There are some neighborhoods that enjoy Halloween so much they selflessly turn their homes into Halloween yard haunts. Haven’t you noticed that people are taking decorating to all new levels? Whether its powerful fog machines, cool fluorescent lighting, or unique special effects, there is no denying people are getting more creative with decorating their homes for Halloween. Some are turning their front yards into fully animated shows and others are creating elaborate mazes in their backyards for people to walk through. It’s really an exciting time and possibly becoming a new Halloween tradition that might spread to your own neighborhood. Make today the night you go out and visit those Halloween yard haunts!
Yard Haunts 101
What is a yard haunt?
A yard haunt is simply a residence that has transformed their front porch, front yard or backyard into a very decorative Halloween attraction. A yard haunt will usually fall into one of three categories: 1) Yard display 2) Walk-thru 3) Backyard maze (with monsters). Most yard haunts begin by creating a simple yard display such as a graveyard scene. These yard displays are still very interesting and fun to walk by or take pictures of. The second category is the walk-throughs. This can mean there are more things to see so you either walk through their front yard or backyard where there will be several scenes or effects to view. Usually these are more elaborate and more entertaining to visit. Finally there are the backyard mazes that may or may not have monsters as part of the attraction. Sometimes these homes indicate whether their maze is appropriate or too scary for children.
How does this differ from a professional haunt?
Professional haunts are usually found at major theme parks, fairgrounds, or malls during the month of October. These usually charge a high price for admission to the event. On the contrary, yard haunts are almost always free to the public. They are considered amateur in that they are providing the service out of the goodness of their hearts and sheer love for the holiday. Usually they are not expecting to be compensated for their efforts.
Are they always free?
I’d have to say a good majority of yard haunts are free. Usually the haunt will provide a website or Facebook page to give visitors more information. Most of the yard haunts in Southern California are free. A few ask for donations for a charitable cause but it’s usually voluntary which is cool.
Are they only on Halloween night?
No. The cool thing is some of the yard haunts are available for viewing for several days or weekends in October. This makes it easier to jump around and visit several yard haunts on different nights.
Where can I find yard haunts near me?
Start by looking things up on the internet. In the Los Angeles neighborhood the Hollywood Gothique website has a great listing of yard haunts. There is also a site called Hauntmaps.com that lists yard haunts throughout the nation.
How can I create my own yard haunt?
It takes one main ingredient for a successful yard haunt…creativity. Some elaborate haunts are fortunate to have lots of money that can be poured into expensive effects. Others that don’t have those means must rely on invention and ingenuity to create effects from scraps or ordinary materials around the house to keep costs low. The best way is to begin by creating one scene or effect. Show it off for Halloween, then the next year build one more props. Keep adding to your scene and soon you will have an incredible display you will be proud to show your neighbors! Most of the elaborate haunts started out as simple yard displays too!