If you’ve toured the best haunted houses in Denver, you might be inspired to recreate that Halloween magic in your own home — on a smaller scale, of course. Indeed, haunted houses make for fun family projects, and often they impress neighbors. Scary haunted houses need not strain bank accounts, either, nor must they take a long time to build. The following tips should help you get started on your horror-fest for the ages.
Hit Shops, Get Props
You’ll want your haunted house to include smaller versions of the elaborate, cinematic scenes that professional Denver Haunted Houses feature. To create such tableaux, head to the mall or an outlet store and hunt for plastic gravestones, skulls and bones, animatronic zombies, jack-o’-lanterns, fake lab equipment, giant cauldrons, and so on. Note that, in the dark, inexpensive Halloween decorations are often as effective as their more expensive counterparts.
Sheets of Doom
In your garage, in your basement, or throughout your home, hang plastic sheets called visqueen from the ceiling to the floor. Arrange those black or gray sheets so that they form narrow, zigzagging paths. Then decorate your visqueen with glow-in-the-dark paint: Cobwebs, skeletons, and ghosts are just a few of the artistic possibilities from which to choose.
Set the Scenes
Now take the props you purchased and organize them into a few specific scenes. For example, you might create a haunted cemetery by propping up the gravestones and laying skulls beside them. Or establish a mad scientist’s laboratory by decorating a desk and a folding table with beakers, test tubes, and rubber body parts.
Top-rated haunted houses demand special-effects wizardry. Thus, set up a fog machine by your cemetery, and put dry ice inside cauldrons. Place a robotic cat or skeleton in front of a flashlight so that it casts a large, moving shadow on a wall. And remember that lava lamps, strings of orange lights, and strobe lights often give people the creeps. Just be sure that no part of your house is so dark that guests can’t see where they’re going.
A Sound Idea
The best haunted houses scare people with music and sounds as much as with visuals. To that end, pick up at a Halloween store a CD of horror sound effects, or download a sound- effects application for your smartphone. A CD of slow organ music can likewise drive up the fright factor. Further, place your speakers out of view, behind the plastic sheets. Experiment with their arrangement, too, so that the sounds are clear without being overpoweringly loud.
Populate Your Home
Every great haunted house in Denver relies on its performers to truly bring the scares to life. So enlist your most enthusiastic friends and relatives, and don’t worry about expensive costumes. Creativity is a great substitute for a large clothing budget. For instance, get a white smock or old lab coat and drench it in red paint. That way, Dad can stand in the lab and laugh maniacally at passers-by. You could also obtain a black dress and cheap witch’s hat for Mom. Then take rope and tie her to a pole in the basement or garage. With firewood at her feet, Mom will look like she’s being burned at the stake. Other family members and friends may wear whatever scary costumes they already own. Station those actors strategically throughout the house, and tell them to moan and shout all through the night — just instruct them to take it easy with young children.
Finally, post compelling preview photos of your haunted happening on all of your social media pages. Inform your online friends that you’ve devised one of the scariest haunted houses around, and ask them to share this news with their entire contact lists. You can advertise on free websites like Craigslist as well. Word of mouth should drive many curious people to your creation. Enjoy scaring the pants off them!
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Austin Faux works for the scariest haunted house in Denver, Co the 13th Door. Halloween is my favorite time of the year and you can find me blogging away on Halloween, horror movies and haunted houses. When I’m at home I’m playing with my two wonderful kids, helping my beautiful wife relax and messing around on my nerd podcast, “I Am A Super Nerd.” Find me on my Facebook.