, complete with rooms, maze and props galore within?
If you haven’t attempted a haunt before, definitely go small, and work your way up every season. Nothing is so frustrating as having a grand design in mind, only to get bogged down it too many details because of a lack of experience. The best way to start is to concentrate on one area ‘ next year, try two, and so on.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to create a haunt if very few people will be around to see it. Send Halloween invites (especially if there will be a house party after giving the candy out), post your haunt on Facebook and other social sites, and spread the word around.
Set a Scene for True Fun and One Scary Night
If this is your first haunt, go with the tried-and-true. As the trick-or-treaters come up to your door, have something hidden that pops up or jumps out at them. The scare factor must be there, but it helps if you can tone it down a bit for the smaller set that may scare easily. Go with things such as ghosts hanging from trees that can be easily held back if the younger set looks terrified. Or a small graveyard with dim lighting and moans coming from a hidden speaker. You can even put somebody who looks like a prop, such as a stuffed scarecrow sitting in a chair, who suddenly comes alive and jumps out to scare the appropriate age groups.
Haunted Music and Lighting
To complete the effect of your scene, make sure to have some music. Have your iPod or a CD playing scary, atmospheric music on repeat. For more elaborate music, record your own voice into a computer program like Sony Sound Forge, slow it down and stretch it out to create a truly creepy effect, then put it on loop. Check out an article here to see how to do it.
To create a professional and truly frightening look to your scene, think of the background ‘ the best lighting effects involves bluish light set into the background and near the ground, usually a lamp safely covered with blue cellophane you can have hidden off to the side. Having the light close to the ground will create long, eerie shadows. Try this on the foreground lighting as well.
Whether you decide on a single scene such as a monster coming ‘alive,’ a graveyard or a smoking coffin, creating a spooky scene is sure to give the kids (and kids at heart) a thrill on Halloween night. If you can make people feel as if they’ve entered into a world slightly different from this one, at least for a bit, then you’ve done your job of making your house ‘the spookiest on the block’ that people will be drawn to!
About the author: Chris is the editor of Halloweenalliance.com, a website full of resources on haunt set-ups, Halloween decor, prop making, stories and costume making. Check out an in-depth article on creating spooky lighting effects for your haunted house.