How to Transform Your Home into a Haunted House

Front porch of a home during the morning, with jack-o-lanterns on the floor and fall decorations adorning the wood trim
Decorating for Halloween doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, transforming your home into a haunted house can be easy if you take it step by step. (DepositPhotos)

Home renovations and decorating don’t have to be scary, but sometimes it’s fun if they are! Setting a spooky scene for Halloween just takes a bit of creative thinking and inspiration.

These ideas will inspire you to transform your home into a haunted attraction.

The best part? Most of them are easy do-it-yourself projects!

Jack-o-lanterns on a home's front steps during the morning
Carving jack-o-lanterns offers an opportunity to show your creative side. Give that pumpkin a personality — but light it without a flame! (DepositPhotos)

1. Light it Up

If you’ve never decorated your home for Halloween, start simple and highlight the landscaping with Halloween colors.

For instance, install multicolor floodlights in the ground, set them to green or blue — something unusual — and point them up to light your tree branches. (Bonus points if those branches have no leaves. Spooky!)

Once you’ve lit up the landscaping, next is the house’s turn! Run orange string lights — or those lights with little jack-o-lanterns — all the way around your fence, up your front porch’s handrails, along the molding and around any windows and columns.

Now’s also a good time to replace your path lights (which typically look more yellow or white) with something seasonally appropriate so everything matches. Orange is always a winner!

And don’t forget to add some jack-o-lanterns on the front porch. But don’t use a candle to light them up; use a battery-operated tea light for a similar effect, and to prevent a fire hazard.

Once you’ve set the mood outside, you can add store-purchased lawn fixtures (of ghosts, goblins, witches and grave markers), hang swaths of tattered cloth in the trees and enjoy how the lighting makes each item glow.

Plastic dolls made up to appear bloody and disheveled, imprisoned behind a metal fence
Dolls are spooky decorations because they look like tiny humans.

2. Build the Scene

If you don’t want to purchase lawn fixtures, or just want to enhance your front yard with something unique, consider ‘found décor.’

Found object is a type of art created from items that aren’t typically considered as materials for creating masterpieces. Similarly, ‘found décor’ is something that you can create from all kinds of materials; your imagination is the limit.

These materials are not disguised, and you can tell what they once were, but somehow, fusing them with other old items transforms them into something much greater than their first purpose.

So, gather some old metal objects and weld them into something spooky!

Need some inspiration? Use old pipes and rods to create a ‘jail’ for old dolls. Use red food coloring on their skin and smear their clothes with dirt if you want to make these dolls look like they’re from a horror movie.

A brick home adorned with Halloween decorations (orange string lights, a Boo sign, and various lawn fixtures)
Want to decorate your home for Halloween, but you’re not sure where to begin? Start with the entry and work your way out.

3. Add Sound Effects

A gloomy front yard with spooky figurines certainly sets the scene, but if you really want to take things to the next level, don’t forget some sound!

Creepy music makes every film or TV show seem even scarier, and the same is true for your haunted house.

First, check local sound laws to make sure it’s OK to play music where you live. Then, set a sound system to play scary music on a loop at a low volume. It should be loud enough so visitors can hear it, but low enough so your neighbors can’t.  

Another way to make your home a spooky attraction is to vary the types of sounds. It doesn’t have to be music; it could be a witch cackling or a ghost booing. This is one surefire way to keep visitors on their toes!

Becoming the neighborhood haunted house just takes the right blend of visual effects and sound.

How do you decorate your home for Halloween? Share ideas in the comments!

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger based in Los Lunas, New Mexico. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.  

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