By AJ Danboise
October is here and Halloween is right around the corner. It’s finally your chance to have the house you’ve been dreaming of all year. It’s time to turn your warm and inviting home into the scariest haunted house on the block.
Whether you are a haunted house novice or a seasoned veteran, these safe and easy tips will help you transform your happy home into a horrifying haunted house.
- Give your house a character of its own. Think of this as your House’s costume. Your house should have a theme and narrative. This will provide context and add suspense.
- The outside is just as important as the inside. Stick to the theme and have the outside of your house look as spooky as possible.
- Window treatments. Windows are the first place people look when they see your house. For an abandoned effect, board them up.
- Adding shadow cutouts, flickering lights, blood and gore, are also a great way to give your house character.
- Shadowy figures, both real and fake, build a lot of suspense. Place these both inside and outside the house. Have at least one person inside and one outside to break up the fake shadows. A mix of both will keep suspense high, as people won’t know what’s real or fake.
- When in doubt, add fog.Fog can make any space feel dark and ominous. If you’re concerned about ventilating the fog inside the house, low lying fog outside of the house is a great alternative.
- Create a maze. Use open spaces such as basements or garages for your maze. All you need are 2-3 really scary rooms to send them running. Clothesline old sheets, tarps, or painters’ plastic to create walls for your maze in smaller spaces.
- Create lots of twists and turns. People always fear what lurks around the corner. Construct the path so that it’s hard for people to see what’s coming next.
- Use curves, walls, fog, or dark rooms to obstruct views.
- Use plastic rolls to map your path. They block out light and add an additional spooky effect.
- Have people move from a big space to a small space. If this involves twists and turns, even better!
- Make the visitors part of the experience. As they enter, tell them their role in the narrative. Are they new prisoners in the insane asylum? Are they the next victims of the murder house?
- Use flickering lights to give the impression something is wrong.
- Use sound effects. To make your haunted house more realistic, fit the sound effects to your theme. If you can time them to special effects and startles, even better!
- Use smells to build context. If you don’t want to create your own, look for scents in your local costume shop. There are scents for every scenario, from dentist office to rotting corpses. Smells relative to your theme will help bring your haunted house alive.
- Use strobe lights. These are a staple in any haunted house. They heighten fear by affecting proprioception and making visitors feel disoriented.
- Have a blackout room. It triggers a fear response by interfering with our ability to orient ourselves in space.
- Stuff in the face. A must have. It’s cheap, easy, safe, and terrifying. Anything that can hang from the ceiling will work. Spider webs, chains, netting and cheesecloth are all great options. Even all black painter’s plastic in an all black room can be terrifying when suspense is high.
- The startle scare. Even in broad daylight people jumping out at you can be scary. Put at least one outside your house and one at the beginning of the tour. It’s a great way to add suspense from the beginning.
- Use scares that encourage people to jump forward, not back. Keep in mind how people may react in terror. Make sure there are no metal props, screws, or anything else sticking out from the wall they may fall into or get injured by.
With these tips, your haunted house is sure to terrify anyone who dares to enter! To make sure your home is prepared to be the scariest on the block, be sure to contact AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical at (248) 453-2337 for any electrical issues you might have. Call today for an electrical diagnostic so you can start preparing your home for the Halloween holiday!