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Turning Your Home into a Haunted House for Halloween

Many of us don’t really know what to do with Halloween in the UK. It seems too American, too odd, something more for the kids (or students!) to take part in, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Halloween can be a lot of fun and without the pressure or run-up of Christmas it’s a chance to indulge in some silliness for one night only. So why not give it a go this year? Whether you’re throwing a Halloween party for friends, creating a trick-or-treat den for the kids or just getting ready for a spooky night in with a horror movie or two, decorating your home for the occasion will make it a night to remember.

Devilishly Dilapidated

The joy of decorating for Halloween is that all the usual rules don’t apply. For one night of the year your home is crying out for disorder and chaos rather than neat and well-structured interior design. To create your haunted house put everything out of place, maybe even remove some items entirely to make things eerily unfamiliar. Bed sheets draped over large items of furniture can quickly create a creepily abandoned look. Fake spider webs can be purchased fairly cheaply at most stores selling Halloween supplies and throwing these around will add to the effect. If you have the supplies and the right place to set it up, a few pieces of junk wood attached to a wall with fake webs draped over them really add to the abandoned feel.
Converting the everyday items in your house can also have a brilliantly spooky effect. Another cheap Halloween prop that is fairly easy to get a hold of are fake spiders, which can give anyone a fright when sprinkled into a flower display or ornament. Experiment with what materials you have to hand, you’ll be amazed how far a few simple props can go in the right places.
Lighting is also obviously an important part of your house of horrors and the more candles you can use the better. Again, uniformity and tidiness is not what Halloween is about! So try as many different shapes and sizes of candles as you can rustle up. However, please do be careful to minimise the potential fire hazard. Keep all candles in secure places where they cannot be knocked easily, and if you’re going to have kids who have just eaten their own weight in sugar running around it’s best to leave the candles for another year.

Horrifyingly Homemade

Why wait until things get dark to have some fiendish fun? Get creative in your decorating and let your imagination off the leash. There are a surprising number of very easy creations you can make with little more than ordinary household items.
You can make ghoulish ghosts to watch over your home with nothing more than some green balloons, a black felt tip marker and green glowsticks. Simply blow up a balloon and draw your ghost’s face on, preferably with a large, wavy mouth and eyes, then put the glowstick inside and tie off. You can also create pumpkin faces with none of the mess by using orange balloons and glow sticks instead.
Another great, simple prop to make are ‘specimens’ to create a mad scientist’s lab. Wash out a few empty jars and remove all the labels, then fill with water and a few drops of food colouring, brown or green will work best. Then, simply add an item of your choosing to finish, like an item of food or old toy that will look like a twisted experiment gone wrong. Do be sure to clean the jars out again the next day to avoid hygiene horrors that aren’t quite as enjoyable.
If you’re feeling ambitious, why not try out this brilliant idea for shrunken apple heads at Martha Stewart? If your struggling for materials, you can also make home-made bats by cutting out rows of egg cartons. Paint them black, use ribbon to hang them up and stick googly eyes on if you have them for a creepily good decoration in a pinch.


Fiendish Final Touches

You nearly have everything ready for a spooktacular night, so just use a few final touches to complete the look.
An absolute must is a big bowl filled with treats, officially for any trick-or-treaters that come knocking but don’t be surprised if the adults sneak a handful as well.
Hold on to any Halloween merchandise you happen to pick up, whether it’s fast food toys or special packaging with shopping, and use it to fill any final empty spaces. Amongst your other decorations they will quickly become part of the scene.
For a show-stopping centrepiece, the trash-bag tarantula is the perfect last addition to your terrifying tableau. Stuff two trash-bags, one large for the body and the other smaller for the head (old sheets and blankets are best for the stuffing). Next add eyes and teeth to the head, cutting the right shapes out of coloured paper and sticking them on is the easiest way to do this. Finally, twist empty trash-bags into legs and place them under the body.

Now you have everything you need for a fantastically frightful night, if you dare! Why not send us photos of your house of horrors and we can be the judge of which is the most terrifying of them all.

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