My wife and I are new to the yard haunt game (with big aspirations). This will be our first year and we're working on homemade props (not the Spirit-bought items and the like). We're doing it both as a way to bring some Halloween spirit to northern California (I'm from the East Coast where Halloween is one of the biggest holidays of the year and everyone goes all-out), along with accepting donations to give to military family charities (I'm in the Navy).
My question is: How did you start? Did you start out big and just get bigger? Did you just do little things and balloon out? We're just looking for some beginners tips that we may overlook as it's our first time.
Hey Rob, thanks for the input. As of now, we're aiming for an in-garage walkthrough. Nothing insane, just some homemade props and a couple store-bought doohickeys. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and super creative, so she's going to be work on a lot of the stuff. I'm the idea man, so I hope it'll be a good combination. In the end, it's all for a good cause!
Started small and built on to our haunt every year. I make my own props and hubby usually buys one big item every year so we have a mix of "professional" and "awesome homemade" items.(For me the creative process is the best part; I get to "play Arts and Crafts")
Come up with a plan, figure out what is actually do-able and focus on that first. Then add on if you have the time. Don't forget the lighting. Plenty of extension cords are a must. Start setting up early. Shortcuts will probably come back to bite you later so take time to make things that will last. Part of the fun of having a yard haunt is building on to it every year so don't try to go too big too fast. Take pictures of the creation process. Don't forget that you will need to store whatever you make for next year so keep that in mind if you are making something big. Hardware stores usually have "Oops" paint colors available cheap. Have fun!
Im still new at this too, only a couple of years in.....couple of things we have done that worked well:
boxed out a small room (8x8 ") with osb plywood. Had 6 scarecrows made with cheap masks and straw. Got the shirts and pant from the thrift store. Built a "planter" in the middle of the room so the kids had to walk around it. had 2 scarecrows in the planter and one in each corner. Then we filled in the planter and lined the walls with corn stalks. low lights and the tight quarters made the kids brush through the corn.
The kicker is that the kids had to open a door to enter the room. The door opened inward (into the room) so our real, live scarecrow was naturally hidden behind the door. When all the kids were in the room, he would slam the door and follow them out. (We would bang on the wall to let everyone working in the maze know how many kids were in the group. This way now one got hit with a door or prop). Even thought I knew he was in the room, it still creeped me out! easy low tech scare.
Best part is that the next year, the scarecrows can be rotated into regular decorations.
Also did a drop window scare that I liked. Found it here: http://www.bradsboobarn.com