Sunday, October 16, 2011

Haunted Pathways and Bewitching Halloween Parties

I don't remember how it started but I did go a bit crazy...our first Halloween party ended with such a huge success that I was struck.  I needed to go bigger and better each year after.  I loved planning and scheming all year for each new scare.  At that time internet access wasn't as common and there was no ETSY.  Just think of what I could have done with what is available now.  I am going to sprinkle a few of my favorite ETSY party decorations throught this little blog to help you get some great ideas for your own party.

My kids were 8 and 10 at the time when I was walking through my yard one night and realized the layout was perfect for a Haunted Pathway.  It was almost pitch black with many creepy country noises of hundred year old trees bending and creaked in the breeze.  I had only a few months to plan but my first year I was successful in setting up a very creepy haunted pathway which became the highlight of our Halloween parties.
You can fine this great piece of fine art for purchase at ETSY shop Mommy Makes at
By our second year we expanded our pathway and lined the parameter of our 5 acre country yard with orange strands of light.  We ran it through the pathway of trees that skirted our small ankle deep creek continued up around towards the field by the wild and bushy dogwoods and ended it at a patch of closely growing trees.  These trees once provided protection for an ancient outhouse that was torn down a long time ago.  The grapevines here hung linking the tall gnarly trees together to add to the creepiness and provide a wonderful anchor for the many glowing cobwebs I put throughout the area.
This great luminary was found in ETSY shop SniKitty @
A graveyard was set up in front of the dogwoods with life (or death) sized tombstones complete with arms and legs of the undead and two foggers to cast a mist around the entire space. Some of the tombstones were handmade with Styrofoam (instructions found on my Halloween Party Ideas page) and some were purchased at the time I couldn't afford to buy an entire graveyard.  I was so fortunate to acquire a full sized coffin; it was extremely heavy but very affective.  It was crudely made out of cheep wood and wasn't painted for the lack of time but it was aged and in the dark it didn't matter as long as it produced many screams.
This creepy tombstone would have been an excellent addition to my creepy graveyard.  You can find this beauty at ETSY shop SigsRose at
I created my own wispy ghosts (Halloween-party-ideas.html) and plastic cut outs for haunted trees to supplement my store bought decorations.  The year before I snagged up all the decorations, party cups, napkins and more that I could afford during the 75% off discounted Halloween sales.  There were me and my scouts (my mother, sister, etc.) set out to shop diligently throughout garage sales for anything scary or distressed.  One person's broken skeleton decoration quickly became my pile of bones for the graveyard. 

My children helped me pick out the prizes from Oriental Trade to fill the 20 buckets that were strategically placed along the pathway.  Anything from little notebooks and cute erasers to obnoxious, but fun, baking soda bombs and candy that turns your mouth red. 
Next was our costumes...Many of which were comprised of salvation army or garage sale items but some were investments and were more expensive, we used these every year.  When I was building my handmade costumes I found it a little funny that in the past I had said "why would anyone try to sell this" when I would find an torn up garments at a garage sale for a 25 cents.  Well...I guess I would because those were what turned out to be mad scientist, Frankenstein, witches and the living dead outfits.  Often those old clothes were not tattered enough so I would run them over with the car which produced a much more realistic tears and wear apposed to cutting them with a scissors. 
For the costumes that we would use every year we would invest in quality masks and even full suites.  This mask would look excellent with my "ran over" tattered clothes. Put some fur around your neck, hands and feet and you could scare anyone!   This great costume was found in ETSY shop Sans Soucis Studios, a real Artist and Mask Maker at
Donning my freshly ran over costume and with a rehearsed scripted in mind I guided a group of 20 children to the haunted pathway.  We would follow it first down towards the trees next to the creek.  Faint haunting noises could be heard in the pitch black and only my flashlight along with the strings of orange lights guided our way.  We crunched our way through the leaves to the first clearly marked bucket of treats.  The kids excitedly dropped the prizes into their treat bag eagerly moving on to see what would be in the next. 

The first few kids spotted the next bucket on their own and ran towards it with their friends close behind.  Suddenly a werewolf leaps from behind the tree, growls and grabs at them.  Several kids jump, scream, then giggle as they realize what had just happened.  They all grabbed their treats and moved on again gleefully chatting about what could be at the next bucket.  Often the boys would insist that they were not scared and were daring the next haunt to come after them.
I wish I could have found these amazing luminary buckets back when I did the parties; they are perfect for the pathways!  I found these in ETSY shop LizzieJeans @
This amazing fun continued through many years until the kids became to old to scare effectively and the excitement seemed to have waned.  We didn't wait until they were completely board with it but closed it up and held more traditional parties instead.  Unfortunately there are few pictures of these wonderful moments since all of the adults in our family were busy haunting various areas but my memories are vivid and so are my children's memories.  These will always be the best Halloween memories I ever had.

I hope that some of my tips can help you set up a haunt for your family and friends.  (Halloween-party-ideas.html)  Luckily now we have ETSY and can find many items handmade by those creative artists and crafters.  Happy Haunting!!!


myself said...

this is really cool and a wonderful story. i love all of the etsy items you hand-picked. BUT! i would totally love to see pics of your haunted walk as well. sounds spookily delightful!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I love that mummy luminary! Yea, and no kidding what we could have done years ago if Etsy was around and handmade was considered as cool as it is today :)