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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bats and witches and ghouls, oh my! It’s the most spooktacular time of the year, and your own backyard is the perfect setting for a creepy haunted maze that will give your friends a delightful fright. With a little bit of work and creativity, you can create a spine-tingling maze that will bring out the gasps, squeals and screams in all your guests.
Create The Path
Before you start constructing walls, map out your backyard on a sheet of graph paper and plot out how the maze path is going to travel. Take advantage of the maze design and plan to hide surprising elements around the bends.
Next, gather your materials. The maze walls should be higher than the head of the people walking through it. For children, you could use cardboard boxes or bales of hay. Dark tarps and sheets may work better in a maze designed for adults. Hang these between trees or over clotheslines strung between poles. Also, PVC pipes can be connected to make frames for the fabric dividers.
Once you have your plan and your supplies, it’s time to put up the walls.
Add Mood Lighting
A haunted maze should be dark, but a little light is necessary, so people can find their way and see the creepy decorations.
Strobe lights and black lights are top choices for Halloween lighting because they automatically set the stage for an eerie atmosphere.
Lit pumpkins are another good choice, especially if you carve them with scary faces. For safety’s sake, opt for battery-operated candles, rather than flaming ones.
String red, green or orange Christmas lights along the walls of the maze for a bit of illumination all along the path.
Add Chilling Decorations
Fill your haunted house with anything spooky, creepy or scary. Think ghosts, gravestones, witches, bats, skeletons, spiders and gory scenes.
Haunted house decorations can be purchased at party stores, but homemade ones will save you money and give your maze its own personality. Sheets of lightweight foam insulation can be cut and painted with eerie images. Old clothes can be stuffed and arranged to look like bodies, and white sheets make spooky ghosts to haunt your halls. Paint creepy messages on sheets of cardboard and display them along the path.
Fog machines and glow-in-the-dark paint are two elements that can really take your haunted maze up a notch.
Incorporate All The Senses
Visual décor is a must for your haunted maze, but don’t stop there. Find elements that will involve all of your guests’ senses.
For example, add audio effects to really set the mood. Play creepy music. Put an occasional scream or moan in the mix. Suddenly replacing the music with silence is another powerful mood-setter.
Touch is another sense to play on. Hang fake cobwebs for your guests to brush up against. Blow cold air toward their necks as they walk through one area. Ask a friend to hide in the shadows and reach out to grab people’s shoulders.
This Halloween, your haunted maze will make yours the hottest house on the block, where every visitor has a frighteningly good time.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.