How to Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween

It is possible to make Halloween decorations that will wow (and shock) your neighborhood without spending a bundle. When looking to make a decoration that is shockingly gory and yet reusable for years; think of the Halloween haunter's friend, spray foam insulation.

This guide walks you through the process of creating a decorative frame to go around an entrance-way, but the concepts can be used to make a number of different props only limited by your imagination. The tricks learned here can be used for just simply decorating your house and yard for Halloween or as part of a guided haunt.

The specific project described in this guide is a "Gateway of Gore." The design was partially inspired by some of the graphics in the "Doom" video game series. It will make it appear as though a gory portal to hell has opened up in your house, garage, barn, etc. Bloody tendrils and guts will seem to spawn from the door's edge as faces and other parts of damned souls try to force their way out and back into the mortal realm.


  1. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 1
    Think about what kind of effect you are trying to achieve. Is your goal to gross-out your audience? Perhaps you want to inject a sense of humor into your decoration. This will have great importance when you get to the optional steps in this guide. Draw a picture of your design idea, if you wish.
  2. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 2
    Measure the outer frame of the entrance-way you plan to create your "Gateway of Gore" around. Write down the measurements.
  3. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 3
    Use your measurements to mark pieces of plywood to the lengths needed to fit around the entrance-way. The width can be determined by a mix of the available area surrounding the entrance-way and your personal preference.
  4. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 4
    Use a circular saw to cut the wood to the lengths you need.
  5. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 5
    Determine a shape you wish the outer edges of your gateway to be.
  6. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 6
    Draw a line on the wood that defines the planned outer edge. An irregular continuous wavy line works well. Take into consideration that the pieces of plywood will need to line up with each other into a continuous pattern.
  7. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 7
    Utilize a jigsaw to cut the edge design that you have planned.
  8. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 8
    Layout your cut pieces of wood and make sure that everything is matching up nicely. Make alterations as needed.
  9. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 9
    At this point, you have the option of using masks to decorate your gateway.
    • Cheap rubber masks can be found at dollar stores during Halloween season. Choose your masks also to fit the mood of your gateway. Do you want to go for horrifying, humorous or a mixture of the two? Cut or rip off any backing to the mask. Most of the cheap masks have a fabric hood to hold them on a wearer's head. This is not needed for your gateway. Use a staple gun to attach the masks at various places on your gateway. Vary the angles and positions for chaotic effect.
    • Another option is to use fake skulls to decorate the gateway. Soft plastic skulls (including ones that glow) can be found relatively cheap at certain stores during the Halloween season (especially during post-Halloween sales!). Use a utility knife to remove the portion of the skull you wish to have "sunken" inside the gore. Cut it so that you create a few tabs to work with while attaching the skull to the wood frame. Use the staple gun on the tabs to attach them to the gateway frame.
    • Yet another option is to use fake body parts; rubber hands, limbs, hearts, brains, bones, eyes, etc. Let your imagination go wild. This a point where you can really add some personality to your design. Attach them to your frame with a staple gun or nails (whatever gets the job done). Pose them for a variety of effects.
  10. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 10
    Use the spray foam insulation. This can be found at your local hardware store and is typically used to fill gaps and cracks in the weatherization of homes. A common brand is Great Stuff foam insulation. While taking care not to get any spray foam on yourself, hold the tip of the spray nozzle to the wood and begin spraying. The foam expands for a time after leaving the can, so use it sparingly in sections until you get an idea as to how much to put down for the effect you wish to achieve. Move the spray can around in chaotic loops and whorls to create a disgustingly tendril/intestine appearance. Take care not to completely cover the objects you have already attached to the frame. Bring the foam up to their edges and slightly on to them. Occasionally get more foam on some masks/props to make them further buried in the gore. Spray so that the foam covers all of the wood and hides all edges. Once you start using a can of insulation, make sure to use it up. If you set the can down for too long the foam will dry in the nozzle. This plugs the nozzle and possibly the can, possibly making it useless.
  11. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 11
    At this point, if you have utilized masks as part of your design, you will want to inject some foam spray inside them to give them more shape and keep them from crushing down. It can also lead to the effect of having gore and blood oozing from the nostrils, mouths and eyes of the faces. You may wish to give some or all of the masks eyes. This can be accomplished with fake eyes purchased from a costume shop or by using ping pong balls. Use your gloved hands to pop the eyes into the eye holes of the mask and the still gooey insulation inside.
  12. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 12
    Allow the insulation to dry for a few hours. Check on the gateway and see if it needs any more insulation to cover any missed spots and that the effect you wish has been achieved. If you do touch it up, give it a few more hours to dry. Otherwise proceed to the next step.
  13. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 13
    Paint the foam with oil paint. Latex paint will not stick to the foam and will peel off. Do not use spray paint directly on the foam, as it may eat away at the foam. Choose a color that best fits your design idea. Blood red is the obvious choice, but a bile green could achieve an interesting (and less gore) effect.
  14. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 14
    Store the gateway somewhere safe. It is going to take days for the oil paint to dry. Keep checking back on it after the first couple of days. Using a solvent to cause the paint to dry is ill-advised, as it may cause a reaction with the spray foam.
  15. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 15
    After the oil paint has dried, you can use spray paints to accent and highlight your design. Spraying a pit of dark purple on some parts of a gory design can make it appear more like guts and viscera. Using a slightly lighter shade of red on the parts of your design that jut out the furthest can add further depth to it (though at night this effect will be less noticeable). Once again, use your imagination to achieve the effect that you have pictured in your head. Another option is to use an airbrush if you have access to one.
  16. Image titled Create a Gateway of Gore for Halloween Step 16
    Allow the spray paint time to dry. Once dry, your "Gateway of Gore" is ready. Use wood screws to attach the pieces around the entrance-way you intend to decorate. Using an extension on the drill will allow you to sink the screws through the gaps between whorls of insulation. If you don't want to drill holes into your entrance-way, you'll have to figure out some other means of attaching the gateway decoration to the entrance-way.


  • Using glow-in-the-dark props can potentially add further effect to your design (especially if you shoot for a toxic waste look rather than a gore look).
  • For maximum savings, purchase your materials at post-Halloween sales where props and costume items can be marked down 50-75%. Then use the items to build your design for the following Halloween.
  • Ping pong balls can be painted to have pupils or can be left white for the appearance of soul-less eyes or eyes that have turned up into their sockets in agony or madness.
  • Utilizing other props and colors, the gateway can be turned into something else. Using a bright noxious green and sinking cans with nuclear or toxic symbols can give the appearance of toxic waste. This is probably better done as a floor piece rather than an entrance-way design though. Just keep in mind that you can't walk on the foam.
  • Search around the Internet for further ideas that may add to your own design. Haunted Attraction Magazine is also an excellent source for ideas.


  • Wear eye protection and gloves while working with spray foam insulation. It adheres to skin quickly and is difficult to remove. It can also cause allergic reactions. Avoid direct contact with skin.
  • Automotive Brake Cleaner will remove the spray foam from your skin, however, it would be safer to wear rubber gloves and avoid contact with your skin.
  • Avoid using plastic bags or drop cloths for decorations as a cigarette or hot lamp can ignite them easily.
  • Wear eye protection and use caution while operating the jigsaw.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Measuring tape
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Power drill
  • Staple gun
  • Wood screws
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Utility knife
  • Oil paint


  • Costume masks
  • Fake body parts
  • Fake skulls
  • Ping pong balls
  • Spray paint

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Halloween Decorations