Making A Haunted House: Using Sound Effectively

This article covers the basic principles behind using sound to make a haunted house as realistic and frightening as possible.

The object of a good haunted house is to make people believe that what they are experiencing is real. To do this you must create a very particular environment: an environment that will seem very real, yet trigger feelings of fear at the same time. This article will focus on using sound in a haunted house to achieve this environment.

The most important thing you can remember is that everything people will hear in your haunted house needs to sound believable. For this reason, using any kind of traditional music is a no-no. Instead, try to create a symphony of natural sound. Try using a fan in a room full of leaves to make the leaves rustle; the air from the fan will also simulate movement if you dangle some crepe paper around. If the house has multiple floors, try dragging something around on the upper floor, or even just stomping at random intervals. The sound of chains dragging in the next room is always frightening. The idea here is to make as much believable noise as possible. This will give the visitors the sense that there is always someone or something moving around them, even in places where the action might be slow.

While it is usually good to have constant background noise, it can be a good effect to vary the noise from room to room. For example, try having a room where everything is silent. Perhaps the door swings shut behind them, but nothing else can be heard around them. When they open the next door, you should have a loud surprise waiting for them. The juxtaposition of quiet and loud sounds will cause disorientation, making your visitors easier to scare.

When the visitors exit the haunted house, take care to keep them away from the people still waiting in line. If the people headed in hear things like "that didn't scare me," they are more likely to come into the house with a skeptical attitude. In addition, it adds a creepiness factor if people in line see ten people go in and nobody coming out. On the other hand, while people are waiting to get in, it won't hurt them to hear a bit of what is going on inside. In fact, it will probably make them apprehensive and easier to scare.

Finally, it is possible to use a stereo to play pre-recorded scary sounds. You can buy these commercially or make your own, using screams, thumps, and dragging sounds. This can add to your house if you do not already have the background of noise discussed earlier. However, make sure you know what is on these recordings, because some may sound cheesy, out-of place, or simply unrealistic in the environment you create.

Using sound in your haunted house is fairly simple once you understand the basics. There are three things to remember; create a believable background, change the sounds from room to room, and finally, plan the whole thing to make your visitors apprehensive of what is to come.

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