Halloween is just around the corner, and what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than by turning your outdoor space into a hauntingly fun area?
Whether you’re looking to throw the ultimate Halloween party for your family members, or just want to set up a spooky area for the neighborhood kids, we’ve got you covered.
The best part is that you don’t have to break the bank to create your own haunted house. A trip to your local Home Depot or Dollar Tree will get you most of the inexpensive supplies you need.
From simple haunted house setups to more elaborate designs, these outdoor halloween decorations are perfect for families with young children aged 0-12.
So grab your cauldron, and let’s get brewing some spooktacular fun.
Your backyard will be the talk of the “boo”-levard!
1. Eerie Entryway
A spooky Halloween house starts in the front yard!
Start with a pathway made of glow-in-the-dark pebbles or lined with eerie lighting to guide your little ghouls and goblins to the “haunted” area. You can use light bulbs or LED tea lights to achieve this effect.
Create a haunting entrance or front porch adorned with a large spider web and faux spiders. You can buy fake cobwebs or use tattered, dyed cheesecloth.
Don’t forget a fog machine or strobe lights to increase the scare factor. Add a sign on your front door or garage door that says “Enter if you dare.”
For a fun and interactive touch, consider hanging some battery-operated, motion-activated bats or ghosts that “come alive” as visitors walk by.
2. Zombie Zone
Start by designating an area with caution tape, orange cones, or chicken wire and duct table to signal the “zombie-infested” territory.
Use hay bales or wooden pallets to make rudimentary barriers, mimicking a post-apocalyptic hideout.
For the zombies themselves, you can use scarecrows dressed in tattered clothing with painted zombie faces or even recruit older kids or adults to play the part, complete with easy-to-remove, washable makeup.
Don’t forget the ambience—play some eerie background music or zombie growls softly on a loop.
To make it more interactive, set up a “Zombie Survival Kit” station filled with squirt guns (the “antidotes”) and small flashlights, allowing younger adventurers to “neutralize” the zombies safely.
3. Ghostly Graveyard
A Ghostly Graveyard can serve as a spine-chilling yet enchanting corner in your backyard haunted house.
Start by choosing a secluded area and lay down some dark mulch or soil to set the stage.
Add graveyard decorations like DIY tombstones. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is by using cardboard, foam boards, black paint or black marker. Paint them gray and write funny or spooky epitaphs like “R.I.P. Unfinished Homework.”
Place plastic skeleton hands emerging from the ground for added spookiness.
Pepper the graveyard with “ghosts” made from white bed sheets, and hang them from trees so they flutter in the wind.
If you have a little extra budget, consider adding some solar-powered or battery-operated lights under the sheets for a haunting glow.
And for the final touch, add a fog machine or strategically place a few bowls of dry ice hidden behind tombstones to create a ghostly mist.
Here are some clever inscriptions to get you started:
- “Here Lies Fred—Too Lazy to Stay Dead”
- “R.I.P. Ben Bitten
- “Bea A. Fraid—Because She Wasn’t”
- “Rusty N. Pieces—Falling Apart but Still Kicking”
- “Wanda R. Round—Lost but Now Found”
- “Will B. Back—This Isn’t Goodbye”
- “Cliff Hanger—The Suspense is Killing Him… Again”
- “Izzy Gone?—No, He’s Back”
- “Noah Lott—But Now He’s Back for More”
- “Barry D. Alive—Didn’t Stay Buried Long”
4. Witch’s Den
Ah, a Witch’s Den—what a bewitching way to add a dash of magic and mystery to your backyard haunted house!
Start by picking a cozy corner, ideally near some trees or shrubs to give it an “enchanted forest” feel.
You can use a pop-up tent or create a makeshift canopy with some dark fabric or netting as the witch’s lair. Drape twinkling string lights above or within the den to mimic a magical aura, or go for green lights to give it a more eerie feel.
Inside the den, consider setting up a “cauldron” made from a black plastic bucket or pot. Fill it with water tinted with a few drops of food coloring and add some dry ice for a smoky, bubbling effect. Surround the cauldron with jars filled with “witch’s ingredients” like rubber eyeballs, plastic spiders, and gummy worms.
Don’t forget a broomstick and maybe even a pointy hat placed conspicuously nearby!
For an interactive touch, you could offer kids “magic potions” (fruit juices in small bottles) or let them cast a “spell” by tossing ingredients (small toys or foam balls) into the cauldron. Just make sure everything is safe and age-appropriate for your tiny sorcerers.
5. Vampire’s Lair
Creating a Vampire’s Lair is a fang-tastic way to add a gothic touch to your backyard haunted house!
Choose a dimly lit area, perhaps under a tree or a canopy, to set the mysterious mood. Drape the area in dark, luxurious fabrics like velvets or satins in deep reds, blacks, and purples to create a lush, eerie backdrop.
Don’t forget a mock “coffin” that you can make from a cardboard box or even a small wooden crate, painted black and lined with red fabric.
For added atmosphere, place ornate candelabras fitted with flameless, flickering LED candles around the lair, or add red lighting to complete the ominous atmosphere.
Fill a couple of glass jars with fake blood made from water mixed with red food coloring, and set them on a table next to some plastic goblets.
Consider adding a bowl of “bat wings” made from black corn chips for a fun, thematic snack.
Garlic cloves, small crosses, or even a plush bat hanging from a tree can add more layers to your vampire theme.
If you have a portable speaker, play some haunting classical music or creepy organ tunes softly in the background to complete the vibe.
Make it interactive by giving kids “vampire hunter kits” consisting of small water squirters filled with “holy water” and a tiny mirror to “check for reflections.” It’s a way to engage the kiddos without scaring them too much.
6. Floating Apparitions
Floating apparitions can create an ethereal, ghostly atmosphere that’s sure to captivate your backyard haunted house visitors.
While there are various ways to achieve this effect, here are some ideas that are relatively simple and safe:
Option 1: Cheesecloth Ghosts
- Materials: Cheesecloth, white craft glue, balloons, fishing line, and small hooks or tree branches for hanging.
- Procedure: Inflate a balloon and drape a few layers of cheesecloth coated with diluted white craft glue over it. Allow it to dry until it holds its shape.
- Hanging: Attach a length of fishing line to the top of your cheesecloth ghost and hang it from a tree branch or hook so it appears to float in mid-air.
Option 2: Foam Mannequin Heads
- Materials: Foam mannequin heads, white fabric or sheets, fishing line, LED tea lights, and hooks or tree branches for hanging.
- Procedure: Drape the white fabric over the foam head and secure it with a little glue or rubber bands.
- Hanging: Like with the cheesecloth ghost, use fishing line to hang your apparition from above, making sure it’s securely fastened.
Here’s a step-by-step process for a DIY Hanging Halloween Ghost from Lowe’s.
7. Alien Landing Zone
To create an Alien Landing Zone in your backyard, first mark off a “landing pad” using glow-in-the-dark paint or LED lights.
For a UFO, hang a foil-covered hula hoop from a tree and add some blinking LED lights underneath. Scatter some “alien artifacts” like metallic-painted rocks around the landing area.
Inflate green or gray balloons for alien heads and attach them to makeshift bodies made from old clothes.
For an interactive twist, set up an “Alien Communication Station” where kids can decode messages or write their own.
Play some space-themed music to complete the atmosphere. It’s a fun, imaginative way to add a sci-fi touch to your Halloween celebrations!
8. Mad Scientist Lab
Creating a Mad Scientist Lab brings a touch of the bizarre and the scientific to your backyard haunted house.
To get started, designate a corner or a table for the “lab.” Drape it with a white or black tablecloth and set up a few beakers, test tubes, and flasks filled with colorful liquids (use water with food coloring for a safe alternative).
Add a fog machine or a bowl of dry ice hidden among the lab equipment to create a smoky, mysterious effect.
For interactive fun, you could have simple “experiments” that kids can participate in. Mixing baking soda and vinegar to create a fizzing reaction is always a hit. If you want to go the extra mile, rubber gloves filled with popcorn can act as “severed hands,” or peeled grape “eyeballs” can be hidden in a bowl for a tactile surprise.
Don’t forget to add a mad scientist character to oversee the lab! This could be a family member dressed up in a lab coat, goggles, and wild wig, or even a scarecrow-like figure outfitted similarly.
To round out the experience, background sounds of electrical zaps, bubbling liquids, or maniacal laughter can be played from a speaker.
This Mad Scientist Lab is not just visually stimulating but also interactive and educational, making it a win-win for a backyard haunted house aimed at kids and families.
9. Tunnel of Doom
To construct your tunnel, you can use materials like PVC pipe or wooden frames covered with dark fabric or plastic sheeting. If you want a simpler setup, even a row of chairs draped with dark blankets can create the tunnel effect.
Once your structure is in place, add some “doomful” decorations. Consider hanging rubber bats, fake cobwebs, or glow-in-the-dark skeletons inside. For added effect, use battery-operated string lights in red or green to provide a dim, eerie glow along the tunnel’s walls.
Make the tunnel more interactive by adding touch-and-feel stations along the way. Bowls filled with peeled grapes as “eyeballs,” or cooked spaghetti as “worms,” can offer a tactile surprise for brave explorers.
To heighten the suspense, you could also play haunting background music or sound effects, like distant screams or footsteps, from a hidden speaker.
10. Lost Expedition Camp
Imagine transforming a cozy corner of your backyard into a mysterious “Lost Expedition Camp.” You could pitch a camping tent as the main attraction, surrounded by the remnants of an expedition gone awry.
Nearby, an artificial campfire flickers, made from LED lights and colored cellophane. Old maps and compasses are strewn about, suggesting a quest that didn’t end well. Perhaps there’s even a “cursed idol” made of clay or stone sitting conspicuously among the artifacts.
To elevate the atmosphere, you can drape vines or green streamers from the trees to create a sense of dense foliage, and play sound effects like animal calls to create an unsettling aura.
Hidden treasures scattered around could add a layer of adventure for the kids, encouraging them to engage in a mini scavenger hunt.
For an interactive twist, you could designate a “survivor” from the expedition—a family member or friend dressed up as a weary explorer—to tell an age-appropriate, captivating story of adventure and narrow escapes. Don’t forget to set up a photobooth with explorer gear for fun photo ops!
11. Creepy Circus Tent
Picture a corner of your backyard transformed into a “Creepy Circus Tent,” complete with all the strange and unsettling elements of a circus that’s not quite right.
You could construct a makeshift tent by draping colorful fabric over a framework made of PVC pipes or wooden poles. The more tattered and faded the fabric, the creepier the atmosphere will be.
To mark the entrance, a sign reading “Step Right Up… If You Dare” could hang above.
Inside the tent, a menagerie of eerie figures should await—think juggling skeletons, creepy clown dolls, or even stuffed animals with exaggerated, unsettling expressions.
To amplify the atmosphere, you can employ black lights, which will make any neon or white elements glow eerily. You might also want to add fog for an extra layer of mystique. Drape spider webs from the tent ceiling and corners for an aged, abandoned look.
Sound effects or spooky circus music can play from hidden speakers. Consider classics like “Danse Macabre” or “Funeral March of a Marionette,” but slowed down and distorted for added creepiness.
For a fun twist, you could have “carnival games” with a Halloween spin. For instance, a ring toss game using glow-in-the-dark rings and stakes shaped like bones or a “knock down the cans” game using tin cans painted with creepy faces.
12. Phantom Opera House
Set up an area with a small wooden stage or platform, adorned with red velvet curtains or drapes that you can find at a thrift store or craft shop. A sign hanging above the stage could read “The Phantom’s Lair,” giving guests a hint of what’s to come.
For the backdrop, you could hang vintage chandeliers or faux crystal decorations to mimic the luxurious setting of an opera house. A fog machine would add an ethereal quality to the space.
Inside this haunted opera enclave, have a “phantom” character make unexpected appearances. A family member or friend could dress up in classic phantom attire, complete with mask and cape, and occasionally emerge from behind the curtains or from a hidden corner to startle and delight the audience.
To set the mood, play haunting opera music softly in the background. Songs like “O Fortuna” or selections from the “Phantom of the Opera” soundtrack would fit perfectly.
For a fun, interactive element, consider providing masks for guests to wear, mimicking the masquerade balls often associated with operas.
13. Ghostly Tea Party
The “Ghostly Tea Party” is a splendid idea, offering an enchanting yet eerie corner to your haunted backyard.
Create a delicate setup featuring a small table adorned with a lacy tablecloth, vintage teacups, saucers, and a teapot. To bring your ghostly guests to life, use white sheets or translucent fabric to drape over chairs, filling them out a bit to give the impression of seated spirits. If you want to get really crafty, a bit of wire framing can give your “ghosts” more shape.
Now for the magical touch: place dry ice in the teapot, so when it’s time to ‘pour the tea,’ an enchanting mist will billow out, mesmerizing your young visitors. (Don’t forget to make sure this is done safely and by an adult, as dry ice should not be handled by children.)
For ambient music, consider playing haunting, music-box versions of classic songs to fill the air with a sense of whimsical melancholy. Scatter some faux rose petals or autumn leaves around the area to add to the haunted garden vibe.
To make the experience interactive, you could create little cards with spooky riddles or fortunes and place them in each teacup. Kids could pick a cup and discover their ‘ghostly fortune’ as part of the experience.
14. Enchanted Mirror Maze
To create your maze, you can use freestanding mirrors, or large cardboard panels or plywood covered with fabric. To make the “mirrors,” use aluminum foil, mylar sheets, or reflective window film attached to the panels. This creates a disorienting but fun illusion that’s perfect for kids to navigate.
Arrange your panels in a zigzag or labyrinthine pattern, leaving enough room for little adventurers to walk through. Add a few creepy decals like ghost faces or eerie phrases on some of the mirrors. Add some surprises along the way like hanging rubber bats, soft spider webs made from cotton or yarn, or even motion-activated LED lights that flicker or change color.
For added excitement, play some eerie, ambient sounds like soft footsteps, whispers, or distant laughter through Bluetooth speakers hidden throughout the maze. This enhances the atmosphere without making it too intense for younger children.
And always make sure to have an easy way out for those who might find the maze a bit too challenging.
15. Mini-Maze of Fright
Using cardboard boxes, hay bales, or short wooden dividers, create a small maze that is easily navigable for little ones.
You can decorate the walls of the maze with removable spooky items or Halloween-themed stickers of cute ghosts, smiling pumpkins, and friendly witches. Add a bit of excitement with hidden treasure spots throughout the maze. Fill these with small toys, stickers, or candies that kids can collect as they go along.
To ramp up the fun factor, consider adding some simple interactive elements like string “spider webs” that kids have to crawl under, or small hanging foam bats that they can high-five as they pass.
If you’re up for a little storytelling, why not place clues or riddles along the maze that lead to a “monster” who turns out to be just a friendly stuffed animal?
16. Haunted Dollhouse
Start with an existing dollhouse or build a simple one from cardboard or wooden crates. Paint it in darker, muted colors like grays, blacks, or purples to give it that haunted aesthetic.
Windows made from translucent paper can give the illusion of ghostly figures peering out when backlit with small LED lights.
Inside, furnish the dollhouse with “haunted” miniature fruity and dolls: think tiny skeletons, cobweb-covered furniture, or mini pumpkins. Battery-operated tea lights can serve as ghostly flickering candles. You could even add small, motion-activated sound chips that play eerie whispers or creaking floorboard sounds when someone gets close.
Situating the haunted dollhouse on a table at child’s eye level is a great way to allow them to easily peer into the rooms.
17. Mummy Wrap Station
A Mummy Wrapping Station can be a hit, offering a playful and interactive area where kids can turn into mini-mummies!
All you need are a few rolls of toilet paper, gauze, or white crepe streamers—just make sure they’re soft and easy to unravel.
Set up a designated area, perhaps with a sign that reads “Mummy Wrapping Station: Unleash Your Inner Mummy!”
When kids arrive at the station, they can take turns wrapping each other up in the “mummy” materials. Parents can help with the wrapping or take pictures of their kids’ mummification journey.
For an added touch of fun, consider timing the wrapping activities and offering a small prize, like a sticker or a glow stick, to whoever becomes a mummy the fastest!
Make sure to keep safety scissors on hand to free any over-enthusiastically wrapped little mummies, and always supervise the activity to ensure everyone’s safety.
A Mummy Wrapping Station will not only make for great photos but will also provide an interactive and unforgettable experience for kids and parents alike!
18. Monster Mud Pit
A Monster Mud Pit is a delightfully messy and tactile experience that’s sure to make a splash at your backyard haunted house!
First, designate a corner of your yard for this gooey adventure. You can use a small inflatable pool lined with a waterproof tarp. Fill it with a mud mixture that’s safe and non-toxic—you can make your own using soil and water.
Once your mud pit is prepared, add some creepy-crawly surprises like plastic bugs, small rubber snakes, or even “buried treasure” like plastic coins or beads. Make sure that all the items are large enough to be easily visible and safe for children to handle.
To make it extra “monstrous,” you could add green food coloring to give the mud a swampy, eerie hue. You might also consider placing some “monster feet” stepping stones leading up to the mud pit—these can be made from simple stone pavers painted to look like monster feet.
Don’t forget to set up a cleaning station nearby, equipped with towels, wet wipes, and a water hose to make it easy for kids to clean up after their muddy adventure. You might also want to let parents know in advance to bring an extra set of clothes for their little monsters.
With the Monster Mud Pit, you offer an immersive, sensory experience that lets kids get their hands (and feet) dirty while fueling their imaginations. It’s a muddy good time that’s sure to be the talk of your haunted backyard extravaganza!
19. Ghostly Gazebo
Transform your garden gazebo into a ghostly gathering. Drape white sheets from the ceiling and add a fog machine for that ethereal touch. Scatter some fake spider webs for added spookiness. Perfect for a fun storytelling session with the kids.
20. Spooky Fairy Garden
To create a Spooky Fairy Garden that adds a whimsical yet eerie vibe to your backyard haunted house, you’ll start by selecting a shallow planter box or a designated corner in your garden.
Fill it with potting soil and plant dark foliage like black mondo grass or dark-colored succulents. These plants set the stage for a mysterious fairyland.
Next, add some haunted structures to your garden. You could have miniature fairy houses that you’ve painted in darker shades and adorned with cobwebs made from stretched cotton. You can also create a mini graveyard by using small pebbles as tombstones and writing tiny epitaphs on them. If you’re feeling especially creative, set up a tiny potion stand using small jars or beads to represent witch’s brews.
To make your fairy garden come alive, incorporate tiny LED lights, ideally in eerie shades like blue or purple, hiding them among the plants and structures. These lights will provide a ghostly glow as dusk settles. You might even consider adding a misting effect with a small misting device or safely placed dry ice for an added layer of spookiness.
Round off your magical, spooky setting with some finishing touches. Place miniature spiders, skeletons, or fairy figures dressed in tiny witch hats or capes throughout the garden. You could also create small, whimsical signs that say things like “Beware of the Witch” or “Haunted Hollow.”
21. Pirate’s Cove
Use a sandbox or a section of the yard to create a pirate treasure hunt. Bury small treasure chests or gold-painted rocks for kids to dig up.
22. Tiki Torches of Terror
Line your pathways with tiki torches and adorn them with tiny hanging skeletons for a fire-lit, spooky ambiance.
23. Frightening Fog
Rent or buy a fog machine to add an eerie mist across your backyard, elevating the creepy atmosphere.
24. Spooky Silhouettes
Cut spooky shapes like witches, bats, and cats from black construction paper and attach them to windows or fences. They’ll make creepy silhouettes when backlit.
25. The Cauldron Ball Pit
A Cauldron Ball Pit is a magical idea that mixes the witchy atmosphere of Halloween with playful fun for kids.
To make your own, you could use a large inflatable pool as the base. Paint it black to resemble a cauldron and add some green or purple balls to simulate a witch’s brew. You might even toss in a few rubber spiders, eyeballs, or other spooky items for added effect.
To complete the look, place a foam or cardboard cutout of a witch stirring the cauldron at one end. Make sure to have adult supervision to ensure the kids’ safety while they play.
26. Bone-Chilling Balloons
Fill black and orange balloons with helium and tie them to fences, trees, or even to small weights on the ground. Draw ghostly faces on them for added fun.
Fill transparent balloons with glow sticks and hang them from trees. When darkness falls, they’ll look like floating orbs.
28. Monster Footprints
Cut giant footprints out of cardboard and lay a path through your yard to make it look like a monster has wandered through.
29. Ominous Oracle
Have a family member or a pre-recorded message act as the “Ominous Oracle,” doling out Halloween-themed fortunes or riddles from inside a makeshift tent. Decorate the interior with rich, dark fabrics and sparkling faux gems for a mystical feel.
30. Haunted Fishing Pond
Use a small pool or a large basin to create a “haunted” fishing area. Attach small, lightweight toys to fishing lines for the little ones to “catch.”
31. Sinister Scarecrows
Dress up scarecrows in old clothes and add spooky masks. Position them around the garden for a creepy harvest feel.
32. Face-Painting Station
Set up a face-painting station where kids can get their faces painted with Halloween-themed designs like pumpkins, ghosts, or bats.
33. Jack-o’-Lantern Jubilee
Carve or paint various expressions on a collection of pumpkins and display them together as a gallery of ghoulish grins.
34. Spooky Sounds
Hide a Bluetooth speaker in the bushes and play haunting sound effects or eerie music to set the mood.
35. Phantom Photo Booth
Create a photo booth with Halloween-themed props like witch hats, capes, and fake fangs for a fun picture-taking session. Or, rent a 360 photo booth so everyone can get a good look at their costumes!
36. Ghastly Graffiti Wall
Hang up a white sheet and provide washable, glow-in-the-dark markers for kids to draw their own ghosts and ghouls.
37. Moonlit Movie Night
Project a kid-friendly Halloween movie onto a screen or blank wall for a spooky outdoor movie night.
38. Wicked Wind Chimes
Create wind chimes out of bones (fake, of course!), tiny cauldrons, or even small, hollowed-out pumpkins for a harmonious yet spooky atmosphere.
39. Light-up Eyes
Purchase some light up eyes to place in the bushes for an eery effect.
40. Trick or Treasure Hunt
Set up a Halloween-themed treasure hunt with clues that lead to a grand “treat” at the end.
41. Cursed Campfire
Host a “cursed” campfire complete with spooky tales and marshmallow “ghosts” for roasting.
42. Tarot Card Corner
For older kids, set up a tarot card reading station manned by a family member dressed as a fortune teller.
43. Werewolf’s Woods
Decorate a corner of your yard with wolf figures and claw marks on trees for a “werewolf’s woods” adventure zone.
44. Phantom Pumpkin Patch
Paint small pumpkins in phosphorescent paint and hide them around the yard for a glowing pumpkin hunt at dusk.
45. Ghost Bowling
Use a small pumpkin as a bowling ball for a game of ghost bowling.
46. Haunted Obstacle Course
Set up a simple obstacle course featuring tunnels, hula hoops, and balance beams, then make it spooky with decorations and themed challenges.
47. Fang-tastic Bean Bag Toss
Cut out a vampire’s mouth in a large piece of cardboard and use it as the target for a bean bag toss game.
48. Pumpkin Patch Path
Line your garden path with pumpkins of various sizes and shapes. Illuminate them with flameless candles for a festive and safe pathway that leads to the haunted happenings in your yard.
49. Haunted Library
Create bookshelves using cardboard and place old, “cursed” books (really just aged or distressed regular books). Add cobwebs, and perhaps a robed librarian figure who “shushes” loudly when someone walks by.
50. Giant Spider Web
Use stretchy white fabric or heavy string to create a large spider web in a corner of the yard. Add a huge plush spider and scatter smaller toy spiders throughout the web. You could even include a cocooned “victim” made from stuffed clothes wrapped in the webbing.
So there you have it—50 bewitchingly fun backyard haunted house ideas to make your Halloween a memorable one! Whether you’re the DIY queen or a busy parent looking for quick, store-bought solutions, there are outdoor halloween decoration ideas for everyone in this list.
With some extra work and a sprinkle of creativity, the end result will be an outdoor Halloween spectacle that the whole neighborhood will talk about. Your family’s Halloween night will be one for the books!
So gather your little monsters, and let’s make this Halloween spellbindingly unforgettable!