Introduction: My Haunted House and How I Made It

In this Instructable I will show you how to make a really awesome, but pretty easy and cheap, halloween haunted house. Each step is a portion of the haunted house.

-The first step is about the graveyard area. It includes a skeleton, two big spiders, lots of spiderwebs, ghosts, and so on.

-The next step is my version of the hologram in the window effect. It is also called the pepper's ghost illusion. There is another instructable on how to do this, but there are a few things they left out that are pretty important.

-The step after that is the front door area and the front of the house.

-The last step has ideas of things I didn't have time to incorporate into the final haunted house. I will update this step with new ideas of what I could have done and how you could do them in theory. It also includes variations on other halloween instructables and ideas I found on the internet.

I have to say that I tried not to make it too scary and that there were some things that I didn't have time to add that were more creepy and scary, but you can see those in the last step.

Step 1: Graveyard Area

This is the main area of the haunted house. It is made out of a popup/expanding canopy frame. I covered it in black plastic. I used 6 mil plastic from another project, but that kind is extremely expensive so you only have to use 1 or 2 mil plastic as long as its black, you can't see through it, and that you buy enough to go around the canopy frame. The plastic is attached to the canopy frame with duct tape. There is one large piece of the plastic that goes around two sides of the canopy frame. There is also another smaller piece taped to the big piece that is stapled to the house with a heavy duty staple gun because the duct tape wouldn't stick to the dusty house. Make sure that you leave a place for people to walk in.

If I could describe the haunted house in one word it would be spiderwebs. Lots and lots of spiderwebs. I had two big spiders with posable legs that really made it creepier.

There is a ghost hanging that is made from a white piece of fabric, a coat hanger, and a smelly latex mask that no one would ever want to wear. There is also a 10 dollar skeleton from target and a bat that is hanging from the canopy.

Last but not least there are two foam gravestones and two carved pumpkins sitting on the ground.

Step 2: Hologram Illusion

This is the part of the haunted house that trick or treaters liked the best. As I said there is another Instructable that shows you how to do this, but there are just a few things that they left out that I thought were pretty important. Here are two links to Instructables that show you how to do this: Pepper's bride illusion and the original hologram illusion instructable

There are only a few things that you will need for this. You will need a pretty big piece of plexiglass mine was 30"x36", a tv or monitor that is at least a foot diagonally the one I used was a flat screen hdtv that was 15" diagonally, some fabric or sheets to hide stuff, some black construction paper to hide stuff, a bowl or other decorations, a chair, and a light. Make sure that you get plexiglass that is thick enough that it won't bend easily.
Warning: Do not remove the protective plastic that covers the plexiglass until you know what is the perfect position and when you won't have to touch it or move it anymore because if you remove it early it will scratch and the effect will be ruined!

I took a chair and put it in front of the window that is in front of our house where people walk by. Then I set the glass at approximately a 45 degree angle against the window.

I took the curtains and duct taped them to the chair so that you cannot see the edges of the plexiglass. I used a piece of fabric to cover the top edge of the plexiglass. It is just taped to the top of the window and hangs to cover the plexiglass.

The plexiglass leans on the front of the chair so that you can put decorations behind the hologram. The chair I used has a cushion, if the plexiglass leaned on the cushion it would make an indent and whoever was looking at it would be aware of the glass's presence. Having it on the front hides the bottom edge of the glass because it is in between the bottom of the cushion and the metal at the front of the chair.

Behind the plexiglass on the chair is a glass bowl with a layer of candy in it. The bowl is positioned so that it looks like the head is in the bowl. You have to change the angle of the glass so that the head is at the right height in the bowl. Just move the chair forward or back and let the plexiglass slide up and down the window.

I covered the outside of the tv with black construction paper because the color of the trim around the screen reflected onto the plexiglass and made it look like a screen instead of a hologram. The window I used almost went down to the floor, so I had to use some construction paper to hide the tv. I put the paper at an angle so that if you look down on it (or if you're really tall) you still don't see the tv.

Another Warning: Make sure that if the plexiglass you got is thin that it is not bending and distorting the image. If it is bending and distorting the image, experiment with different positions and try turning the plexigass over to find it's strongest side where it won't be distorted.

Finally the all important video that I used. I found this video on the internet of a talking head. It's supposed to be used for something that looks like the Madame Leota crystal ball in the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland. I just put that video into iMovie and looped it a bunch so that it was like an hour long. Then I just burned it to a dvd and connected it to the tv using my ps2. Here's the link to the site where I got this video. I also put the video right below here so that you can download it right now. Madame Leota crystal ball link

Step 3: The Front Door and Front of House

There's not a huge amount to this step.

- I had a mini strobe light in front of my house blinking at a pretty slow rate. Even though its small its still quite bright and adds a cool effect.

- I got this really awesome fog machine that is a low-lying fogger, in other words you add ice into the fog machine and then the fog stays low to the ground and doesn't dissipate as fast as normal fog machines. I put this right at my front door and ran the electricity and wired "remote" through the window. I got a big bag of ice that lasted all night, and I still have a lot left over in my freezer. Make sure you buy a good name brand and not a cheapo made in china fogger because the cheap no name ones put out horrific fumes and generally don't work very well. If you do get a cheap one, get a low lying fogger because at least then the fog will stay close to the ground and you and your guests won't be breathing the potentially toxic fumes they give off.

- I also had this thing I got a couple of years ago at a party store. Its a black plastic cauldron that has one of those ultrasonic foggers in it. You fill it with water, plug it in, and it makes water vapor fog which is harmless to breathe. I put this on a small table right next to the front door.

- Right under the table with the fog cauldron I had an old boom box playing an hour long cd of wind noises. It only cost like 6 or 7 dollars and it was really worth it because it made a great atmosphere.

Step 4: Stuff I Didn't Have Time to Add

These are the things that I really wish that I could have added. A lot of these things I had mostly finished but not quite enough time to incorporate into the final haunted house.

- Animatronic pumpkin- I'm not going to say a lot about this because there is a great instructable on how to do this: Halloween Animatronics , but I am going to add a few things to what they did. Please skim their instructable before reading this. The pumpkin they used was completely foam, but the one I found was hollow. What I did was hot glue a piece of cardboard to the top and bottom pieces. This actually ended up working fine. I made a last minute hinge out of a piece of wire mesh fencing type stuff and taping it to the pumpkin with aluminum tape. Aluminum tape is basically aluminum foil with really sticky adhesive. I found that there was a lot of weight being put on the servo so I made pedestals out of toothpicks so that the servo wouldn't make noise unless it was moving. I would have had to tape the entire thing to whatever table I put it on because its top heavy when the servo is up and falls over. I used the usb parallax 16 channel servo controller (now called Propeller Servo Conroller USB) and ran Windows on my Macbook using Virtualbox which is desktop virtualization software that is free! I didn't have time to incorporate this because I didn't have time to make a sequence for the pumpkin.

- Sound Activated Skull- This is pretty much exactly the same as the BONEfones Instructable except for the fact that mine stopped working a couple days before halloween. Please skim the BONEfones Instructable before reading this. I had mine all working. It was soldered up on perf board and was connected to 3v of power from a 300-in-1 kit. It had been working flawlessly in that configuration until I connected it to a battery pack with 3v. I plugged it into music and immediately the right eye LED blew out. That was the end of that project because it looked bad with just one eye working. I couldn't replace it because the eye had the led built in and glued in. I realized that the problem was that the LEDs were cheap ones that required a resistor and I had not put one in. If you do this remember to put a resistor on the negative line before it gets to the LEDs. Oh well.

- Motion activated scary thing- I did not actually make this, but it is a cool idea and there's always next year. You could use an Arduino and one of those motion sensors from radio shack to activated something scary like dropping a spider or setting off a boom stick. Or you could use a Ping))) to make maniacal laughter get louder when you get closer to the door. This year I'm planning on making a shaking trash can that is motion activated. I'll probably post an instructable on that at some point.

I will update this last step when I think of more things.

Thanks for reading my instructable!

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