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How to Haunt a Yard with help from Instructables (edited with new pictures)

Picture of How to Haunt a Yard with help from Instructables (edited with new pictures)
 Each year we do a free haunted house for the neighborhood, it started out when my kids were 2 old to trick or treat but still wanted a halloween experience, as just a carport with some ghouls and a pumpkin patch, 13 yrs later we're upto 1600sq' of portable carport "tents" and large portions of the yard, it goes completely around the house and takes 3-4 weeks to setup and fills a 10x12' shed to overflowing the rest of the year. Instructables inspired a number of projects for this year and many that we just didn't have time to do but... there's always NEXT year !

 I hope you enjoy this tour of our extravaganza
 
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Step 1: Getting started

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 We started out but putting together or rearranging 4 portable carports, a 20'x20' in the front and 3 10'x20' in the back. The 1st pic also shows the recycled pvc tubing I got from craigs list a couple years ago that we use to make the "maze". In the 2nd pic you can see the 20'x40' tarp we used to help darken the 2 tents in the back yard as well as add about 200 more sq feet by attaching it to the fence. Most of that "stuff" cluttering everything up will eventually get used. We wrap the outside of the front tent with 5' wire mesh recycled from a construction dumpster, more pieces of pvc, metal fence, metal poles and wooden planks will support the walls. Lots and lots of black duct tape and zip ties will atttach the black plastic to the "walls

Step 2: Lets start the tour

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Here's the entrance with the instructables inspired drawbridge, The fencing is recycled from my oldest daughters yard, (next year we'll have to think of something else or find more) the fence panel that seems to be hanging in the air over the drawbridge is attached to the 2nd level of construction scaffolding we used to attach the small winch and a battery to operate the bridge. The 12volt battery lasted thru over 100 cycles of the bridge and still had over a 50% charge when I took it down ! The spiderweb actually turned out pretty good but then we had to shift it around for safety and access reasons ! = (    The "torches" are a couple of straight exhuast pipes with glasspack mufflers, a couple of adult beverage bottles fit nicely with 2 layers of duct tape around their bottom. In the 2nd pic you can just see the white garden tent that will become the exit.

Step 3: Drawbridge

 A little more on how we built the drawbridge, there's a lack of pictures because we were designing, testing, redesigning as we went. The actual "bridge" was made from 6, 2x6"x8' and 2, 2x6"x8.5' and 2 crossbars cut to fit.

The chain is 32' , we didn't cut it because 1. it sounded cool hitting the wood and 2. we ran out of time. Its mounted to the bridge with eyebolts and shackles. The chain passes thru a pipe at the "upper" end where we taped a large carbiner for the winch hook, some bolts,washers and nuts keep the pipe on the chain and keeps the chain spread as its pulled up.

 The "hinge" is constructed of eyebolts screwed into the bottom of the door and 2 eyebolts run through the posts, 2 pieces of 1/2' all thread with a connector and some nuts and washers connect it all... We weren't completely happy with this setup because we couldn't get the door to fall from an upright position and so had to leave it open at an angle.

 The "bridge" is moved by a small atv type winch mounted up on 2 layers of scaffolding. 2, 4x4's were bolted together with the scaffold bars between them as a platform for the winch and battery. A piece of pvc pipe was added to guide the winch cable

Step 4: Spider tunnel

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Just behind the drawbridge is an "arbor" its more of an 8' vine overgrown tunnel that opens to a cobweb lined path. The witches house was trash picked about 2 weeks b4 halloween and incorporated into the display, across the path is a 7' skelaton inspired from an "ible"

Step 5: Into the Haunted House

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more slavaged fence and the Coffin "door" my son built a few years ago, it also makes a great storage box for ghouls when the back is screwed back on !

Step 6: Into the maze of horrors

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Remember those pvc pipes from the beginning? They formed 4 walls to direct our victims down 5 halls filled with various figures,cobwebs, and dark corners for our scarerers (is that a word?) to hide in. All of our "tents" have extensions added to the legs to raise the side bars  to about 6'2, that puts the center of the big tents roof about 16' up... great space for "flying" ghouls, it also makes a great place to mount black lights and a couple of strobe lights.

Step 7: Torture Chamber

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As you come out of the 3rd "hallway" theres an approx 10'x10' addition to the side of the tent, a piece of pvc with 2 t's is slipped over the bar of the "tent", 2 pieces of tubing go into the t's and run back to elbows where the leg pieces slip in, a "roof of recycled square tubes is then covered with wire mesh  and black plastic, its filled with an electric chair my son and his father in law built 2 years ago, were a live person sits and shakes and foams at the mouth,(an alkaselzter tablet works great!) a standing stock with a store bought frankencritter and a couple of other ghouls, a strobe light and a black light along with a sound effect cd rounds it all out. A live "inmate" interacts with the crowd

Step 8: Continue

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past the torture chamber is a short hallway that seems to deadend but one wall has an opening to another hall that is TOTALLY dark, 100 or so pieces of string hang from the ceiling (shiver) at the end and thruogh a double curtain is a strobe light lighting up "IT" and his little buddy !

Step 9: Crossbones Diener

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 The Crossbones Diener where you can get a bowl of ghoulash or sloppy jill or a nice serving of beating heart with kidney puree. The chandelier (another ible inspiration) was found on the trash , some spray paint got rid of the gold and the dollar store provided the skulls, I know there's 2 different kinds! I had to go to 4 different stores and decided to just make due with what I could find!  Finally got a picture of my daughter at the buffett with her head seemingly on a platter.. she was a real scream ! The before shot shows the brain that was part of her outfit, of course its made from spray foam and some "bloody" bandage.

Step 10: The Morgue

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Walk between 2 "bodybags" my daughter sewed from weedbarrier cloth, an old costume was stuffed and placed in one, the other has a couple of pillows. The aluminum "gurneys" were picked up on the trash a few years ago and usually do duty to carry my art and other needed supplies to art fairs and such

Step 11: Autopsy/Butcher shop

These next  2 sections where the brain child of my youngest daughter and her new husband, 2 instructable chainsaws (laundry detergent bottles, wood fence pieces and paint! )hang behind the wire, the body is another ible inspiration taken to the next step, the original poster is quite right that you should be really good friends or siblings when attempting this! Wear old clothes, cover in duct tape and carefully cut it off, then cover in paper mache or in this case, strips of newspaper dipped in a mixture of acrylic paint, white glue and water, fill the openings with spray foam insulation and before its totally set stick in some broken pvc piping (we used 1/2 inch) The chicken wire makes it possible to throw wet intestines and other offal (sponges dyed red and dipped in water) at our victims

Step 12: The Meat Shop

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a lot of store bought gore here as well as spray foam intestines. We needed a meat grinder so, some pvc, a lamp base and a plastic bowl later.... the fresh ground meat is spray foam with string hot glued on and the whole thing painted red with blue and purple highlights. I finally got some pics to add of the butcher and his assistant, they put on a good show, throwing bloody body parts (wet sponges) at the crowd, there was a heart that squirted and a machette drug across the mesh threw sparks... lots of screams from their section !

Step 13: 1st exit

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This is just a short tunnel after the meat market, filled with flying ghouls and spiderwebs, thats my son, yes that fence is 6foot tall, yes he's stooping to get under the spiderwebs, we call him midge..short for midget ! Please don't ask for an instructable on how to make him..... behind him is the last "tent" some more ghouls and spooks reside here as well as the if you dare boxes filled with peeled grapes, spagetti, califlower etc

Step 14: FINALLY back OUTSIDE !

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 This ghoul floats in the pool on a raft of styrofoam recycled from the trash,  a redlight on the house roof gives him an even creepier look..

Step 15: Pumpkin patch

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a couple of inflatables and a bunch of lighted pumpkins join forces with an old pool filter we painted orange to make the great pumpkin patch, the fence is more recycled aluminum pieces from a pool, the same stuff was used to make the roof over the short dark tunnel that led to "IT", the square tubes are the same material that made the roof in the torture chamber... The nice part about this material and the pvc is it can store behind the shed and not suffer from the weather

Step 16: The Graveyard

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More recycled styrofoam make up the "stone" fence posts and the gate pillars, I cut them with an electric chainsaw and sprayed them lightly with black paint, the actual gates are 3 store bought sets combined for the look we wanted, they are covered with orange "holiday" lights. The "arch" is recycled from a garden tent, some of the head stones are store bought, some homemade from the same styrofoam  while various critters and skelatins crawl from the ground. The "crypt" is the repainted metal shed where we store all this stuff ! The mummy is more of that stryofoam (yes I got a bunch of it!) carved with a chainsaw and small rasp

Step 17: She loved him so much she lost her head !

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A pop-up tent with more recycled garden tent rails make up the chapel, the podium was found on the trash and usually resides in my studio, the preacher and groom with the spinning brides head were purchased, the bride is a dress makers dummy from my daughters sewing room and the dress was a thrift store find. The flowers were rescued from my sons neighbors trash.....

 This is the last display, you exit through the gate and are greated by a pregnant witch who hands you candy and back past the drawbridge entrance to the street

Step 18: Thank You

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Thank you for reading this far, if you have any questions about any specific part of our build, I'll try my best to answer it or if possible make another "ible".  I'll leave you with 2 more pics of me this time and my "mask". It's made it from 2 medical eye protectors (they are some kind of rubber with metal screens that cover the eye after surgery) tissue was glued to the rubber then painted and the screen painted black, the eyeballs were glued in place and the 2 pieces hot glued together, a leather thong held it in place. It worked pretty good since it was dark where I was stationed to greet our victims..........
tinker2343 years ago
wow my favorite hawollen inscrutable are made by you
l8nite (author)  tinker2343 years ago
thank you, it gets to be an obsession but its also a great way for the whole family to get together and have fun
lmarshall33 years ago
Kudos to you for your spooky creation and your aggressive use of recyclables! I enjoyed your photos.
l8nite (author)  lmarshall33 years ago
Thank you for commenting, I hope this years endeavor will be just as entertaining as an "ible" I'm sure we're going to out do ourselves
wirecutter3 years ago
Simply wonderful It took me almost 40 mins to go over this BRILLIANT Instructable
Over the years I have seen a few Halloween Haunts but this one has just about every thing !
Only addition that's possible is to have some Sub-sonic's but don't go over the top and reduce your house to dust !!
l8nite (author)  wirecutter3 years ago
Im glad you enjoyed the "ible", this year promises to be even bigger and better. This weekend we used about 30 sections of recycled privacy fence to build a twisting corridor in the area that was our graveyard (about 200 linear feet ! ) and most of the scares will be totally new this year.. watch for a new "ible" the beginning of Nov 2011
eulaliaaaa!4 years ago
I like your idea of using live people for more effect! Great job!
l8nite (author)  eulaliaaaa!4 years ago
Thank you for your comments, the "morgue" is really more of a filler piece between the electric chair and the meat market both of which have live actors but one year we did have an actor inside one of the body bags. The whole Haunt thing started to give our kids and their teen friends something to do when they were to lof for trickortreat and it continues to grow. This "ible" was our 2009 Haunt, here is a link to the 2010 Haunt "ible" http://www.instructables.com/id/Our-2010-Haunted-House-with-ideas-from-Instructabl/ there are also a couple of mini "ibles" on Haunt related projects. There's not a lot of changes between the 2 years just enough to make it different. For this years Haunt we're doing a totally different layout and expanding to almost double the enclosed area and extending our "run" to 4 days
Sounds awesome!
eulaliaaaa!4 years ago
One idea for the "morgue" would be to have a surgeon working on them. A real scare!
indomitable4 years ago
lol this is fabulous, i loved it! gives me aspirations of a creepy mini haunted house of my own some year! yay fer halloween!
l8nite (author)  indomitable4 years ago
Thank you for the comment. The only way to get started is to start. We started out 15yrs or so ago with a couple of pumpkins and stuffed masks like most people do to their yards but my "kids" all inherited a creativness from me so "normal" just wasnt going to work and it grew from there. Yesterday while trying to figure out how to make the exit door work and flow from this years Haunt to the graveyard they decided to add another 100-150sq' of enclosed space and they're talking about almost DOUBLING the enclosed space next yr ! !
jptrsn4 years ago
Amazing! Years of work and a lot of thought and love have obviously gone into this! I hope that I'll be able to do something nearing this level when my kids are a bit older, and willing to help out. Cheers!
l8nite (author)  jptrsn4 years ago
Im sorry I missed your comment when you made it. "Amazing! Years of work and a lot of thought and love have obviously gone into this! I hope that I'll be able to do something nearing this level when my kids are a bit older, and willing to help out. Cheers!"

It truely is a labor of love. My "kids" are now 24-32 with little ones of their own or on the way but get yours started early with yard decorations, then a porch haunt but be careful its ADDICTING!
Xamith5 years ago
 Good job! You obviously put a lot of work into this!
l8nite (author)  Xamith5 years ago
Sorry I missed your comment earlier, it does take a lot of time but its not really work when you enjoy it. Thank you for commenting
Xamith l8nite5 years ago
 I guess you're right about that
depotdevoid5 years ago
Wow, I can't believe this didn't get more attention!  This is a totally awesome build.  Hopefully you get more hits come halloween next year, because this instructable really deserves more views.  No one in my area puts on a big haunted house like this (at least not that I know of).  I know I'd love it and my daughter would too!
l8nite (author)  depotdevoid5 years ago
yea 645 views and only 2 comments but like you said, maybe next year, of course by then I'll be working on a new one = )    Thank you for commenting