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Halloween is right around the corner, meaning all manner of ghouls, goblins, and boogeymen will be lurking around. This is also an ideal time to invite those aforementioned creatures into (and around) your home with a DIY haunted house that will leave all your neighbors shivering to their wits’ end. This brings about the biggest question of where to begin, as most people want to do more than the traditional peeled grapes for eyeballs and cardboard tombstones.
Putting together the ultimate DIY haunted house should take no more than a week with one to two days for gathering materials. How do you plan what you need for your decorations?
Use your imagination! This is the time to really think on what would make a great haunted house. Think of what you would personally find spooky and decide from there. Do you want something whimsical that provokes a “cool!” response? Or would you prefer horrific and shocking (with a PG rating, of course)? When you’ve discovered what you want to do and the overall design of your haunted house, then you can begin making a list of items you need – followed by essential purchases or salvaging from recycle bins.
It’s understandable if you don’t immediately get ideas for decorations. Therefore, the following will serve as a few tips and creative brainstorms (accompanied by some tried and true décor) to get your imagination reeling. You’re encouraged to modify and mold these concepts to better suit your spooky home!
Your walkway is your starting point. This is where your guests will begin feeling the most excited about venturing into the haunted house. Make it creepy! Give them the feeling of being watched by inhuman eyes with a few well-placed recycled toilet rolls and glow sticks. Cut “eyes” into each toilet roll with a pair of scissors or an X-acto blade. (Be careful!) Then place a snapped colorful glow stick in each roll before hiding them eyes-out in the bushes or shrubbery around your home. Voila! Instant menacing creature glares!
Carving pumpkins should be a staple in all homes during All Hallows Eve. Albeit, DIY haunted homesteaders might find traditional Jack-O-Lanterns to be dull or boring. Truth be told, most carved pumpkins won’t evoke fear, but appreciation and awe are the next best emotions. For ghostly Jack-O-Lanterns, spray paint regular pumpkins white or use faux white pumpkins of varying sizes that you can get at any arts and crafts store. Give them their “O” faces and an inside candle like any typical carved pumpkin. Then arrange them on your walkway or on indoor stairs for apparition-style decoration.
When guests get to the inside of the house, give them that uneasy haunted feeling with a murder scene. You can dress up a family member to serve as the mutilated body or let your guests’ imaginations roam with only police tape and a spattering of congealing blood or brain matter. Fake blood can either be bought or made with a mixture of corn syrup, red food coloring, water, and cornstarch.
There’s no perfect recipe when it comes to making fake blood – it all depends on what you want the color to be and what consistency works best. Just start out with a little of each ingredient and add as you discover what combination works best for you. Be forewarned! Too much fake blood can stain carpet and clothing; so, put down a clear tarp beforehand to protect your home from forever looking like a criminal investigation.
You could also make a body outline on the floor using masking tape. Tear off several long strips and maneuver them into your desired body shape. Be sure to sprinkle with fake blood for a realistic, murderous effect.
If you’re planning on a slew of trick-or-treaters this Halloween, make your front door fun to knock on. With construction paper, cut out peering cartoonish eyes. Then “wrap” your door with white streamers, making sure to put them in tight uneven lines that overlap. Paste your pre-made eyes to the streamers, and you have a Mummy door! This will give your home just the right amount of spook for Halloween, but not enough scare to be uninviting to little costumed hobgoblins who seek sweets.
Hopefully, these ideas have your mind racing with your own creative scenarios and DIY crafts to make an entertaining and awe-inspiring “haunted” house. Whether you’re amusing the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, going a little more intense for guests, or decorating for yourself, there’s no way you can go wrong with a little imagination and a craft box full of creative freedom. Happy Haunted Halloween.
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