When turning your house into a horrifying chamber of terror, there are a few key things to remember so it comes out scary and not tacky. Just follow these Halloween decorating tips and tricks, and you'll be on your way to having the spookiest haunted house on the block!
The key to any good haunted house is the lighting, sound and special effects! If you don't have a big budget, don't worry. Many of these items only cost a few dollars and are a cinch to set up. To create an eerie look, replace your regular light bulbs with colored lights and backlights. For a little extra (around $40-$50), rent a strobe light and use a spooky stencil.
Now that your house looks scary, it's time to make it sound scary, too. If you have outside speakers, simply put on a scary CD (we love this one) and play on repeat while trick-or-treaters visit or during your party. You can also make your own tape of special effects (like kids screaming or glass shattering) to scare your guests. If you're planning an elaborate get-together, a fog machine and black sheets work to make your home seem even spookier.
If you don't have time to make your own spooky labels and signs from scratch, buy some printables ($5-$25) and print yourself! Halloween printables are a cheap way you can add some flair to common items around your house, like a mantel banner. In addition, you can print and cut out festive, custom cupcake toppers, wine and liquor bottle labels and thank you gift tags! Many printable sets, like this one from Lindi Haws, who owns the Etsy shop Love the Day, come with a full package of premade PDFs, so all you do is download, print and cut out.
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You can't have a haunted house without scary-as-heck props, right? Make some DIY tombstones for a ghoulish graveyard outdoors with cardboard and latex paint with this easy project. You can also buy foam tombstones from Party City for less than $5. You can also construct these ghoulish ghosts from Martha Stewart to place near the tombstones, or, if you don't have time to DIY, you can buy an outdoor ghost set here. Add a few strings of stretchable spider web (buy here for less than $1) to make your props stand out more.
Jack-o'-lanterns are another way you can spook up your yard. If you aren't artistic, you can buy a spooky stencil at any party supply store. Simply trace it onto your pumpkin with a pen and carve it out. Be sure to also check out these five tips on carving scary pumpkins, here on SheKnows! Another cheap DIY is to create "scattered body parts" by stuffing old jeans and shirts with straw, splattering them with red paint and placing them around the home! To give your home an eerie, haunted glow, made these bird window hangers and place a green iridescent flashlight behind them.
Your porch is where trick-or-treaters spend most of their time, so why not make it extra scary? Start by hanging a spooky wreath on your front door, like this made one by Days of Chalk. Next, create a Birds inspired doorway by cutting out a few of these printable bats and taping them in a pattern on your front door, like Jamilyn of Living it at Home did! Then, add a spooky "Enter at your own risk sign," which can be found at Party City, and drape it from the top of your porch. Add a DIY glow-in-the-dark ghost (cut out a large ghost shape out of cardboard and paint with glow in the dark paint). Finish it off with spider webs or caution tape draped along the mantel and a stack of spooky carved Jack-o'-lanterns for a horrifying porch!
Want to really scare the pants off your party guests? Serve them severed bloody fingers, ghostly cupcakes and a haunted gingerbread house. These "almost too scary to eat" treats are easy to make and are sure to freak out your friends. In addition, spook up your bar by making custom drink labels, like "witches brew" and "poison" for your wine, liquor and beer. If you're making a signature drink, like one of these Halloween-themed punches, serve it in a cauldron with plastic eyeballs. If you can, add dry ice below it for added spookiness. If you're not creative in the kitchen, simply add spooky cupcake toppers to your treats.
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