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DIY Haunted Trail for Halloween

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Last year we put together a Haunted Trail for Halloween for the kids This year we’re going bigger than ever. Here are the details.

Last year was our first annual haunted trail. It’s a fun event for us to host because we have a large property with a decent area that is wooded. It makes for a great Haunted Trail!

Trail Planning

We walked the woods several times and marked out the entrance and exit first. We worked around areas that made sense: for example, my son built a couple of sketchy looking structures in the woods that made perfect “witch huts.”

Once we decided on where the path would be, I marked out the area with red ground paint. I didn’t add too much paint because I wasn’t sure if it would wash/be cut away before the day of the trail. We marked each zone.

This year, four of us met weekly to plan the trail for about 6 weeks. We had 2-hr meetings once a week from September through the week of the trail. The week of the trail, we met twice during the day, the evening prior for a run through (this allowed us to check to make sure we had enough lighting where we wanted it), then about 2-3 hrs before the event for final touches.


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Trail Supplies

Here is a list of the supplies that we used for our Halloween trail, not including the DIY decorations (see next section). I’ll add the supply list for each project to their individual blog post because it’s just too much to list here.

These are simple items you can purchase.

I recommend mapping out the trail in advance to help you plan out the spaces. We used Red Inverted Spray Paint to mark the trail, then used rakes/work gloves/etc to clear debris from the trail. Fallen trees were pushed to line the trail. They were turned into tea light holders to light the path.

DIY Outdoor Halloween Decorations

Here are the decorations we bought and made for the trail. The products are links to the Amazon store, but I’m going to link all of the DIY projects to their respective tutorials. Some of the DIYs will be shown in the photo section (if you keep scrolling), but not all will so make sure to not scroll past this part. I’ve got a ton of photos and video on here, but I don’t want this page to be unable to load because it’s too photo heavy.

Outdoor Halloween Decorations for a Haunted Trail

Some of the DIY projects we've completed for our Haunted Halloween Trail. This is a compilation of ideas that you can make yourself to decorate outdoors.

2022 Haunted Trail

So this is just the final run through but you can also see a quick early tour of some of our outdoor Halloween decorations. We did a LOT more afterwards, but you can see the early stages of the process.

This is the final tour. I’m going to walk through during the day first, then I’ll follow-up with a night time tour at the end of the video.

2021 Haunted Trail

This is a tour of our 2021 Haunted Trail and Trunk or Treat. We decided to skip Trunk or Treat in future years because the haunted trail is quite a bit of work, and instead we’ll have people setup “trick or treating” areas along the trail.

Haunted Trail Photos from 2022

We live in a moderately rural/suburban area so most of our friends don’t get trick or treats at their house. Usually we’d go to trunk or treat events or to a neighborhood to trick or treat on Halloween. As we end up missing out on some of that fun, we used the trail as a Trick or Treat trail. We setup bins of candy and non candy treats along the trail for the kids to find. This pushed them into spooky areas and their proximity would set off motion sensors.

Bins of treats for Halloween. I added fairy lights in the bin with bouncy balls to make them sparkle in the night.
Bins of treats for Halloween. I added fairy lights in the bin with bouncy balls to make them sparkle in the night.

One of my favorite touches was taking a witches cauldron, adding Playdoh “treats” and making the kids put their hands into the cauldron full of water beads to get their treat. It was fairly chilly that night so the water beads were cooooold and slimy. It was perfect. We dropped in a few of those ball lights (make sure there’s no water in the bin- the water beads were ‘full’, no water was inside this bin) inside to make it all glow. There were also fairy lights on the ground around the cauldron.

Cauldron full of water beads, some spooky lights, and playdoh for 'treats'

Another touch for path lighting was adding balloons with a LED ball light inside it. We shoved clear balloon sticks (not the exact brand- not sure where my friend got hers) into the ground along the path, slid a thin glow stick necklace inside, then tied the balloon on top. I think they may sell special balloon sticks that light up though- we may check those out next year.

Balloon lighting path

Lighting is KEY. Some small details aren’t easy to see at night in the dark. We added cheap little Dollar Tree lights everywhere that made since. The night prior to the trail we did a walkthrough together to see what spots needed light. Then we added the lighting that evening and the next day, right before the trail opened. The tricky part was getting everything turned on in time for the trail to start while kids waited impatiently to run through!

Spot lighting over a witch that's hanging from the tree

Sometimes we just grabbed random stuff from our homes. These shelves were actually supposed to go into my pantry- but we used them for the trail. They’ll make it into the pantry eventually! This was the setup for the Mad Lab.

Lab shelving made from stuff I had sitting in my garage

This was the whole Mad Lab. At night it was ON POINT, but you can tell it’s a bunch of normal household items for the most part… and Dollar Tree stuff. The masks on the fence have glowing eyes because we fed glow sticks through them. The skeleton’s “electric chair” is a normal chair with arms + pvc, attached to my colander.

The folding table is covered with a plastic black tablecloth… underneath we have some empty boxes to raise up certain areas.

The Mad Lab in the daylight, including a skeleton sitting in the electric chair (colander on his head)

Weeks before the trail, we all brought out all of our Halloween stuff and had a show and tell. Many items were just randomly dispersed along the trail, although we tried to stick with themes.

Spooky decorations on the Halloween trail

This part of the trail was a bit too dark prior so we used Dollar Tree hooks in the ground to hold string lights and lanterns.

Lighting on Halloween trail- warm white Christmas lights and Halloween lanterns

This was a last minute project to fill an empty zone- we had pallets, lights, and the skeleton dog. Max ran out to hunt down a 5′ skeleton for me because Amazon didn’t deliver ours in time.

Skeleton chained up to pallet with a skeletal dog.

This was the witches area… the hats are hung on monofilament. They look AMAZING at night. My pictures don’t really do this justice.

Witches hats hanging from monofilament from the trees

The zombie pit! Again- super easy. We added red fairy lights and a strobe light. Zombie arms and a zombie who had motion-activated lights/sounds. She was holding the bag of candy.

Zombie pit with zombie holding a bin of Halloween candy

I bought this guy last year at Home Depot… I don’t think he’s sold anymore, but he’s a motion activated “boat guy”… he’s supposed to be Charon, taking souls down the River Styxx to the afterlife. LOVE HIM so much. The skull at the front and the lantern at the back both light up (batteries). He is plugged in and rows the boat. He’s on a motion sensor and TALKS SO MUCH. I put my fog machine behind him so it looks extra spooky. He’s amazing.

Boatman from the River Styxx. Animatronics for Halloween.

Someone local was selling this guy for $40 used. He’s blow up, VERY TALL, and requires electric. He was worth running the extension cords for! He was perfect in an area with a clearing and you could see him lit up through the trees in the dark.

Very tall pumpkin ball that's a blow up decoration for our Halloween trail.

The spider lair was awesome, but I didn’t get any good photos! I’m so mad because I didn’t photograph all of the areas really well. When we moved into our house, there was random posts in the ground in the woods. Right before the pandemic hit, my husband decided to turn this into a fort for the kids and he build the stairs and flooring. Then prices of wood skyrockets and we never finished. But it makes a GREAT spider lair!

Spiders were hung using monofilament, there were strobe lights and fairy lights inside, and SO MANY SPIDERS. We also stapled cheap plastic tablecloths to close off the area so the kids had to walk through the zone (unable to see outside). It’s shown MUCH better in the video… I wish I’d taken better photos, but we were rushing around a lot.

Spider Lair outdoor Halloween decorations. Spiders hanging from above with monofilament, hanging black tablecloths to close off the lair.

And that’s it! What should we add next year?

Please share and pin this post! If you make this project, share it in our Stuff Mama Makes Facebook Group. We have regular giveaways for gift cards to craft stores. You can also tag me on Instagram @doityourselfdanielle; I love seeing everything you make!

DIY Halloween Trail setup with trick or treating for the kids along the trail.

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