How to make a haunted house with a box

Written by megan shoop
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How to make a haunted house with a box
Make a haunted house in a shoebox. (Haunted castle on top of a hill image by patrimonio designs from

Many people love decorating for Halloween. Fake spider webs, glowing Jack O' Lanterns and movement-activated witches and ghosts adorn many homes, especially those with costume parties inside. However, if you haven't the funds or the time to make your home into a haunted house, you can make a smaller version inside a cardboard box. You can also use recyclable materials to make it. You may not be able to stop at just one of these houses; different sized cardboard boxes could turn into a haunted village.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large cardboard shoebox
  • Cardboard cereal boxes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Paint (orange, white, black, red, purple, glow in the dark)
  • Tiny gourds
  • White handkerchiefs
  • Toilet paper
  • Lollipop sticks (Popsicle sticks)
  • Tiny fake spiders

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  1. 1

    Dust and clean an old shoebox. Take off the lid and stand it up on one narrow end. The bottom of the shoebox will be the front of the haunted house while the back will be the inside.

  2. 2

    Make a roof for your house by cutting the lip off of the box lid and cutting the lid in half width-wise. Tape these two pieces together in the shape of a bottomless triangle and glue it to the top narrow end of the shoebox. Make a front roof by cutting a triangle of cardboard from a cereal box and gluing it into the gap at the front of the house. You may cut a few circular windows into the triangle first.

  3. 3

    Make windows and a door for your house. Cut a rectangular flap of cardboard out of the box near its base. Leave the flap attached to the box on the left side so it will "swing" like a door. Use scissors to cut four or five rectangular windows from the house. Do this by cutting four small rectangles for each window, leaving thin lines of cardboard between the holes.

  4. 4

    Create two "floors" inside your house by cutting a piece of cardboard from a cereal box as wide and deep as your shoebox. For instance, if the shoebox is 15 cm (6 inches) deep and 20cm (8 inches) wide, you need a cardboard piece 15cm (6 inches) wide and 20cm (8 inches) long. Glue this into the open side of the box, splitting it in two.

  5. 5

    Spray paint the entire box black. Paint in all of your details. Make purple doors and windows, paint glow-in-the-dark shingles on the roof and red siding on the front of the house. On the inside, paint holey furniture, mad scientists' chemistry sets, white cobwebs and ragged area rugs.

  6. 6

    Make a small coffin from cardboard by gluing cereal box pieces into a box about 10cm (4 inches) long and 2.5cm (1 inch) wide. Wrap a lollipop stick (popsicle stick) in toilet paper and use it as a mummy. Draw scary faces on the centres of handkerchiefs and hang them from the "ceilings" inside your house. Paint faces on little gourds and use them as Jack O' Lanterns. Spread the entire house with fake cobwebs and stud it with fake spiders.

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