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Lighting and shadow is one of the most important aspects of the haunted house experience. Think about it - How scared will your guests be if everything is in plain sight with 100 watt bulbs glaring across every crevace? Here are some tips on lighting in your haunt.

Black Light

One of the most common lighting methods in haunted houses is the use of black light. These are lights that appear purple and throw a spooky sheen over everything in the room. They also make bright and neon colors pop out, hence the now infamous "black light posters" that fans of the Grateful Dead used to hang in their basements. The "black" light is created via ultraviolet or infrared radiation, invisible to the human eye. Black lights can be found in as simple a form as light bulbs that you plug into your own sockets, and in forms as large as huge panels that you place on walls. Black light is used heavily in combination with neon paint at the Black Sabbath "13" haunted maze at Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as in one of the haunts at Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare.

Strobe Lights

Another somewhat common practice is the use of strobe lights. These are lights that blink rapidly to create equal increments of both light and complete darkness in the viewer's eyes. It creates a slow-motion visual effect on everything in the room, and helps to disorient your guests.


A spotlight is a large, bright light shining directly toward something that you want your guests to focus on, OR aimed directly at your guests, with no other lights on. This allows you to take focus away from whatever is happening in the darkness or shadows surrounding them. Just make sure you don't use something to bright that it causes damage to your guests' eyes.

Candles & Candlabras

Candles always create an air of spookiness in an otherwise dark room. Even better, use a candlabra. Just be sure not to use them in a high traffic area where they can be knocked over. Safety is your first priority. You can find electronic candles and candlabras (that work with light bulbs instead of fire) if you want to avoid flames completely.

Red Light

Any lighting in a dark red color adds a feeling of fear to a room. Especially if the room is flooded completely with red, and no other color of light. It makes your guests think of blood, as in a blood soaked room.


Flashlights can be used in a multitude of ways in a haunted house. First, they're typically used by employees who are looking around for something in the dark. But, they can also be used for spooky effects. Place a flashlight or lantern in the corner on the floor where you're flooding the room with a fog machine, aiming it through the middle of the fog. Or, have an employee use a flashlight in a spotlight sort of fashion, as they can aim it directly at your guests, taking away their ability to see who's behind the light, thus creating fear of who or what is approaching them.

String Lights

Depending on the theme of the room, you may choose to use string lights (like christmas lights) for decor. You can easily find them in red or orange to create whatever feeling you're going for.

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