Ultimate Garage Haunted House
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting colder, and stores are filling up with candy in a color scheme of seemingly unrelated orange, black, purple, and green—that is, until you remember pumpkins, cats, and monsters.
Maybe in year’s past, you’ve gone the “normal” route and left a designated family member at home to open the door for trick or treaters and hand out assorted goodies to strange costumed children approaching your house and demanding free treats. But perhaps this year, you’re looking to do something…bigger. Better. Well, the good news is, you can.
Why not turn your garage into the ultimate haunted house? Here are a few tips for turning your carport into a home of happening hauntings this fall.
#1: Make it Safe
The first rule you’re going to want to follow is garage safety, because if that part isn’t secured, you might end up with a nasty bruise induced by legal action on November 1st. Not to mention that despite Halloween’s status as a celebration of the macabre, you don’t want anything scary or injurious to actually happen in your home.
Look around your garage and identify any possible hazards. Are there any spills that need to be cleaned up? Are there any loose items in the rafters that could fall? Have you put away all the sharp items and power tools that could cause accidental damage?
Once you think you’ve identified all the problems, have a second set of eyes look around and check your work, because they might pick up on something you’ve missed. Don’t be offended if they make any additional suggestions…you’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to making your garage a safe space for hosting a dark venue where people might bump into things.
#2: Make a Floor Plan
Chances are you’re not going to be able to afford a set of moving vehicles carrying visitors along a track…although if you are, more power to you.
Most likely, visitors to your haunted house will need to use their good old bipedal accouterment to get around. That said, you could put some cool things to look at around the perimeter of the garage, sort of like a macabre museum.
But you’ve been to a haunted house yourself and you’ve most likely found that one of the most important parts of the haunted house experience is being surprised as you move from room to room. One moment you’re in a mad scientist’s lab looking at body parts in jars, and in the next moment, you’ve entered a psycho circus with angry clowns.
That said, since you’re working with a smaller space than your typical haunted house at the boardwalk or county fair, you’re going to have to be a bit more conservative and avoid biting off more than you can chew.
Something as simple as partitioning the garage down the middle can be enough. Hanging a black curtain down from the ceiling or putting up a well-secured plywood divider will create a circular path around the garage that visitors to your haunted house can walk through.
To make the garage progressively darker and create a series of compartmentalized rooms, you can also hang sheets down from the rafters. Alternate between positioning them close to the wall and close to the central divider so that every “door” to the next space faces a sheet “wall.” In any case, just dividing the garage down the middle is good enough.
#3: Get Themed
Mad scientists, creepy clowns, castle vampires, and graveyard ghosts are just a few of the characters that can populate your haunted house. You could buy props at a seasonal store, but you can also make many of them on your own.
For example, for your graveyard, you could cut tombstones out of cardboard and paint them grey. You could also cut out a glowing white moon and hang it from the ceiling. Perhaps buy some mulch and strew it on the floor to make the earth, and buy a few rubber body parts to poke out of the ground.
When it comes to the mad science lab, you can also take rubber body parts (like fingers and eyeballs) and put them in the tupperware or glass jars with liquid dyed with food coloring. You could also have some bins for the adventurous visitor to put their hands into, like a bin of peeled grapes or wet noodles (think eyeballs and brain matter).
Some of the rooms might benefit from some teamwork. For example, do you know any tortured artistic souls who could paint you a “last supper” of twisted circus freaks? Chances are there is someone within your social circle or that of your spouse who would love the opportunity to collaborate on a home-based exhibition of the macabre.
#4: Get Ambient
You must have sound effects to make your haunted house creepy. Order a CD of haunting sounds, which you can easily get online or find a seasonal, craft, or party store.
After all, think of the movies that scared the living daylight out of you when you were younger. One of the most memorable parts of that movie was the score. It set the tone for what you were seeing and created the eerily awesome feeling of terror within you.
You’ll also want to get some lights for your haunted house. Granted, you want it to be dark, but you also want people to see your displays. Consider plugging in some lamps with colored bulbs, or getting a handy person to drop some temporary fixtures from the rafters (although make sure they really know what they’re doing, otherwise this could become a fire hazard).
One neat trick you could use is to have a room with bright neon colors illuminated by backlights. It’s creepy and fun at the same time and creates an awesome visual Halloween appeal.
#5: Remember Your Audience
Who is your haunted house for? The pre-teen, teen, and adult crowd, or the circle of friends your five-year-old has at preschool?
For the most part, the suggestions we’ve made are pretty standard fare, although far from boring: clowns, ghosts, mad scientists…but as exciting as that stuff is, you might want to tone it down a little bit if the main audience you’re catering to is young.
The last thing you want to do is scar anybody’s kid for life. Alternatively, if your haunted house is for adults, live it up! But consider putting a warning sign on the outside of the garage that clearly lets parents know what’s up.
#6: To Be…Or Not
Haunted houses that center around a walk-through experience typically utilize actors to pop out and scare people. You could employ this strategy as well, but know that it comes with a few pitfalls you may not want to deal with.
Costumes can cost extra money, especially if you want them to look good. You might also be hard pressed to find some willing volunteers. Of course, there is also the risk of something going awry if any guests decide to fight back.
That said, you may want to recruit a few people to enjoy an evening of scaring others while dressing up as a mad scientist or a raging lunatic. Of course, one of the most important rules with all of this is to have fun…while being safe.
Get Extra Space
What if your garage is not big enough to host a haunted house. Well, don’t ponder about it and find a way to get extra space inside your garage. At Danley’s, you can speak to a specialist about garage construction that is suitable for your fondness.
We have gable, hip roof and reverse gable garages of all custom garage sizes. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote today. Since 1959, we’ve constructed over 100,000 detached garages and we’ve always delivered on quality no matter how big the project is.