I’ve always wanted to do one of those really cool yard haunts for Halloween. Problem is…I never had a yard of my own. Since AFFORDABLE quality homes are still somewhat of a fiction in Southern California, I’ve decided to quit waiting and invite myself to my brothers house for Halloween this year. His home has great front yard haunt potential! Since this is my first attempt, I’ll share with you some great resources and ideas for how you can create a killer halloween yard haunt.
First step…Devise a plan! It makes life so much easier when you can organize your thoughts and write things down. I began by creating a list of themed haunt ideas. Ghost pirates, vampires, decrepit graveyard, haunted western town, etc… You get the idea. You might find that you already have some props which make choosing your theme that much easier. Of course you can scour the internet for great themed inspiration.
Now I know some of you are a bit intimidated by the amount of work or expense it may take to create a yard haunt. Don’t worry! When we were kids we did a semi-haunt by simply wearing masks pretending to be inanimate while holding bowls of candy on the front porch. When the neighborhood kids approached, we would move or jump out at them. The kids freaked out and ran in all directions, but the parents seemed amused and even thanked us for the gag. So see?….if you can’t do much just keep it simple. What’s even better, start small and add a little each year!
So, for Step 2….Visit Halloween stores! Yes there is something so much better about building your own attractions, but sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Halloween Illusions, Spirit Halloween, and any other local halloween shops are good places to start. For example, fog machines are great at providing atmosphere. There are several out there, but most common are the 400W models. These provide lots of smoke, but if you have a really big yard you might want to try the 1000W models. I have a 400W that uses “fog juice” sold seperately. I’ve tried it in my apartment (which is very small) and it filled the area very fast! However this year I found an incredible prop sold at Party City that can be used with the fog machine. It’s a zombie with an open mouth that comes with a tube you can connect to a fog machine. Check out this picture below!
If that’s not scary looking, then I don’t know what is! Also there are tons of great looking tombstones out there that are made from styrofoam. There are so many other great products (bats, spiders, trees, lighting, pumpkins, bales of hay) that can add so much character to your haunt. Now if your more of a hands on person, then you might want to try building some of your attractions. How? Where do you begin? Well I have a couple suggestions. You can start with the Monster List Of Halloween Projects. This list is HUGE! It is an alphabetical list of special effect halloween projects. I have yet to create my own project from this list, so comb through it and see if you find something you can tackle. However, as some projects require pneumatics or electricity, you might be a bit scared to try something that your instincts tell you are dangerous.
Have no fear! That was the purpose for the creation of a great website called Garage Of Evil. These guys were aware of the Monster List website and decided to create their own site based on their own experiments in prop building…from their own garage! Their steps are very easy to follow and they give you all kinds of warnings on anything that may be dangerous. Every year they add more prop tutorials so check them out!
Well are you inspired now? Get out there and try something…I guarantee your neighborhood will appreciate it. Think simple and effective. As I try these methods on my own yard haunt, I will keep notes on what worked and what didn’t in a future blog post. Until then, Happy Haunting!