This website is dedicated to persons who, like my wife and me, enjoy setting up home haunts during Halloween. This is not a professional Halloween haunting site. It is for the amature like us who thinks Halloween is a time for fun, friends, and food, (and a time to scare the bejesus out of your grandkids). I will, from time to time, post photos and "how to's" of props I have made using my own ideas and those stolen from other websites. I will also provide links to other websites that have been very helpful to me in figuring out just how to make and/or animate props. In the "Photo" section of the site you will find photographs of the props used in the Haunted Forest and information regarding where the idea came from and how to build the prop or where it was purchased. Just "click" on the photo to enlarge it and see the informaion.
I have found that the haunt community is very large and its members are happy to share their ideas and expertise in DIY prop making. There are literally hundreds of websites devoted to Halloween haunts and prop making. I encourage you to take advantage of this valuable resource. Some of the most helpful to me are listed in the "Links" section of this site.
Thanks for stopping in and I look forward to any comments or advise you may have.
The Haunted Forest started a few years ago when our grandchildren wanted to have a Halloween party at our place in the country. My wife and I have 10 acres with most of it wooded. Several years ago we cleared four interconnecting walking paths through the woods. One evening our grand children were walking with us in the paths and it became rather dark with some whisps of fog coming in. Our then 5 year-old granddaughter said "Papa, this looks like a haunted forest" and voila, the Haunted Forest Halloween party was born. While my wife and I have always enjoyed Halloween it took only this small push to begin developing the haunted forest with inhabitants that we make and sometimes purchase. The weekend before Halloween we have a large family party with our grandchildren, nieces and nephews and their parents and other extended family members. The grandkids even bring school friends and our adult children invite their friends and coworkers and their children. We have a large bondfire in "Wicked Grandma's Campground" (a camping spot we made for the grandkids) and cook hotdogs and hamburgers over the open fire. We have several games set up including one where the kids have to find the bones to a skeleton that have been hidden around the grounds and then put the thing together and a large pumpking face bean bag toss. There is a variation on a carnival theme of knocking over stacked bottles but we have three skeleton heads stacked up pyramid style for the kids to try to knock off the table. We have a photo cutout of a skeleton butler and the guests place their heads on the plate he is holding for a photograph. He is next to a tombstone that reads "I Survived The Haunted Forest". At dusk it is time for the walk through the Haunted Forest where each of the four walking pathes is decorated with props (both static and animated) to give the kids a little scary but mostly fun time. The walk through starts out with simple static props of cartoon characters made of plywood that are not scary at all for the little kids. As you walk deeper and deeper into the woods the effects become more scary until you reach the dreaded graveyard. Guests can abandon their trip at any time and return to the safety of the campground. In the past the paths have not been lighted so the kids had to use flashlights to find their way around. Really spooky in the dark let me tell you. Also, since there is no electricity in the woods I have had to rely on battry power to power the animated props I have made. This actually works pretty well but finding several 12 volt auto batteries to borrow to use for two days can be difficult. I have now switched to use two small generators in addition to the 12 volt bateries and I have wired the Haunted Forest for electricity. The generators are mostly used to power dim lights in the walking paths that come on as the guests pass the triggers. They also power some of the props that run on household current. I purchaed each of the 800 watt generators from Harbor Freight on sale for $89.00 and they work very well.. They are actually pretty quite and I was able to disguise the sound they do make into something halloweenie including a goul electric lineman at the "Haunted Forest Power and Light" building. The night following our family haunt we have our adult friends over for basically the same thing.
The Haunted Forest started out pretty simply with just a few static props I made out of plywood and some simple treats provided by my wife. Now, it has basically taken on a life of it's own and grown to include both the original props for the little kids and some additional more sofisticated ones for the older kids and adults including some that are animated and some with sound. Also, large treat and craft bags and dozens of hotdogs, hamburgers and other food items have become the norm. Still, the props and decorations are not very expensive with most being handmade from ideas and plans from the internet and others being purchased from discourt stores in our area. I have found that often it is less expensive to purchase some simple animated props (such as the "Zombie Rising from the Grave" ($25.00 from K-Mart) and accessories than to make the prop from scratch. You actually do not have to spend a fortune to have a great time.
I know that eventually the Haunted Forest will be taken over by the grandkids. But for now it is Grandma's and Papa's fun time of the year.