How to make a haunted house

There’s so much to love about Halloween, from watching scary movies (Ree Drummond certainly has her own list of the scariest horror movies), to carving pumpkins, to dress up and organize the perfect Halloween party. But maybe this year you want to celebrate spooky season by going really tall and have pondered the question of how to make a haunted house? Where do you even start? Or end, Besides? How do you make it fun for all ages, without boring older kids to death? And do you have to spend a lot of money to build a great haunted house?

This all might sound a little overwhelming, but we’ve met a few designers who’ve been building haunted houses for years. Ahead you will find their best ideas for designing a haunted scene in your home and garden – nothing too elaborate, don’t worry, as well as recommendations on where to find props and decorations. So whether you’ve been hosting your own haunt for ages and want to level up or are ready to scare those cheaters for the first time, this guide will help you design and craft a haunted house that’s the hit. neighborhood !

Can you create your own haunted house?

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The short answer is yes! However, it’s worth deciding first how much money you want to spend and how big and intricate you want it to be before you start the actual decorating. If you want to create a haunted house that kids (and their parents) will talk about for years to come, start planning it early, way before Halloween.

“I think about it 24/7, 365 days a year,” says Angela Colone, who has been an actress and creator of professional hangouts, including Screams at the beachin Georgetown, Delaware, and 301 Devil’s Playground in Galena, Maryland. “I always look on Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is selling cheap accessories or things they’re getting rid of…I also look at garage sales and thrift stores. I always try to pick up stuff.”

Kate Pearce, an interior design blogger and content creator from Chicago, Illinois, who has long created spooky Halloween scenes based on thrift store finds, also advises researching thrift stores. “My biggest tip would be to go to the thrift store and explore everything, not just the Halloween aisle,” she says. “Savings are cheap, and therefore not a huge financial commitment, so you can really have fun and let your mind run wild.”

Alternatively, you can cut costs by buying a professional prop and using that as a guide to make your own version. For example, when Colone was creating a barn scene with a spider’s nest, she bought a spider and fashioned the rest from papier-mâché and spray paint, hanging them from the ceiling with fishing line and on a purse. a dollar of Halloween cobwebs.

“It was really cheap,” Colone says. “Paper mache is pretty awesome and it’s disposable so you don’t have to save it for next season if you don’t want to. And it’s the kind of craft you could make with your own kids.”

How to turn a house into a haunted house?

Let’s start at the beginning. If you’re building a haunted house that you want to appeal to young children, don’t make the entrance too scary. You can create an atmosphere with fog machines and cornstalk decor, but make sure the area around your doorway is open and inviting, rather than claustrophobic – it should also be well lit. You also want to keep the scenes you create inside your house illuminated, so the kids can see everything and the lights aren’t focused directly on anything scary.

“With kids, it’s more about allowing them to look at everything openly,” says Colone. “Usually for an adult hangout you want it to be very chaotic. You want to be scared of who’s going to jump now and what’s coming around the corner. But kids need to see it all and You want to allow them into your scene, you don’t want to impose your scene on them.

Speaking of scenes, Colone has some ideas for sets and props that kids will love:


Cut a large hole in a refrigerator box to make a box office. Dress one of your actors up as a clown and put him away at the box office. Offer carnival games to children, such as a bean bag tossmini bowlingChoose one Duck or others. The bubbles drifting across the stage give it a party feel, especially if they’re scented like Daddy’s beard!


Stock the shelves with children’s books found at flea markets. Dress up one of your actors as a wizard, which lets kids choose a book to take home. You can also make simple chopsticks for on-the-go gifts. Tie the string to one end of a stick and glue or tie faux gems to the other end of the string.


Buy some hay bales, pumpkins and corn stalks and decorate a room with them. Spread hay on the floor and add spider nests to the corners of the room. Dress up an actor as a scarecrow with simple makeup and a costume. You can also take this idea outside and easily create a haunted barnyard.

What advice for a child-friendly haunted house?

how to make a haunted house

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After all, the idea is not to give children nightmares, but to entertain them.

Use makeup rather than masks on the actors.

“Masks can be a little too scary for some kids because they can’t see a human behind them,” Colone says. “If they don’t see a human face, it’s hard for them to approach.”

Speak in a normal voice.

“When we’re doing an adult haunt, we like to get creative with our voices and tones, whereas a kid might not like that,” Colone says. “Instead, we speak to them in our normal voice and let them know they are welcome to come in and look around.”

Give them something to take home.

According to Colone, from stickers of stars or bugs to cardboard cutouts of tombstones they can decorate at home, “kids love to have something to take with them that isn’t just candy.”

Engage more than one sense.

“What I’ve noticed in my years of practice is that kids and adults want to smell, smell, and even taste,” Colone says. “For example, we used cake batter, so they could smell it was sweet, but the texture was almost like brains… and obviously things like the clay pudding cups with the gummy worms inside.”

How to make a scary haunted house?

If you want older kids to have as much fun in your lair as younger ones, you’re going to have to provide them with a satisfying spooky experience. Consider building different paths around your home and giving your guests a choice of which ones they want to take: less scary or seriously scary. “Sometimes it’s good to have multiple crossroads because kids can say it wasn’t that scary, I want to try a scarier one,” Colone says. “So that way you separate it and let them choose what they want to see.”

If you don’t have enough rooms in your house to build that many individual scenes, you can build walls with white sheets and even paint them with background decor if you’re feeling artistic. On the spooky path, use a little more blood, full-face Halloween masks, and maybe even a ghoul or two popping out of hidden spaces. Decorate entire rooms when you can, like this killer dining room idea from Pearce, which uses items she found at the thrift store.

Put on a spooky portrait.

Buy an old painting, drill holes in it, and paint some fake blood dripping from the holes. Extra points if you use the eyes for the holes. “That same idea could be applied to a cheap portrait print that you don’t feel bad about putting holes in,” says Pearce.

Hang doll heads.

Buy scary old dolls, stick their heads out and hang them with fishing line from the ceiling at different heights.

Sit down a skeleton.

If you have a skeleton practical, place it at the dining room table. Pull out a bunch of old Barbie-sized doll heads and place them in a Halloween bowl with a spoon in front of the skeleton. It looks, says Pearce, “like the skeleton eating a bowl of Barbie heads like cereal.”

    How to make a haunted house outdoors?

    how to make a haunted house

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    Why end your haunted house in your house when you can continue it in your backyard? You can start by installing Halloween inflatables at the entrance, which will guide guests to the outdoor space. From there, many outdoor Halloween decorations can be made by hand! A cemetery is fun and easy to build: you can create crosses out of sticks and string, and make headstones out of cardboard and spray paint. Position an actor disguised as a ghost in your graveyard to point to the next setting.

    Colone also loves camping scenes. “Spray paint on a sheet with Halloween scenes and throw it on an old tent,” she says. “Kids can crawl through the tent and you can have an actor tell campfire stories from the other side.” Instead of creating a real fire, protect it with a fake campfire the one you buy or make out of cardboard.

    The most important thing to remember when creating your lair is “to let your imagination run wild and have fun,” Colone says. “It all depends on how you want to make your house haunted.”

    What you will need for your haunted house
    Halloween fog machine with remote control

    WAY TO CELEBRATE! Halloween fog machine with remote control
    Posable realistic plastic skeleton

    WAY TO CELEBRATE! Posable realistic plastic skeleton
    Inflatable haunted house

    KPCB inflatable haunted house
    artificial paper fire

    YXLX artificial paper fire

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