When you think of your garage, you may picture a workshop, a storage area for boxes and bicycles, or simply the place where you park your car each night. But have you ever pictured your garage as a haunted house? With a little creativity, your garage can turn into a spooky place that the kids in your neighborhood will remember for many Halloweens to come. Take a look at a few ideas that can transform your garage into a haunted house.
Make Some Space
Removing bulky items from your garage is the first step toward transforming it into a haunted house. This may mean putting your lawn mower, snow blower, and wheelbarrow into the backyard for a little while. Also, if you have a wall of tools, cover it up with an old tarp so it won't be disturbed by your visitors. Give yourself plenty of free space to work with!
Cover the Windows
You may want to open up your haunted garage for late afternoon visitors. If so, you need to block out the sunlight. Set an eerie atmosphere in your garage by covering the windows with heavy black construction paper. Black construction paper is inexpensive and probably the best option, but you could also tape black trash bags over the windows. If you want to put black paint on your windows, be sure it's the kind that washes off easily.
Create a Maze
If you have a two-car garage or one that is fairly large, you may want to create a maze inside it. You can divide your garage into sections by hanging sheets of black gossamer from the ceiling with eye hooks and fishing line. Black gossamer is sold in most fabric stores. Make a design that allows a couple of feet of walking space between the sheets of gossamer. I think the filmy look of gossamer enhances the creepy atmosphere inside a haunted garage.
Sound and Light
You can do a lot with sound and lighting to increase the creep factor of your creation. I'm a fan of playing background music that features the sounds of chains rattling, cauldrons bubbling, winds howling, and strange creatures cackling. Also, replace the regular bulbs in your garage with black light bulbs. These bulbs will cause the white objects in your garage to take on an eerie glow. Also, make some glow-stick ghosts to hang from the ceiling.
Now that you've set the atmosphere in your haunted garage, it's time to come up with some good scares. One fun idea is a haunted scarecrow. First, build a traditional-looking scarecrow complete with a straw hat, plaid shirt, and even a fake crow on its shoulder, but leave the scarecrow's arms out of the design. Put the scarecrow in one dark corner of your garage and hide behind it. When visitors walk by, wave your arms from behind the scarecrow to give them a scare. Don't forget to wear a plaid shirt that matches the one on your scarecrow!
Another idea involves getting a large cardboard box, placing it on the floor, and painting the words "DANGER, DO NOT OPEN" and "CAUTION" on its sides in glow-in-the-dark paint. Ask one of your kids or a kid in your neighborhood to sit inside the box and start shaking it, pawing at its sides and growling whenever visitors walk by to give them a scare. For an added jolt, your young apprentice may want to put on a glove made to look like a bear's claw and push it out through a hole in the box as people walk by.
Another easy way to scare visitors can be accomplished with the help of an old jack-in-the-box. Cover the toy with a sheet made up like a ghost and place it on a table. Then, ask a young neighbor to hide behind the table and turn the crank so the jack-in-the-box pops up as visitors approach the table.
Don't Forget the Exterior Décor
Put candles in some jack-o'-lanterns and place them around your haunted garage to attract the attention of the neighbors. I think jack-o'-lanterns are ideal for setting a scary atmosphere, don't you? Use some dry ice to create a thin layer of fog around the entrance to your garage. Try making pipe-cleaner spiders and placing them on fake, gauzy webs around the door. Find an old broom and a costume witch's hat to lean against the side of your garage: Tell visitors she is just taking a quick break inside! A battery-operated ghost can be another spooky addition to your outdoor décor. These ghosts are available in many toy stores and light up as they travel back and forth along a thin cable.
Feel free to start with these ideas and see what other creepiness you can come up with for your haunted garage. Good luck, and thanks for reading. - Alan