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12 Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Movies for the Whole Family

scary haunted house party

Halloween is always a night of creative costumes, delicious candy and fun frights. Of course, kids love the opportunity to challenge their courage by entering haunted houses, swapping spine-chilling stories and watching scary movies . That’s a lot of spookiness for one day, though, and with the wrong film, they may be too frightened to fall asleep at bedtime. (And of course, getting them to bed in time for you to enjoy a proper horror film , like a Stephen King adaptation or classic vampire flick might be an important part of your grown-up Halloween experience!)

Fortunately, there are lots of wonderfully fun — and only slightly creepy — movies out there that kids will enjoy this year. From oldies like Hocus Pocus  to newer films like a stellar remake of The Witches , this list has plenty of options that’ll delight much more than they’ll scare. Check out 12 of the best kid-friendly Halloween flicks that make not-too-spooky treats for the entire family!

Goosebumps (2015)

scary haunted house party

The Goosebumps  book series by R.L. Stine has thrilled kids across the world since the 1990s. The series has been adapted for both TV and film, including a newer franchise for younger generations who aren’t familiar with these classics.

The 2015 flick, aptly titled Goosebumps , stars Jack Black as a fictionalized version of Stine alongside Dylan Minnette, who plays his teenage neighbor. The two team up to take down monsters from the Goosebumps  series that have managed to escape from the books and cause chaos in the real world. The film is frightening fun for kids, and there’s enough action to keep parents entertained — especially if they’re former fans of the series.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

scary haunted house party

A trio of 300-year-old witches (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) conjures up a little bit of hocus pocus in this Halloween classic. The 1993 film centers on what happens when the Sanderson sisters are accidentally brought back from the dead on All Hallow’s Eve.

Attempting to recapture their youth, the witches plan to steal the souls of the children of Salem, Massachusetts, so they can live for eternity. Three kids, a talking black cat and, eventually, a friendly zombie have to work together to stop the sinister sisters before it’s too late. Hocus Pocus  is certain to put a spell on you  this Halloween.  

Spirited Away (2001)

scary haunted house party

If you’re new to the world of Miyazaki , Spirited Away is a great place to start. This classic film from Studio Ghibli follows our protagonist Chihiro, just as she and her parents move to a new town. As they explore, they find what appears to be an abandoned theme park, but Chihiro quickly realizes that she has somehow crossed into the realm of spirits. Oh, and her parents have been turned into pigs. As she learns to navigate the spirit world, and ultimately free herself and her parents, she meets many memorable characters along the way.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and became the top-grossing film in Japanese history. Don’t let the strange plot deter you. This film has won the hearts of many, and is a perfect addition to a Halloween lineup for the whole family.

Ghostbusters (1984)

scary haunted house party

These guys ain’t afraid of no ghosts, probably because the ghosts in this film aren’t too scary. This family-friendly comedy-horror was a smash at the box office in the 80s and has retained its appeal in the decades to follow. Sequels and remakes have attempted to capitalize on the success of the original, but have repeatedly fallen short.

Pop some popcorn and prepare to be entertained as a trio of paranormal exterminators face off against a gluttonous ghost, a pack of demonic dogs, and the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

scary haunted house party

Monsters, Inc . is a fun comedy about — what else? — two monsters, Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), who are the number-one scare team at the scream-processing factory in the town of Monstropolis. The film, released in 2001, follows their misadventures after a human girl named Boo makes her way into their world.

Together, the two have to figure out a way to get Boo home before anyone discovers this unimaginable mistake. Despite their best efforts, which include dressing Boo up as a baby monster, they run into plenty of roadblocks along the way. Kids will probably fall in love with the cuddly Sulley before they feel an ounce of fear during this film!

The Witches (2020)

scary haunted house party

The Witches  (2020) is a fantasy-comedy film based on Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name. This reimagining of the original 1990 film follows an orphaned boy who goes to live with his grandmother in Alabama. After coming across a witch, the boy and his grandmother flee to a hotel to escape her evil clutches. However, the world’s Grand High Witch happens to be staying there — along with disguised, diabolical witches from all over the world who are helping her turn children into mice.

This remake of The Witches  is an HBO Max  original starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci — and it’s certainly a top choice for your family’s Halloween movie marathon.

Coraline (2009)

scary haunted house party

The 2009 animated film Coraline  is based on a dark fantasy novella of the same name. With Dakota Fanning voicing the titular character, the movie follows a young girl who discovers an alternate world that closely mirrors her own — but seemingly much happier. It’s complete with a parallel family that appears, at first sight, to be much better than the one she has.

However, when Coraline’s Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and the rest of this parallel family try to keep her in their new world forever, she has to fight to make it back home. Kids are sure to find the stop-motion animation and colorful sets of Coraline  enchanting.

Beetlejuice (1988)

scary haunted house party

In the 1988 film, Beetlejuice , a couple dies in a car accident and finds themselves stuck in their former country home instead of a pleasant afterlife. When a new family moves in to the farmhouse, the dead couple tries to scare them away, but to no avail. They enlist the help of the troublemaking poltergeist Beetlejuice, who turns out to be a hazard to everyone involved.

The classic film has an all-star cast that includes Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Winona Ryder. Directed by Tim Burton, the movie offers a comedic twist on a supernatural tale that families will enjoy. Just don’t be surprised if the film’s soundtrack sparks an impromptu dance party.

Halloweentown (1998)

scary haunted house party

Starring Kimberly J. Brown and the late, great Debbie Reynolds, Halloweentown  is a Disney Channel original movie that premiered in 1998. Today, it’s revered as a classic Halloween film among the now-adults who grew up watching it every year decades ago.

On her 13th birthday, Marnie Cromwell discovers that she’s a witch, as is everyone else in her family. She and her younger siblings sneak off to Halloweentown, where her grandmother lives, to learn more about their family’s history and so Marnie can begin her witch training before it’s too late. The visit goes awry when they discover that an evil force is attempting to take over the town — but with a little magic, Marnie and her siblings can save the day.

The Addams Family (2019)

scary haunted house party

There have been several reimaginings of the original Addams Family  over the years — did you know the first cartoons were created in 1938? — but this animated film from 2019 is an especially fun version for kids. In the movie, Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the Addams clan prepare to welcome relatives for a visit. But when a TV personality attempts to get rid of them, the family has to prove that their creepy and kooky ways are no threat to their idyllic neighborhood.

The Addams Family  features the voiceover talents of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Alison Janney, Chloë Grace Moretz and others. If your family can’t get enough of this endearingly macabre group, you’ll be happy to know a sequel was just released — and it’s available to rent on streaming .

Labyrinth (1986)

scary haunted house party

It’s time to pass this cornerstone of Halloween weirdness to a new generation! The 1986 film Labyrinth  is a cult classic for so many reasons, from its fantastical setting to its magical plot to the fact that it stars the one and only David Bowie — and includes danceworthy original songs from the Starman himself.

The story follows teenager Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) as she travels through an otherworldly maze, solving riddles to rescue her baby brother from Bowie’s Jareth the Goblin King. Most of the film’s main characters are played by puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which is sure to delight kids (and deliver you an enjoyable dose of nostalgia).

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

scary haunted house party

You can’t have a kid-approved Halloween movie fest without watching 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas . The story follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who’s grown bored with the same old scare routine of Halloween each year. When he stumbles upon a door to Christmas Town, he decides to put his own twist on the holiday, causing complete havoc in the process.

The spooky-but-fun Tim Burton film stars Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Ken Page. What’s even better about this classic is that it doubles as a Halloween and  Christmas movie — and there’s no better time of year to get into the holiday spirit!


scary haunted house party

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14 Spooky Halloween Haunted House Ideas

scary haunted house party

If you’re like me, you start thinking about Halloween in July. Which means it’s time to start planning! Need some inspiration? Check out these 14 spooky haunted house ideas. From fake cobwebs to creepy ghosts and animated props, your friends and family will love these Halloween haunted house decorations.

How To Make Your House Look Haunted For Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year! (As you probably already know if you have been around here before).

Every year I have a Halloween party where the entire inside of my house is transformed into something that is not recognizable as being my house.

Some parts of it look so real that I have actually had people ask which are the decorations that are only there for the party 🙂

And although I usually do all of these things for my spooky soiree, you can still have a great Halloween display by only picking a couple of them if you don’t want to do that much work.

One note: I don’t do blood and gore (it’s just not something I’m into), so there won’t be any scary haunted house “massacre” pictures 🙂

Keep reading to find out how to make your house look haunted.

1 | Hang haunted house scene setters

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Halloween haunted house scene setter

One of the ways to transform your home into a haunted house is to hang a scene setter on your walls.

Since it covers such a big area, it always has a huge impact on how the room looks.

To do this right, cover as much of the wall as possible with plastic or paper scenes that will make your house look completed different, especially under low light.

It is a bit of a time-consuming task to set up.  But I think the end result is worth it.

This haunted mansion scene setter * (in the picture above) is one of my favorites for creating a haunted house.

Once it’s up, the room really looks like it has ripped wallpaper and run down paneling!

Front hall decorated for Halloween with a brick scene setter covering the walls and a skeleton sitting on a bench

But this stone wall scene setter * also works well. I’ve used it for Halloween parties more than once, including for my Harry Potter party .

You will often see different versions of scene setters for sale, with some costing a lot less than others.

Be sure to check the height because most of those cheaper ones aren’t tall enough to cover the whole wall.

Learn more about scene setters and how to install them .

2 | Drape spider webs

Halloween creepy cloth draped from the ceiling and over mirrors

Spider webs are a great way to add spookiness to your Halloween haunted house.

Not only do they make everything look older, but there’s nothing scarier than thinking you have walked through a spider web and there might be a spider on you!

So I try to set them up so that people have to walk through them.  

Halloween spider web stretch over a mirror with a silver skull in front

Stretchy spider web * works pretty well for pulling across the room or across a mirror.

To make it look realistic, less is more.

Tease the threads apart so you don’t end up with big clumps of spider web.

Black creepy cloth hanging over a door

Creepy cloth * works better for draping over furniture, light fixtures and doors.

Get more ideas for decorating with spider webs .

3 | Add lots of candles

Crows and candles in a Halloween haunted house

Candles automatically add atmosphere to your haunted house.

I love the look of real candle light, but in a lot of cases, flame-less candles (like these black ones *) are the way to go at a party.

You can put them anywhere. Use them in jack o’ lanterns, candelabras, or Halloween candle holders.

Halloween candles hung from the ceiling

Even hang them from the ceiling for a Harry Potter party .

I recommend getting the ones that have a timer and/or remote control so that you don’t have to spend a bunch of time turning them all on and off.

Find some more ways to use Halloween candles

4 | Use cool lighting

An uplight makes the "spider web" (cheese cloth) seem to glow

In addition to candles, there are all kinds of Halloween haunted house ideas using lighting. And in my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of making your home look spooky.

Uplights * are a great way to highlight a particular part of your haunted house.

Placing the light behind some creepy cloth (or cheesecloth with holes cut in it) hides the fixture and makes the whole table look like it’s glowing.

Read the step by step tutorial for re-creating this Halloween scene .

Lighted Halloween Decanters

Vase uplights * work well for adding some sparkle to your decanters.

I add DIY Halloween bottle labels to make them look more Halloween like.

Halloween haunted house chandelier with flicker flame bulbs

Or you can replace your light bulbs with special Halloween ones.

Like these flicker bulbs * that will make your chandelier look like it has old-time flames.

Note : These bulbs don’t give off a lot of light so they are definitely for ambiance, not for providing light to see by.

Take a look at our Halloween indoor lighting ideas for even more inspiration.

5 | Buy some animated Halloween props

Halloween haunted house mirror

There are so many inexpensive animated Halloween props available this time of year that are great for making your house feel haunted.

This animated haunted mirror is a crowd favorite at my parties. (It’s no longer available, but I found a similar one HERE *).

It looks like a regular mirror until someone walks in the front door. Then the spooky mirror ghost wakes up and starts talking.

Halloween portraits hung on a wall

Most of these props are motion or sound activated (or both), so they start working when people come near…definitely a little spooky!

This animated spell book * that opens and closes automatically is one of my favorite haunted house props. (It’s the red glowing book in the picture above).

Halloween spooky urn and mirror

If you can find props that still look good during the day, that’s even better. (The mirror above looks like a real mirror when it’s not in use.)

6 | Make things glow in the dark

Halloween glow in the dark writing on a door

Using a black light * can really up the spooky factor.

Anyone wearing white or fluorescent clothing will light up under it, and you can add all kinds of Halloween haunted house decorations that take advantage of the black light.

Like this glow in the dark sign I painted on my bathroom door using laundry detergent. I thought it was rather appropriate 🙂

Find more glow in the dark Halloween decor ideas .

7 | Put out some candle trees

Halloween crow and candles

Metal candle trees * are another great way to add spookiness to your decor.

They’re traditionally used for weddings.

But they kind of look like dead trees. Especially in the candle light.  (Who knew wedding decorations were great for Halloween?)

And they’re very durable so you can reuse them for years.

Plus, it’s easy to add a crow * or two to the branches for some extra Halloween ambiance.

8 | Add critters

Halloween haunted house rats on piano

Speaking of crows, adding fake animals like mice, rats and bats is another way to add that Halloween vibe.

The trick to making critters effective is to place them where people are not expecting them.

I like to put mice on the floor behind the bathroom door, have rats on the piano, and hang bats in a dark corner of the room–all places where people don’t notice them until they get close.

The element of surprise gets them every time!

9 | Hang Spooky Pictures

Halloween pictures

To make Halloween pictures look good, I like to hang them as if they are part of my normal home decor.

I mean literally. I take down one of my regular pictures and put up a spooky Halloween one in it’s place.

Plus, there’s already a nail there. So no extra work involved in putting it up.

There are lots of options for spooky pictures that you can use for your Halloween decor:

1. Make your own Halloween silhouettes.  Just cut some Halloween shapes out of black construction paper and frame them.

Halloween portrait scene setters

2. Buy spooky portrait scene setters *.  This is an inexpensive way to get a lot of pictures and I have re-used them every year for a lot of years!

You’ll be surprised how real they look once they are hung up on the wall…especially in the low light usually found in haunted houses…

Halloween portrait behind a light

3. Another option is buy framed Halloween portraits * intended for this purpose.

holographic Halloween pictures

I especially like the ones like these * that change expressions from normal to scary depending on which angle you are viewing them from.

10 | Use real dead flowers

Dead roses on the piano for Halloween

Why buy plastic flowers when you can use real ones?

I like to buy a big bouquet of roses about 3 weeks before Halloween and then let them die in the vase instead of throwing them out.  (Plus you get the added bonus of enjoying a bouquet of beautiful flowers before hand!)

Then I place the vase somewhere that I would normally put live flowers.

Faux red and black roses for Halloween

Of course, if you can’t be bothered with live flowers…there are always black fake roses * (like the ones I used for my Phantom of the Opera party ) which can be re-used over and over again.

11 | Add Spanish moss

Spanish moss and skulls add spookiness to your chandelier

Spanish moss * looks spooky regardless of how you use it. Which is why it’s a staple of my Halloween haunted house decorations.

Add it to chandeliers, furniture, planters, centerpieces or anywhere that could use some “brownery”.

See this and other ideas for decorating your chandelier for Halloween.

12 | Lay black lace on tables

Halloween haunted house black lace over red table cloth

Use a Halloween inspired black lace overlay * on top of a red tablecloth or orange table cloth.  

It’s an easy way to add spookiness to your tables.

13 | Hang ghosts

Halloween ghost hung from ceiling

It’s pretty hard to make your house look haunted without hanging a ghost * or two.

Making a ghost is a really simple DIY project:  Glue or staple a piece of white fabric * (or a sheet) over a round styrofoam ball *. Then shred the ends to make it uneven, and hang it where people will see it.

Or you can use some of the lighting options that are available to project ghosts onto your wall *. These work equally well inside or out.

14 | Position skeletons in chairs

Skeletons in chairs in the living room

The last of my Halloween haunted house ideas involves poseable skeletons *.

I use a lot of them.

And I usually dress them up with cheap Halloween costumes.

Skeleton bartender in front of a shelf with liquor bottles

So they look like the grim reaper, a bartender, a member of the Addams Family…whatever fits my theme for that year.

I find that staging things in a way that seems “real” has the most impact (like my skeleton bartender).

Skeleton behind a Halloween bar cart

Sit skeletons at the table, place dead roses in a vase where you would normally have live ones, replace your family portrait pictures with Halloween portraits, or sit a plastic rat on the tub surround in the bathroom.  

That way people don’t always see the props right away. And boy are they surprised when they finally notice they’re there!

They also provide a great photo op.

Now I need to get back to planning my own Halloween party decor, and hopefully, you’ve found some ideas for decorating your house for Halloween, as well.

Other Halloween decor ideas you might like

  • DIY Halloween graveyard
  • Outdoor Halloween lighting ideas
  • DIY Halloween mason jar candle holders
  • Haunted house lighting effects

Or browse all of our Halloween Ideas .

Have comments or questions on our Halloween haunted house ideas?  Tell us in the section below.

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Halloween indoor decorating ideas

This post was originally published on September 25, 2017 but was updated with new content on September 10, 2023.

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LOVE the candelabra with orange voitives. I do all out also. Last year, papered entrance to look like stone walls. Would love to know where you found this. Can’t find it on internet. Thanks.

Hi Pat…Sorry, I have a couple of candelabras with votives so I’m not sure which one you were referring to. If it’s the long one in the second picture with the mirror and the spider webs, it came from Pottery Barn a long time ago…unfortunately I don’t think it is still available. If you’re thinking about the candle tree with the raven in it, you can get those HERE . Or if I completely missed the mark and you meant something totally different, just let me know and hopefully I can help 🙂

Love all your ideas and decor! Spooktacularly beautiful!

Thanks, Kathy! Halloween is my favorite holiday so I always go all out 🙂


Hi Loraine…we must have the same taste in Halloween decor! Glad I’m not the only one who likes to go all out for Halloween 🙂

These look fabulous and and thank you for the links!

I going to be coordinating a halloween themed event and these are great ideas! Any suggestions for a school gym are welcome and even a small courtyard outside (I’m thinking graveyard?)

Hi Mickey…a graveyard in the courtyard sounds like a great idea and it wouldn’t be hard to do. You can get some ideas for that here . For the gym, I think creating a spooky entrance that everyone has to walk through to get in would be fun. I would create a walkway, ideally that isn’t straight (so you can’t see it all at once). I’m not sure what you’re working with, but if you have backdrop stands, those work well. If not you might have to get creative (maybe by pulling the bleachers away from the wall so people walk behind them?) Then hang up backdrops or curtains on both sides of the walkway. Hang ghosts and creepy cloth above it, create vignettes with skeletons or any other props you may have that can be used as photo ops, and add green, blue, purple or orange flood lights. Then you can use variations of those same decorations in different parts of the gym to make it feel cohesive. Hope that helps!

I love this site I’ve been on several trying to get decoration ideas and yours is the most detailed and spookiest! It’s got a sinister sexy theme with all the candles and lace that I just love ☠️

Thanks, Cindy! Halloween is my favorite holiday 🙂

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How to Throw a Great Halloween Party (or a Scary-Good At- Home Haunted House)

From creating a manageable budget to selecting an appropriate playlist, these 11 easy-to-follow tips can help you set up a Halloween party or haunted house experience that'll blow everyone's mind.

Halloween is fast approaching, and while many are deciding whether they want to hit up a costume bash in a bar or stay in and hand out candy, you can have the best of both worlds by hosting the spooky season celebrations right in your own home. But whether you're a top-notch party planner or last-minute hustler, the prospect of throwing a Halloween bash or creating a haunted house can be a bit intimidating, and things can get very overwhelming, very fast. That's why we compiled this list of 11 tips for a great party or at-home haunted house.

Set a theme

Instead of going with a generic Halloween bash, setting a theme may help you create a vision for what you want your house to really look like. If you're going for an '80s horror night vibe, for example, you know you're looking for inspiration from movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, Creepshow or Halloween . Setting a theme can also help your guests narrow down their costume choices so everyone doesn't have to spend too much time at Spirit Halloween.

Create a manageable budget

Sure, you want to be host/hostess with the mostest, that doesn't mean that you punish your bank account by trying to out-Heidi Klum Heidi Klum herself . Once you've decided what you want your theme to be, create a realistic budget. Figure out what areas and items are absolute must-haves, what's an added bonus, where you can splurge a little more and what you can totally live without.

But, uh, don't skimp on decorations

The truth is, when you're hosting a Halloween party or haunted house, people are showing up for the spectacle of it all, so you can't be stingy with the decor. Your classic spider web and scary Jack-o-lanterns are cool, but don't be afraid to get a little creative — either adding scares in unexpected places, or throwing it back to an old school haunted house with peeled-grape "eyeballs" and noodle "brains."

Be mindful of your guest list

Is your party for adults? Is it for kids? Is it meant to be a mixture? This will help you nail down which decorations and party favors are needed. We can all agree that floating, bloody heads at a kid-friendly party may be inappropriate, yes?

Create a standout entrance

Set the mood from the get-go. Whether you're throwing a big party or a small get-together, a standout entrance always makes for a good preamble to the festivities. It also makes for a great attraction for passersby.

RELATED VIDEO: These Pets Are Ready for Halloween!

Incorporate some frights

Just to keep everyone on their toes, put some scary surprises in specific corners or rooms of your house. Try having spiders drop down when people open the fridge, or skeletons pop out when someone closes the door to the bathroom.

Turn to social media for inspo

Feeling frighteningly uninspired? Social media platforms are a great way to pull inspiration and source ideas. You can certainly find hacks on how to quickly DIY everything—from decorations , to Halloween snacks and even party favors. Case in point: This Hocus Pocus charcuterie board idea.

Don't forget the music

Music plays a huge part in establishing the ambiance, so make your selections wisely . You can go for pop culture hits like "Thriller" or "Disturbia" or you can scout for theme songs from movies or TV shows that create that eerie, spooky vibe.

Have a wide array of games

One of the key components of a great party is having a solid array of games. Pull out the old classics—Uno, Connect Four, Jenga—or add Halloween touches to yard games. Candy Corn Hole, anyone?

Lay out a variety of sweet treats

Because is it even Halloween without an absurd amount of sugar ? Just keep in mind though, whether you're buying or baking, try to have a diverse assortment of sweets to accommodate any dietary needs your guests may have. Think gluten-free Skittles and gummy bears, as well as dairy-free cupcakes or cookies.

Utilize any outdoor space

If you don't want people gathering in your house—leaving rings on your pristine tables and crumbing up your nice rugs—try making use of any outdoor space you have. The best way to go about this is to create a spooky pathway that leads straight to the backyard — where a dry ice-filled cooler is ready to tempt guests with some witch's brewskis.

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25 Haunted House Ideas That Are Insanely Scary and Easy to DIY

These indoor and outdoor decorations are creative ways to gives kids and adults a scare.

Headshot of Mariah Thomas

These eerie ideas are ones your neighbors will appreciate — especially if they're lovers of the boogeyman's holiday. We've rounded up these mysterious, frightening and silly spine-chilling decorations and home decor crafts to make your haunted house the spookiest one on the block — and maybe even in the whole community. Think easy-to-make (or buy) skull lanterns, ghostly figures with pumpkin heads, eyeball balloons that float down the halls, and rotting fruit and candy urns full of delicious yet blood-inspired drinks.

And if you want even more ideas for October 31, watch one of these popular Halloween movies or wear one of these family, group, couples or Disney-inspired costumes.

Hanging Paper Lanterns

haunted house ideas paper lanterns

DIY these paper lanterns to hang on the ceiling as trick-or-treaters enter the house. Use LED bulbs to keep everything from overheating.

Get the tutorial »

Tissue Ghosts

haunted house ideas tissue ghosts

Create mini ghosts using paper honeycombs. DIY the faces with a black Sharpie and place your mini creatures on the floor throughout the space.


Batty Staircase

haunted house ideas batty staircase

As guests walk past the staircase or climb up the stairs, have them admire the paper bats scattered throughout the banister.

'Hey Boo' Punny Sign

haunted house ideas hey boo sign

Create your own wooden sign with your favorite Halloween pun. You'll need a wood plank background and wood letters to complete the look.


Get the tutorial at Club Crafted »

Pom-Pom Spiders

haunted house party ideas pom pom spiders

It's common for people to find spiders scary, so why not make your own that float and tickle your visitors?


Get the tutorial at Design Imrpovised »

Creepy Crawler Candles

haunted house ideas creepy crawler candles

Scoop the contents out of your mini pumpkins to add tealights inside. Use pipe cleaners as bug legs before sprinkling the spider-like creations around the house.


Ghostly Figure

haunted house ideas ghostly figure

After carving your jack-o'-lantern, attach it to the top of a dressmaker's dummy. Place your specter at the entrance to give everyone a fright before they walk through the rest of the blood-curling decorations that await them further inside.


haunted house ideas candy urn

Add a bunch of treats to individual bags, then wrap them up and place them in candy urns for trick-or-treaters to grab on the way to your haunted house or when they leave.

'Keep Out' Entryway

haunted house ideas entryway

There's something about a red door and a sign that reads, "Keep Out," that makes people want to enter. Cover the door with cobwebs and secure them with masking tape . Paint words of warning on two slats of cardboard before taping them to the door.

Witch Broom Door Decorations

haunted house witch broom door

Gather "witch" brooms to adorn your front door, then place a Ouija board doormat at the entrance to increase the spooky factor.


Spooky Cauldron

haunted house ideas cauldron

Prepare kid-friendly party punch even adults will enjoy. Pour it into a cauldron and dress the sides with paper flames. To get a smokey effect, throw in some dry ice.


Paper Bat Garland

haunted house ideas bat garlands

After downloading this bat stencil and tracing the shapes, cut them out and place them atop each critter made. Use a bone folder to create creases along the stencil's dotted lines. Make the wings 3D by folding the creases opposite ways before attaching the bats to a long string using tiny black clothespins .

Creepy Dinner

haunted house ideas creepy dinner

Have your friends DIY their own creepy costumes and place them as one of the main attractions for the night. They'll drink from bubbly witch cauldrons and eat delectable yet bloody-themed pastries.

Eyeball Balloons

haunted house ideas eyeball balloons

This is a cute yet equally as weird Halloween decor idea that'll make a great addition to your house or next All Hallows' Eve party.

Jack O' Lantern Display

haunted house ideas jack o lantern display

You don't have to be an expert in pumpkin carving to DIY this display. Pencil your letters onto hollowed pumpkins, then use a drill to create holes that form each letter. Christmas-tree lights will illuminate each pumpkin.


haunted house ideas skeletons

Skeletons are essential when it comes to this holiday. Place them out front, in the backyard and inside to give everyone who walks through a ribtastic time (get it?).


haunted house ideas skulls

While you can have full skeletons featured throughout the space, include some skulls in different areas as well. If you want to give them a more gruesome look, paint them in red or black for an eerie twist.


Monster Entryway

haunted house ideas monster entryway

Make the eyes of this funny-faced monster by painting black circles on two 8-inch foam half balls . Use black construction paper for the eyelashes and eyebrows, then cut two 16-inch squares of faux fur and hot-glue each around a 12-inch foam wreath . Glue the eyeballs in the center and frame the door with strips of fur using tacks of hem tape . Hang the eyes and tack or hem the eyebrows in place. Foam cones can be used for the teeth.

Portrait Luminaries

haunted house ideas portrait luminaries

Grab all of those old family portraits or get fake ones to adhere to old paper bag lanterns. Use them to decorate your front walkway to leave shivers down everyone's spines as they enter.

Get the tutorial at The House That Lars Built »

DIY Tombstone

haunted house ideas tombstone

Instead of putting your warning on the front door, frighten them with an array of tombstones scattered throughout the lawn.


Headshot of Mariah Thomas

Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping , where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women's Health and Avocado Magazine . She received her master's degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions , in 2019. She's also the founder of RTF Community , a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work. 

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@media(max-width: 64rem){.css-1yxmhzw:before{background-repeat:no-repeat;bottom:-0.2rem;color:#ffffff;content:'_';display:inline-block;height:1.25rem;line-height:1;margin-bottom:0.5rem;margin-right:0.625rem;position:relative;width:1.25rem;}.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}} Halloween 2023: Costumes, Food & Decor

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The Sits Girls

Some people like to decorate their houses for Halloween. Other people like to transform their homes into terrifying haunted houses. A little DIYing can help you get there, whether you want to create a full-blown experience for trick-or-treaters or you're just looking to decorate a little.

The more time you put into decorating for Halloween, the bigger the pay off as far as how memorable your home is to the neighbors. Explore these outrageously spooky haunted house ideas and figure out which makes the most sense for your home this year.

Use Chicken Wire to Make Creepy Ghosts

Wholesale Party Supplies

 You can hang a white sheet and create a ghost, but this idea is sure to be more creepy. By using chicken wire, you can make the ghosts appear more lifelike in form. Also, opt for cheesecloth instead of sheets to make the entire project more spooky.

DIY Chicken Wire Ghosts from  Wholesale Party Supplies

Start With PVC Pipe to Build a Grim Reaper

Print With My Pic

There's nothing quite as scary as the Grim Reaper making an appearance at your haunted house. The important thing is to take your time with this tutorial and use a foam wig stand to help make the shape true to form.

Make Your Own Grim Reaper Prop from  Print With My Pic

Use Old Dolls for a Grotesque Mobile

There's not much creepier than a bunch of ragged, destroyed dolls hanging from the ceiling with weapons and blood galore. Just make sure whichever doll you decide to destroy isn't worth a ton of money first. 

DIY Creepy Doll Mobile from  Epbot

Make Your Home's Exterior Angry


All you need to add some moody ambiance to your house is a wood sheet, sharpies, and some paint. For this project, the teeth have a lip that rests between two of the porch beams, so no nails were needed. 

Make House Come Alive for Halloween from  Craftibilities

Hang Some Halloween Skeletons From Your Roof


If you want to add a touch of creepiness to your home's exterior but don't want to go all out, pick up a bunch of plastic skeletons and dangle them from your roof and windows. 

DIY Climbing Halloween Skeletons from Instructables

Throw Around a Few Body Bags

This project is an inexpensive way to add major creepy vibes to any part of your haunted house. The key is to make the shape of the bags as body-like as possible. To accomplish this, stuff actual clothing with newspaper then put your dressed body inside the trash bags.

Body Bag Halloween Decorations from  Craftibilities

Make This Terrifying Werewolf Head

If you love sculpting with clay , try out this haunted house idea. Werewolves are a classic Halloween staple, but sometimes they can look less than scary. Learn how to make your own and it will surely look ferocious. Hang the finished piece under your front porch or just inside your home's foyer.

DIY Werewolf Head Decor from   Instructables

Float Some Candles Overhead

This haunted house DIY is inspired by Harry Potter , but even non-fans will be spooked when they look up and see the candles magically floating in mid-air.

Harry Potter Floating Candles from  The Sits Girls

Construct This Scary Jack-o'-lantern Archway

Crazi Carlos

While you will need a ton of scary plastic jack-o'-lanterns to make this idea come to life, the end result will be totally worth it. The base of this arch is constructed out of a PVC pipe, so it's easy to customize to your specific entryway.

DIY Pumpkin Archway from Crazi Carlos

Weave This Giant Spider Web

My Untangled Life

No one wants to get caught in a spider web, especially not inside a haunted house. Learn how to weave a simple web and place them around your haunted house perimeter or to block off certain areas you don't want guests.

DIY Giant Spider and Web from My Untangled Life

Turn a Normal Doormat Into a Spiderweb Doormat

Delia Creates

This haunted house idea is more practical than it is scary. If you are inviting guests into your home to get spooked, make sure they wipe off their feet first. You can customize a basic black rug using white fabric paint.

DIY Spiderweb Doormat from Delia Creates

Place Some Skeleton Zombies on the Lawn

Take advantage of your front lawn space when setting up your haunted house. One way to do this is by littering the lawn with zombie skeletons. Craft a form out of PVC pipe, add some stained red clothing, and then put on a foam skeleton head.

DIY Zombies from  Craftibilities

Craft an Archway Using Plastic Skulls and Chains

  My Funhouse Projects

One of the most impressive parts of a haunted house is the entryway, so don't skimp on this first impression. Try to create this giant archway using carved foam boards. Next, add some extra detail using paint, decorative chains, and plastic skulls 

DIY Spooky Archway from My Funhouse Projects

Paint a Spooky Halloween Subway Sign

A Pumpkin and a Princess

Signs are a great way to set the tone of your haunted house. Some haunted houses are downright scary and others might be more suitable for children. This sign works well for a more underage type haunted house. Simply find a canvas or some old boards you can stencil.

DIY Halloween Subway Art Sign from A Pumpkin and a Princess

Learn How to Build This Electric Chair

If you love building things with wood, perhaps this is the perfect haunted house idea for you to try this year. The devil is in the detail on this one, so don't expect to complete this project in one sitting.

DIY Electric Chair from  Haunt 31

Add Some Silhouetted Figures to Your Windows

To add instant haunted curb appeal to your house, make a bunch of silhouetted figures using cardboard. If you aren't good at drawing freehand, the original creator included some downloadable templates. This haunted house idea is perfect if you want to make a big impact on a very small budget.

Haunted House Silhouettes from  Make:

Don't Forget About Your Home's Interior

Flamingo Toes

If you plan on having your haunted house party or tour inside your home, make sure that virtually everything that is on display is creepy in one way or another. You can do this in an obviously gory way, or you can opt for a more elegant yet gothic approach with these candlesticks.

Spooky Crystal Ball Candlesticks from  Flamingo Toes

DIY an Eek Marquee Sign

This is another more lighthearted haunted house idea that would work well for young children. You want to have the haunted house be whimsical, a little creepy, but not downright scary. This sign is made out of paper mache letters, paint, and a string of lights

DIY Eek Marquee from Lolly Jane

Label Everything With Creepy Words

Lia Griffith

No detail is too small when it comes to creating an absolutely unforgettable haunted house. Visitor's senses will be heightened and they will take in all sorts of creepy characteristics. If your haunted house is indoors, create a vignette of poisons and other bizarre potions using these apothocary labels.

Printable Apothecary Labels for Halloween from  Lia Griffith

Create a Gallery of Ghost-like Faces

Seeing anything other than your face in a mirror can be a creepy experience. To recreate that concept in your haunted house, take some silver mirror spray paint and coat the inside of a glass frame to 60% opacity. Next, add in a photo of a creepy ghost or face behind the glass.

Hitch Hiking Ghost Mirrors from  Anniemated

Scatter Glowing Spooky Eyes Around Your House

Dream a Little Bigger

Hide these DIY glowing spooky eyes in bushes, trees, or in windows to make it look like a monster is lurking around your home. To make your own, use a cardboard tube (like a toilet paper roll) and a glow stick.

DIY Glowing Spooky Eyes from Dream a Little Bigger

Put Some Writing on the Wall

From House to Home

In many cases, writing scary words on the wall in a red blood-like paint will work well. However, if you want to have a darkly lit haunted house, using glow in the dark paint is a much better option.

Glow in the Dark Party Ideas for Halloween from  From House to Home

Pose Skeletons in Creative Ways

Helpful Homemade

If you're short on ideas on how to make a kid-friendly haunted house, consider ways to make the creepy seem more fun and human. For instance, pose some skeletons in creative ways doing everyday things. 

DIY Skeleton Lawn Decor from  Helpful Homemade

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