Front-porch fright: Ideas for scaring trick-or-treaters

Here are ways to have some fun with guests

Handing out Halloween treats at home this year? Might as well have fun and play some tricks on candy-seekers.

Here are some ideas for scaring visitors to your front porch:

Drop-dead frightfulness
If you’ve got a second floor to your house, station someone upstairs to drop a creepy cat, scary skeleton or other surprise on trick-or-treaters. You can lower a slow-moving spider or a drop a quick swarm of bees or bats on unsuspecting doorbell ringers. Other options include a witch, ghost or zombie. Make sure the reaction you cause doesn’t cause visitors to tumble backwards onto any hard or sharp objects or down porch stairs.

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Ghastly surprise
Put someone inside a large box decorated as an old crate or a coffin near your door and have someone spring out or pop up just as your guests arrive. For another option, tape cloth over a table into which you’ve cut a hole in the top. Have someone get under the table and put their head through, remaining motionless, trying to look like the other scary decorations you’ve got on the porch. When trick-or-treaters come near, have your “decoration” greet them with a shout or moan.

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You can create a levitating body with items you have around the house, creating an eerie resurrection that will impress your visitors. Place two shoes on the ends of two poles, about 5 to 6 feet long. Drape a blanket over the sticks and have a family member get under the blanket with his head sticking out one end, making the shoes on the ends of the poles appear to be his feet. When the time is right, your corpse will slowly stand (holding the sticks in his hands straight out), making it look like the body is rising from the dead. Practice the trick a few times to make sure your “corpse’s” real legs and torso stay covered while he “floats.”

Whistling past a graveyard
Create a graveyard visitors must navigate to reach your porch or door to get their treats. Arrange tombstones, lit pumpkins, dismembered body parts, cobwebs, coffins and other obstacles trick-or-treaters must walk through and around to reach you. Place a few pots of dry ice to create a creepy, smoke-filled graveyard.

Decoration ideas
Keep your main front porch light off and use a variety of colored light sources, including candles, lamps and spotlights to create an eerie aura to your yard or porch (make sure it’s easy to walk to and from your porch to keep everyone safe). Add spider webs, moss, fog, smoke, cobwebs and other items to give a cluttered appearance to your entrance. Add music from scary movies: download the theme from “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” or the shower scene from the original “Psycho.”

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