If you want to throw the best Halloween party for your kids, you must consider creating a haunted house right in the middle of your home. It’s not as hard as you think to create a scary space your kids (and their friends) of all ages will love.
Consider Your Audience and Choose a Rating
Image via Flickr by KOMUnews
The first step is identify the audience of your haunted house. Determining the ages of the visitors and setting a rating for their “scare level” will help you identify just how scary the house should be. Use the MPAA rating system to help identify and pick a rating.
- G: Good for all ages, even small toddlers.
- PG: May not be suitable for toddlers. Parents may want to escort younger childer (ages 4-10).
- PG-13: Not suitable for toddlers. Parents may want to escort younger children. May be suitable for preteens and teens.
Once you set the rating for your haunted house, it will be much easier to pick a location, theme, and atmosphere.
Start with a Blueprint Plan
Draw up a blueprint for your haunted house before you just start stringing up the spider webs. Start your blueprint by planning for the areas around door frames. This is an optimal scare zone, so put your best pop-out elements there. Then move on to filling corners and spaces behind big furniture. Once you have the scare zones set up, string up your other scary stuff to fill in the space.
Considering Your Rating: Adding more scare spots (especially when placed in dark and ominous locations) will increase your rating. Avoid scare zones if you want to please the G audience.
Select a Theme
A theme will set the tone for your haunted house so make sure to select something that you know you can pull off. Don’t select a theme that will require resources (complicated decorations, costumes, actors, etc.) that you don’t have. Here are some of the best classic haunted house themes.
- Scary Pumpkin Patch
- Haunted Toy Store
- Underworld (vampires and werewolves)
- Pet Cemetery
- Insane Asylum
Consider Your Rating: The list above is in order of typically less scary (G rated) to more scary (PG-13 rated) themes. Keeping inline with that scale will depend on your choice of atmosphere and decorations. Continue to keep the audience in mind so that you stay within your intended rating.
Create an Atmosphere of Fear
The atmosphere of your haunted house will rely on many things.
- Music – Set the mood right away with your choice of music. Fun, children’s Halloween music will create a light, fun air, but more ominous, creepy background music will intensify the fear in the room.
- Special Effects – If you want to elevate the scare-level of the room, flashing lights and fog can distort the visitor’s perspective making even a normal kitchen look terrifying.
- Lightning – Darkness is a constant theme in haunted house so make sure you have the right blinds to keep the daylight out if you are hosting your party during the day. But don’t opt for complete darkness. Use the right lighting elements (strings of lights or reflective strips) to keep your visitors headed safely in the right direction.
- Actors – The best haunted houses have actors when you least expect them. Ask your family, friends, or neighbors to join in on your Halloween fun. Cover them in blood-covered costumes and scary make-up and post them at the best spots for a pop-out scare.
Consider Your Rating: Each of these elements can elevate the fear factor and raise your rating. Keep it simple for a G audience (ditch the blackout lighting, fog, and blood-covered actors). And make it super scary for older audiences (add flashing lights, scary music, and as many creepy, make-up covered characters as possible).
So don’t bother going out to your town’s “best” haunted house. Create your own right in your home, basement, garage, or backyard. Your kids (and their friends) will thank you.