Bringing Halloween to the home

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published October 10, 2018

 Picking a theme, using props and taking lighting into consideration — such as this black-lit clown room at Azra Chamber of Horrors Haunted House in Madison Heights — can be an effective way to add a frightening aspect to your home Halloween decorations.

Picking a theme, using props and taking lighting into consideration — such as this black-lit clown room at Azra Chamber of Horrors Haunted House in Madison Heights — can be an effective way to add a frightening aspect to your home Halloween decorations.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 A long-haired creature adorns the ceiling at Azra, and is an example of the kind of decoration that ambitious residents could try to do at their own homes.

A long-haired creature adorns the ceiling at Azra, and is an example of the kind of decoration that ambitious residents could try to do at their own homes.

Photo by Deb Jacques

METRO DETROIT — Whether throwing a classy Halloween dinner party or transforming your garage into a haunted attraction, local experts have ideas to enhance any vision.

Corie Conroy, president of Bloomfield Hills-based First Impression Home Staging & Interior Design, said that this is the year of the “unexpected” color palette.

“Not everybody has décor inside their home that coordinates with orange, which is the traditional Halloween color for decorations,” Conroy said. “I think homes can be given a spooky, sophisticated Halloween flair by incorporating black interior décor — black dishes, a black table runner, and intermixing those with green pumpkins.”

She said that besides black and green décor, she has noticed a trend in design of mixing metallics — especially golds and silvers — for a unique look.

“I’ve seen small strings of lights — orange or different colors as well, of course, as a witch’s brew pot on the front porch and the traditional pumpkins,” Conroy said. “A great way to incorporate both fall and Halloween is to display lanterns mixed with mums, and you can interchange those with jack-o’-lanterns as the month goes on.”

Arranging seasonal flowers inside the home in vases with Halloween themes can also bring a tasteful sense of the holiday to the home, she said.

“I’m seeing a lot more pumpkins that are more ornate, covered in fabric and jewels or painted, not traditional carved pumpkins,” Conroy said. “There’s also a lot of different entertainment ware, like something to chill your wine bottle in that resembles something spooky or different glassware with Halloween themes on them.”

She said she believes entertaining at home has become more popular in recent years because of the accessibility of online retailers and more stores offering themed items for parties.

“Having themed drinks or a really cool tablescape (are much more popular now),” she said. “I think just being creative and nontraditional is always a great way to stand out.”

Dana Hermann, a partner with the new Azra Chamber of Horrors Haunted House in Madison Heights, recommended that homeowners wanting to opt for a more terrifying approach to Halloween decorations first select a theme.

Themes at the haunted house, he said, include a butcher’s room, a black-lit clown room and an area with giant, moving bees.

“We try to have a little variety that will touch on different people’s fears and phobias,” he said.

Hermann said he generally gets inspiration from visiting trade shows and purchasing professional props, but local retailers often offer a wide selection of props for Halloween.

Mannequins can be dressed up in creative ways, and homeowners can even use a projector to display a talking face on a mannequin in order to “bring it to life,” he said.

If a homeowner has a large garage, Hermann recommended creating a “claustrophobia tunnel” by arranging air bladders that puff up, so people have to squeeze through.

He also recommended using strobe lights, fog machines and spooky soundtracks to create a scary atmosphere. Scented products with a musty or earthy aroma are available, he said, to add to fog machines for enhancing all of the senses.

“Changes of light, changes of temperature and changes of spatial volume are very effective (ways to create a successful haunted house),” Hermann said. 

Low-cost ways to add scare factors, he said, are to hang plastic sheeting or garbage bags, spread fake spiderwebs and spiders, and transform a spare TV into a “window” by playing creepy videos.

For more information, call (734) 718-0088 or visit www.azrahaunt.com.