How to Make a Fun Family Haunted House

by Jeffery Keilholtz

Making a fun family haunted house can mark your next Halloween as a true success. Get creative in your ideas and use all aspects of the house to create different moods and scenes. Porches, for example, are suitable for haunted house introductions. Basements and garages, on the other hand, can handle larger, more sophisticated attractions. Keep your ideas vibrant and include family and friends to bring everyone in on the excitement.

Items you will need

  • Mannequins
  • Straw
  • Potato sacks
  • Blinking lights
  • Faux skulls
  • Paint
  • Old clothes
  • Fake blood
  • Sheets
  • Fake cobwebs
  • Fake candles
  • Rubber rodents and insects
  • Smoke machine
  • Coffin
  • Costumes
  • Makeup
  • Haunted house signs
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Step 1

Assess your audience. Determine how many children are attending and their respective ages. Make your design appropriate for your audience. Tone down the blood and guts if your audience includes a lot of pre-teenage children, for example, or boost the gore if teenagers and young adults are expected. Adjust how you will incorporate lights into your plan based on your audience. Keep lights on to reduce the fear factor if dealing with young kids, or maintain a constant low level of light for an audience that can handle darkness.

Step 2

Add allure from the start. Spruce up your front door with Halloween ornaments and decorations such as fake skulls or orange-and-white blinking lights. Assign a family member the task of dressing up like a scarecrow and sitting on the front porch. Have the scarecrow jump up and "come alive" as visitors walk up to the door to add the first spook.

Step 3

Use different designs and scenarios for each room to boost appeal. Set up a medical examination room in a kitchen or basement, for example. Lay out a mannequin or a family member under a bloody sheet. Place fake limbs and eyeballs on old tables and the floor. Play a static-laced audio recording resembling an ambulance radio or emergency room announcement system. Create a vampire's tomb in another room. Display fake cobwebs, candles, rubber rodents and bats. Place a coffin in the middle of the room and a smoke machine in the corner to add ambiance. Use another friend or family member to emerge from the coffin in costume as a vampire.

Step 4

Dress up and hide. Position family members or friends in corners or behind doors. Have them jump out and scare passersby. Costume each participant in clothes suited to the rooms the audience will enter. Dress up one participant as a bloody autopsy doctor, for example, to jolt audiences entering the emergency room, or have a fanged wolfman luring guests to the vampire lair.

Step 5

Hang signs with arrows to guide the audience through the house. Signs keep audience members on track and prevent them from wandering off into areas that may not be included in the "haunted" portion of the house.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images