6 Tips for a Scary and Safe Halloween Haunt
Halloween is just around the corner. Have you been thinking of hosting a haunted house this year? Here are some tips for making sure your haunt is scary – and safe.
1. Include lots of twists and turns
Use black plastic hanging from the ceiling or framed with PVC pipe to create partitions, and turn your haunt into a maze. With more twists and turns, guests won’t know what’s happening up ahead, so they don’t see the scares coming. This is especially important if you’ve got limited space to work with. Put up enough plastic “walls,” and you can make a 2-car garage, basement, or small yard seem like a labyrinth.
2. Use fire-retardant materials
Not all plastic is created equal. Regular black plastic garbage bags bought at the store, for example, will burn, melt, and drip, spreading fire. Fire-retardant plastic is treated with chemicals to self-extinguish, stopping the spread of fire and minimizing the amount burned.
Besides the importance of fire-retardant plastic to keep your guests safe, there is always the possibility that the fire marshal could pay a visit to your public event. Americover’s haunted house plastic comes with a fire certificate to make inspections a breeze.
3. Master the scare fake-out
Timing is everything in comedy. And getting people to laugh and scream take some of the same tactics. Play off your scare-goers’ expectations by denying scares when they most expect it. Deliver scares when they’re off guard.
Consider doing a bait-and-switch by starting with one or two mild jump scares. Just when your guests think they are done with that room, then up the fear factor on your next surprise. The bigger second or third scare is sure to send your guests reeling!
4. Create a creepy silhouette
You might already have lots of ideas for set pieces, but remember that sometimes the scariest sights are those you can’t quite see. Hang a sheet of translucent poly, put a light behind your subject, and let your guests’ imaginations fill in the gruesome details. Maybe a butcher is chopping something on the other side of the screen, or a surgeon is getting ready to operate. Your visitors will peer in for a closer look, trying to see exactly what is going on behind the barrier. Then, surprise! A figure lunges out from behind the plastic, giving your guests a good fright!
5. Balance narrative, ambience, and scares
Having a narrative makes your event more fun. Is your haunt set in an eerie hospital? A mausoleum? A slaughterhouse? Your haunt won’t be very interesting if it’s just endless jump scares, so make sure you have other moments of creepy ambience to build up the suspense before the scares. You can use the translucent screen idea from tip #4 to compose scenes that drive your story.
6. Get creative
Have you seen this spooky Halloween idea? Craft some convincing “corpses” by arranging old bottles, cans, or plastic containers, then wrapping them in black plastic and string. Suspend them from the ceiling for maximum visibility. Americover’s Pinterest has more great Halloween ideas. Check out our haunted house pins and be inspired!
Don’t forget to enter our annual Halloween photo contest. Send us your spookiest picture of Americover plastic in action, and you could win a free roll of black poly sheeting for your next event!