How to Build a Haunted House

Halloween is a fun time filled with spooky ghouls and yummy treats. One activity that everyone enjoys is making a haunted house for trick-or-treaters and friends to come through so you can give them a good scare. Haunted houses can be simple or quite elaborate; the best part is that everything is up to you.

Decide where the haunted house will be located. Determine which rooms, yards and other areas you will use. Draw out a floor plan and brainstorm ideas for an overall theme or concept; Dracula's castle, zombie party, etc.

Draw out the route that trick-or-treaters and other visitors will follow. You'll want to give everyone a good scare as they enter but save the main, worst fright for the end. Get your friends and/or family together to plan out the terror points. Mark these spots on the floor plan. Decide what character each person will portray (and what costume they will wear) in each location.

Lay down painter's plastic on the walkway areas. Cover with hay to create a "crunchy" surface for walking on. This also allows you to pour fake blood without having to worry about stains or messes. Cover the furniture, door frames and low ceiling arches with cobwebs. Set up a stereo near the front entrance and hide it with a black plastic trash bag, decorations and cobwebs. Put on creepy music and let it play all night.

Nail tombstones in the front yard. Hang fake bats from the front door. Put fake spiders in the cobwebs. Create a creepy space by putting up mirrors on either side of the walkway. Put fake blood on the mirror and have someone hide behind one of the mirrors, then jump out to scare bystanders. Create a breeze in one area by setting up a fan and making the cobwebs blow in people's faces.

Dress up in scary costumes. Put on facial makeup appropriate to your character and do your hair or wear a wig. If you're playing a vampire, get some fangs and fake blood mouth packs to bite down on. Hang props from the ceiling, such as a hangman's noose, skeletons, witches' brooms and flying ghosts. Set up a cauldron for the children to get their candy out of. Finally, don't forget the pumpkins: Make some jack-o-lanterns to light the path. Happy scaring!