Texas Living

How to Build a DIY Haunted House at Home

By Sarah Rosen 10.1.20

Trick or treat! Though you might be skipping a visit to the haunted house this year, there are plenty of ways to bring that spooky spirit into your home. Here’s a guide to morphing your home into a DIY haunted house that will guarantee a wicked amount of fun.

DIY haunted house

Terrifying Themes

Pick a theme, any theme, to inspire your DIY haunted house decorations and activities.

Haunted Carnival
Step right up and try your hand at turning your home into a spooky fair. Dress like a clown or ringmaster and encourage your kids to partake in classic carnival games such as ring tosses, balloon pops, bobbing for apples, or wheels of (mis)fortune. And don’t forget to play creepy carnival sounds!

Mad Scientist’s Laboratory
This creepy setting is great for shouts of “Eureka!” and “Eek!” Make sure the lights flicker, don your thickest pair of goggles or glasses, and invite your at-home trick-or-treaters to reach in different boxes to feel brains (cooked spaghetti), teeth (candy corn), eyeballs (peeled grapes), and spider legs (fuzzy pipe cleaners). You can even get the kids involved in spooky Halloween science experiments.

Zombie School
Just like students, zombies moan and groan when they’re at school. Have fun “teaching” ghost stories, playing Zombie Tag (whoever is “it” has to walk), and serving up gruesome cafeteria grub.

Styrofoam headstones, a fog machine, and skeletons galore will help turn your home into a different kind of resting place. Dress like a ghost to really get in the spirit!

DIY haunted house

Horrid Horror Stories

A good backstory really helps sell the scare. Why is your house haunted? What happened? What kinds of monsters might be lurking around the corner? Why is the mad scientist mad? Why are there zombies at school in the first place? Pick an adult to serve as the tour guide and tell the story along the way. A good scary story is one-half trick and the other half treat!

Eerie Entrances

The perfect spot for a haunted house is a dark basement or an antique-filled attic, but any room or hallway can do the trick. Make a curtained entrance by hanging a bedsheet or black tarp from the ceiling. Set the scene with a welcome sign written in red paint on cardboard — use extra paint and let it drip to create a fun feeling of fright. 

Scary Soundtracks

Music is the key to creating ambience. There are plenty of haunted house soundtracks on YouTube that can serve as spooky background music, perfect for nighttime haunts.

If you need help concocting a convincing tale, here are some Texas ghost stories to get you started.

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