Haunted house creators are master recyclers — after all, something old and broken may just be the spooky touch a haunted house needs.
“We’re constantly trying to recycle stuff and make it reusable,” says Larry Kirchner, a haunted attraction industry expert and owner of HauntWorld.com, a website that features the best haunted houses across America and also sells instructional DVDs for those looking to make their own attraction. “With a little bit of aging techniques, you can make something look like it’s been sitting in the same spot for 50 years.”
If you’re setting up an eerie environment of sorts at your house this Halloween, look at what you have first before going to the store. Could used milk jugs become ghosts? What about turning cardboard on its way to the recycling bin into tombstones? A mason jar can hold whatever “specimens” you can find, or a dollhouse that’s been outgrown can find new life as a haunted house — the options are nearly endless once you start to think creatively.
Your yard, too, probably holds some gems, like dead flowers or Spanish moss. “If you really want to make something look cool, find broken tree limbs and scatter them around,” Kirchner suggests. He also recommends turning garden hoses into vines — a little black spray paint can make them look creepy — or overturning potting urns and surrounding them with tombstones to look like an abandoned graveyard.
Above all, have fun seeing what you can recycle into decorations — this is a prime holiday for creativity for the fun of it. “What I love about Halloween is that Halloween is the only holiday that isn’t rammed down your throat,” Kirchner says. “You celebrate Halloween because you want to do it, and because you want to do it, you have more fun with it.”