It’s day FIVE of 31 Days of Halloween and we’re talking about 50 Prop Ideas for Building a Halloween Haunted Trail. If you missed day one’s post, click here.
Planning is super important if you want a successful event but since you’ve come here I’m going to assume you’ve already started your planning phase so let’s jump right into Spooky Ideas for Building a Haunted Trail.
Have you ever walked a Haunted Trail?
Just what is a Haunted Trail? If you’ve never visited a haunted trail or maze you’ll find they are much like haunted house or corn maze events. Most have only one entrance and one exit with lots of twists, turns, and dead ends in between. While trying to find your way out you’ll encounter several scary things happening along the way. You could see monsters come crashing through a doorway, a ghost nonchalantly float by, or unknown creatures peering through cracks, and of course spooky music playing in the background to add to the overall creepiness.
Tips for Building a Halloween Haunted Trail
Your going to need a path whether your building indoor or outdoors. Here are some ideas for what to use to build walls for your trails and mazes. Building walls, cubicles, or pathways could be as easy as using sheets, plastic, tarps, drop covers, cardboard, hay bales, rope, and if your the handy type pvc pipe or wooden pallets. Remember what your Halloween trail or maze is made out of isn’t what’s important, it’s about how scary you make it!
Black plastic and drop covers are both usually fairly inexpensive and found in most gardening or paint supply department stores. Black plastic, drop covers, and tarps work great in both indoors and outdoors as cubicle walls, roof cover, or for enclosing your pathway, maze style. For indoors or a very small haunted trail you might consider using cardboard or sheets for those same purposes. For larger outdoor Halloween trails or mazes use pvc pipe, wood pallets, hay bales, and/or rope to outline the path through your event.
For more detailed instructions on how to build walls for a Halloween Haunted Trail or Maze check out the videos below.
Pallet Wall Tutorial – Making Walls Using Wood Pallets
PVC Pipe Tutorial – Making Walls Using PVC Pipe
Extremely Cheap and Quick Way To Create Walls
Here’s another great idea for you…. If your Haunted Trail is in a large outdoor area, for example through a wooded area, you could also use lights to keep your visitors going in the right direction. Wrap some white strip lights or any other type of rope lighting up a tree 6 – 8 ft this will not only help to guide your visitors but also helps to light up your trail. Or every so often pile up a few pumpkins with a couple of carved jack-o-lanterns on top all lite up with battery operated candles. Whatever you use I would not suggest using an open flame for obvious reasons.
SCARY HALLOWEEN PROP IDEAS
Once you have your walls up, it’s time to start planning your props, sets, characters, costumes, ect. Since we already know your into the horror genre start by using your own imagination to determine what types of props are suitable for your Halloween Haunted Trail. Be sure to take your expected visitors age’s into account. What scares you, probably scares them too?
Now it’s time to start planning out props, second hand stores can be a gold mine when it comes finding items that can be tailored to your haunted trail. But don’t forget recycling every day items is always a great idea as well. IE: Cardboard can be used to make caskets and tombstones. Plastic bottles can be used not just as weights for pulleys but to build a fairly light body bag prop.
A dark and foggy nite of folks stumbling about in the dark whilst creepy crawlies brush against them and unknown monsters jump out from unexpected places makes for a real fright fest folks will remember and want to visit again, and again.
When planning props keep in mind these safety tips. NEVER have your characters welding real weapons. No knives, hatchets, or chainsaws unless they are Halloween props (FAKE). You just never know how someone might react to a scare so don’t take any chances. DO NOT have any open flames. DO NOT rig anything that might catch onto anyone’s ankles or necks.
50 Haunted Trail Prop Ideas
- Use styrofoam mannequin heads to make corpse heads, zombie heads, or this awesome Pin Head.
- Build a graveyard, using cardboard and masking tape to make gravestones, coffins, or crypts. Use a hot glue gun to write names and add features to your creations. Paint everything with gray stone spray paint and then highlight the names and a few other areas with a small amount of neon purple or blue paint. Set up a black light on your graveyard display to make your highlighted colors really stand out.
- Dress real people as zombies and have them wander around your event. You could also use dummies or mannequins displayed in various places eating body parts. IE: brains, hands, or plastic rodents.
- If your thinking of making an Evil Scientist’s Laboratory on your Haunted trail have a look at these tutorials on how to making glowing substances for jars.
- Jump scares almost always are the scariest in haunted settings. Have people dressed in character occasionally jump out to scare visitors.
- Movie makers know exactly what their doing when they use eerie mist rolling in to frighten movie watchers. You can do the same by using a fog machine to frighten your visitors whilst they stumble about in the dark. TIP: For best results use a low-lying fogger, in other words you add the ice into the fog machine and the fog stays low to the ground instead of dissipating as fast as it does in normal fog machines. Be sure to buy a good name brand and not a cheap one “made in china” because the cheaper brands put out a lot of horrific fumes.
- Spiders are always a scary addition to any haunted attraction. At the ceiling level tack up some plastic wrap cut into very thin strips. Glue a few plastic spiders onto a strip every so often. Cut the strips just long enough to barely brush against the top of your tallest visitors heads as they walk under them.
- Use dummies or mannequins dressed and displayed as your favorite horror movie characters IE: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers.
- Having someone peer at you from unexpected places is just, frankly, creepy. Have a face peer at passerby’s through opaque windows, mirrors, or a hole in a wall. Even better is a face pressing against the backside of a wall trying to get out.
- Use different types of lighting in your displays. IE: Black lights, floating candles (tutorial), red lighting, strobe lights, green lights, etc.
- Seeing a sudden pair of glowing eyes peering out at you is sure to elicit screams. There are a few ways to make these yourself and all are reasonable inexpensive. Tutorials: Spooky Eyes and similar to those are Creepy Eyes. And if you prefer here’s one for LED eyes for mask. For eyes that don’t turn on and off attach them in places that foot traffic will not effect them; under props, and behind windows, mirrors, or walls with the appropriate sized holes cut into them for the glowing eyes to appear through.
- If you’re Haunted Trail is going to have a tour guide walking guests through it, take the time to plan out a script for your guide. A scary story can make your trails sets even more horrifying!
- Having hands suddenly come at you especially in the dark is scary. Have someone reach out towards your visitors from openings in the walls or doorways in unexpected places.
- The more closed in your trail or maze is the more claustrophobic or cluttered it will seem to your visitors and that in itself is really scary.
- Use doll or mannequin parts to make body dumps. Misc bloodied body parts in various size piles; torsos with missing limbs, eyes, teeth, limbs, bloody hair, etc. For the full effect be sure to include bloody rags, bandages, and baby clothes.
- Another great way to use dolls is in creepy specimen jars. These types of jars usually are various sizes and contain some creepy looking yellowish liquid with unknown (and worse, known) occupants floating inside. IE: fingers, toes, hands, eyes, brains, heads, baby dolls, or teeth, hair, and fingernail clippings etc.
- Dolls are creepy as hell and the bigger the better. Check out these tutorials on how to make old dolls appear to have been tortured or have their eyes sewn shut.
- Use common items to make either an Operating Room or Autopsy Room complete with table, operating tools, overhead light, costumed doctor, and patient. Most everyone knows someone who they can borrow scrubs from. Use an old dining room table and clear tape to securely tape down any over sized kitchen utensils for operating tool props. Don’t use any kitchen utensils that could be dangerous IE: knives. For your victim use a dummy, mannequin, or have someone wear a long t-shirt with the belly torn open and bloodied. Have your doctor exploring the patients belly using squishy red jello, fake blood, and fake intestines.
- If your familiar with some movies you’ll recognize the signs of a demonic presence as in flies, and more flies. Glue or tape flies to the windows, walls, doors, or have them floating in pools of water. Set the mood by adding some extremely unnerving sound effects.
- Hang corpses or leave bound and gagged bodies in various areas along your trail.
- Blood spattered walls or windows can add to the creep factor if done well. You can make these yourself with a simple wood frame, covered in clear plastic. Use red paint to leave full size hand prints and blood splatter.
- Victim props can be pretty scary depending on the scene. Dress a dummy in farmers clothing, all but the head because you won’t need one. Instead use fake blood and flesh in that spot and then sit an oversized pumpkin (or any large item really) on the area where the head should be. Another version of this prank is to have a the dummy sticking out from under a lawn mower, tractor, etc. Use caution tape to mark off these accident areas and to keep visitors out. Check out the garage door prank photo below for another example.
- You can turn anything cute and cuddly into terrifyingly scary. IE: Dolls (cut out the eyes and tear off a few arms or legs but keep them as part of the display) OR tortured Teddy Bears (button eyes barely hanging on, mouths sewn shut, and bloody stuffing hanging out of torn openings).
- Use an old stove and build Hell’s Kitchen complete with a creepy costumed cook. Hang hooks from the ceiling with dead animals, body bags, or body parts hanging from them. Have your cook stirring a large soup pot of “who knows what” with body parts sticking out of it. Have a table setup for butchering or for dining.
- Know one likes entering the unknown. As your visitors are making their way through your trail, they turn a corner, and suddenly the scenery changes becoming much more menacing. Hang spider webbing, shredded cheesecloth, or just plain old dirty sheets from the ceiling where visitors have to walk thru, to continue forward not knowing what waits for them inside.
- Hang torn and bloodied animal corpses or have them floating in nearby pools of water.
- Use fake crime tape and re-create your favorite TV Crime Drama. Mark off an area with the crime scene tape where a body or body parts can be seen. Be sure to splash plenty of fake blood around the scene. You could also make a chalk outline on the floor where a body was lying. Fake crime scene tape is also good for marking off your front entrance.
- With just a few little extra touches here and there you can really UP the scare-factor for your visitors. Add piles of skulls, rats, cages (with children’s toys in them), chains, and spiders or bats hanging from the walls.
- Dolls aren’t the only scary toys, lots of other children’s toys can be quite menacing to some people. Take advantage of that by adding scary red eyes to adorable animals. And remember for many people toy clowns are terrifying.
- Whether it’s on a wall, door, or just anywhere that looks a little bare spray paint some frightening messages of doom and gloom. Some suggestions might be:
- Death to all who enter here.
- Don’t close your eyes!
- Keep Out!
- HELP US
- Messages like those above are great for filling space but you could also add some miscellaneous stencils found at any Halloween supple store or order online from Amazon.
- Lot’s of creature features show how wrong science can go when toxic waste is involved. Turn an area of your trail into a Toxic Waste Spill, complete with warning signs and a fog machine blanketing the area with what should look like steam or mist. If you have the space half-way bury or mound up some soil around an old drum that’s you’ve painted Toxic Waste onto. Add some deformed body parts or animals to the scene. Use some green glow liquid around the area to appear like glowing toxic ooze and strategically place some green lighting to highlight it. You could have a live character dressed in a gas masks or hazmat suit to add to the over-all effect.
- Build a gallows out of wood then hang a hooded dummy from a noose for the full effect.
- Bloody tools are always a great addition to any haunted scene. IE: Axe, chainsaw, bloody toothbrush, knives, pitch fork, scythe, dirty bent forks or spoons. You can find Halloween props at any Halloween supple store or order online from Amazon. NEVER use the real things, you can not control how someone might react when scared.
- Make a standard size cardboard coffin and lean it upright in a corner. Even if it doesn’t open, people will be weary that something is about to jump out at them. Additionally you could add to the scare factor by setting up a recording of scratching, tapping, or a creepy door opening and closing for sound effects.
- Speaking of sound effects another good tip to engage your visitors is to appeal to all the senses (sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste) when building your displays. Remember, a well timed scream will amplify the terror!
- You might want to plan your whole Halloween Haunted Trail around a specific theme. For example you might design a pirate themed haunted trail and then again all things vampire are totally acceptable. And, of course, Zombie trails are always very popular. But if the regular themes don’t interest you maybe an off beat theme will such as American Horror Story.
- If body parts are to horrifying for the crowd your inviting consider using miscellaneous size and shaped pumpkins. Various Jack-O-Lanterns can easily replace live characters, especially for stationary displays.
- Have your family or friends participate as costumed characters to interact with your visitors as they make their way through the trail. You’ll need some people to help you in a few areas. Some displays or sets may require live characters in order to bring them to life. You may want characters jumping out unexpectedly from a corner or dark area or coming up from behind visitors to keep them moving along the trail. And, you even may want a live tour guide, walking people through the trail.
- Build a guillotine out of wood. Use aluminum to make the guillotine blade, and place a basket containing a gruesome head under the blade.
- To make your spooky sets more realistic, place actual items around as they would normally be in that particular setting. For example: If your going to hang portraits but black out the eyes first. If you need a candelabra fill it with trick candles. And, if your going add books stack a few with the more interesting creepy titles facing out towards your visitors. Or make your own with this tutorial, etc.
- A great way to invoke fear is to make your visitors think something is wrong for example malfunctioning or flickering lights.
- If you don’t have many people to be your characters, you might consider making or buying some animatronics. Scary animated props really creep people out!
- Another great sound effect would be to use slamming and creaking doors, sometimes locking behind themselves. This can be quite unnerving especially if you’ve just passed several open empty rooms whose doors now appear closed.
- You needs live characters on your haunted trail but you don’t need to go broke dressing up your monsters, ghosts, and evil characters. There are quite a few tips and tricks to painting on your special effect make-ups such as toilet paper and Elmers glue. Making the costumes is no different recycle and reuse old clothing to customize your characters clothing.
- Plan to add some extra surprises in your Haunted Trail sets by using special props such as a drop box, two-way mirrors, Jacob’s Ladder, animated rocking chair, etc. Search on you tube for Halloween props and your sure to find hundreds of ideas and tutorials.
- Hanging things from the ceiling is nothing new but hanging pool noodles is certainly uncommon.
- Paint a door to look like a steel blast door or a steel prison door with a small cut out rectangle about eye level. Add some scratches or claw marks around the cut out like someone or something has been trying to get out. You can dress someone up to stay behind the door and reach through at people go by or just growl, bang, and scratch. Or use sound effects and a red light behind the door to give it a demonic atmosphere. You could also paint a door red and add boards crisscrossed over the front with “Beware” “Keep Out” etc painted on them. And maybe add a few crisscrossed chains for good measure.
- See about picking up an old bathtub, maybe from a junkyard, load a body into it and splash some blood all around the scene.
- When it comes to making ghost for your Haunted Trail only your imagination is the limit to how many types of ghost you could make. Here’s a tutorial for how to make a chicken wire cheesecloth ghost. How to make a packing tape and trash bag ghost.
And my last few tips for planning your Halloween Haunted Trail, is to place hidden cameras everywhere to catch the reactions of your visitors. You could even offer prints later, via social media or email, if you have visitors fill out brief contact forms. Collecting contact information such as an email address allows you to build a mailing list which you can then use to announce your next events and invite people to come back. Also, plan for an emergency exit just in case your haunted trail is a bit too haunted for your youngest (or oldest) visitors!
OK that was a LOT of ideas to get you started and here’s a video showing you even more and how to make them.
In the video below, you can see how even the smallest of space can be used to make several rooms and some really super cool prop ideas.
And, in this next video you can see How to Create A Home Haunt For Less Than $100.
I live on ten acres and ever since we bought this property I’ve wanted to clear out the right away and build a haunted trail for our family, friends, and neighbors. It hasn’t yet happened for us but I encourage you to make memories for your family and friends by using these 50 Prop Ideas to Build our own Halloween Haunted Trail.
I hope you enjoyed this 31 Days of Halloween post. Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out 15 of the BEST DIY Halloween Costumes for Girls.
Comment below and let us know which of these 50 Prop Ideas to Build our own Halloween Haunted Trail was your favorite.
31 Days of Halloween 2017
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