The first step in creating the perfect haunted house for the Halloween season is establishing an atmosphere. Just as in traditional interior decorating, setting the mood is important to accomplishing your goals.
Music is a great way to set the mood and compiling a mixed tape of spooky songs and sounds is easier than ever with your home computer. And there are already a bunch of pre-made CDs available; if you’re not looking to buy try checking some out from your local library.
Further boost the feel of your home by dimming the lights and replacing some of them with blacklights or dark colored bulbs. Use spotlights to highlight and emphasize your spooky displays.
If you’re looking for very eerie atmosphere then nothing tops a spooky mist. Fog machines can be purchased or rented but are very expensive. Instead try dry ice which can be purchased for a couple dollars a pound and is easy to use, just be a bit careful so you don’t get burned.
Once you’ve established your atmosphere, it’s time to add the accessories that make your room frightful. This is where your creativity, resources and the desired level of fright will determine how far you go. Accessories can range from the simple, a few pumpkins and some spider webs to the extreme with coffins stuffed with actors and tour guides for your haunted mansion.
Since you’ve already established your lighting mood, you’ll be working in a much dimmer home so corners become invisible to guests and can be used to mount spooky spectacles. The darker room also means that your props don’t necessarily have to be very high end. Make your own skeletons, coffins, gravestones and other accessories to trick guests and use your resources to treat them.
The best Halloween tricks are the least expected ones. Using motion activated gags in darkened hallways is always effective but one on your door is almost always expected. Keep this concept in mind as you decorate your home. The unexpected is scary, whether it’s visual, auditory, or tactile.
That’s right, you can scare them in a variety of ways. Tactile tricks can include peeled grapes that are meant to represent a bowl of eyeballs or strings of thread hanging in darkened halls to simulate walking through spider webs. Auditory thrills come from bumps, bangs and shrieks that occur at unexpected times and interrupt the background music. Visual scares are more obvious and are usually best accomplished with accomplices willing to provide a little “live” entertainment.
Interior decorating for the holidays is always fun and meant to express your personal style and values. Decorating for Halloween is a way to play with that concept and push the boundaries of normal decorating in a fun and reversible way.