19 great ideas for setting up your own haunted house.

Haunted HouseCredit: Flickr user aerodyneebay

Coming up with haunted house ideas that don’t seem too common can be a difficult task for anyone, but you must always keep in mind that there is a reason certain ideas are used over and over again – they work.

Haunted houses have become a staple of Halloween. When October rolls around people expect these attractions to pop up like weeds, which they do. There are even some that make it a priority to scare people all year long.

You can open one in your own home, even in your garage or front lawn.  But, if it is a dream of yours to one day open up such a place, then you will need a few ideas to scare anyone that dare walk through your doors. This article will put you on the right track by giving you a few suggestions to help create your own haunted attraction. Always try to keep the safety of others in mind and remember that the purpose of a haunted house is to scare, but also for everyone to have fun. The ideas below are skewed toward the darker side and may not be appropriate for all children.

Time to Scare - 19 Haunted House Ideas

19- Haunted Hayrides: These are usually set on a farm, but can also be held in a forest or on back roads if the right conditions are met. A wagon will be needed and a means to pull it. Tractors are usually used to do this, because horses would scare too easily, though I would love to see one that used horses (they would need to be conditioned to not be afraid of loud noises and surprises).

18- Spooky Trails: These can be held in forests or parks, and the natural sounds of the night can really add to the suspense. Try and make sure the trails are cleared of any tripping hazards and it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a rope boundary on each side (to keep people from running off into the night).

17- Halloween Costumes and Makeup: Have a person in some sort of costume sit by or near an entrance. For this trick to work they must remain motionless as possible. When a visitor approaches some may suspect it is just a dummy. That is when the person in the costume moves; it can be up to them whether they want to give a subtle move, reach someone some candy or jump up and scream.

16- Fake Blood: This is an essential item that should be included on any haunted house supplies list whether you make it yourself or buy it from a Halloween prop store. Bloody hand or foot prints on walls or mirrors can make your customers wonder why they ever came to your place, just don’t overdo it.

15- Common Haunted House Room Ideas: Here are just a few: cemetery (modern or old?), autopsy room, vampire's lair, mad scientist's lab, witch's room, Frankenstein's workshop, a three sided observation room, mazes, car wreck scenes, murder scenes, suicide scene (hanging, etc.), carnival attractions, mummy's tomb, alien encounter, séance, funeral, pumpkin patch, mass murder or suicide, creepy basement, Hell, etc.

14- People Under Sheets: Have people lie under sheets as if they are dead and have been covered out of respect. White sheets work best, as in a hospital. You can stain the sheet with fake blood if you wish. When people are near have the person move or jerk or maybe have their arm fall out. People in autopsy bags, plastic bags, or sacks also work, just make sure they can breathe. Imagine someone seeing a sack suddenly fall over and hearing screams for help coming from inside.1

Credit: Flickr user aerodyneebay

13- Fake Floors and Walls: Have a section of floor or wall that is Plexiglas. Place one of your people, in costume of course, on the other side. When people get near it, you can either flip on the lights quickly and let monster go crazy or just have the person mimic a dead body and not even move. If you know how, using a dimmer switch and bringing up the light level a little at a time as your customers get closer will also have a jarring effect on their psyche. Just make sure any Plexiglas used as a floor will hold the weight of the visitors. Dark halls and openings in the walls masked by blankets also work well.

12- Noisemakers and Spooky Music: Placing bubble wrap or balloons on the floor can illicit an instant jump factor but you could just use some dried leaves that have fallen off of a tree to get a creepier effect. If you decide to go with music, I would suggest you get the album “Halloween Music Collection” by Midnight Syndicate. Their creepy tones are used by a lot of spook houses that stay open all year round - for good reason. Last, but not least, you can always play some good scary movies on a TV either behind closed doors or out in the open.

11- Fake Spider webs: It looks quite real, especially in a darker setting. You could also hang some black thread from a ceiling in a dark room. The visitors won't see it, and will walk right into it. They will start to wipe invisible spider webs from their face.

10- Gravedigger: If going through a cemetery, have one of your guys be digging a grave. Have him be far enough away to where people will wonder if it is part of the show or not.

9- Dinner and a Movie: Near the end of the haunted house you could set up a buffet, bar and a good zombie movie playing on a wall. Have scary cupcakes, fake eyeballs, candy corn, drinks that look like blood, etc. Make sure everything is edible and you have room for people to sit down and recover from their experience.

8- Chainsaw Start-up: A true staple of Halloween props is the trusty chainsaw (with the chain taken off of course). Have someone start this weapon of choice for monster maniacs and it will send shivers down everyone’s spine. 

7- Chained Door: Chain two double doors together, but leave a little slack in the chain. When your guests approach, have your people on the other side to push outward like they are trying to get out.

6- Holes: Holes may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of haunted house supplies, but buying yucky stuff to go into them sure make them have more of an impact. Make your guests have to stick their hands in a hole in the wall to flip a switch so they can get out of an especially scary room. You could have them have to work through some type of goo or have someone grab their hand and pull.

The Design Event - 200 x 200Credit: Flickr user aerodyneebay

5- Small Children in Frightening Costumes: Have a small child dressed up in a bloody nightgown quickly walk in front of your visitors up ahead of them. Bloody kids always creep people out. If you don't know a kid you can work with, then have a teenager or adult do it. The key is to have them dressed in an easily seen outfit. The audience will anticipate a scare and will look to where the person went to. You can now use misdirection and really give them a scare.

4- Darkness and Mood Lighting: Darkness is your friend. People can be more scared from the sounds they hear than what they see with their own eyes. That’s because people often imagine far worse than what you can. Having strange sounds coming from the dark or from behind locked doors can really give your customers’ imaginations a workout. You should also make good use of outdoor lighting and battery operated candles and lanterns to cause shadows and create a spooky mood that sets everyone on edge.

3- Dripping Water: Place several bags of water above people’s heads and poke small holes in them. You now will have random drops of water falling on your visitors - just another way to play with their heads. You could either have them scattered throughout your attraction or concentrated in a single room.

2- Creepy Shelves: Make sure yours has items such as old bottles, bones, bugs, rusty tools, old books, mannequin heads, creepy photographs, etc. A haunted house supply store would be the safe bet to find some of these items, but you would be surprised how many weird things you can find around the house that will look scary on a shelf – in the dark. It will be up to you if you have them close enough for people to actually touch.

1- Fog Machines or Dry Ice: Using either one to create an eerie mist somewhere in your haunted house is well worth the time and effort it takes to set it up. Everyone knows that scary fog equals lots of scaring opportunities. The fog machine could also be used outside whereas the dry ice would be better put to use inside a small room.

Haunted House Ideas1

Keep in mind that all the Halloween props in the world won’t make your attraction any scarier if you don’t use a little creativity. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a lot of screams.

Hopefully you’ve found the haunted house ideas above useful and I hope that they will lead you down more unique roads of your own dark imagination. Unpleasant dreams!

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