Home haunts or yard haunts have become increasingly popular in the past decade. Die-hard do-it-yourselfers and Halloween enthusiasts often start on next Halloween's project in November, and ramp up their carpentry, design, animatronic and crafting skills in the months and weeks before turning their homes into haunted houses in October.
Discover some of the top haunters and home haunt diy websites for insider's tips and instructions for making the best home haunt in the 'hood!
A Utah-based yard haunter whose site is dedicated to "the art of Halloween prop construction and use." This site includes lots of prop-making videos and instructions with photos for haunted house characters and effects, like a floating lantern, blood waterfall, coffin pop-up, wiper motor zombie and the hedge-climbing skeletons(pictured).
Described on its website as a "non-gory haunted attraction and art installation," Brandywine Cemetary is a home haunt located in southeast Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What it also doesn't have: murder scenes, insane butchers, strewn body parts, demented dentists, evil clowns, inbred hillbillies, serial killers, pirates or chainsaws. What's left? Well, being a community-oriented event that accepts donations for charity; props; and a fun focus on the creepy, macabre aspects of Halloween through storytelling, sound, lighting and details.
Want to recreate the flickering and fluttering lights experienced in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion or Indiana Jones rides? Boo-it-Yourself (DIY...get it?) reveals how to make a flickering power unit for around $15. How about making a floating ghost head?
Bill Lae, a visual effects designer who worked on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Showtime's "Outer Limits," "The X-Files," shares several home haunt projects to make your house the spookiest on the block. Credits include BigScreamTV, a DVD series geared at home haunters that uses a TV to create in-home Halloween effects. Lae also created a DIY show, X-Treme Haunted House Make-Over, which shows haunters how to make props that are fairly inexpensive.
Since 1998, DC Props has been selling to both novice and professional haunted house do-it-yourselfers. Certain props often sell out in the summer, months before Halloween. DC Props has also published several books and videos on haunted house effects, how-to's and more, which are available through its website.
A talented home haunter/propmaster/artist who goes by the name of Devil's Chariot works on his home haunt all year. At Halloween, his house and yard in Southern California's San Fernando Valley is turned into a local haunted attraction with a new theme and props each year.
Devil's website is filled with photos of the fantastic monsters and props he creates along with friends and family. Home haunt DIYers will also find instructions and tips for making creatures and scenes for home haunts. Among Devil's projects:
- Sculpting the Dead Mouth
- Making Teeth (GID)
- Wacky Zombie Part 1 - The Head
- Cauldron Creep How-To
- 2-Part silicone skull mold
- Painting flesh with an airbrush 1
For more from Devil's Chariot, see The Haunt of Hellizondo.
Southern California-based Dreadnight has been home haunting for more than a decade. Among the site's tutorials and how-to's: working with styrofoam (styro), wolf making, dungeon pillars and a haunted cornfield.
Fright Theatre creates, produces and sells foam props and haunt accessories for the haunted attraction industry. Clients range from home haunters to "dark rides," haunted attractions and amusement parks. While they, too, sell out of props months before October, they do have available prop- and monster- making materials and supplies, like this bucket o' Fright Theatre Prop Latex.
From the FX Lab: "The purpose of this site is to provide resources for both professional and amateur special effects sculptors, makeup artists, mask makers, designers and enthusiasts. The Lab is intended to help artists share their work and discuss ideas, info, techniques, etc. with one another in a positive, collaborative way.
The FX Lab site is easy to navigate and includes tutorials, prop-making articles, a recommended reading list, and tips and tricks culled from the site's forum.