Having kids decorate a spooky forest for their friends or younger trick-or-treaters helps them transition from wearing children's costumes into playing a more adult role during the holiday. Using a variety of props and enlisting the help of some friends to spook the passers-by can help them transform an ordinary space into a creepy area to frighten the unfortunate visitors on Halloween.
Use a Fog Machine
To get the freaky look that teens want, infuse a scary element like fog. Using a fog machine can help you get the spooky vibe you want without having to man the machine at all times. Teens can then creep through the area and burst out onto the path to scare the visitors.
While you might want to keep the forest dark and scary, visitors will still need some light to make their way through the forest. Adding some colorful lights with a low dim can provide guests with some light to see but enough darkness to stay frightening. Toss some glow sticks around the perimeter of the path or use glowing liquid in a cauldron for a bigger impact. Swap white lights in your outdoor lighting for black or red lights for a more eerie experience.
Incorporate a Graveyard
Few things are as creepy as a graveyard. Add this element as part of the middle of your forest. Props like faux dead bodies, rats and cats make the environment even scarier. If you include animated props, the graveyard is an ideal location for them. Use bodies popping out of caskets or creatures scurrying past tombstones. A picket fence and some broken branches finish the look.
Add Body Parts
Give kids a thrill by adding some disgusting props to the mix. Costume shops have spare body parts, like hands, legs and arms that you can sprinkle throughout the forest. Use mannequin or polystyrene foam heads for decapitated decorations. Add vampire, zombie or skeleton makeup to decorate them and then top them off with a knife through the head or blood gaping from wounds.
Play with the Senses
Messing with the senses of your guests can help you create a successful scary environment. Blinking eyeballs or lights stimulate the visual effect of the forest. Eerie music and random screams affect guest's hearing. Spraying "blood" or mist on guests grabs their attention through touch. Having teens and parents jump out of the forest affects most senses.
Forests are associated with a variety of wildlife. Take the natural cue and add some creepy animals to the forest. Paint birds with black spray paint so that they look like crows and ravens. Owls provide another spooky option for the forest. Add cobwebs to finish off the look.
Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.