Beware! Halloween home haunts are coming to a neighborhood near you! The popularity of turning your home into a haunted house has proliferated in the past few years and makes Halloween the second-biggest holiday for which to decorate. While many props can be bought at stores and online, the die-hard enthusiasts love to go the do-it-yourself route. Follow tips, how-to's and ideas from the top home haunters to create your spin on a home-based Halloween attractions.
A comprehensive source for Halloween props and DIY yard haunt projects. A sampling:
- Animatronic props
- Bottomless pits
- Flying crank ghost
- Pneymatic props
- Trash can traumas
With the extreme popularity of Halloween home and yard haunts, Home Haunt News is an online magazine that provides enthusiasts with how-to guides, make-up tricks, party ideas and all those things related to home haunting.
Many of the home haunt props are made with foam. Have you ever tried to cut foam? Using a pair of scissors or an electric carving knife doesn't make the cut and can end up looking like a hack job. The foam-cutting pioneers who operate the Hot Wire Foam Factory sell the tools of the trade and are "literally reshaping our world."
Headquartered in Lompoc, California, Hot Wire Foam Factory is pretty much the go-to place for home haunt foam and sells ready-to-carve foam, foam kits, carving tools and DVDs (pictured). In addition to home haunts, uses for Hot Wire foam products include:
- Theater and stage props and backdrops
- Movie and photo studios
- Theme park props
- Haunted house and Halloween props
- Architectural models
- Holiday and craft projects
- Signs and displays
Authors, artists and home haunt celebrities Shawn and Lynne Mitchell have been scaring up Halloween yard prop ideas and instructions for several years at their Pensacola, Florida, home. Their style is sophisticated, macabre, and features many projects for beginners. Check out their recipe for faux moss, which can be applied to tombstones, pillars and other Halloween yard props.
Instructables is a website chock full o' clever and crazy DIY projects. So, it only makes sense that they'd have a Halloween version of Instructables. Projects are submitted by DIYers, and include a hall of fame, props, haunted houses and an annual Halloween contest with several prizes awarded in a multitude of categories.
MonkeyBasic sells software for Halloween home haunt animatronics -- which are, basically, mechanized characters or props. It may be preprogrammed or remotely controlled. The device may only perform a limited range of movements or it may be incredibly versatile.
Programs for the home-based yard haunter include VirtualHaunt, Helmsman, Helsman Remote and TrackSkull.
Pumpkinrot is a website that chronicles the annual Halloween yard haunts created by a talented prop maker and photographer. While some of their magical creations are available to buy on an Etsy shop -- the Rot Shoppe -- it's the photos that are the draw -- hundreds of photos and several videos to admire and inspire. Pumpkinrot has been decorating his yard since the mid-1980s, and -- like most home haunters -- adds more to the display each year.
Characters include a fascinating group of scarecrows, The Tinies and some amazingly expressive jack-o-lanterns. Check it out.
Stolloween does things with papier mache that we never did in elementary school. Based in Midland, Michigan, Stolloween mastermind Scott A. Stoll teaches papier mache pumpkin-making classes that give DIYers and yard haunters a variety of techniques to build their own unique jack-o-lantern designs. He describes his approach as: "the dark side of papier mache. Join me and come play with some past to create something truly sinister."
If you don't happen to live near Midland, Michigan, Stolloween's site provides project tutorials and information on their papier mache paste, clay and weatherproofing methods.
Other Stolloween creations include: