From Homey To Haunting: How To Make Your Own Haunted Basement
It’s almost Halloween and it’s time for everyone to experience the spookiest haunted event this year: your basement. As long as you don’t have any actual evil lurking in your basement, you can transform your normal old ground floor into a bewitching basement attraction for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. Just follow these steps to make your haunted Halloween basement frighteningly perfect for all of your unsuspecting guests.
Step 1: Cast Your Spell Over The Basement
Before you begin, you’ll need to decide on a theme for the basement. Are you going to create a family-friendly house that’s not too scary for young children, or are you imagining scaring the living daylights out of those meddling kids that live next door? A great solution for appealing to everyone in the neighborhood is to break up the evening into age groups.
Earlier in the evening, plan the house for the younger children to come through. Try to create a story where the children are on a journey or mission: the basement is infested with ghosts and you need the children to save your home by catching all of them. They can then be rewarded for their efforts with treats and prizes.
After a certain time, you can change the atmosphere of the house into a more mature setting for older kids and adults. The same ghost theme can be applied: the basement is infested with ghouls and creatures, but this time, you must figure out how to get out alive. Decorations can be a little scarier and this is where you can involve some friends to spook the kids.
After you’ve decided on your theme, you’ll need to start planning. Start by creating a map or blueprint. Measure out the dimensions of your basement and the useable areas of it. Do you want your haunted basement to be a maze that people wind their way through, or will they stumble through the dark until they end up in an open area in the middle? The layout of the basement will be dependent on your theme and also how you want guests to enter and exit.
Step 2: Begin Creating Your Evil Lair
After planning, you can begin building the layout. For the walls, there are a variety of materials you can use to build them. Common and inexpensive materials are cardboard, plastic shower curtains, or flat bed sheets. You can simply tape, velcro or tie these materials together. The key is to make sure the walls are stable and secure if people are going to be moving in the dark, and also that they have a clearly marked path to walk on and there are no gaps in the walls for them to be confused by.
Once you have the walls in place, you can then decide on lighting. You can blacken out the windows with some cardboard and duct tape, but you should also consider if you want to use any dimmed or colored light sources to create the perfect creepy atmosphere. Be cautious if you decide to use candles become they could potentially be a hazard for guests. Strobe lights should be used sparingly, in case you have guests that are sensitive to them.
Step 3: Add Some Gore To Your Decor
You currently have the skeleton of your homemade haunted basement; now it’s time to add some meat to these bones. When choosing how you want to decorate, you have to think back to your theme. If your guests are mostly younger children, the decorations should be more friendly and fun, rather than gory and scary. Big spider webs with little furry creatures in them or skulls and skeletons will bring out the halloween spirit without being too scary.
For the older crowd, building suspense through noises and sound effects will be what brings out the screams. Gory decorations like disembodied limbs and bloody hand prints can add to the atmosphere, but they will probably not scare anyone. Have someone stand behind a curtain and bang on a bucket or pot as people walk past; have them do this sporadically so other guests don’t see it coming. If you really want to give guests the chills, hang wet yarn from the ceiling in the darkest part of the house, so they must walk through not knowing what they are surrounded by.
Another useful item to have in any haunted basement is a fog machine. Fog not only adds to the eerie atmosphere, but it can also cover up areas that are not as decorated as the rest of the basement.
Step 4: Summon All Your Ghouls And Ghosts
If you have friends that want to be involved in your plans, have them act as creatures or characters. For younger children, they can be playful characters, like a friendly witch who wants to help guide them through safely. For older kids or adults, you can use them to help scare guests. If they are going to scare people, be sure that you set limits for them and that they are aware that this is meant to be friendly and non-threatening fun. If you plan on using people in your attraction, account for places for them to hide and jump out at people when you are creating the layout.
Step 5: Spread The Haunting To More Of The House
You do not just have to keep the festivities to your basement. If you are entertaining younger guests, you can set up an area after the haunted basement for crafts and activities, like in the garage or the backyard. This can be where you reward the kids with prizes for going through the house or even set up tables so they can do halloween themed crafts.
If you plan on creating a haunted Halloween basement, tell us how it goes in a comment or share some of your pictures with us on our Facebook page!