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Create Petrifying Props

Part 4: How to Make Your Own Haunted House

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Create Petrifying Props For Your Haunted House

Create Petrifying Props

Sherri Osborn
Although I do believe setting the right atmosphere and the help of many friends and family members are key elements in creating a haunted house, it is hard to imagine a good haunted house without terrifying props. You don't need to spend a fortune or have special abilities to create great props. Here are ideas and directions for many props we have used over the years.

More Prop ideas

There are many other props and decorations you can use to give your house and yard a haunted feel. Here are some other easy things we have done:

Entry Way Fun - Cut a piece of a garbage bag big enough to fit your doorway and hang it up covering the entrance. Cut thin strips in the plastic from the bottom going up, stopping a few inches before you get to the top. People can now pass through your new doorway to get to the other room.

More Entry Way Fun - Hang black thread in a doorway. What you want this effect to accomplish is to make think they are walking into cobwebs. They should not be able to see the black thread, but should feel it rub against them when they walk through a doorway.

Boxes - Try to get your hands on some large appliance boxes. You can use these for a number of things. We used utility knifes and made a small crypt/chamber complete with windows and a barred door. You can use them to make coffins, tombstones, fake walls, or anything else you can dream up! Photo

Skeletons and Bones - We bought our full sized skeletons for around $10. Well worth it and you can do a lot with them. You can make your own skeleton bones using paper mache'! Photo

Monster Cage - We made an 8' x 8' cage using PVC pipe. Photo

Pumpkins - Every year, we have at least a dozen jack-o-lanterns scattered throughout our yard. What would Halloween be without them?

Bats - Cut bat shapes out of black paper hang them from your ceiling using black thread or fishing line. You can also try to fashion a larger bat out of a black garbage bag.

Signs - Make up fancy, spooky signs and hang them around your house. For example, make a sign that says "Victim Wanted, Apply Within" and put it on your coffin!

Maze - Use 2 x 4 or PVC pipe to build the frame of your maze. Cover the frame and black sheeting walls. Put spooky props in corners here and there.

Grave - Using tombstones, you can create what looks like a fresh grave by over turning the ground a little around it. If you really want to dig, make a hole big enough for someone to fit inside. Cover the hole with cardboard. Hide the cardboard under a pile of leaves or a light layer of dirt. An 'actor' can hide inside and pop out when needed!

Dinner Guests - We had a small dinner table set up. On the table we had a tin serving tray with a severed head (stuffed mask). We embellished the tray and sat a monster dummy at the table all ready for dinner! Photo

Spooky Pictures - Make picture frames out of wood and glass or buy cheap frames (leave the glass, but remove the back). Hang a piece of colorful fabric behind it. Hang on a fake wall in a spot were someone with a mask on can get behind it and stick their head into the picture frame.

Electric Chair - We created a simple electric chair one year that ended up being a great effect. We sat a dummy in a high-backed chair, put and old, metal noodle strainer on it's head, and ran wires off of that. What made the effect work those was the strobe light we used in this space.

Glow in the Dark - Glow in the dark paint is available at some craft stores. Get creative!

Rats - One year we attached a large, store bought rat to a radio control car and had him running around our yard. So much fun all the adults were begging for a chance to 'play' with him!

Witches - We have a friend who is a great actress. She played the roll of our witch wonderfully! She was hunched over and complete with rotting fake teeth, broom, and cauldron. We also made a 'crashed' witch (use a witch costume, hat, and broom attached to the side of a 4 x 4 or tree to make it look like the witch crashed into the tree). She introduced our crashed witch to everyone as her clumsy sister. Photo

The Unexpected - Hide props throughout the house where people won't expect them... Hang a dummy behind the bathroom door; place small rats or body parts in cupboards. Fill your medicine cabinet with ping-pong balls painted to look like eyeballs. Look for nooks and crannies where people can or items can be out of site until it is too late to turn back!

Body Parts - Use the techniques for making dummies, but stuff just certain items of clothing and have great body parts to scatter around your house and yard! Photo

Haunted House Fence - Find a creative wy to enclose your yard. One year we roped it off if police tape. Another year we made a spooky fence using lathe! Photo

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