Create a Haunted House at Home on a Budget
It’s easy to make your own haunted house, even on a tight budget. Darkness and superstition are on your side, because at Halloween people are ready to be scared. Simple cardboard tombstones and gauze ghosts give you amazing results. Spend your Halloween dollars on inexpensive accent pieces, or for special effects such as a mini fog machine you can use year after year.
Halloween decorations on a budget
Decide what level of fright suits your audience. A preschool-level haunted house that’s more like a playhouse should be decorated with smiling ghosts and friendly black cats. You can build an easy maze in the garage with pallet wood and cardboard, and decorate it with plastic spiders or bats on strings – even touches of spray-on spider webs. Offer the kids ghost cookies and witch’s brew that’s really fruit punch, from a table decorated with smiling jack-o’-lanterns or a smiling Kid Dracula.
The hardened high-school crowd goes for serial killers, zombies and vampires, with a seasoning of dark humor. Feed their cravings using dummies dressed to look like media stars. Choose Halloween masks for faces, and stuff old clothes and boots with newspaper for the bodies. Let your teens help with suggestions for characters.
If you have a skillful accomplice, construct a dummy or dead body that suddenly comes to life. Use an inexpensive strobe light, and keep your other lighting a bit dim. That makes it easier to scare people with something as simple as a cobwebby mirror in a dark corner, or a creaking door. Playing eerie music and running spooky old movies such as “House of Wax” or “Nosferatu” add even more of a spooky atmosphere.
Do-it-yourself cheap Halloween decorations
Outside, you can steer a middle course. You want to startle but not completely terrify anyone who comes to the door. Put up cardboard tombstones you’ve spray-painted gray and inscribed. Place inexpensive lighted skulls with LED eyes along your walk. Hang a flock of black cardboard bats from a tree, with glued-on aluminum foil eyes that reflect the gleam of flashlights. A carved pumpkin by the front door is almost mandatory. These displays show your Halloween spirit without becoming overly scary.
Think about safety, too. Darkness can be dangerous. Make sure everyone is able to see their way through your creations. Ensure your effects are stable and can’t fall, even if someone runs into them. Use creepy Halloween lights, black lights or colored light bulbs, but never candles. Even a small fire could spoil the fun. Make your haunted house the place to be this Halloween.