How to Turn Your Home Into a Haunted Mansion
By Danielle Steele, Contributor
This Halloween, many of us are planning on celebrating like it’s 2019, so why not decorate for the occasion? Whether you’re staying home and binge-watching old classics like Halloweentown, trick-or-treating with the kids, or going out with friends, these decor ideas will get you into the spooky spirit.
1. Book of Spells
These D.I.Y book jackets will spook up your coffee table reads. You’ll need at least one book with a removable jacket, a large sheet of paper (I used wrapping paper), a pencil, a ruler, a pair of scissors, and any decorating supplies you’d like to use.
Simply take the jacket off your book, press it down so it lays flat on the sheet of paper, and trace around it with a pencil. Next, cut out the traced shape with scissors, or you can use a ruler to tear away the edges for a rugged look. Now you can fold the cover around your book. The new jacket will stay in place on its own, or you can gently attach it to the inside with tape.
It’s time to come up with a creative title and label your spell book. For a clean look, you can purchase letter stencils from the dollar store and use markers to colour them in. Decorate and label the cover. Now you have your very own spell book – happy casting!
2. Bloody Candles
This gory decoration is perfect for a shock factor. For this project, you’ll need one dark red candle, one white candle, a large piece of cardboard, and long-reach matches. A lighter works too, but I found long matches to be the safer option. Before you begin, find a safe working space near an open window and away from anything flammable.
Next, lay down the cardboard and place the white candle on top. The cardboard will catch any dripping wax. The melted wax can be quite hot, so you’ll want to use caution while doing the next few steps.
Hold a burning match in one hand and the red candle in the other. Gently press the lit match to the top of the candle until the wax starts to melt, then pour the wax onto the top of the white candle.
For best results, work your way around the rim of the white candle, up to the wick. The red wax will naturally drip down the sides of the candle. You can repeat this process multiple times to add texture and even darken the colour. Try your best not to pour any wax on the wick of the candle.
3. Specimen Jars
To recreate this classic horror-movie prop, you’ll need a mason jar, tap water, green food colouring, and a plastic creature from the dollar store. You can choose almost any toy you want, as long as it fits snugly in the jar and doesn’t float (heavier plastics should help you avoid this problem).
Simply put the ‘specimen’ in the jar, add a drop of green food colouring, and fill the jar with water. You can play around with the ratio of food colouring and water to get the perfect colour.
If you want to age the jar, use black acrylic paint and a dry paint brush. Dip the brush in a small amount of paint and use rough strokes to tint the lid black. The jar will look like it hasn’t been touched in decades.
4. The Haunted Portrait
Creepy portraits are a staple in any haunted mansion. Head to the thrift store and look for an old picture frame with fake gold trim.
To add a spook-factor, use the aging technique I describe under “Specimen Jars.”
For the portrait itself, you might get lucky and thrift a peculiar framed portrait, or you can print something off online.
Finally, I added a finishing touch by painting with black around the portrait subjects. This is totally optional, I just thought it added to the ‘haunted’ look.
I hope these decorations get you into the Halloween spirit and turn your home into a haunted mansion. Happy crafting!