Halloween haunted house ideas for kids
Most of us know haunted houses only from movies or stories. The mental image most people hold is a scary-looking old, dark house with dead trees and creepy graveyards nearby. Haunted houses are dusty and dirty and have faux spider webs everywhere. And every one of them has boards that creak. However, there are things you can do to make a haunted house more suitable for kids.
Who are the kids?
Little kids scare easily, while bigger kids who are into vampires and horror movies like to be frightened. If you make a haunted house for the littlest, the big kids will be bored. Make it for the biggest and the little kids will be crying. Here’s how you can roughly expect kids in each of these four age groups to react to things found in haunted houses.
- Babies and toddlers up to 2 years old: Loud noises startle them and often make them cry. Costumes and masks are confusing and anything unrecognizable is a potential danger. Children this young often won’t recognize family members wearing warty noses with witches’ hats and wigs.
- Preschoolers 3 to 4: Kids this age are wired to fear dogs and other animals. If you want to include the classic Halloween black cat, make small ones and put them at a distance of more than arms’ reach. Ghosts are somewhat scary at this level, but they’re not real, and they don’t bite. Spiders and bats are scary because they’re real, and they do bite.
- School-age 5 to 6: A little bit scary can be OK, such as a Halloween coffin, but gruesome, gory and shocking are to be avoided.
- Big kids 7 and up: Some gory stuff can be OK, especially if it is clearly fake. The more obvious the fraud, the less scary it is.
Pick a place
The best places for making a haunted house at home are in separate rooms anywhere. You can add to the spookiness if you set yours up in the basement or attic, with a creaky stairway to climb. Garages are another good choice. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can make a small haunted house for very little kids in a corner of a room.
Make it dark
Make your haunted house dark, but not entirely. Dim is a good level to aim for so they can see the scary decorations you’ve put inside.
Use what you have
You don’t need to remove furniture from a room to turn it into a haunted house.
- Throw white sheets over tables and chairs.
- Make walls by hanging black plastic sheets from the ceiling.
- Cover the floor with rolls of black plastic or creepy cloth. You won’t be able to make boards creak, but you can put bits of packaging material here and there so it will startle kids when they step on it.
Plan a route that fits your space
- Small corner: Lay out a tent-like path so kids crawl through a tiny haunted house if you have only part of a room to work with.
- Walk through: If kids can go in one door of your haunted house and out the other, you can have them follow a winding path with something new at every turn.
- Circular path: If you come out the same door you went in, set up a circular path with decorations all around. If you use a dining room, drape the furniture with sheets and lay out a path that goes around the table and between chairs. If you have a garage, make a path that goes around trash bins draped with sheets.
Get plenty of creepy fabric to drape
The more fabric and strings you can hang down that kids have to brush aside as they pass through your haunted house, the creepier the feel of imagined cobwebs.
Add some spooky lights and scary sounds. The last two are even better if you can operate them remotely.
- Lights: Red and fluorescent green are good colors for lights in the mostly black haunted houses.
- Video: Have a tablet inside the haunted house playing the kids’ favorite horror movie or a video you made yourself.
- Audio: Play an audio file with creepy music.
What you need to buy for your kid-friendly haunted house
Drape your doorways with this 32-foot-long roll of white polyester cotton gauze that can be easily cut, torn, ripped and draped anywhere to add a spooky cobweb feel to your haunted house.
You can hang this shimmery black tinsel backdrop so that when kids walk through it, they can feel ghosts brushing against them. Or you can alternate black ones with orange ones, Halloween style.
You get a large spooky chandelier with hanging bats, skulls, spiders, pumpkins and lanterns. You also get 12 large and 12 medium bat wall stickers, everything in black.
The classic head and body on this creepy ghost Halloween decoration glow with a purple light that is activated by the motion sensor inside. This animatronic ghost is made of latex, plastic and fabric.
Press the button on this 7-inch-tall doorbell and the eyelids open, the green eyeball lights up, turns around and the three AAA batteries play spooky music.
These Halloween spiders are from 12 to 50 inches across, have bendable legs for you to pose as you wish and can be attached to any wall with double-sided tape. Their beady little eyes are blood-red.
Each of these five white skeleton Halloween decorations is nearly 15 inches long and goofily ghoulish when they glow a creepy green in the dark. You can use the loops at the top to hang them anywhere.
Use this spooky graveyard Halloween inflatable as your entrance. You get a fan, tie-down ropes and stakes and built-in LED bulbs that light it all up.
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.