Unexpected Products That Will Make Your Haunted House the Best on the Block
Every year as the leaves fall and the air turns crisp Halloween fanatics start queuing up their horror movie watchlists, prepping their costumes, and stockpiling their favorite candy. Along with all these pastimes, the truly dedicated begin planning how to make their home the creepiest one in town.
So whether you’re looking to terrify the local neighborhood, you want to modernize your haunted hayride, or your organization’s annual haunted house is in need of fresh ideas, check out our list for some spooktacular inspiration!
1. Pressure Sensing Mats
To get those jump scares you’re after, try installing a few pressure sensing mats in strategic places around your haunted house. These can be rigged to make horrifying dummies pop up from the ground, open cabinets or doors without warning, drop ghosts or fake bugs from the ceiling, or in any number of other creative ways.
2. Silver Spray Paint
A good ghostly image, a picture frame, and a can of silver spray paint can give you a very affordable way to recreate some of the spectral images seen in Disney’s famed Haunted Mansion ride.
Simply spray the back of a pane of glass with the spray paint, making solid coats around where the image will be and light coats over where the image will be. Then, once the paint is dry, reinsert the glass pane inside the picture frame, with the ghost image behind the glass. The result will be a mirror with a creepy face from beyond the grave!
3. Plastic Sheets
Horror movies have exploited our fears of the unknown for decades, knowing that the monster only glimpsed is often far scarier than the one seen in full view. Your haunted house can replicate this kind of scare with some plastic sheets often used as barricades during construction work.
You could set these up in specific areas, or have a room full of them, all with animatronic monsters or people in costumes ready to leap out. The semi-transparent quality of the sheets will keep attendees on edge until you serve up the scares.
4. Spray Foam
One inventive idea is spreading spray foam insulation to spruce up your Halloween décor. Spray foam dries in 24 hours and can be worked into a variety of shapes for varied purposes.
For instance, you could use foam to recreate some Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man mayhem, craft your very own blob-like monsters à la 1980s gorefest The Stuff, or make a demented winter wonderland or Shining-inspired maze!
5. Dry Ice
This classic Halloween option will give you a lot of bang for your buck, and you’ll be able to experiment with it in numerous ways to get the effect you want. Witches’ brews, mad scientists’ bubbling concoctions, and jack-o’-lanterns spewing smoke are just a few possibilities for dry ice. Just be sure to follow all recommended safety precautions when using the material.
6. Plastic Straws
Here’s a great idea that’s cheap and easy to do, and is something the kids will love. Buy a pack of plastic straws and bind them together with a rubber band. Then, simply mix up some red Jello (or any color you like) and allow the Jello to set.
Once it’s firm, just pour some warm water over the outside of the straws to release the gelatin inside and bam – instant worms. These can be the perfect accent pieces for a grisly murder scene, or just kept in a bowl for a creepy look.
Going back to the idea of the unknown being terrifying, tarps can be a vital addition to a haunted house. With some stakes or poles, along with string or rope, you can create a dizzying maze full of frights that will be sure to get some great reactions.
You can have people lurking in corners, install dummies that pop out in select areas, create dead ends, and, if you’re extra devious, change the pathways once a group enters!
8. Caution Tape
If you’re looking to create a blood-soaked crime scene, a creepy prison set, or an insane asylum space, some caution tape to keep onlookers “safe” can give your efforts some needed verisimilitude. Pair this with broken chains, hospital gurneys, fake corpses, and any other ideas you have to craft the perfect spooky spot.
9. Chicken Wire
Here’s a really simple and affordable option for anyone with some artistic flair. Take some chicken wire and shape it into monstrous creatures or ghosts.
For the creatures, you can cover them in papier-mâché or some other covering and then paint them to fit your desired horrifying look. Ghosts, meanwhile, might be even more fun. Use the chicken wire as a simple frame to craft some otherworldly shapes and drape them in sheets or pieces of cloth. Since the chicken wire is so lightweight, you’ll be able to display wherever you want, and suspending them from a ceiling will be a snap.
10. Glow-in-the-Dark Paint
This is a fun one with interactive possibilities. Use glow-in-the-dark paint to write some secret messages on walls that will only be seen when the lights go out. You can then cut the lights at a key moment, revealing the messages, which could contain frightening statements, strange symbols, clues for a puzzle, or anything else sure to horrify your guests!
Things that are “too sweet” can often be a great source of horror, as all it takes is a little bit to push them into terrifying territory. This is why so many horror movies use happy pop songs and old standards in key scenes.
One of the best recent horror movies, Midsommar, does something similar with flowers, taking objects we normally associate with life and happiness and distorting them to a disturbing degree. So consider how flowers, especially a lot of them, could create an unsettling atmosphere in a room of your haunted house. Add in some skeletons or a murder scene, or maybe strange symbols on the walls, and you’ll be in business.
12. Laser Markers
For serious haunted house enthusiasts out there, you could utilize a laser marker to engrave any kind of image or message on pumpkins in only a few seconds. So if you want to have a few unique jack-o’-lanterns to greet attendees upon arrival, or you think an entire room full of them could give your haunted house some spooky flair, this is a great option.
13. Fog Machines
This haunted house favorite still packs a punch because of the versatility it provides. Whether you want fog rolling into a corn maze, “smoke” for a scene with a fake fire, or just something to obscure vision for a moment, a fog machine will let you really set the mood for your guests.
This one’s perfect for making Halloween decorations on a budget, but the big spenders could have fun with it too. All you’ll need for this project is toilet paper or paper towel tubes, scissors, and glow sticks.
First, cut two eyes into the tubes, giving them evil, scared, weird, or monstrous appearances. Then, when it’s about time for trick-r-treaters or guests to arrive, simply activate your glow sticks, put them in the tubes, and put the tubes in some bushes or trees. You’ll have instant monsters lurking in the shadows, and they look great!
15. Oscillating Fans
The engineers out there and the handymen and women can have a lot of fun with this option. Remove the blades from an oscillating fan (most are plastic and merely screw off once the cover is removed), and use the remaining motorized portion as part of a moving display.
Dressed up properly with spooky clothes and a mask, the fan motor can create an unsettling head turning effect, or, you could use a lightweight ghost and have the motor move the entire spectral body back and forth, swaying in the breeze.
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