How to Make a Haunted Forest

by Steven J. Miller

Make a haunted forest to delight and terrify your guests this Halloween. Haunted forests provide a fun and safe option for your ghoulish friends. Setting up a forest requires preparation, time, decorating and a creative imagination. The event doesn't need to be located in an actual forest; you can use your house or your backyard to contain the event and make the evening a safe and enjoyable time for all.

Items you will need

  • Costumes
  • Plastic spiders
  • Plastic insects
  • String
  • Smoke machine
  • Battery operated lights
Step 1

Decide on a location for the event. If you would like to use a local forest or park, contact the local Parks and Recreation Department to determine whether you must obtain a permit for a public or private event.

Step 2

Create costumes for the performers in your forest. Disguise performers as rocks, plants, trees and animals. Allow a few performers the chance to hide behind trees dressed as zombies, ghosts and ghouls.

Step 3

Equip the performers with plastic spiders and bugs attached to strings. The insects and spiders should be thrown in front of or in back of the participants to avoid hitting anyone. The strings will enable you to quickly retract and clean up the tossed creatures.

Step 4

Use a smoke machine at the entrance to the forest to create an air of mystery.

Step 5

Select guides to lead the groups through the forest. This will ensure that guests do not get lost. In an actual forest setting, select guides who are trained in first aid and hold CPR certification to help guests in the case of an emergency.

Step 6

Decorate the forest and light the way with battery-operated orange, black or red lights. Use bright white lights at the end of the haunted forest to help guests find their way back in case they get lost. The lights should appear along the path and you should include signs to direct patrons where to go next.

Tips & Warnings

  • Provide a flashlight to all of your guests. Collect the flashlights when the guests return and give them to new guests. You can control the number of guests allowed in at one time by limiting participants to the number of flashlights you have. Consider creating groups in 10-minute intervals to allow isolation within the forest.
  • Instruct your performers to avoid touching the patrons.
  • Regulate the level of fear involved. Provide disclaimers if children under a certain age should be accompanied by a parent, or banned entirely from the event.
  • Avoid any scenes that promote violence towards specific genders. Violence towards zombies, vampires, witches and warlocks are fair game and shouldn't offend any of your guests.
  • Make it clear that no weapons or sharp objects are allowed in the forest. Collect any potentially dangerous items at the door or request in advance that questionable items stay in patrons' cars or at home.

About the Author

Steven Miller graduated with a master's degree in 2010. He writes for several companies including Lowe's and IBM. He also works with local schools to create community gardens and learn environmentally responsible gardening. An avid gardener for 15 years, his experience includes organic gardening, ornamental plants and do-it-yourself home projects.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images