10 Safety Tips for a Homemade Haunted House
During the season of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, haunted houses are abundant throughout Milwaukee. Kelmann Restoration knows that it can be one of the most fun attractions at this time of year, providing thrills and entertainment. And basically, anyone can create a homemade haunted house for friends, family, and visitors to enjoy. However, it is important to keep some safety tips in mind if you choose to undertake this thrilling community offering. Whether you’re putting on a DIY haunted house in your own home, building a temporary structure to house it, or simply throwing an elaborate Halloween party, these tips will help ensure the safety of all participants.
1. Establish Visitor Safety Guidelines
Whether your haunted house is for just family and friends or for visitors from the neighborhood, it is important to establish some safety guidelines for all participants. These might include rules of conduct as well as some caution about what they may experience while visiting your attraction. Your guidelines should include information and cautions regarding the following:
- Maximum capacity. Set clear guidelines on the capacity that are informed by the size and ventilation of your haunted house structure.
- Wheelchair accessibility. Caution to visitors if any areas of the attraction are not wheelchair accessible.
- Seizure risks. If you are featuring strobe lighting of any kind, you must alert attendees before they enter.
- Carbon monoxide exposure. Advise guests to move swiftly through areas with fog/smoke machines.
- Intoxication. Caution visitors to avoid the attraction while intoxicated as this can increase safety risks.
- Location of emergency exits. Provide/show a clearly labeled diagram.
- Location of fire extinguishers. Provide/show a clearly labeled diagram.
While visitors to such attractions do take on some risks, it is your job as the host to make them as aware of these risks as possible and to mitigate them.
2. Keep Walkways Clear
While you can warn visitors about inherent dangers and inform them about safety precautions, it is up to you to make some aspects of your haunted house safe for all visitors. One of the best ways to do this is to keep the walkways and paths clear of tripping hazards. Of course, there may be people who pop out of doorways or makeshift chandeliers that drop from the ceiling, but you will want to plan these scares to play out safely. For example, avoid anything that is low to the ground and could be easily stumbled over. If having anything drop from the ceiling, ensure it is lightweight and cannot harm someone.
3. Avoid Flammable & Combustible Materials
This is a tricky one as there are a lot of materials that you might turn to for Halloween decorations that are actually flammable or combustible. These include cotton (such as faux spider webs), many plastics, and anything that is very dry or brittle, like hay. The key thing to keep in mind is not overdoing it on any of these materials and not clumping them together in a warm area or near any type of flame, such as those in jack-o-lanterns.
4. Don’t Allow Visitors To Smoke
On that note… don’t allow your visitors to smoke or vape during their visit to your haunted house. There is far too much danger with decorations and dim lighting to risk the damage an errant cigarette or a malfunctioning vape could cause in such an environment. Consider adding this rule to your safety guidelines.
5. Have Fire Extinguishers Available
Even with avoiding any type of flame and asking visitors not to smoke, there will always be some fire risk in an enclosed space. The risk of a dangerous fire is punctuated by the confined nature of a homemade haunted house as well as the possible number of people who may be in it at one time. With that in mind, it is crucial to have fire extinguishers readily available and visible to visitors throughout the space.
6. Establish Clear Exits
A similar need to fire extinguishers is clearly labeled exits. While we know you don’t want to take away from the dark and confined atmosphere, some accommodations must be made on this front. There should always be some type of illumination marking the exits along with a clear path to them at all times. All individuals should know how to escape the attraction whether due to a fire or a medical emergency.
7. Practice Electrical Safety
One way to mitigate fire risk is by practicing electrical safety while planning and setting up your haunted house. Do not overly rely on extension cords or adapters for power as it can quickly overload your electrical system if you’re setting up the haunted attraction in your house. While this sometimes leads to tripped circuits (which can definitely kill the spooky mood), other times a system overload could produce a fire.
8. Avoid Water Damage
Water damage can occur in a homemade haunted house when water features are included as part of the attraction. We recommend avoiding using sprinklers, misters, or any kind of dripping water as part of the ambiance. These features can quickly lead to puddles and damaged wall paint and, if left to run over time, can cause mold growth and structural damage to your home or temporarily-constructed building. Additionally, water features can increase the likelihood of electrical fires.
9. Don’t Overdo It On The Fake Fog
Fake fog is essential to a truly creepy haunted house atmosphere. You will likely want to include dry ice and fog machines in your attraction for that reason. However, these components require proper ventilation in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. That means you will want to ensure there is enough airflow and that the fog machines are not placed in confined rooms. Instead, they should be in pass-through areas where visitors are not expected to linger, and carbon monoxide detectors should be present and operable.
10. Have Phone Available For Emergency Calls
Finally, after taking all of these precautions, be ready for the unexpected. Have a charged phone on hand at all times while visitors are present to make an emergency call if needed. While you will first want to call 911 if there is a fire or anyone is hurt, your next call should be to Kelmann Restoration. We provide emergency restoration services that address damage due to fire and smoke, water, mold, and more. We work fast to salvage your structure and property. Contact Kelmann if emergency restoration services are needed for your homemade haunted house.