At Home Imagineering: DIY Haunted Mansion Effects

in Artwork, Disney

disney haunted mansion

With the recent and necessary cancellation of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, a Disney-style fall experience this Halloween season seems all but lost. However, with these DIY Haunted Mansion Effects videos, fans can bring home an element of this fun fall event.

We’ve shared a haunting host of fiendishly fun At Home Imagineering examples showcasing Disney’s beloved Haunted Mansion. Now, we’d like to offer opportunities for fans to create a slice of spooky Disney magic of their own.

DIY Haunted Mansion FX peppers ghost

While it might be too early for some, Halloween is starting to slowly awaken across the country. Some stores (like At Home Stores, Hobby Lobby, and Cracker Barrel) either have already started or are about to line shelves with creepy-cool fall fun.

Related: Frightfully Fun ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Yard Decorations

Sadly, one “to-die-for” event gave up the ghost for 2020. Due to safety concerns, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will remain in the crypt this year. So, we thought with many still stuck at home anyhow, maybe this year might the one to bring the macabre magic home.

Listed below, several how-to videos describe how to create various elements of spooky-boo fun for this fall. Yes, we know fall is about 100 days away, but this allows for planning and purchasing supplies. Hopefully, these ideas also offer an acceptable alternative for the loss of Disney’s Halloween event.

DIY Haunted Mansion FX Lady Carolotta

DIY Haunted Mansion Effects

While these informative videos cover only a few fun effects and eerie environmental elements of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, a bit of planning and imagination can easily conjure up fiendishly fun experiences.

Animated Leota Tombstone

A Dark and Stormy Night

Inspired by the changing portrait hallway, this next video shows how to “enjoy” a thunderstorm on demand. This simple, gloomy effect sets a somber and chilling tone for any home haunt.

Related: Disney Unveils New ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Merchandise

Cemetery Tombstones

After falling out of the attic window, into the cemetery below, the spirits materialize in full force for a fearsome, yet fun finale to Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction.  A pair of instructional clips below guide the way for either simple, static ‘stones or, for more of a challenge, an animated marker (similar to Madame Leota’s at Walt Disney World).


Perhaps the easiest of these eerie decor experiments is none other than the dusty old cobweb. While inexpensive bags of spider web material offer a cheap method of adding cobwebs, this method can be frustrating and often does not turn out as expected.

Careful use of a hot glue gun and forced air (either via an air compressor – as shown in the video below, or with the exhaust of a shop vac) can create realistic web-like effects. A very light dusting (from the right distance) of white or eggshell spray paint can add a fun layer of ‘dust.’  Here experimentation, planning, and adequate ventilation are important.

Peppers Ghost

One of the most elaborate, yet simple effects found at the Haunted Mansion is the infamous ballroom party scene. This swinging wake ghost illusion takes advantage of a Nineteenth-century trick known as a Pepper’s Ghost. Using a reflective surface that can also be seen through, illumination provides ghostly materialization “magic.” This simple effect sets the stage for a host of haunting possibilities.

Related: At-Home Imagineering: A Disney fan’s recreation of Haunted Mansion Holiday

BONUS – Faux Fire

This simple special effect is more prolific in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, scaling down a bit and changing the color of illumination can cast the same eerie green glow from the ethereal fireplace flames in the Mansion’s ballroom.

Final Arrangements

These videos deliver directions on how to create similar versions of the eerie effects found within Disney’s Haunted Mansion in your own crypt, office, or haunted house.

For more DIY Halloween décor fun, be sure to also check out our Haunted Mansion bride feature.

Life-sized Bride

The makers of each spellbinding selection include many more make-it-yourself Halloween decoration ideas on each of their YouTube channels.  Additionally, one creator (Halloween DIY) also produces a short, animated web series, Gardner and Wells.

Source and images: YouTube, Michael Gavin

in Artwork, Disney

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