Simple Decorations Can Make a Frightfully Fun House

A ghostly character stands in front of a Hollister home.

Let’s face it: Halloween is exponentially more fun if you get
into it, and costumes and sweets are just the beginning.
Let’s face it: Halloween is exponentially more fun if you get into it, and costumes and sweets are just the beginning. Even if this year’s get-up is ready in the closet and the candy bowl is near the door, don’t forget the final step in creating the perfect Halloween – transforming your home into a creepy haunted house.

Decorating your house inside and out in a Halloween theme can be a fun way to get yourself, your neighbors and trick-or-treaters in a festive mood.

“It puts a smile on your face. It’s fun,” said Donna Feichtmann, owner of The Party Outlet in Morgan Hill.

For between $50 and $200 a day, decorators can rent life-sized Dracula and Frankenstein as well as mummy-and-gore and maid-and-butler character statues made of resin for their haunted houses.

If you’d rather create your own decorations, here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Giant Black Spider

You will need:

• two large Styrofoam balls (one soccer ball size and one grapefruit size)

• black spray paint

• Popsicle stick

• eight long black pipe cleaners

• glow-in-the-dark tape

Step 1: Spray paint the Styrofoam balls.

Step 2:Push half of the Popsicle stick into each foam ball to attach the head and body. Insert the eight pipe cleaners into body and bend them to form the spider’s legs.

Step 3:Cut a piece of pipe cleaner in half and insert both pieces in the front of the head, bending them so they look like spider fangs.

Step 4: Cut glow-in-the-dark tape in the shape of eyes and attach to spider head.

Step 5:Place the spiders in a fake web, or attach a thread and suspend from the ceiling.

Fog Bog

You will need:

• a few pounds of dry ice

• heavy gloves

• warm water

• a small fan

Step 1: In a large metal washtub, break the dry ice into several chunks about the size of soup cans. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when handling the ice.

Step 2: Add three or four pails of warm water, and watch as a wonderfully thick fog begins to rise as the ice melts in the water.

Step 3: Place a small fan near the washtub to spread the fog around the room.

Front Door

You will need:

• black or gray paint

• large pieces of cardboard

• red paint or marker

Step 1: Paint the cardboard with sweeping lines to look like old wood. Paint a few dots to look like old nails. Step 2: With the red paint or marker, sketch in cryptic letters spooky phrases such “Beware!,” “Danger!” or “Go away!”


You will need:

n store-bought fake cobwebs or fiber stuffing

The more you stretch out fake cobwebs, the more realistic they look. Or, stretch out fiber stuffing as a substitution for store-bought cobwebs.


You will need:

• black socks

• batting or some other type of stuffing

• black thread

• needle

• long black pipe cleaner

• black felt

• buttons

Step 1: Fill a black sock with some sort of stuffing, such as batting.

Step 2: Tie a black thread around a section to make a distinction between the rat’s head and body.

Step 3: Gather the opening of the sock with a needle and thread and stick a long black pipe cleaner in the hole.

Step 4: Finish pulling the gather tight and sew opening closed with the pipe cleaner tail hanging out. Fold black pipe cleaners to form legs and attach to body.

Step 5: Cut out black felt for ears and sew to head. Sew or glue buttons on for eyes.


You will need:

• large pieces of cardboard or slabs of Styrofoam

• gray poster paint

• black marker

Step 1:Cut the cardboard in the shape of tombstones. Paint the tombstones gray and write phrases such as “R.I.P.” or “Beware!” with black marker. You can also use Styrofoam slabs instead of cardboard. For fake tombstones that are more durable, construct them with wood.

Step 2:Place the tombstones in your yard and partially bury them with a few dead leaves. For a creepier effect, place some of the tombstones at off-center angles and place a shovel in the ground nearby.

Fearsome Flapping Bats

You will need:

• white colored pencil

• black construction paper or cardboard

• scissors

• fake fur

• glue

• string

Step 1: Draw a large bat on a piece of paper. If you’re no artist, use basic shapes – two elongated triangles on either side of a kidney shape – and alter the image to look more like a bat.

Step 2: Cut out the bat and use it to trace more bats on black cardboard. Cut out those bats, and if desired, glue fake fur for a life-like feel. Attach strings or elastic thread and hang on your porch.

Bed of Spikes

You will need:

• a large piece of cardboard or slab of foam

• black poster paint

• ruler

• pencil

• aluminum foil

• pointed ice cream cones

• glue gun

Step 1: Paint the cardboard or foam with black poster paint. With a ruler and pencil, mark the places where the “spikes” will go. Place the marks for the spikes any way you want, such as in four rows of nine spikes running the length of the board.

Step 2: To make the spikes, tear the foil into 8-inch segments, and wrap each segment around an ice cream cone.

Step 3: Smooth out the wrinkles of the foil so the cones look like metal. Tuck the extra foil inside the cones so it sits flat when placed pointed-side up.

Step 4: Use a glue gun to attach the cones to the board, and prop up against a wall or suspend from a ceiling.


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