One thing you should know about me, if you don’t already, is that I LOVE Halloween. I am not talking your ordinary kind of Halloween love where you carve pumpkins, set out a couple of foam tombstones, hang a scary spider, and host a cutesy wootsy Halloween party. Nope. Not this girl. My love for Halloween, admittedly, borders on obsession. The kind of obsession where if Halloween had a Facebook page and an Instagram account, I would be stalking said sites regularly. My love for Halloween courses through my veins. A silly spider and a couple of skulls are not enough. This girl transforms her entire house, the kitchen, the living room, the hallway, the garage, the yard, everything, except for the bedrooms, into a Halloween haunt that will blow your mind and, hopefully, creep you the hell out. For the month of October, I am going to share some of my tips and tricks for turning an ordinary little rambler, into a haunted house that trick or treaters are too afraid to knock on the door of.
The first part of my haunted house transformation begins by hanging Halloween scene setters, which are basically rolls of vinyl tablecloths with a printed design. They are easy to install, last for years if properly taken care of, and make any haunt much more authentic. What started as a small section in the living room, has grown to complete coverage of all walls and ceilings, because they are so easy to reuse. You can find scene setters at Party City, Spirit Halloween, Halloween Express, Target, and Amazon. There are a wide variety of affordable options to choose from like castle walls, haunted forests, mad scientist labs, and peeling plaster. Last year, I began switching out my stone castle wall scene setters with a peeling plaster and wood paneling look. The stone walls served me well, but after 8 years of being stapled and taken down off the wall, they were ragged and ready to be replaced.
The installation of the scene setters is where my husband and I do not see eye to eye. In fact, each year, the last week of September, him and I have a heated discussion on whether or not I will be stapling the faux wallpaper to the walls. Yes, I said stapling and, after 13 years of doing this, I can confidently tell you that staples are the only way to go. I have tried everything. Every kind of scotch, mask, paint, electrical, and double sided kind of tape there is. All of which either did not stick for more than an hour, or ripped the wallpaper to shreds when I took the tape off, or would remove the paint and plaster from my walls. I tried sticky tack, but that only held for 3-4 hours, and didn’t hold at all if the room heated up above 72 degrees. Even thumb tacks have been used, but they tend to bend and snap and are a bitch to install, especially when I am talking about installing around 2000 thumbtacks. No thank you! So, my husband may pout, but staples it is because they are quick to install, leave minimal damage to the wallpaper, and a dab of paint covers the wall holes right up.
To staple the scene setters to the wall, use your favorite stapler of choice, but I do recommend using the 1/4″ staples. They do the least amount of damage to your walls and are much easier to remove than 1/2″, or larger, staple.
When starting with a fresh roll of wallpaper, begin at the bottom of the wall and work your way up. Staple the center point, the top corners, and then begin making your way around the edges smoothing and straightening as you go. Use scissors to cut holes around outlets, light fixtures, shelves, or what have you. Since I reuse the same paper year after year, its kind of like putting together a puzzle. I look for the right sized paper with the right outlet holes, line them up, and staple away.
Here is the dining room pieces laid out on the floor and then hung in place.
I don’t want to give away too much, but here are a couple more shots of the wallpaper being installed.
Now, you don’t have to go all crazy like me and cover your whole house. My obsession began with one scene setter on one wall. It took 5 minutes to install and was a great photo backdrop for our Halloween festivities. If you are hosting a Halloween party this year, or just want to scare the kids a little on the big night, then I highly recommend getting yourself a scene setter or 2 for some spooky goodness. As for me, I have hours of work ahead of me and I cannot wait to show you the results. Until then, it’s time to grab my stapler and make some noise. Happy haunting!