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(354): 6 Creepy Rural Objects to Make Your House Look Like a Real Psycho Lives There

The ghosts’ peanut gallery, where they will sit and critique your Halloween display… ;=) Image by Lee Russell via Flickr. Image cropped. License.

Think about the creepiest house you know. I’ll wager that it looks somewhat run-down, may have cobwebs in the eaves, a broken-down wooden porch or cracked and stained stone steps, perhaps relics from a bygone century scattered about. Am I on the mark here? To me, there’s nothing creepier than a house that looks ancient, abandoned and yes, haunted. I don’t mean haunted in the current craze of CGI monster effects way; I mean haunted in the Gormenghast Castle or Texas Chainsaw Massacre way, like the stones and boards themselves speak of many horrors left nameless in the passage of years.

In this spirit (so to speak), I’ve got some suggestions for you if you want your house to look authentically creepy. The best way is to collect the natural objects of the past. Rural farmlands and houses are a great place to find objects with the creepy built right into them.

  1. Cow or other large animal skull: Believe it or not, we have several of them; our land used to be a pastureland years ago, and we have found many remains scattered out in the acreage. My favorite is a horse skull that has a withered and dead root system growing out of it. We rescued that one roots and all!
  2. Dead roots or woody vines: Just make sure they’re not infested with ants or other critters, and don’t pull out the live ones; they’re happy where they are! Often it is best to clean the found root or vine in the driveway and allow it to dry in the sun for a while. Then you can twine it around a lamppost, or simply position it near the front door or just off a set of porch steps. Add some fake spider webbing for extra effect, but be sure to remove it after Halloween, as the real critters might try to eat it or it might get tied up in the lawn equipment. Warning: if you find small holes in the material, keep it away from the house, as it might contain nasty infestations. Take it down right after Halloween though, as mice and snakes love this sort of “hide” if it has the right size crannies.
  3. Old farm implements: My father-in-law has an old scythe hanging over his doorway. I call it the Scythe of Damocles. But it really makes for a creepy ambience when I go down to his place to borrow something. Around rural parts, yard sales and estate sales will often have old farm equipment, and I’ve got a burgeoning vintage saw collection, and several large axes. Somewhere, I’ve even got a heavy broad-axe that must weigh about 50 lbs. Position something like that on the front porch and watch the expressions on the trick-or-treaters’ faces!
  4. Gourds and squash: One of the constants in the early Fall around here in Southern Middle Tennessee are the farmers who will sometimes make the rounds of local businesses, trying to sell some of their surplus squash. This squash can be round, saucer-shaped, long and green, or even very pumpkin-like (but pumpkins aren’t easy to carry in baskets!). The smaller squashes can be carved out just like pumpkins and they make great clustered decorations on doorsteps and porches. Especially combined with the broad-axe from #3 to cleave them in a sort of executioners’ tableau.
  5. Chipped or rusted crockery or cauldrons: Rural areas often contain old housing plots that are identifiable by the few brick layer remains in a grass field or near a stand of woods. Often you’ll find a concentration of pottery shards or old glass. In fact, there is not only an old house site on our “back 40,” there is a big trench near it, where they threw their old trash. This trash includes an old refrigerator, other small appliances, many old bottles, and other assorted household items from around 1960-something. Be careful when you collect stuff like this! Sharp edges are not uncommon, and pissed off rednecks with shotguns are also not uncommon, so get permission before you go scavenging on someone’s land.
  6. Fake flowers from the refuse of a rural cemetery: Now she’s really creeping me out here! No, I don’t take arrangements from headstones; that’d be disrespectful. But, at the cemetery nearest our house, the actual burial area is atop a small hill, and arrangements often blow down this hill and lodge in the tree line that surrounds the graveyard. On cleaning and/or decoration days, this dislodged finery is picked up and hauled off as garbage, even if it isn’t faded and dirty. You can find some authentically creepy fake flower arrangements this way, if you’re brave enough to deal with the haunting spirits! No, I’m kidding. What? You don’t believe me?

If you live in a city, or you don’t have access to rural grounds like this, you can find many of these things at yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales. Whenever you wish to explore a rural area, be sure you obtain permission to be on the land you’re exploring and to take away what you find. Some rural folks are glad to get rid of yard or field clutter if you just ask. Cemeteries have their own rules and regulations, and it is wise to know them in advance. Never disturb a burial site to obtain items. This is not only disrespectful but illegal in many areas.

Use care and common sense this Halloween, and enjoy the holiday in a spirit of fun!

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