Halloween How-To: DIY Haunted House Tips!

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Halloween How-To: DIY Haunted House Tips!
Easy Instructions to Help You Haunt Your Home
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You don't have to break the bank to create a spooky Halloween home that your family and trick or treaters will love! Check out these easy instructions from DIY expert Michele Beschen for making your own scary decorations this year.

DIY Haunted House: Black Birds, Ravens and Crows, Oh My!

Black birds, ravens and crows get a lot of love during Halloween season, as they should, because you can have a lot of fun decorating with these dark-feathered friends.

Step 1: Vintage Owls

Hit the thrift stores and score as many bird knickknacks as you can find. Owls were popular in the 1960s and 70s so there are always some for sale. To transform the birds for Halloween night, break out the black spray paint. Create definition by taping off certain areas so they are not solid black. Cover in spray paint. Don't worry about coating it solid black because having it sparse in areas adds to the creepiness. Scatter and display around the house.

Step 2: Making Ratty Blackbirds, Ravens or Crows

Visit dollar discount stores to stock up on ravens, black birds or crows. Or you can use birds left over from ornaments or floral arrangements and spray paint them black. Rough them up by taking scraps of black and grey fabric, and gluing them to the bird over the feathers. Glue buttons over the eyes.

Step 3: Displaying Your Birds

Take inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock and "The Birds" for your displays. Score a few mannequin heads from hairdressing schools. Tease the hair to create a ratty look and put a few of your birds in it. Display the head on a candleholder. Visit a tailor for old mannequin stand. Dress in black clothing and wrap a black scarf around the neck. Spray paint a bird's nest black and sticky-tack to the top of the neck. Take one of your birds and perch it on the shoulder. You could also score bird cages and fill them with a few of your birds and place them around the house. Or put some tree branches into a vase or a Christmas tree holder, cover it in fake spider webbing, and perch some of your birds around the limbs.

DIY Haunted House: Disembodied Parts

Severed feet, hands, and heads help put the horror in Halloween. But you don't need to go down a bloody gory road with your decorating efforts to add some tricks and treats.

Step 1: Disembodied Parts Inside the House

Celebrate the season with vintage body parts. You can start a nice collection of glass hands and heads that you can acquire at thrift stores and flea markets. Old dolls are also a great place to score different body parts. An effortless way for you to up the creep factor of all these parts is to simply put them under glass – like a cheese platter, glass jars, or a glass cloche.

Step 2: Disembodied Parts in the Front Yard

Start with cheap plastic hands and feet and customize them so they look like they're just coming out of the ground. Take a few pieces of gauzy fabric, like cheesecloth and dip them in stiffening liquid or white glue. Drape them right over your body parts, covering everything except for the fingers or toes. Paint wood stain on top of the fabric to create a dirty, decaying look. Paint the fingers or toes yellow. Acrylic paint is best because it lasts outdoors. Next, paint the nails black. To display, go out and plant them around the yard.

Step 3: Bringing Body Parts to Life

A fun and unexpected surprise for your Halloween trick or treaters is to have a disembodied hand pop out of the candy bowl:

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