How To Transform Your House With Halloween Scene Setters

Learn the easiest way to transform your house into a spooky haunted mansion or dungeon with this step-by-step tutorial for installing Halloween scene setters.

How To Transform Your House For Halloween With Scene Setters

If you have been around here for a while, you know that I go ALL out for Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday!

I think it’s because with all of the skeletons, ghosts and spiders, over-the-top decorating fits right in with Halloween. And you know I love pushing the boundaries a bit even in my regular home decorating.

To celebrate, I have a huge Halloween party every year. My friends mark the date on their calendars months in advance to make sure they don’t miss it. And I definitely try to make it worth their while to attend!

Layer Halloween scene setters to add more interest (like these pictures over the stone wall)
Layer scene setters to add more interest (like these pictures over the stone wall)

Over the years, I have found that one of the easiest ways to transform the inside of my house and make a statement for my Halloween party is to use scene setters.

Covering your walls completely changes the look of any room…especially if you are able to cover all of the walls in the room with the scene.

Read on to find all you need to know about how to use Halloween Scene Setters to create a spooky Halloween backdrop.

What Are Halloween Scene Setters?

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Halloween stone wall scene setter with ghost and spider webs

Scene setters are thin sheets of plastic printed with some kind of scene that you hang on your walls.

In case you haven’t seen one up close before, let me warn you that they usually look pretty awful when you first take them out of the wrapping. The printing quality isn’t great. They usually don’t hang perfectly straight. The plastic is pretty shiny. And if you’re using more than one, chances are that the lines won’t meet perfectly.

So if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll have to close your eyes to all of that.

And trust me when I say that after you have hung the backdrop up, added your other decorations and turned the lights down, these ugly sheets of plastic will transform the inside of your house into an amazing spooky Halloween scene!

The very first time I tried one, I used the stone wall scene setter*. (You can see it in the picture above.)  It is a good one to start with because there isn’t any matching to do (so it is easy to hang).

And it definitely makes your walls look like a stone castle or dungeon!

spooky portraits scene setter

This mansion portraits scene setter* is similar, but are a little more versatile. You can stick these pictures up on your walls without the background scene setter if you just want to add some Halloween portraits to your decor.

I have re-used these for many years in different settings (you’ll see them again in the room below).

Mansion Scene Setter*

The old mansion scene-setter* is another one that works well for transforming the interior of your house.

It is a little trickier to put up than the stone wall scene above, because the panels need to be lined up pretty closely in order for it to look right, but the finished scene is amazing!

Halloween haunted house scene setter hung on a den wall

Mansion Scene Setter*

I used this one for a haunted house Halloween party…everyone loved it!!

The den without Halloween decorations
The den without Halloween decorations

In case you were wondering, here’s what this corner looks like without the Halloween decorations.

How Many Scene Setter Rolls Do I Need?

Graveyard and night sky scene setter

Graveyard* and Spooky Sky* scene setters

Now on to the fun part…installing the scene setters.

The scene setters that are useful for covering your walls usually come in rolls or sheets that are about 4′ x 30′.

Since standard-height ceilings are 8′, that means you will need at least 2 rolls in order to completely cover your wall from floor to ceiling (which creates the best effect).  Because of this, the type of pattern you choose will have an impact on the difficulty level of the installation.

The scenes that use an all-over pattern (like the stone wall) are easier to install since the top and bottom sheets do not have to be lined up.

The scenes that use different patterns on the top and bottom will be trickier since you will need to make sure the top and bottom sections are lined up correctly in order for them to look good.

If you want to cover all of the walls in the room, and are wondering how many rolls you will need, here’s what you will need to do.

Halloween stone wall scene setter

Stone wall scene setter*

Note:  These directions assume that you are covering walls that are 8 feet high.

If the pattern is an all-over pattern (like the stone wall pattern)

  1. Measure the length of each of the walls in the room. For example: Wall 1: 10′, Wall 2: 12′, Wall 3: 10′, Wall 4: 12′
  2. Add these measurements together.  In our example, this would be: 10’+12’+10’+12′ = 44′
  3. Divide the total from step 2 by 30 (the length of the scene setter).  In our example, this would be:  44′ divided by 30′ = 1.4
  4. Multiply the number from step 3 by 2 (that’s to cover an 8′ high ceiling). In our example: 1.4 x 2 = 2.8
  5. Round this number up to the next whole number. In our example, the next whole number after 2.8 is 3…so you would need to order 3 of the 30 foot scene setters to cover this room.

Halloween forest scene setter

Spooky tree trunks* and spooky tree tops* scene setters

If the pattern needs to be matched (like the trees above)

  1. Measure the length of each of the walls in the room. For example: Wall 1: 10′, Wall 2: 12′, Wall 3: 10′, Wall 4: 12′
  2. Add these measurements together.  In our example, this would be: 10’+12’+10’+12′ = 44′
  3. Divide the total from step 2 by 30 (the length of the scene setter).  In our example, this would be:  44′ divided by 30′ = 1.4
  4. Now Round up the number from step 3 to the next whole number.  In our example, the next whole number after 1.4 is 2.
  5. Multiply this number by 2 (to cover an 8′ ceiling). In our example, 2 x 2 = 4…so you would need 4 of the 30 foot scene setters to cover all of the walls.

What Do I Do If My Ceilings Are Higher Than 8 Feet?

If your ceilings are taller than 8′, you have 2 options:

  1. You can buy additional scene setter rolls and cut them to fill the space at the top of the wall, or
  2. You can live with the top part of your wall not being covered.

I have this problem in my living room, and I usually go with the second option. If the lights are dim and you have spider webs hanging from the ceiling, your guests probably won’t notice.

What Do You Use To Hang Up The Scene Setter?

Phantom of the opera scene setter for Halloween

Opera House Scene Setter*

To attach the scene setters to the top of the wall, I have found that velcro dots* work best. They (usually) stick pretty well to both the wall and the plastic, and (usually) do not cause any damage to the paint when you take them off.

I say “usually” for both because I have had the dots come unstuck in spots, especially if I hang the plastic up more than a day or two before the party. But they usually go back up pretty easily by adding a couple more of the velcro dots.

And while I have never had paint come off the wall when I took the velcro dots off, I can’t vouch for everyone’s paint job 🙂 So I would try one or two in an inconspicuous spot before doing the whole room.

If you want to be able to re-use scene setters, velcro dots work pretty well for attaching the top and bottom sections together as well. But if you don’t care that much about saving them, scotch tape is easier (and less expensive).

Harry Potter floating candles in front of graveyard and night sky scene setters

Graveyard* and Spooky Sky* scene setters

Are There Any Other Options?

I have also tried all of the following options at one point or another:

  • staples and tacks – These are the absolute best way for keeping the scene setters in place. But they leave little holes…if you’re okay with that, this is probably your best option
  • regular scotch tape – This usually works pretty well for sticking the sheets to the wall, but often pulls the paint off when you take it down
  • double-sided tape – This is pretty useless. It does not stick well enough to keep the plastic from falling off.
  • poster wall mounts – These are not strong enough to hold the plastic up
  • putty – This is the worst option of them all. It does not hold the scene setters up very well and leaves marks on the paint when it is removed.

One caution if you decide to use scotch tape (and this I learned by experience)…it does glow in the dark under black light. So if you are planning on using black lights, you will want to conceal the tape as much as possible…or end up with glow in the dark spots on your wall 🙂

How to Install A Scene Setter

Install the top half of the scene setter first
Install the top half of the scene setter first

1. Hang the Top Sheet

Start in a corner of the room that you do not see when you first walk in.  This is mostly because the first piece you put up won’t go as smoothly as the other ones and it won’t be as noticeable in this corner.

Line up the top edge of the upper sheet with the ceiling and attach with a velcro dot.  One side of the dot sticks to the wall, and the other side sticks to the scene setter.  Then the velcro sticks them together.

Stick one half of the velcro dots to the back of the scene setter at the top
Stick one half of the velcro dots to the back of the scene setter at the top

Use another velcro dot connection every 6 inches or so.

Continue velcro-ing the top sheet to the top of the wall until you have the whole sheet attached.  I usually keep going around the corners (rather than cutting the sheet like you would with wallpaper). Just add some extra velcro dots to make sure the sheet stays close to the wall.

2. Cut Out Around Doors

Cut the scene setter around the door
Cut the scene setter around the door

If there are any doors or windows that you do not want to be blocked by the scene setter, use scissors to cut the plastic around the opening.

I usually cut out around the doors but leave the windows covered. It’s easier, and it makes the room darker (which is usually better for Halloween parties).

The scene setter after the door has been cut out
The scene setter after the door has been cut out

Then attach the open sides of the scene setter to the wall on either side of the door with more velcro dots.

Attach the scene setter piece you just cut out onto the door
Attach the piece you just cut out onto the door

And attach the piece you just cut out back onto the door, again with velcro dots. You will hardly notice the join when you are finished.

3. Hang the Bottom Sheet

Velcro dot placement on the scene setter
Velcro dot placement

5.  Once you have finished hanging the top part of the scene setter, go back to the starting point to start hanging the bottom sheet.

The bottom sheet will be installed so that the top sheet overlaps it by about an inch. It usually looks cleaner if the top shot goes over the top of the bottom sheet rather than the bottom sheet going over top of the top sheet.

Attach the front of the bottom sheet to the back of the top sheet using a velcro dot (or scotch tape if you prefer).

The wall covered with the forest scene setter
The wall covered with the scene setter

If the pattern requires matching, make sure that the top and bottom sheets are lined up properly before attaching the bottom sheet.

The door has been completely covered by the scene
The door has been completely covered by the scene

Again cut around any doors or windows and re-attach the loose pieces to the wall with velcro dots.

4. Repeat with any additional scene setter rolls

If you are using more than one scene setter roll, repeat the whole process for the next roll.

Continue from where the last roll ended.

If you are using a matching pattern, make sure to start the new roll in a place that lines up with the ending point of the last one. Don’t assume that the end of one roll will match up with the start of the next one, because they usually don’t.

Spooky forest scene setter at a Maleficent themed Halloween party

With lights and decorations, those plastic sheets turn into a spooky looking forest at my Maleficent-themed Hallowen party.

One last note from experience

Graveyard Scene Setter
Graveyard Scene Setter

I have also tried to use scene setters outside to add to the background of my cemetery, and that did not work out well for me.

The graveyard* and spooky sky* scene setters (along with the Creepy Fence Accessory* looked great (you can see them in the picture above which is under the covered porch), but the thin plastic stretched in the sun, and I could not find anything that would hold the sheets to the wall…so I will not be trying that again!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration to transform your house with spooky Halloween scene setters. Now, I have to get back to putting mine up for this year 🙂

Happy Halloween!

Other Halloween Decorating Ideas You Might Like

Comments or questions on installing Halloween scene setters?  Tell us in the comments below.

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How To Use Halloween Scene Setters

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11 Responses

  • Thank you for the good tips. I had given up on the scenes in the house but now may try again. Outside is very hard, we have siding so the best way I could put it up is metal wreath holders that go under the siding. Close inspections show the sloppy set up but props hid most of the problems.

    • Hi Pat…It took me a couple of tries to get the indoor scene setters to work, but now that I have, I’m a little obsessed with using them 🙂 Especially with the lights down low, they look pretty real. I had given up trying to use them outside, but your tip with using metal wreath holders sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to give that a try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi! Thank you for this information it’s just what I was looking for. What do you suggest pairing with the haunted mansion scene setter?

    • Hi Jennafer…I’m happy you found the scene setter information helpful. I usually pull some stretchy spider webs across the ceiling and over mirrors, then drape some Creepy Cloth over the furniture to make it look “old”, and seat a couple of skeletons on chairs or the sofa, like they are real people. Then I hang a couple of ghosts in the corners, use a lot of candles, and add a few other Halloween accessoies (crows, bats, mice, etc) to make it look a little spooky. Everyone loves it! Hope that helps. Happy Halloween!

    • Hi Deanna…I don’t have a good way to completely get rid of the wrinkles. They do seem to straighten out some after the plastic has been hanging on the wall for a while. If you don’t have bright lights on, they aren’t that noticeable.

    • If you’re not doing your scene setter decorating at the last minute, I recommend laying it out flat underneath a large area rug (you can put some heavy books etc. atop it too to help press it flat. Careful you don’t accidentally press any new wrinkles into it too though!

      If you’re in a hurry, I’ve successfully ironed out some of the fold lines in scene setters before as well! Be very careful! I had it work for some, but there was one I tried that must’ve been a different sort of plastic & it wrinkled up & started to shrink like a foil chip bag in the microwave! Maybe test it first in an inconspicuous spot & check it often as you work on it so you can prevent much damage if this starts happening. Otherwise….you want the iron to be on the lowest setting or one next to it (like perm press I think) & you’re gonna need to place a towel or dish towel over the scene setter so it doesn’t melt & stick to your iron. When it works, it works great!

  • Also, to store it for future years, I rolled my scene setters up tight around an empty gift wrap roll to store it. That way there’s fewer lines to deal with the next year (just the line down the middle where I folded it to the length of the roll)


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