At our local elementary school Spookeree carnival, I got the chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do… build a haunted house! I’m gonna walk you through what we did, how we did it, and how it turned out! Let’s boo-gie!
A haunted house always seemed too overwhelming to take on. But thanks to the help of some friends and school parents, we managed to pull it off!
We were using the school’s cafeteria, so that meant we had to wait until school was over to begin building. Fortunately for us, kids here do not go to school on Fridays, giving us a Thursday evening and all day Friday to get ‘er done.
The room was big and empty, so we needed some walls to make a path and give more opportunity for scares. My church’s pastor volunteered to build them, which was a huge favor to me as I have no carpentry skills at all!
We attached feet to the bottom to keep them from falling on the kiddos. We then arranged them in a way that would be most obtrusive and force the kids down a spooky “maze.” We nailed them together for more security.
It’s not very scary to see the whole room at once, so my wife set to work covering the wall frame in black plastic. It took a LOT of black plastic! We also had some black plastic with skeletons printed on it given to us as a donation, so we put them up too!
One perk to the cafeteria is that it comes with some movable walls in the form of lunch tables. While we were working on the walls, some of our younger helpers (Geek Spawn and the Nerdling) were put to work decorating the tables in spider webs and other spooky fun. A local family loaned us a heap of great Halloween decorations that were perfect for the haunted house!
Finally, it was all arranged and decorated. We turned off the lights and were ready to open it to the public that night. I asked students from the high school drama club to get dressed up as zombies and monsters. They were waiting around every corner to jump out and scare the kids (and their parents)!
I was so happy with how it turned out! It was a lot of fun to put on some scares for the elementary kids and their families. Many of the kids went through multiple times. We charged them a dollar to go through to limit anyone going too many times. The more times through, the braver the children got and started “fighting back” against my actors.
Some other drawbacks – because of the large windows in the room, it took a while for it to get really dark. It wasn’t a huge problem though as the smaller kids could go through earlier and have more light. Also, I think my paths were still to wide. They were about 5 feet across, when the should be about 3-4. The more enclosed and tight the hallway, the creepier the feel of impending doom! So a couple of minor problems to work on for next year.
Overall, it was a great success and I’m very glad we did it!
What do you think of our haunted house? What would you add?