If you’re looking for some Halloween party decor ideas, try out this Halloween haunted hotel theme. With a DIY hotel sign, luggage cart and check in desk, complete with ghosts and skeletons, it’s sure to be a big hit.
Every year I throw a big party for my favorite holiday…Halloween.
Except for this year.
With everything going on, getting a big group of people together just isn’t in the cards.
But I still wanted to put up some decorations.
So I decided to go with a haunted hotel theme. Complete with a skeleton bellboy and check-in desk.
And since I’m not having anyone over, I set it up outside for all of the trick-or-treaters to walk through before getting their candy.
(But many of the decorations would work just as well for an indoor party.)
The Halloween haunted hotel name
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The first thing I had to do was come up with a hotel name.
I like the “Dead and Breakfast Inn” name that a lot of people have used before.
But since I always like to do something a little different, I decided to go with the “Dead & Buried Hotel”.
It’s perfect for a Halloween haunted hotel that also has a cemetery.
DIY hotel sign
With the name decided, the first project was to create a sign.
After finding an inexpensive chalkboard at Michael’s and creating a vinyl sign to go on it with my Cricut, I needed a post to hang it from.
Which is when I saw this one* that Christy at Confessions Of A Serial DIYer used for her Halloween display.
And used her idea to create my sign post, too.
Hanging a black light over the top of it makes the white letters glow at night.
It seems like a lot of the old hotels (like the Westin Poinsett in Greenville, SC) have fountains as the focal point in front of their hotel.
So I wanted to create something like that for my haunted hotel, too.
Since I don’t have a large fountain to put out there, I went with a large spooky statue that definitely commands attention.
Adding a strobe light at the bottom of the statue makes sure you can see him when it’s dark.
Skeleton horse & carriage
Just when I was starting to plan my outdoor Halloween display, I saw this awesome skeleton horse and Victorian hearse prop* at Home Depot.
It even has a dead guy in the back.
So although it cost a little more than my usual Halloween props, I just couldn’t help myself.
And they look pretty awesome!!
The carriage comes with a red light that makes the skeleton in the back glow. As well as two lanterns at the front.
They run on batteries. Which I replaced with this plug-in version.* That way they can go on the timer with the rest of my lights and come on automatically every night.
I made the skeleton driver look a little spookier by adding a purple uplight that makes him much easier to see in the dark.
Of course, you can’t have a hearse (or a “dead and buried” hotel) without a graveyard.
So a few styrofoam tombstones are a requirement.
Blue spotlights make them seem to glow in the dark.
Spooky spirits bar
Since you can’t have a good hotel without a bar (in my opinion), I set up some outdoor seating.
With a sign and skeletons as customers.
More blue spotlights make the skeletons noticeable at night.
What’s a haunted hotel without ghosts?
These ones* stick to the windows with suction cups that make it look like they are flying out of the house.
Another spotlight makes sure everyone can see them in the dark.
No vacancy sign
A neon vacancy sign is another obvious hotel signal. (I found this one on eBay).
So I hung a spooky Halloween version from the arbor in my yard.
The “No” blinks on and off ominously.
Bell boy & DIY luggage cart
A skeleton bell boy with a DIY luggage cart is a given at my Halloween haunted hotel.
His uniform is this inexpensive Halloween costume*. (It’s actually a pretty nice costume for the price).
The suitcases are made of wood and are meant for home decor (you can find them HERE*).
And of course, you can never go wrong adding a few crows here and there.
DIY check in desk
A hotel also needs a check-in desk.
I made mine from a pallet and a wood board plastic scene setter.
A really fast and inexpensive way to make a front desk.
Of course, a skeleton is waiting to check you in.
A fire and ice spotlight* makes him stand out in the dark.
DIY hotel keys
Behind the desk, room keys hang from skeleton hands attached to a wood sign. (Get the step-by-step tutorial HERE).
I bought some old-style keys* and attached them to key rings with tassels.
Then put room numbers on some aluminum tags.
The check in sign and bell
I printed a check in sign and put it in a small frame with a stand*.
Then added an old-school brass bell* and a solar lantern to the top of the counter.
The cemetery fence
One thing I always have in my Halloween displays is a fence.
It not only helps to mark out what the yard haunt boundaries are, it also makes sure that people aren’t tripping over the extension cords…which there are a lot of!
This year, I used this DIY Halloween fence with crows on it across the front of the yard.
And plastic chain strung between PVC pipes (painted black) around the rest of the yard (you can see if in the background of this picture).
The center circle is surrounded by a low garden fence that I’ve used for many of my Halloween yard haunts.
To add to the old-time hotel feel, I stuck these solar lanterns* all around the outside fence.
These are actually landscape lights, but their stems are thin enough to fit into the PVC pipes I used for my fence posts.
They definitely add some ambiance to the yard.
And I can re-use them in my garden later.
While lighting isn’t specific to my haunted hotel theme, I do believe it’s what makes or breaks any Halloween display.
As usual, I used a lot of these color changing LED spot lights, which add general ambiance to the yard.
But I also like to use string lights on all of the bushes, the tree and along the top of the fence.
They provide enough light that people can see where they are walking.
And make the yard look pretty awesome from the end of the straight.
This year, I bought these LED string lights* that change colors and come with a remote.
This way I can use Halloween colors now.
Then leave them up and use them again for Christmas just by changing the color.
That’s it for this year’s haunted hotel yard haunt. I hope you have a happy Halloween!
Other Halloween ideas you might like
- DIY bellboy luggage cart
- DIY skeleton hands Halloween wall decor
- How to decorate with fake spider webs
- The best Halloween party themes
- DIY gothic lace candle holders
Have comments or questions on our Halloween haunted hotel yard display? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on October 28, 2020 but was updated with new content on October 17, 2022.