Halloween is coming up, and it’s not too late to decorate your house and lawn to make it the talk of the neighborhood. For many of us, the same old plastic skeletons and boom box playing the scary sound effects CD just won’t do. You want to give your neighbor’s kids a lasting reason to keep off your grass, or at the very least, upstage that neighbor of yours who turns their home into a scene out of the North Pole in December.
So, what can you do to turn average Halloween decorations into something more memorable?
Wireless speakers can be placed or mounted in a variety of places a regular wired speaker just can’t go. Let’s face it: people can see the boom box from a mile away, and expect to hear sounds coming from the scarecrow or skeleton sitting on the rocking chair. There are, however, a few ways you can get creative with your sound that will up the fear level in your visitors.
For example, a spooky sound such as clawing or groaning can be much more frightening if it appears to come from under the porch. Imagine the fear a dimly lit entry way would instill when coupled with the impression that something (or someone) is trying to escape from the very porch on which you’re standing.
Sure, everyone has seen lights synced with music in December, but what about for Halloween? You could be the first on your block, or even your town, to feature this kind of decoration. This method takes a lot of work arranging timers, various lights, and syncing everything to work exactly right.
There are so many different types of holiday lights you can use to make your exterior show more interesting. For example, replacing traditional tube lights with a solid LED tube light can add a touch of vibrancy to your overall display. Using programmable timers and controllers will allow you to create that musical sync effect by tying your lights to a program run from your home computer. Be aware, though, that a good programmable controller will run about $15 per channel.
Having a track playing through wired or wireless speakers is one thing, but timing them to work exactly when someone is in the perfect position is another. You could rig up a movement sensor, but then you don’t get the pleasure of seeing your visitors scream at just the right moment. Invest in a small Bluetooth remote that you can easily hide in your hand or pocket. At the right moment, hit play and watch your guest’s reaction.
Additionally, you can use a remote control car to chase someone around with a jack-o’-lantern or other spooky decoration. Movement has a much greater fear factor than stationary decorations.
Motion Sensor — The Element of Surprise
Nothing is more frightening than the element of surprise. If your house looks like it isn’t decorated at all, you might be able to do a lot more with less. During Halloween, everyone has their guard up. They are watching the scarecrows, skeletons, and seemingly harmless plastic toys for any sign that they might spring up and scare them. If your house appears to be nothing more than a candy grab, it’s easy for your visitors to let their guard down. When someone is in the perfect position, that’s when things start to happen. Remember, less is more.
This may not win you any viral videos on YouTube, but it could make yours the house everyone on the street talks about. People love sending their little brother or sister to the “safe” house.
Halloween decorations are commonly thought of as things you either do yourself or buy from a party store. Jazz up your decorating with some creative stage effects used by DJs. At the very least, these systems can be reused during parties and other holidays. The Martin Fire Effect DC2 is a great way to make a house appear to be aflame. American DJ also makes a great projector called the Fire Fox which does this, as well. You could also use a programmable laser projector to create spooky images on your exterior wall.
You might want to make sure someone is nearby to watch your gear, though.
Bonus Tip: Dress the Part
Finally, nothing lets people down more than having their beloved haunted experience end with receiving candy from someone they know dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. If you’re going to decorate this Halloween, you might as well dress the part and become part of the show. After all, would you be scared if you saw a stage hand standing in the middle of the shot during a horror movie?
These are my tips; what are yours? Comments welcome.