It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I love the suspension of disbelief, the ability to leave reality at the door and believe, whole-heartedly, in ghosts. I also love that when Disney set out to create a haunted house, they started with a story and let the setting flow naturally from that. I avoid most haunted houses because they rely on cheap thrills – gore and startle effects – instead of digging deeper and finding the story that will entice you to keep coming back.

This weekend, our family spent the afternoon checking out the two Halloween stores in town, and as usual I gravitated toward the decorations. I’d love to be able to really deck out the house in gothic chic, but as usual, Practicality sticks its nose where it’s not wanted! But this year, I’ve finally figured out a way around the worst of Practicality’s objections: “Who would see it?”

We live in the back of a neighborhood that really doesn’t do Halloween. We get very few trick-or-treaters. It’s really kind of depressing, but that’s how it is. So instead, I’ve decided to share my version of the Haunted Mansion with all of you! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting pictures of my progress, and some how-to articles on the pieces I’m creating specifically for my Haunted Mansion at Home.

So, what are my limitations?

  1. The neighborhood, but I’ll just share with you instead đŸ™‚
  2. Space. I don’t have a yard to decorate, so I’ll have to make every inch count.
  3. Little ones. My younger ones are not completely comfortable with the scarier side of Halloween, so I’ve got to make sure that whatever I do delivers a delicious chill to the older crowd without frightening the younger ones.

And the most important thing of all: It must tell a story. I’ve decided the story will evolve over the next several years, so this year I’m setting the scene. Next year, you’ll meet the characters and their *ehem* fatal flaws. After that…I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!

I think I’ve come up with a pretty fun design for my Haunted Mansion at Home, and I can’t wait to share it with you! For now though, here’s my Before picture:

Yard Haunt Before

So sunny and bland….just you wait!

Next week, I’ll share an update on my customized gravestones! My biggest challenge right now is figuring out what they should say – I have to give it an ominous feeling, to show that this is a place where something terrible is about to happen, and leave the viewer questioning. Any suggestions?