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This is a continuation of the series: Seven Layers of Scare. If you haven't already, I suggest you read that blog post first: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/528-seven-layers-scare.html

Now that we've discussed Seven Layers of Scare, lets drill down deep and focus on....


The first area to decorate is the perimeter of the room. This tells the viewer where they are. A jungle (camo netting), freezer (frosted over stainless steel), spider lair (webs). For a while I've been collecting ideas for decorating walls. This blog post may seem a bit rambling but hopefully you'll grab an idea or two.

You will notice a consistent theme: Layering. Not only is it fast but adds great detail and realism.

Okay, let's go. I've got quick ideas and not so quick ideas. Let's start with the quick ones first.

Quick Wall Draping

Camo Netting: 10' x 20' is a great size
Cheesecloth: so wispy that when you further pull it and shred a bit, it makes a room look abandoned or webby.
Creepy Cloth: This is basically black cheesecloth that's already been pulled. Also gives an abandoned look but with a more Gothic feel.
Jute Netting: AKA Dorp, Erosion cloth. Love, love, love this stuff! Not only will it fit many types of rooms (jungle, torture, spider, vampire, cellar, forest) it also has the perfect scent. Smells like the outdoors, dank basement....Halloween time.
If you have some liquid latex, you could also dip jute netting that had some of the bottom cross netting removed so it's stringy dipped into green-tinted latex. Let dry and you now have Haunt Moss!
Black Landscape Fabric: My walls are actually made of this and is the essential background color - black. If your garage walls are also painted a happy green color like my walls are 11 months a year, just throw this on the wall and instant dread. Plus it's a matte sheen and not the shiny black garbage bag sheen.
Fake Spider Webs: When you get good at pulling it, it can cover quite a bit.
Opaque Plastic Tarps: Great for slaughter rooms or, if shredded, adding an abandoned vibe.

Quick Finishing Touches

Chains: All sizes, real and fake ones
Barbed Wire: The fake kind please. heh.
Shredded Curtains
Ropes: I have 1' thick ropes and jute ropes I pulled from the jute netting
Moss/Greenery: Spanish moss, fake greenery, fake vines

Using just these items I can layer them over one another and it quickly gives the room a sense of what it's supposed to be. Here's some examples I've used myself to layer up the haunt walls

Spider Room: Black background (landscape fabric). Then a layer of pulled and ripped jute netting. Then layers of pulled and shredded cheesecloth. Finish with fake pulled spider webbing.

Jungle/Forest Room: Camo netting. Then a layer of pulled and ripped jute netting. Ropes, chains, barbed wire, moss.

Torture Room: Black background. Then pulled and ripped jute netting. Ropes, chains and barbed wire. Plastic tarp would also look ominous.

Vampire Room: Black background, jute netting and then creepy cloth. Ropes and spider webs.

Extreme Walls

Now, let's talk about going extreme if you are going more for the pro haunt look. You will need rigid walls for these ideas.

Shed: Dirtied up plywood walls and then nail up wood boards haphazardly. Hang rusty items and bits of moss/greenery.

Boiler Room: Get a bunch of big PVC pipes and run them along the walls like they were sewer pipes. After you rusted them up, you'd swear they were real sewer pipes. You can also use empty conduit and electrical boxes to help give the room an industrial look. A few rusted signs would look great here. Here's a shot of the PVC pipes as sewer pipes (unpainted yet - From The Darkness haunt):

Cage/Prison: Attach a section of chain link fence up to the wall. Throw on a sign or two.

Morgue: Cut out and shape morgue doors out of foam and attach to the walls. Paint the whole wall to blend in. Go back over with black paint to add shading and definition.

Egyptian Tomb: Line the walls with foamboard and carve in hieroglyphics. Splatter acetone on it to age and then paint. Be sure to add jute netting, jute rope and webbing.

Toxic: Great Stuff is your friend here. Starting at the top of the wall, build it up and then make it look like it is spilling down. Paint fluorescent green and add some rust paint effects.

Freezer: Mix in some coarse texture additive for paint in your monster mud. Tint the mud to be a whitish gray. Roll it on the wall. It will make the walls look frozen. For extra detail put some Great Stuff in cracks and dripping down a bit. Also put in some empty electrical conduit and paint all that to match the whitish gray. Never tried this but perhaps spray some iridescent glitter to give it a light reflective frosty look.

Garage: Brickwork would be key here. Home Depot sells some pretty cheap brick paneling ($20) that is 8' x 4'. Then dirty it up with black spray paint. If you are good at graffiti, add some. A fake window that is back-lit would look great. Here's an idea of one:

Haunted Mansion: At Home Depot, they sell paintable wall paper. I like this stuff because it's really thick. Paint the wall a gray and then loosely attach the paper to the wall and paint it. Mossy green is a great color. Then, rip some of it from the wall but leave it attached at the bottom. Hang some pictures at an angle on the wall. Screw them to the wall if people are close to it. Finish with spider webs.

Scare It Up!

You know when you are in a room and you realize that there is a spider on the wall right in front of you at eye level? YIKES!!! Use that to your advantage. Nail up a big creepy spider right at eye level. Or, have dummies on either side of a skinny hallway. They don't have to be free-standing all the time. Make them half-buried in the wall. Would you want to walk by this?

Parting Ideas and Thoughts

There should be nothing in the room that looks new. Especially fabric. A fast way to dirty things up is a can of cheap black spray paint. Randomly hit the clean item with the paint until it takes on a dirtied appearance.

Add depth and smoke. Taking the same can of black spray paint, add shadowing to any pipes or morgue doors you added. Find a few corners of your wall and add smoke damage. Does wonders for giving a room an abandoned feel.

Don't forget to add painting details. My favorite color for this is Raw Sienna. It has a rusty, earthy look. Put dabs and vertical streaks on your walls. Then get some mossy green and do the same. Finally some gray and it should look good and evil. Don't forget to really water the same paint down to 'wash' the walls with grime. Here's a great shot of what painting details can do to a plain brick wall (from The Darkness haunt):

Monster mud. This stuff is great to add deeper grime to the walls. If you tint it the color you want, you won't have to paint it again. I like to tint it with the raw sienna color: it's like instant rust.

Clear Gloss Paint. Vertical streaks of this gives the wall a wet look. If you used some lime-green tinted monster mud in places, go over it with the clear gloss paint and you've got slime!

LED Light Wall Wash. Lighting is a fast way to color a wall and set the mood. A red wash implies murder, fire. Green washes is toxic, alien. Blue is night, cold. Purple is Gothic, vampire and yellow is forest, rampage. In the movies you see this done all the time.

Spider Webs: The final touch of abandonment. If you have a web gun, also try to get a hold of Fuller's Earth. It's the dust that is used to make webs look old.

I hope this was helpful in adding more details to your haunt to set the mood. Who knows, you may like this so much you may do this to your living room permanently. heheh.

505 Posts
i keep coming back to this. It's like 10 years' haunting experience available to even a first year newbie like me!
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