My Ideal Haunted House

I live in a house that works pretty well for a home-haunter during the Halloween season, but it's nowhere as creepy or Halloween-functional inside and out as the ideal I have in my head.  In a perfect world, this is how I would design my ideal house for "haunted " tours and scares.

Design considerations
Continuous path - Floorplan allows a single path through the entire house so that you can give tours throughout.  (By contrast, only the first floor of my house allows a continuous path.  Upstairs lets you go between several rooms, but there are dead-ends to most of them, whereas some other historic homes even in my neighborhood have more doors between rooms to allow a circular path that never forces you to back up before you come to the original starting point.)

Secret passages -
Secret passages at several points, including a 2nd (secret) stairway leading into the basement.  These could be at the back of closets.  You move the hanging clothes aside to reveal a small door that opens inward.  (I imagine a haunted house tour that leads the group into the basement, then the can come back up via the ordinary entrance on the 1st floor.)

Mansard roof
Weather vanes
Broken shutters around the windows
Attic windows

Interior general features
Cracked plaster exposing the lath beneath
Dust covers on furniture
Secret passage (accessed behind bookshelf)
Old portraits of ancestors (can look through the eyes)
Suit of armor (plus family crests)
Bookshelves of leather-bound volumes
Stone walls in basement
Large staircases
Red velvet cushioned furniture
Wooden barrels in basement
Pipe organ (blood on the keys; plays by itself)
Pocket doors
Wood paneling

Exterior decorations

Decomposed bodies
Zombies jump out of graves
Dead, dessicated flowers
Trees have spiderwebs


Pumpkin patch
Carved Jack o'lanterns
Hay bales


Basement Room #1: The dungeon
Dungeon/torture chamber (à la Hellraiser)
Hooks (on chains) and other edged instruments
Castle paper (i.e., faux bricks) or lath (lit from behind)
Torches on walls

Basement Room #2: The Serial Killer's "workshop"/trophy room
Collection of mementos/trophies from victims:
Locket of hair (with beret like a child's)
Keepsakes like a watch
Pictures of crime scenes
Newspaper clippings of his crimes in a scrapbook and pinned to a wall
Pictures of (future?) victims
Various murder weapons (bloody knives, meat cleavers, saws)
Barrels for disposing of the bodies
Body parts in jars

Basement Room #3: Mad Scientist Lab
Frankenstein's lab
Jars of body parts
Test tubes and beakers with dry ice
Jacob's ladder
Knife switches
Operating table (with straps)
Medical equipment (e.g., IV bag and stand, instrument carts, etc.)

1st floor


Grandfather clock

Living Room: Retro Decor ('50s/'60s/'70s)
Haunted TVs
Faces try to get out of tv sets
Glowing screens changing colors
Sets filled with props (moving, strobing lights, etc.)

Family Room: Christmas Bloody Christmas
Bloody presents
Open presents = body parts
Tree with broken ornaments and bloody weapons, etc.

Crystal ball on table
Tarot cards
Books move on the bookshelves
Bookshelves -> lead to secret passage

Dining Room
Chandelier (candle-style)
Servant's Quarters?
Bloody post-murder scene
Innards wrapped in plastic
Bloody rubber gloves lying on the floor and in the sink

Secret passage - goes from upstairs (2nd story) to basement, but you can peek through the portrait's eyes into the library on the 1st floor

The 2nd floor

Master Bedroom: Room on Fire
Projector with flames
Yellow/orange/red lights
Sound fx = roaring fire (and maybe sound
Windblown flames (inflatable blower)
Burning/charred skeletons
Fog machine

Guest Bedroom: Crime Scene
Police tape
Body outline on floor
Blood splatter
Knife or saw (i.e., murder weapon)

Nursery Bedroom: The Exorcism of Rosemary's Baby
Demon girl in floating bed (or floating above)
Pea soup splattered on walls
Bible (and pages torn out and strewn around room)
Crosses (or rosaries) and holy water
Pictures turned crooked on the walls
Bloody walls
Demon baby
Old children's toys (with a demonic twist or slightly destroyed)

Attic area #1: Kingdom of the Spiders
Cocooned flies and other things (like a person)
Egg sack
Giant spider
Smaller spiders

Attic area #2: Forgotten Sibling
Freak chained up
Stained mattress
Bones with all the meat eaten away

The above is based in part on the design of classic haunted mansions from tv and movies such as The Addams' Family mansion, The Munster mansion, The House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting, The Changling, The Transylvanians' castle from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and especially Disney's Haunted Mansion (which itself is based on several of the above and others).  I also incorporated ideas from my list of room scenes and themes.  I wish I had the artistic skills to convey many of the designs above, but it will have to remain a working outline until I actually build something like this.


Copyright 2014 the Ale[x]orcist.