The first year is always tough. I bought my house in 2013, so I had to gauge if doing a haunted house was even worth it. No reason to do up all your decorations if no one comes around trick or treating. What would be the point?
By 2014 I knew that due to my location I would have a hot spot of people walking by Halloween night and I was determined to have a decent setup.
As a kid I was always intimidated by that one house you would walk buy that had fog and a small walk-through, it was terrifying yet exhilarating at the same time. I wanted to be that house on my street. I wanted people to fear walking up to it, in a good way of course.
Getting back to 2014, it was the first year. No decorations to start (Remember I was 25 when I bought my house). So I had to pick and choose what decorations to buy and what to make that first year. There was virtually no help, I didn’t exactly need it just yet as I was only setting up my mudroom. My mudroom has a ton of space, high walls and windows all around, perfect for seeing from the road.
Being in bands all my life, again the best purchase I ever had was a PA system. that ALWAYS comes in handy. I also had some old fog machines laying around. I have a friend who has a huge roll of White Flag cloth. He was and has been generous enough to let me use some pieces every year for various projects. God bless you Dave, I have no idea what I’m going to do once you run out of it!
Lighting is always a purchase, whether you are buying gels or different colored bulbs. this first year I think I used every cliche in the book. I also bought a low powered projector with some ghost projection dvd’s (Look up atomosfear FX). Funny I still get tagged in these videos even years after this came out. Oh dude check this out! Yeah.. that’s old news for me now I’ve been using that effect for years.
Anyways, on to the setup. Some candles, some cheap head in jar stuff, some real hair (for those that didn’t know I use to have long hair, cut it and saved some for this project.) glow sticks added for some “candlelight” in the jars. Pentagrams, ghostly projections. and the best part was the wall to the right as you walked in. I had this whole story about an amateur coven of witches doing satanic rituals. Tune into Rob’s blog to see what happens in the story side of things.
I covered the wall with this long tapestry type sheets of the white cloth. I threw a fan behind them, bam, perfect eerie waving walls in which someone could hide.
There was on effect I wanted that eluded me. I always had this picture of fog rolling out of the room, down the stairs almost inviting you to come in off the road.
A basic fog machine didn’t do it… at all. Not even close.
I said it before, no one showed me how to do any of this, it was all trial and error, learning this, learning that. I knew the effect I wanted, now I had to figure out how to do it.
Fog chiller. yes there are fog machines which produce chilled fog. The idea is simple. if the fog is cooler than the air outside, it will stick to the ground. Simple concept really. usually fog machines spew out hotish fog, therefore in order to get it to stick to the ground like in a graveyard, you need to cool it.
There are plenty of videos on how to do this, so I am not going to go into detail here. However I will say that for my first prop. It came out amazing and did the job as I liked. I just wish the fog stayed cooler, for longer, because after it heats up. It rises and the effect is gone. But for the first 45/50 seconds the fog rolled across my mudroom floor, and cascaded down my steps toward the street. Win.
The first year wasn’t even close to being what I would see as successful nowadays. I had maybe 30 kids walk through for candy? It was Halloween night and that was it. Still the kids I did have go through, got the scare of their life. One kid ran inside my house to get away from me!
Just from that experience I knew that next year I needed to make it bigger, and better.
In the next Update I will go over the 2015 season and the changes I made.
As always stay scared my friends.
Author: Kevin Butler
Feel free to like, share, and reblog.