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Here Are 33 Items You Can Use To Build a Haunted Experience


Who doesn’t love a little surprise around every corner, some creepy lighting, animatronics, fog and, of course, sinister music?  

"Haunted" experiences – whether they are in a full-blown haunted house or drive-thru haunt, as part of a warehouse for an employee event or an effort to make your house the scariest on your block – can help put a jolt into your Halloween. In recent years, the scariness has trended more clever and more elaborate. If you're one of the people in your neighborhood known to bring it on for Halloween, here's a little inspiration from some over-the-top decorating from around the United States.

Building your haunted experience from scratch may seem a little daunting, but the right material and tips can help. Here are some suggestions for what you could use to build your experience, pile on the spookiness and even turn it into an attraction for guests. For whatever you might try, be sure to follow safety precautions and all manufacturer's recommendations.

Build it Out 

For creating posts, some people use 5-gallon buckets that can be filled with concrete to support metal posts inside. PVC piping and fittings with flame-retardant poly sheeting are a popular choice for building free-standing walls. Chain link fabric can be used to section off areas. Canopy-style tents and other temporary structures can be a big help, too. These can then be enclosed using poly sheeting, and you can use any number of adhesives to attach your sheeting or tarps to your structure. Adhesive sprays, hooks and tarp tape can all work well depending on your application. 

Spook it Up

Now comes the time to scare off those meddling kids, or anybody else that just wants a chill sent down their spine. Colored lighting and strobe lights can be used to create different moods. Spray paint is a tool for creating more color or posting warnings. A smoke machine with fluid can create a foggy feeling and fans can gently move the air around.  Projectors can splash visual effects onto walls, while alarms can be timed to create some auditory chaos. Play spooky music or sound effects through speakers. Add some crime scene tape or even body bags for a further sense of foreboding.  

This can all create a scary scene, but what about the spooky people? Outfit folks in hazmat suits or gas masks. Need a mummy? Gauze – lots and lots of gauze – can do the trick. Lab coats can be a foundation for a mad scientist, while a combination of a medical gown and mask can turn plenty scary with some well-placed fake blood and makeup. Axes and chain saws are part of many horror movies, but beware – these links go to the real thing, not toys. 

Keep it Moving 

If your haunted experience is for more than simply amusing friends and family, it requires another level of detail. When planning the layout of your structure, keep the traffic pattern and pathways in mind so visitors can easily navigate the haunt. It’s important to have a dedicated entrance and exit so ghosts and goblins aren’t bumping into one another. Glow-in-the-dark tape on the floor is a helpful way to guide visitors along the way and if you want traffic to avoid certain areas (or you just want to post menacing messages!), you’ll need signage. If part of the experience you build is a maze, your traffic may need a little more guidance. If at all possible, it’s a good idea to have an emergency get-away if the scare gets a little too scary for some.

A cash box is a must if you're charging a fee or donation to a charity for entry. Barrier posts with belts can manage the waiting victims, er, guests. Two-way radios can help you communicate with the actors in your scene. 

If you do have elaborate plans, check with your local government — town, city or county — and your local fire department for any safety rules or guidelines that apply specifically to haunted houses in your area. You can also check with The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for safety guidelines for home and professional haunts.

Costumes Are Essential

Some fun Halloween costumes are based on what you see on the job site or in an office. Here is some inspiration for your look:
Construction Worker: Get yourself a hard hat, high-visibility vest and of course any tool you could want.
Hazmat Worker: Invoking many dystopian movies and TV programs, these suits also come in handy during the build, especially while spray-painting foreboding messages everywhere.
Here Are a Few More:
Mad Scientist
Fire Fighter
Public Safety Officer

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.