By Darby Radcliff

Published on October 12, 2015

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Whether you’re transforming your home into a thrilling haunt for trick-or-treaters, gearing up for a festive costume party, or creating a haunted house of your own for fun or fundraising, you just can’t celebrate Halloween without doing a hauntingly awesome home makeover. All it takes is a little creativity to make haunting your house safe, affordable, and fun! 

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Start with the infrastructure

It helps to sketch out your haunted house first so that you can adequately plan out your space. It is recommended to use an outside space like a garage, driveway, backyard or side yard because it will get messy with props and décor. Remember, you will need access to power, so it cannot be too far away from the house. Also, when planning out and building your infrastructure, try to make little coves and blind spots for your scares.

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Spin cobwebs

After your haunted house is decided, first create creepiness outside of your haunted house by spinning your own cobwebs. Most haunted house supply websites sell cobweb glue guns that use air to spray thin strands of glue. You can create any size cobweb over fake birds, china cabinets or even trees.

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Creepify your windows

Add boarded up windows to give your house an abandoned look. Or you can add a red light to the bottom of your windows, and hang torn black curtains to make your windows look creepy when they’re lit. 

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Cardboard window monsters

 

These creative monsters may seem friendly and inviting during the day, but at night they are extra-eerie when they’re backlit. The eyes of the cardboard window monsters are made out of contact paper, tissue paper, and Mod Podge, and the rest of their bodies are made out of cardboard, black paint, and duct tape.

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Add shredded cheesecloth drapery

Next, to achieve that old, abandoned, dusty look inside, drape shredded cheesecloth on top of shelves, fireplaces, and chandeliers to make a deliciously spooky haunted house entrance. Make sure to keep the edges ragged and raw for the best eerie results.

Optional Tip: Mix the cheesecloth with hanging plastic bones for even greater haunted-ness.

 

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Throw sheets over your furniture

When nobody has lived in a house for years, homeowners will often throw sheets over their furniture to protect the pieces from sun damage and dust. You can do the same in your haunted house to totally creep your guests out. Bonus — it protects your furniture from spills during Halloween parties. 

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“Hand”y hallway

 

Add some hand props and mount them to your hallway walls for a spooky walk down the hall. You can find this type of fake hand decoration at your local dollar store among the other Halloween props.

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Add a grim reaper

Every Halloween haunted house needs a life-sized grim reaper. Created out of wire and painted burlap, this face-less Halloween figure will give most visitors goose bumps at the least. 

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Set up fake fire baskets

These fire baskets will definitely set the tone for an eerie experience. Made out of inexpensive materials such as baskets, cheap silk “flames,” LEDs, and fans, fake fire baskets are a great Halloween addition inside or outside your haunted house.

 

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Create a cemetery

“Haunting” your entryway or backyard will set the tone for your whole haunted house, and one of the easiest yet scariest things you can do is create your own graveyard. If it is for your backyard or garden, let your grass grow long, then add a gothic fence and a zombie or two to pop up through the ground. Next, make your own tombstone or coffin to complete the look. 

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To make a tombstone, start by grabbing some foam board from the hardware store. Then, cut the foam into the shape of a tombstone and coat it with light plaster or other textured material found at the hardware or art supply store. Lastly, paint the tombstone gray and use paint on the desired tombstone info. 

To make a coffin, use 1×6 pine boards and 2x2s nailed together into a box. Then, paint the outside and you can get creative with your theme. For instance, you can make a creepy vampire style coffin and line the interior with velvet curtains. 

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Incorporate some black birds

Red- eyed ravens are the official birds of haunted houses, so make your space more frightening by adding hanging black birds throughout your house. You can buy the eerie black bird props at a dollar store, and then glue scraps of gray fabric to their feathers and buttons over their eyes to make them seem real.  

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Create glowing eyes in total darkness

Glowing eyes in a dark hallway will truly scare your trick-or-treaters or party guests. For this diy décor, first gather a few unwanted toiler paper rolls, some paint, and glow sticks, then paint the paper rolls black. Next, cut out scary evil eyes and put the glowstick inside the roll.

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Put out a large bowl of candy near the exit

Have a large bowl of candy waiting for your visitors at the exit of the haunted house, but instead when they feel safe and are grabbing a piece of candy, have a monster jump out and scare them! 

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Add scary sound effects

For an added eerie factor, have scary music and screaming sounds coming off of a speaker or use kiddie Halloween music to have your visitors drop their guard. Also for a dramatic effect, use a fog machine to make the house look super spooky. You can rent or purchase fog machines at most party stores. 

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Time your visitors

Lastly, don’t forget to time your visitors so they are properly spaced out while being scared. For instance, send one or two people through the haunted house at a time, with a good 30 seconds of spacing in between, because people tend to get scared, stop, and become bunched up. Also, it is much scarier to walk into a haunted house alone or in groups of two.