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Theatricalizing Your House and Yard

Halloween Haven

Decorating Your House and Yard: It's Theater!

First, the introduction:

What draws kids to your house? Is it extra-spooky lighting and Halloween yard props? Sound effects or creepy music playing from a speaker in your upstairs window? The light of a dozen gleaming Jack-o-Lanterns? A cobwebbed gate or fence around your yard? Fog slowly rolling in around the front porch or tombstones?

Then the rising action, used in drama to build tension:

What happens along the sidewalk or path to your door? As they come up the sidewalk, what do they see and hear (or almost see and think they hear)? Did something just move in that upstairs window? What was that behind the tree? What's coming up out of the ground? Are those shadowy bats, spiders, or rats in the corner...real?

Now, the climax:

They ring the doorbell and what happens? Anything right away, or does the suspense build? Who answers the door and how?

The conclusion ties up the plot and seals the characters' fates:

As the kids leave your house, what do you want them to remember? Come back next year!

Shadow Plays

Turn your front windows into a shadow theater. Pull down the shades, hang a skeleton, bat or any Halloween prop in the window, and turn the room lights on. As long as the object is between the light and the shade you'll have a silhouette when it gets dark.

Using Black Light

With a black light (also called an ultra-violet light or UV-A light, found at a building supply or party store), many effects are possible. You can make ghosts come alive by soaking the cloth first in extra-strength laundry detergent powder (the bluing agent makes them fluorescent) and hanging the ghosts near a black light. You can also use Rit Laundry Whitener/Brightener, mixed with water, on any fabric you want to glow under black light (this will stain, so be careful you don't get any on your hands, or they'll glow too). Combine it with more water, put it in a spray bottle and coat cobwebs and tombstones, or write with the solution on the sidewalk. The words will look normal under ordinary light, but as soon as you add the UV they'll glow.

Lighting Your Tombstones

Use spotlights, flashlights, floodlights, any outdoor light, but location is everything. Light the stones from the side or from very low to the ground in front. Or carve a nice, big hole in the back of a Jack-o-Lantern and station it so that it throws an otherworldly flickering light on your Graveyard Props.

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Category:66720-Theatricalizing Your House and Yard
Category:66720-Theatricalizing Your House and Yard
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