There are many great ways to deal with lighting your haunted house. Here are some things we have done that were successful:
- The easiest way to get great lighting effects is to replace regular light bulbs with colored light bulbs and blacklights in the house.
- For outside, we use portable shop lights to aim colored light where we wanted them.
- Flashlights being held by a few helpers or placed strategically work well, but have a good supply of batteries on hand!
- You can find fairly inexpensive, string Christmas-type lights. These days you can usually find them in special Halloween colors and designs.
- We splurged a bit and bought yard torches for outside. We were lucky enough to find them on clearance in the fall. They looked great lining our yard!
- We are lucky enough to have friends in the music industry, so we have access to strobe lights and an assortment of other great special effect lamps. Ask around! Someone you know might have a friend who has a friend who has one you could use! We have also purchased a strobe light for around $40.
- Make sure there is enough light so people are safe walking around, but just enough light! A haunted yard or house that is too brightly lit isn't very scary.
Once stores start putting out their Halloween supplies, you can usually find CDs or cassette tapes with spooky sound effects and music. They aren't too expensive, and are well worth the money spent for the atmosphere they create. Make sure you read the labels carefully to ensure you get exactly what you want.
Another option is to make your own tape of special sound effects. Although much more time consuming, you could record it all to fit your own style and haunted house. This would be especially handy if you are taking people on a guided tour. You could make up a narrative tape to play as you walk them around.
A Couple More Special Effects
Fog - There is nothing quite so creepy as a bit of fog rolling over your graveyard. We use a small fog machine we purchased for around $100. The cost was well worth it for us; during the rest of the year, we rented it out the fog machine to other people! Fog can also be achieved by using dry ice. I do not recommend this method, however, because I think having no fog at all is better than the chances you take with dry ice. You must make sure to never allow it be touched by bare skin - It can cause serious injury! It is also quite expensive!
Cover Boring Walls and Make New Walls - Create extra walls and rooms or just cover up your un-scary walls by using black, plastic sheeting. It is inexpensive and available at most large hardware/home improvement stores. You can also use material, large pieces of cardboard, or sheets of thin Styrofoam. These items are also good for covering windows so too much light doesn't come into your haunted house.
One year we covered the entire front side of our house with gray sheets. They were white sheets we got for free from a friend. We died them using black RIT dye which made them turn out gray. We used black spray paint and made brick outlines on the sheets. This effect made our house look like a stone mansion!