Halloween is coming up, and we all know what that means: Christmas stuff starts showing up in stores any minute now. Also, on Halloween weekend, we'll be going to lots of haunted houses, haunted garages, haunted mazes, haunted cul-de-sacs and haunted, well, anything you can stick a light-up ghost on.
But some people get really, really, really into turning their home into a spooky house of horrors. Like, really into it. Here are ten videos we found online of amateurs who either delivered something amazing, or put so much heart into it, it's scary. And if you want to make your own haunted house, they've got plenty of things to teach you. (Warning: some creepy NSFW footage ahead.)
Simple Scares Can Be Effective
Sure, you could use complex hydraulics, professionally designed fog machines and all sorts of fancy gimmicks. But nothing is as effective as turning off the lights, putting on a scary mask and waiting for the next vict-- uh, unsuspecting child to walk by.
Gnomes Aren't the Only Scary Lawn Ornaments
Haunted yards are actually a great home project for people who want to decorate for Halloween, but can't spare the garage or house space for a full on haunted house. And, of course, they can be just as creepy as anything a haunted house can dish out, as this video shows.
Every single prop in this haunted house, when viewed in daylight, looks ridiculous. But that's the point: haunted houses operate on what you can't see. Just ask anybody stuck in a creepy attic trying to find something, and then the lights suddenly go out. Even the most rational person just needs darkness and an unfamiliar place to get freaked out.
Classic Horror Movie Characters Always Work
Good audio choices will blend with your lighting to thoroughly creep everyone out. Sure, there's the classic Halloween CDs with ominous laughter, creaking doors and wails. But you can never go wrong with a cackling Chucky doll or a screeching Freddy Krueger.
This haunted house is creepy, right? Where do you think they put it? A two-car garage. Yep, 16 feet by 16 feet is all you need to terrify the neighbors. Also, installing your haunted domicile in the garage means you don't have to clean the house for all your costumed company. Because there's nothing scarier than the thought of your neighbors seeing your filthy bathroom.
Utilize Household Items to Maximize Spook Potential
What we like about this video, aside from the terrified park ranger, is the fact that most of this was done with people volunteering time and materials instead of hauling down to Spencer Gifts. Sure, sometimes you want to shell out for the high-end gadgets and animatronic models. But plenty of materials for your haunted house can be found in the grocery aisle. Like, for instance, the meat used in the butcher scene in this video. Convenient and disgusting!
Remember, terrifying small children isn't something that you do by yourself. You share the joy with friends and family, and unite under the cause of traumatizing first-graders because it builds character. Also because it's funny.
Always Have a Ringer in the Crowd
In carnival games, the ringer was the guy in on the scam, who tricked the crowds into thinking the game of chance or whatever was possible. (Magicians still use them when looking for volunteers.) As this surprising video shows, haunted houses often use a ringer to...set the mood, shall we say.
OK, we'd never show 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' to anybody under 18, and for good reason. But there's no reason why you can't pull from Hollywood's rich history of maniacal killers. And you can keep it kid-friendly...well, at least until your eight-year-old tells you his best friend showed him that movie. Kids today!
Don't Restrict Yourself to Houses
Like we said, anything can be haunted. Corn mazes, hayrides, the woods in your backyard, an entire street, a gym...there are all sorts of places you can throw a haunted house. Just get permission first, and clean up afterwords, lest you be haunted by a mean old janitor.