What exactly is a Home Haunt, Yard Haunt or Halloween Yard Haunt?:
Another way of looking at it: home haunts are the Halloween version of winter holiday and Christmas decorations festooning doors, entryways, windows, porches, pathways, patios, decks, back and front yards, and basically every square inch on and above your property. Many home haunts feature walk-throughs, which lead visitors down a pathway or through a maze from the front yard to the back.
Lynne & Shawn Mitchell: Home Yard Haunt 'The Mitchell Cemetary':
"Every year since, we’ve seen more and more people stop by," says Lynne. "We feel it's our duty to keep the Halloween spirit alive." The Mitchells got into yard haunting so much, they wrote what many to be the essential guide, How to Haunt Your House.
Parental Panic, Urban Myths and X-Raying Trick-or-Treat Loot:
The Call of the Mall: Trick-or-Treaters Vacate Their Neighborhoods:
Even shopping malls started hosting trick or treat events, although in the present economy, vacancies at malls are akin to empty or foreclosed houses in any given neighborhood.
Come Back, Come Ba-aaack!:
But candy isn't always the allure of a certain house. Often, it's the home with a walk-through yard haunt, screaming with decorations -- pumpkins, monsters, ghosts, fog and animatronic props. And it's not just children visiting these home haunts -- it's adults, teens, even home haunters' relatives sometimes fly out for the event. Why not? It's like having a smaller version of Knott's Scary Farm in your own neighborhood.
How Did Home Haunts Get Started?:
By the mid-1990s, Halloween yard haunts were becoming more popular and prevalent. Sales of Halloween decorations increased, and pretty soon you were seeing lots more than lighted jack-o'lanterns on porches.
Do Home Haunters 'Haunt" Other People's Homes?:
Haunt, home haunt, or yard haunt are terms for a place or event. Example: "Our neighbors have been hosting an unbelievable yard haunt since 2004!" And "haunters" is the term for the yard-haunt creators themselves -- the die-hards who are working on props year 'round, in some cases.
Do Halloween Yard Haunts Charge Admission?:
Where Do Halloween Yard Haunters Get Their Props? Do They Hire Decorators?:
"Home haunters are a uniquely creative bunch," explains author Lynne Mitchell. "I'd say they are movie buffs, 'imagineers' and avid recyclers who like to turn ordinary stuff into [Disneyland's] Haunted Mansion props." Many home haunter groups / organizations can be found regionally, internationally, and online.
And it seems to be an amicable group. "They're all willing to help with any questions or projects you have," continues Lynne. "There are conventions, backyard get-togethers, and yearly group meetings."
Whoever said Halloween is just one day out of the year?