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This Halloween, turn your Halloween decor up a notch with a haunt

What Halloween decorations is your house sporting this year? A sad little Kleenex ghost hanging on the front door? Maybe a limp cardboard cutout of a skeleton? Planning on playing that dusty cassette tape of “scary noises” when the trick-or-treaters come to your place?

Cute. But you’re not going to scare anyone that way.

There’s still time to turn your yard into a spectacular “haunt” guaranteed to delight/scare the pants off the kids in your neighbourhood. Seasoned “haunter” Rachel (who has many more photos and videos of her haunts on her website Haunt on the Hill) turns her home into a haunt every Halloween, complete with a graveyard, electric chair, evil scientist laboratory and a jail cell. Kids and grownups alike love her haunts and ask to pose for pictures with Rachel. Her haunts are so popular they’ve been featured on the local news more than once.

What makes Rachel’s haunt even more impressive is that she makes all of her props by hand. While we’re not going to judge you if you use store-bought decorations in your haunt, we think these DIY scary touches will look even better and will be worth the extra effort. Here are her tips for fashioning a deliciously creepy haunt out of everyday materials.

Rachel’s haunt tips

1. The classic scary haunted house must-have is a graveyard on the front lawn. Now, I go to a lot of trouble to hand carve and engrave my 13-plus tombstones, but there are many quick and easy alternatives that children can help with.

First you need your basic tombstone shape, which can be simply a rectangular box (cereal works well), or for a curved stone, you could even use a swimming pool flutter board. Paint the stone gray or any colour you like and using a Sharpie, write a funny epitaph on it. Some personal favourites are: “Izzy Dead,” “Harry Zontle,” “Myra Maines”. If you use foam for your tombstones, the Sharpie will melt the foam a bit, giving it an engraved look!

2. Everyone loves using the fake stretchy spider webbing, but it never looks good when placed in one huge clump. My tip is to cut it in to smaller sections and stretch those as much as possible by attaching one end to an anchor point and pulling until it’s thin like real webs.

3. Anything white will glow under black lights, but for an extra creepy touch, try soaking a white sheet in regular laundry detergent, which has a bluing agent in it. Let the sheet dry and it will glow extra blue and eerie under the black lights for a creepy ghost effect!

4. Coloured flood lights add a nice touch to any front yard. You can get coloured floodlight bulbs at any hardware store along with the light stakes to stick them in the ground. Using reds, greens, and yellows creates a great Halloween atmosphere and doesn’t cost much.

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