Haunted House

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Haunted House Halloween Decoration
Total Time afternoon or evening Ages all-ages

Cast a spell over your neighborhood with this abode that's the perfect stage for spiders and flying bats, baby ghosts, and tall ghosts.

What you'll need

  • Cardboard box (ours is 24 inches wide, 17 inches deep, and 25 inches tall)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Double-sided tape
  • Large piece of cardboard for the roof (ours is 27 inches by 28 inches)
  • Tempera or acrylic paint (we used purple, red, black, and gray) and paintbrush
  • Yardstick
  • Craft knife
  • About 1 ½ yards of gauze
  • Masking tape
  • Dowel, 3/8-inch diameter and as wide as your box
  • ½ yard of fabric for curtains
  • Small lamp
  • Small fan
  • 1 60-watt lightbulb (no more than 60 watts)
  • Extension cord
Helpful Tip:

Parents should set up the fan and light for safety. Be sure the lamp is not in contact with anything flammable and the house is in a protected area to avoid exposure to water or rain.

How to make it

  1. Haunted House - Step 1

    Open the bottom of the box and use scissors or a craft knife (a parent's job) to trim each flap to 2 inches. Save the scraps. Cut the two shorter top flaps into triangles as shown.

  2. Haunted House - Step 2

    From the cardboard scraps, cut 4 rectangles (ours were 4 by 8 inches) and fold each in half lengthwise. Use double-sided tape to attach the rectangles.

  3. If your box is a different size than ours, your roof piece should be 2 inches wider than the front of the house and long enough to be folded in half and still overhang the front and back by 1 inch each. Paint the roof. When it's dry, use a yardstick and craft knife to score the center deeply so you can fold it into a peak.

  4. Haunted House - Step 4

    Cut the gauze to the width of the house and 2 inches longer than the house's highest point. Tape one short end to the dowel and tape the other end to the roof peak. When you set the roof on the house (step 8), allow the gauze to fall inside to the floor at the front of the house. This will hide your fan and lamp, diffuse the light, and give a spiderweb effect.

  5. To make the chimney, fold a cardboard scrap (ours was 5 by 17 inches) into a square tube with a 1-inch overlap and secure with masking tape. Use scissors to cut a triangle from the bottom edges of two opposite sides so that the chimney will fit on the roof.

  6. Draw a door and windows on the house. Add a vertical line dividing each in half. Use a craft knife to cut out the shapes, including the dividing lines. Use masking tape on the outside of the house to reattach the cutouts. Paint the house and chimney.

  7. For curtains, cut squares of fabric 1 inch wider and taller than each window, then fringe the material. Once the paint on the house has dried, use masking tape to secure the curtains (see photo, right). Add ghosts, bats, and spiders.

  8. Haunted House - Step 8

    So that the creatures and curtains move and the house glows, position the lamp and fan inside the house (see photo, below). You may wish to cut a small notch from the bottom of the house to accommodate the cords. Place double-sided tape on the unattached part of each rectangle from step 2 and push the top box flaps together. Place the roof on top, adjusting the gauze so that it falls in front of the fan and lamp*, add the chimney, and voil.

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