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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just curious, for those of you who do actual walk-through haunts, how did you transition from just being a yard display to a haunt. I'm only at the display stage myself, and although I'd love to do a little garage haunt right now it feels like I'll never have enough stuff at the rate I build. Is this something that you did gradually or did you jump right in. Would you do it differently if you had it to do over again. How did everyone get to where they are now and how long did it take? Share your stories...
 

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I built up my yard display to the point where I could spare some props for the walk through. The first year I didn't theme rooms, I just had halls with props in them with a few actors doing the scaring. The second year I created some rooms with themes and built specific props for those rooms. I didn't think the first year was great, but everyone loved it anyway. The next year they got way more than they were expecting. The point is that people will appreciate your effort no matter what. There are some kids down the street from me who just did one room in a small garage a few years back. That's way more than most people do. Starting small is the way to go if you don't have a lot of props. Just make sure it's a safe walk through.

What would I have done differently? I would have started years earlier.
 

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I started in 4th grade in my garage lol. It pretty much consisted of black plastic sheeting with some props here and there and a bunch of actors. I'll show you guys picks of the garage... its petty small and this time around it will make up about 1/15 of my haunt.

Anyway, for a good haunt you don't need a bunch of props... if you set the mood correctly and have some actor scares then it will pass as a pretty good home haunt. Buy some burlap or jute netting, rip it apart and scatter it along the walls for some detail. Stop by at some garage sales and get a bunch of old books, candles, mirrors, pictures or whatever you can find that looks old and creepy Whats your budget going to be by the way? I can recommend a bunch of effects but I need to know what you're working with first.
 

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We had a yard display for several years. When we decided to step it up a notch, to keep it fresh, we went with a walk through, down our driveway to a large covered patio, where we created a mad scientist/Frankenstein scene. This was a big hit with everyone. We changed this scene over a couple of years, and then went a bit further to the garage. This is now where the candy is passd out. We still just drape it off with black plastic sheets and have a large throne type chair with grim reaper, and a bunch of smaller props to round it out. So essentially there are three main scenes. Future plans include something in the back yard when people exit through a gate. Remember, that anything extra you add will be a lot of fun and keep people coming back each year wondering what you've done. If it ever gets to be too much, you can always scale back.
 

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Ah, the days when we did displays. We started out simple, an operating room scene with blood all over the place. Then we moved to a display that moved from the front window to the front of the garage. It all changed when we bought the fog machine. I stood in front of the cords to keep people from seeing it and when the TOTs came up to look at the display, I scared them with the fog. That did it for me. I cleaned out the garage and got a great deal on black weed fabric that was on clearance. From there I moved on to foam walls about three years ago. We added a cemetery that has been getting bigger. Next year the cemetery may expand to the front yard to include Axworthy Ghosts. I just discovered LED lights to use as spotlights for effect.

What would I do differently, get more scareactors to help out each year. Guys at work sure do talk big but when you call em out, they are wussies.
 

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When we lived in the suburbs I just did a yard haunt. It was soooo much fun and we had 100+ TOTers. When we moved to the country I was very depressed when we didn't get any TOTers. I started carting my stuff in a trailer to decorate a subdivision person's yard. My husband vetoed that after two years because of it being a PITA. Depression set in again. One day we were sitting around and decided to have a party for the local kids. That's when it started. We decorated our outbuilding porch and had four itty bitty rooms. Over 100 kids showed up. Then the next year we cleaned out our 1938 two story barn and have decorated it ever since. Every year we make new props and have to come up with new ideas. It's an awful lot of work for one night but the blues have gone away for me.

Supposedly this is going to be our last year. (The kids are getting older). But I have been talking to a man that has a haunt just north of us that wants me to consult with him next year, hopefully that will give me my Halloween "fix"!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is so neat to hear how everyone has progressed over the years. I have such a planning detailed nature that just going for it freaks me out, I feel like I need to have things on graph paper and a gant chart. ;) My biggest obstacles are the walls (good to know some of you started with just fabric or plastic) and what to do with all the stuff in the garage, not to mention that I pretty much have no money to do things, but thats everyone right. You guys here are such an inspiration for those of us just starting down this path.
 

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So are you planning just to have it Halloween night? Anyway here are some relatively inexpensive ideas....

First of all buy some black plastic from your local Ace Hardware or Home Depot... They come in a bunch of different sizes and thicknesses but if this is for your garage then you probably don't need some heavy duty expensive stuff. You can probably get a roll big enough for about $15 so that shouldn't be a problem. While you're there look out for burlap or jute netting... this really comes in handy while adding detail and distress to your walls however both are pretty expensive.... probably $25 for a small roll of burlap and anywhere from $50 - $100 + depending on the size of the roll of jute. For your purposes go with the burlap, tear it apart, add a bunch of holes in it and then drape it along your walls. You can also go to a fabric store and try to find something cheap that you can tear apart for the same effect, although I haven't gone yet so I don't know what the prices are or if theres anything worth buying. What props or costumes do you have by the way? You're definetely going to want a bunch of actors because pneumatics are pretty complicated especially if this is just a small haunt I wouldn't bother with them. Alright on to props that you can build yourself... if you don't have a big budget I would suggest going with Bluckys... the blow molded skeletons found at big lots, party city and most halloween stores. See my haunt thread.... http://www.hauntforum.com/showthread.php?t=6978 for info on how to make these guys look pretty good for the price. Trust me its not complicated at all... if you want to make them then PM me so I can give you some more tips.

Now this is a VERY cool effect that we built last year over the weekend before our haunt and although it might cost a bit it is definetely worth it in the end. It's called the living torso illusion and it will leave a huge impact on your guests. It will probably cost anywhere from $70 to $100 + depending on how big you want the table to be and what price you get for the mirrors. Again if you're interested just PM me.

Now there's also a bunch of really simple things that you can do to startle people. Buy a cheap strobe at party city for 10 bucks and attach it to the ceiling so that it points towards the guests. By the time they walk up to it they will be completely disoriented which is when an actor jumps out for the scare. Also on some of your walls get some flourescent paint and paint a simple pattern on it (it could just be random lines, it really doesn't matter too much) then if you have some old black clothes or some cheap halloween robe, paint the same pattern on to it so that the actor blends in to the wall and then pops out. Honestly, if you want to have a haunt the only thing you need are actors and black sheeting, but if you want to have a great one then you're going to want to add some extra detail or simple yet cool effects. Hope it turns out great and if you have more questions feel free to PM me
 

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It is so neat to hear how everyone has progressed over the years. I have such a planning detailed nature that just going for it freaks me out, I feel like I need to have things on graph paper and a gant chart. ;) My biggest obstacles are the walls (good to know some of you started with just fabric or plastic) and what to do with all the stuff in the garage, not to mention that I pretty much have no money to do things, but thats everyone right. You guys here are such an inspiration for those of us just starting down this path.
Wow, spideranne, you just described me perfectly. I find it so difficult to avoid sweating the details that it almost becomes "work". Of corse, I'm a planning maniac about everything.

I saw an interesting display last year on an outside covered porch with just some colored incandescent bulbs in a shop light fixture (hidden) aimed at certain objects and blacklights. The front exterior of the house (protected from the weather) had castle paper entirely over it except for the door and windows. The owner came out as I was taking pictures and he did most of his static props himself.

The props weren't what impressed me as much as his use of lighting and how good it looked with the castle paper background. It really looked good with the blacklights and seemed as though it was done on a reasonable budget.

I'm not sure that I'm up to doing a walkthrough yet, but I would certainly incorporate this look into it somewhere.
 

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I do a display and very basic "haunt" in my garage. I have added a few props every year...nothing expensive. My haunt is not a walk-through but a decorated garage. It is somewhat lame but the little kids are scared to go in.

So you start with a couple props. Start decorating the garage and then build up from there. If you are a really dedicated person, you can do things a little at a time during the year so it isn't so hard on the bank account all at once.

You can always make requests for birthdays and X-mas.:D
 

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I started out with a small cemetery and cardboard coffins and it built itself due to addiction ha ha. I didnt make it to walkthrough stage till I did the haunt in my inlaws front yard and like others have said the black plastic is the quick and easy way to go. I would just build a framework and wrap it with the plastic to make the hallways. When my wife and I bought our first house I went full bore with it and eventually we eliminated black plastic and had all plywood panels and structures.
 

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I went to a homehaunt that was a first year transition... it was pretty simple. The year before, they had a big display set up in the garage. Then the next year, they added a Y-shaped divider... the "stem" of the Y going into the garage down the middle about halfway in with the divide at the line of the garage door and the "arms" extending out into the driveway a bit. There was a Frankenstein with an "Enter" sign pointing left and a mummy or zombie with a "Do Not Enter" road sign (the kind with the red circle and horizontal bar through it, you know what I'm talking about) pointing right. The garage display became a walkthrough just by limiting your vision to just 1/3 of the display at a time. Upon entering, you saw the dungeon; the mad lab was at the back, and the morgue/autopsy room was on the exit side. Same cemetery display on the front lawn as the previous year, just shifted around. It totally changed the dynamic of the display. You can turn a display into a haunt just by grouping your props and set backdrops into themed sections and visually separating them with dividers that people are forced to walk around to see. Major transition but really not that big a step when you think about it.
 

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it feels like I'll never have enough stuff at the rate I build. Is this something that you did gradually or did you jump right in.
The first full haunt I was part of had a budget of around $100, with several volunteers bringing tarps from home to make walls, cutting and painting cardboard into furniture and gravestones, and stuffing clothes and masks with newspaper to make corpses. The only electrical prop used was a giant figure with a floodlight and a fire bell (turned on not by a motion sensor, but by someone hiding behind a tarp with a switch). Don't worry if you don't "have enough stuff"- be creative, think cheap, use whats at hand, and start small. As others have said a few small scenes with a few simple walls are all you need. Have fun! :p
 
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