How to Make a Haunted House in Your Front Yard

When the little goblins and ghouls come knocking at your front door and asking "Trick or treat?", double their thrills and fun by turning your front yard into a haunted house! This article will help you to design a haunted house front yard that will make your house the highlight of the street.


  1. Image titled Make a Haunted House in Your Front Yard Step 1
    Plan. Before spending your Halloween savings, it's a good idea to have a plan in mind to guide your purchasing. It's very likely that you'll be able to reuse existing decorations and recycle items in your home as well as purchasing decorations, and this will keep down the costs considerably. Things to plan include:
    • An overall design or theme for your front yard haunted house (see next step).
    • Areas that will be "out-of-bounds" (such as mom's favorite rose garden) and how you'll prevent people from accidentally wandering into such areas.
    • A color theme (if relevant).
    • What you'll use to provide the "house" walls - a tent, a marquee, or simply draping sheets, black plastic, or tarpaulins up as "walls".
    • Lighting and electrical requirements – you'll need outdoor quality electrical fittings as well as safe means for running cords outdoors without them becoming tripping hazards.
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    Decide on the front yard haunted house theme. As part of the planning, you'll need to design a layout. It's important to have at least three interesting things in your haunted house display for the trick-or-treat bunch to be thrilled by, so think carefully about what you'll include that's different from the usual Halloween decorations. Some suggestions for your haunted house theme include:
    • A graveyard theme: dedicate the area to graves, coffins, crosses, zombies, and skeletons; the color theme will be dark, with grays, browns, and blacks being predominant. Your surprise elements might include a grave or coffin that opens with lots of squeaking noises, dry ice smoke billowing up, a very ugly zombie effigy, etc.
    • A ghoul theme: have lots of phantoms, ghostly figures, and flying, flapping elements in the front yard; the color theme will have lots of white and light grays. Your surprise elements might include a ghoul that rushes out now and then (use a person for this), strange ghostly noises, things brushing against cheeks, etc.
    • A wizard and witches theme: include effigies of wizards, witches, their familiars such as black cats and wolves, cauldrons, broomsticks, etc. Your surprise elements might include cackling noises or thunderbolt cracks, a bubbling cauldron with some unidentifiable concoction brewing,
    • Try to find unique items that provide a scare, thrill, or amusement element for all ages.
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    Make or purchase the props. There are a number of things you can make yourself at home, or you can purchase items at stores specializing in Halloween decorations. Some ideas of things to make include:
    • Gravestones: Get some gray cardboard, and cut them into the shape of grave stones. Write some "cutesy" names on it, such as Frank N. Stein, Zom B., Jack O. Lantern, or I. M. Dead, etc.
    • Spider webs: Take rolls of toilet paper, and "string" them along the branches on the trees outside of your house, in the shape of spider webs. An alternative to toilet paper is cotton wool.
    • Ghosts: Take white kitchen garbage bags, and fill with old newspapers. Tie up, and then, with a black marker, draw two eyes and a mouth on each of them, to make little ghosts.
    • Jack-o-lanterns: When raking up leaves, purchase orange biodegradable leaf bags which look like jack-o-lanterns, and leave on the lawn for the big night.
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    Set up the "walls" of the house. If you're using a tent or marquee, put it up according the instructions. If you're using sheets, black plastic, or tarpaulins, you'll need to find items to hang them from (such as sturdy tree branches or fences) or place bamboo or similar posts into the ground to secure them to. Tape and rope on firmly to prevent falling during the evening.
    • Make sure that the entrance way to the house is clear of clutter, garden beds, fragile plants, etc. that you don't want people to accidentally tread on. Also try to close off any sides that might encourage people to wander off into the rest of your garden and become lost. Use simple props like chairs, cardboard signs, etc., to direct people away and back into the haunted house.
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    Add your props. Follow your plan when setting up the items. Keep checking that your theme is being evolved clearly and that any color theme is adhered to.
    • Ensure that it's easy for visitors to move around.
    • Ensure that all electrical cords are out of the way of feet and that nothing presents a fire hazard.
    • A strobe light can be excellent inside the haunted house – it will add to the eerie effect.
    • Set up music. Scary music CDs can be purchased from dollar stores, or you can download Halloween themed music online.
    • Make space for standing and sitting either inside the haunted house or just outside it – this will allow you to keep an eye on the trick-or-treat bunch viewing the haunted house and to give out the treats.
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    Think about creating the trail to the haunted house. Perhaps a row of old-fashioned or antique lanterns could lead the way? Or a series of fairy lights? Or signs? The choice is up to you. Whatever you use, make sure the pathway is easy to navigate and free of obstacles.
    • Buy a nice, big fat pumpkin, or several. On a piece of paper, draw a design of the kind of face you'd like to put into your jack-o-lantern. Once you've chosen the face you like, carve it into the pumpkin.
    • Light the lanterns for Halloween. The only lights that should be evident from your haunted house are those emanating from decorations, lanterns, strobes, and jack-o-lanterns, with your house kept dark. This is why it's important to ensure that there is nothing for visitors to trip over!
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  • If you can't spare space or find the time to set up a front yard haunted house, consider whether there's a front room of your house that you could dedicate to a haunted house, or the garage (park the car somewhere else for the evening).


  • Beware that nobody touches your jack-o-lantern or other things with candles; keep these out of reach or well watched to prevent accidental burning or tipping over.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Toilet rolls or cotton wool
  • White garbage bags with old newspapers
  • Biodegradable garbage bags (orange) filled with leaves
  • CD with scary music
  • Pumpkin
  • Any other old fashioned lantern
  • Candles

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