Lighting is one of the most important parts for making your home look haunted. Find out the easiest DIY Halloween haunted house lighting effects and ideas that will make your house look spooky.
Halloween is my favorite holiday! I love to transform the inside of my home into a haunted mansion and the outside into a Halloween graveyard. Neither one would be nearly as spooky without some great Halloween lighting effects and ideas.
Lighting is one of the best ways to add atmosphere to a room any time of the year…and Halloween is no exception!
With so many types of lighting available, it’s easy to add a little or a lot of spookiness to your Halloween party, depending on the look you want to create.
Keep reading to find out my favorite indoor Halloween lighting effects and ideas to make your house look haunted.
1 | Replace Regular Light Bulbs With Colored Ones
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The first easy Halloween lighting effect is to replace your regular light bulbs with colored ones.
I like to use red light bulbs all over the house to create the atmosphere I want for my haunted house parties.
These colored bulbs do not usually provide as much light as regular white bulbs. You’ll have to gauge how many you need so that people can still see what they are doing.
For more flexibility (and a little more money), you can get bulbs with a remote control* that allow you to change the color. That makes them easy to re-use for any occasion when you need special lighting.
2 | Use Uplights
Uplighting is a great way to add ambiance to Halloween scenes like this one.
This technique can be used to add drama for a lot of Halloween decorations…at the bottom of Halloween figurines, up walls and ceilings or under bushes and trees.
Colored uplights are great for creating a spooky atmosphere by having them reflect off walls and other props (like these candle trees*).
For this I use battery operated LED lights* that you can change the color of using a remote control.
They’re fairly inexpensive and you can re-use them for other events and parties in the future.
3 | Add Fake Flames
Fake flames are another one of my favorite Halloween haunted house lighting effects.
You can get fake flames in both hanging and table-top varieties.
Simply plug them in and they are ready to add some fire-y atmosphere to your Halloween party, without any of the fire hazard risk of real ones!
Combine the faux flames with a cement wall scene setter** to create a Halloween dungeon feel.
4 | Replace Chandelier Bulbs With Flicker Bulbs
The next item on my list is a really easy way to decorate your chandelier for Halloween.
It will immediately look like an old-time candle-lit chandelier.
They also give out just about as much light as the old-school non-electric ones did 🙂
So you won’t be able to use them to read by, but they certainly add ambiance to your Halloween haunted house!
The orange light in this lamp is also created by a flicker bulb. The light reflects off the crystals and makes everything glow orange.
5 | Hang Floating Candles
The Harry Potter series had a great idea for Halloween lighting…floating candles are spooky and look awesome!
Just wrap black thread around flameless taper candles and hang them from the ceiling. Voila, you’ve created Halloween atmosphere.
Of course, you could go all out and re-create the whole Harry Potter great hall…which has all kinds of great Halloween lighting.
6 | Add String Lights
String lights are not just for Christmas anymore!
Add some Halloween-colored string lights to your decor and you have instant Halloween decorations.
This piece of faux coral is always on the shelf in my living room.
By adding a few mini skulls and some orange string lights, it gets transformed into part of my haunted house decor.
Purple and orange ones are easy to come by this time of year and can be used anywhere in your haunted house to add some more light, while still keeping the Halloween theme going.
You can also use string lights that come in Halloween shapes…the bird cages above look spooky and cast spooky shadows on the wall.
7 | Hang a Skull Disco Ball
You can buy these skull disco balls* around Halloween for not very much money.
They’re just as much fun as a real disco ball, with a bit of a Halloween twist!
I hang mine from the ceiling fan (turned off, of course).
But you could also put it up with a hook in the ceiling. Command hooks will work if you don’t want to make a hole (and you don’t have popcorn up there).
Then shine a spotlight on it so that the light reflects off the mirrors.
I also have the spotlight installed on the ceiling, but you could put it on top of a bookshelf or armoire if it’s close enough.
8 | Light Lots Of Candles
Candles are another one of my essential indoor Halloween lighting effects. It’s hard to created a haunted house atmosphere without them.
While I love the look of real candles, with all of the creepy cloth and other flammable materials hanging around, I usually end up using flame-less candles for my Halloween displays.
Fortunately, they have become much more realistic looking in the last few years. All of the candles in this vignette that I did for my Phantom of the Opera party are fake and they still look pretty good.
Make Everything Glow In The Dark
Adding black lights to your Halloween decor is a fun indoor lighting effect that everyone seems to love.
You can make all kinds of things glow in the dark under black lights, and even write on the walls (don’t worry, it washes right off!)
Use Props With Lights
Or you can make your own boiling cauldron using an LED mist maker*.
Put an LED mister in a witches cauldron…they provide light and “fog” to add even more spookiness to your Halloween decor.
It isn’t really fog, just evaporated water that looks like fog so they are safe to use anywhere. However, the water will condense on surfaces around the mister so just make sure they are waterproof.
Also, the mister will only produce fog if it is covered by less than an inch of water, so you will need to sit it on top of something in the cauldron to bring the top of the mister closer to the top of the water.
Other Halloween haunted house ideas you might like
- How to make your house look haunted
- How to use Halloween scene setters
- Spooky Halloween candle ideas
- DIY black light Halloween decorations
- How to decorate your chandelier for Halloween
Have comments or question on our Halloween haunted house lighting effects and ideas? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on October 21, 2015 but was updated with new content on November 1, 2023.