Design a haunted house this Halloween - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Design a haunted house this Halloween

Updated: Aug 29, 2013 03:59 PM
© / Jon Kiam Soon © / Jon Kiam Soon

By Alexandra Kerr

This Halloween, treat guests to a frighteningly fun holiday with creative decorations inside and out. Design a graveyard, animate trees and creepily great guests with these great outdoor Halloween decorating ideas. Once inside, try some of these spirited decor ideas for a spooky Halloween party, including toy spiders, creepy lighting and candy-serving skeletons.


Grave Yard

One of the first signs of a haunted house is the classic graveyard set up. While you can purchase pre-made head stones from Halloween supply stores, making your own can be cheap and easy. Get some thin blocks of foam from a craft store, and paint them grey like stone. Use black paint to write funny or spooky messages on the headstones, and place them in a group in your front yard for trick-or-treaters, or backyard for Halloween party guests. Placing plastic skeletons, or just pieces of them, scattered around the headstones adds an extra creepy graveyard touch to your Halloween display.


It wouldn't be a haunted house without ghosts, and your yard is the perfect place to start. Purchase premade ghost decorations, or make your own to hang from trees or stake in the ground. Use leaves, crumpled newspaper or large foam spheres from a craft store to create the ghosts' heads. Wrap the head in a white sheet or translucent white drape, and secure at the neck with a white ribbon or tie. Hang from the trees in your front yard for an eerie array of gliding ghosts, or set them on two old broom handles, joined in the shape of a T, for fun and friendly Halloween spooks.

Tree Accessories

Recreate a haunted forest in your yard with creepy tree accessories. Available at many Halloween party supply stores and some home improvement stores, spooky eyes and mouths to place on your trees instantly add a uniquely haunting touch to your landscaping. Make your front or backyard trees appear more like a magical forest or haunted woods with subtle facial features that let your trees catch a passerby's eye.

Porch decor

The focal point of your outdoor Halloween decor should be your porch and front door, as this is surely where all trick-or-treaters will end up. Give them a Halloween treat more than candy with frightening decor and creepy accessories. Use life size mannequins dressed as witches, monsters or mummies to guard your entry way, some of which are available in motion activated versions to move and speak when approached. Cover your door and porch with synthetic webbing to make guests feel like they are entering a spider's nest.


Spooky lighting is another classic way to create the feel of a haunted house in your yard. Purchase black metal lanterns to hang from trees, place along walkways or set on lamp posts throughout your front yard, guiding guests to your door and creating an eerie glow. You can also use carved pumpkins with scary, silly or funny faces to light their way, as well as Halloween themed paper lanterns. If you have spotlight landscape lighting in your yard, focus the lights on decorative ghosts, creepy trees or your front yard gravesite to highlight the best parts of your haunted house display.


Fake Animals

A haunted house wouldn't be complete without spiders, rats, bats and cats, so be sure to make or purchase these creepy critters to place around your home, delightfully scaring your guests. Place rubber snakes in chandeliers and light fixtures, hang spiders from the ceiling or set in drawers for a spooky surprise and set fake rats along baseboards and under cabinets. Black silhouettes of sitting or growling cats are a common site in front windows, and are a more subtle way to celebrate the Halloween season.

Spider Webs

Spider webs are a great way to add large quantities of Halloween decorations to your home, without needing to spend much money. Synthetic webs can be bought at party supply stores, drug stores and home improvement stores, and stretch to fill entire walls. Cover your doors, mantel, mirrors, coat racks and more with black or white webbing to instantly create an antique look inside your haunted home.


Like on your porch, mannequins are a fun way to spook guests when they enter your home. Skeletons, witches, ghouls, monsters and other Halloween characters can be set on couches, propped in a corner, or even propped up to hold a bowl of candy for guests. Plastic skeletons are typically the cheapest option, and do not require additional clothing like other mannequins. Set one in a chair with a bowl of candy in its lap, and watch guests hesitatingly eat from the bowl.


Another great way to set the mood in your haunted house is with music. Many Halloween CDs are available, filled with the sounds of thunder, lightning, howling wind, wolves and other creepy sounds. Play these eerie sound effects in the front of your home to be heard by trick-or-treaters, or set up a small stereo in a back room to spook guests inside your house.


Lighting is just as important inside your home as it is out in your yard. Switch several lamp light bulbs to black lights for an eerie purple glow to illuminate costumes, and use plenty of jack-o-lanterns with flameless candles around the house. For an extra spooky effect, carve a happy face into the front of a jack-o-lantern, and a scary face on the back. Set the jack-o-lantern near a wall, facing forward. While guests will initially see the pumpkin's smiling face, the light of the candle inside will project the frightening face on the wall behind it. String lights in orange or purple add cheap and easy Halloween lighting in any room, while classic candelabras create a haunting, flickering glow.

Converting your home into a haunted house this Halloween doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. With a few supplies from the local craft store, you can create your very own graveyard, lantern lit pathways, black light rooms and web-strewn furniture. Whether you're going for funny or frightening, your Halloween guests and trick-or-treaters are sure to enjoy your spooky decorations.


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