15 Steps to Make a Homemade Haunted House
Be the envy of your neighbors this year and create your own haunted house. Remember to set a budget and decide whether you're targeting kids, teenagers or adults. Or create some of the simpler effects on your front porch and in the front hall, to lure trick-or-treaters into your House of Horror on Halloween night.
1. Make a diagram for your Halloween haunted house by first measuring the space to make sure you have room to do everything you want. Decide where you want features from the following list to be placed and where you'll create the entrance and exit.
2. Design fake and shiver-inducing walls by cutting black garbage bags into thin strips, stopping a few inches before you get to the top. Hang these walls from the ceiling.
3. Hang black thread in your front entryway to give the effect of walking into invisible cobwebs.
4. Black garbage bags also can be used to cover windows for a purer darkness. Replace standard light bulbs with black or red lights (found at party stores) to give an eerie effect but make sure people can still see where they're walking.
5. Stretch fake spider webbing across the room and spray it with water to create a particularly creepy experience when visitors walk through them.
6. Cut out gravestone shapes from large pieces of gray construction paper. Write creative epitaphs on them with a thick black magic marker, such as "Here lies Polly -- Choked on a cracker" or "Buried Alive?" Tape them near the floor to simulate real gravestones.
7. Have fun making a tape recording of scary sounds with your friends or family or buy a spooky CD from your local music store. Set up the speakers so the sounds can be heard throughout the maze. Place extra speakers in a front tree or bushes to lure in visitors.
8. Buy several Styrofoam heads from a beauty supply store and turn them into ghoulish creatures with makeup, masks and wigs. You can create different looks by sticking knives into the heads, adding fake bodies and semi-attaching the heads (don't forget a bloody axe to complete the tale) or by lining them up on a shelf for a story about the serial killer that got away. Add fake blood and wounds made from the recipes below.
9. Stuff a shirt, suit, socks and shoes (use a DSW free shipping code when you buy your goulish shoes) with newspapers and position this creature in a dark corner. Top with a lighted jack-o-lantern head.
10. To create an electric chair, put another "stuffed" man or a friend dressed ghoulishly in a high-backed chair and place a metal noodle strainer on its head with wires running from the strainer. A strobe light aimed at the chair completes the look.
11. Make a bowl of eyeballs by pealing enough large grapes that you can plunge the hands of the unsuspecting deep into the eyeballs.
12. Create a dead hand by filling a plastic kitchen glove with water and fastening the top of the glove with a rubber band. Fill a large bowl or punch bowl with cold water dyed red and float the dead hand in it. Make sure to tell visitors a particularly frightening story about your ancestor who disappeared, leaving behind only this bloody hand.
13. Have a friend hide behind one of the garbage-bag walls to spritz visitor's in the face with ice-cold water as they pass. Tell them the water is the venom of spitting black-widow spiders. Dress other friends as ghouls, goblins, monsters or the walking dead to pop out on the unsuspected while waving flashlights in their faces.
14. There's nothing quite as creepy as a bit of fog rolling around your haunted house and dry ice makes an excellent fog machine. Because dry ice can cause serious injury if it touches bare skin, it's best to leave this part of the project to an adult.
15. For a final thrill, have an adult positioned to jump out wearing a monster or zombie costume as guests are about to depart.
Don't forget to save some of your decorations for the outside of the house. Drape trees and the front porch with plenty of cobwebs dotted with plastic spiders. Finally, sprinkle the lawn and porch with carved pumpkins and insert long-lasting candles.
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