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A Haunted House for Pint-Sized Witches & Ghosts

By Brenda Ponnay

I don’t know about your little ones but my little girl is not too keen on visiting a haunted house this coming Halloween. Truthfully, neither am I. But making one, that’s a whole other story! There’s nothing scary about making a haunted house, just a whole lot of fun!

This year we decided to make a haunted playhouse much like the cardboard gingerbread house we made a while back for Christmas, just in a different color palette and a bit spookier. It was really fun to use our imaginations to make something spooky for Halloween.


Supplies for a cardboard Haunted House

  • Two 22-inch cube boxes (purchased at our local mailbox store)
  • We used house paint in spooky colors, but would recommend the safest option for kids, water-based children’s paint
  • a 4-inch paint roller with some sponge rollers (best purchase you’ll ever make)
  • 1-3 paint trays (the cheap plastic ones are fine)
  • a drop cloth, sheet or garbage bags to protect your painting surface
  • a box cutter, blade or even serrated knife (only to be used by a responsible adult)
  • duct tape
  • a few paint brushes for detail work
  • a pencil and ruler

How to make a cardboard Haunted House

steps a-d

Then we got to work. I created a gable for this house by cutting two of the opposite top flaps into triangles. Then I cut my extra box in half (folded flat) and laid it over the top of this gable to create a roof. Everything is held together with minimal strips of black duct tape. Don’t worry about the tape showing because your paint will cover it quite well.

I decided to get fancy with the awnings by cutting a 30 degree angle on the corners and then attaching some gingerbread but you don’t have to do that. A straight flat roof is plenty spooky.

steps e-h

After the roof was attached and everything was taped down I cut out the windows and door. I angled everything bigger at the top because to me that’s how haunted houses seem, like they are towering over you. Plus, I thought it was just something fun and different to do. On the back window I added the shape of a ghost just for kicks.

roll this way

Then we started painting. Of course messiness is a factor but if you tape down a drop cloth (or six garbage bags in our case) clean-up is as easy as wrapping it all up and throwing it away. Water-based paint washes right off and as long as you don’t run in the house and wipe your hands on your nice white couch everything will clean up just fine.

adding fence detail

After we painted the whole house black and the roof purple, it was time for some details! I decided to take the old-style New Orleans approach to our haunted house and added some white fencing to the bottom. I was a bit of a control freak while creating this haunted house but I bet kids everywhere would get a kick out of painting monsters or tombstones or who knows what on the sides of their houses. Fuzzy furry hands? Bloody eyeballs? This could be a great project for kids all ages.

A few hours later our paint was dry and our house was ready to play in! I think I’ll keep this around for the Halloween party I’ll be hosting at our house this year. I’m sure it will be great entertainment.

** Because we used house paint we crafted outside which is obviously the best place for ventilation.

Browse More Fun Halloween Crafts Here:


About the Author

Brenda Ponnay

Brenda Ponnay is a stealthy secret agent who juggles parenthood to her adorable daughter by day and freelance graphic design/illustration by night. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, mak...

Brenda Ponnay is a stealthy secret agent who juggles parenthood to her adorable daughter by day and freelance graphic design/illustration by night. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.

You can read about all her crazy adventures on her personal blog: Secret Agent Josephine.

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  • Diana

    September 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    This is great! We (I) am starting to think about my 3 year-old’s birthday, which is going to be Halloween weekend. I hope you are going to plan the rest for me, I mean, uh, give us more crafts!

  • gingermog

    September 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Wonderful I just love it! I want one too.

  • Carrie Kane for Anders Ruff Custom Designs

    September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Brenda, this is SO awesome. I love the little blue fuzzy ghost that your daughter is holding on to and her outfit it spooktacular. What a great idea.

  • Carrie S.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    This is phenomenal! Definitely the best project posted here! I LOVE IT! Congratulations, Brenda! I can’t wait to try it.

  • Bonnie

    September 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    That is ADORABLE!!!

  • nicole

    September 24, 2010 at 8:21 am

    HOW cute! Will definitely keep this in mind for halloween night!

  • Rebecca

    September 24, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Would this work well using spray paint for the large areas? House paint overseas is expensive!

  • Brenda

    September 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

    It might if you’re a good spray painter. I tried doing a wall a while back and my spray painting was terrible. It came out heavy in spots and drippy.  But it might work for you!  I bet rolling on any kind of acylilc craft paint would work. I think the rolling is the important part.

  • Silvia

    September 25, 2010 at 3:39 am


  • Care

    September 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I just popped over from One Pretty Thing…. I LOVE this house!! My boys’ eyeballs would fall out if they saw it! :o) Thanks for the idea. Now I’m off to check out the gingerbread version — which they would ALSO be gaga over!

  • Ali

    September 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I’m SHOCKED to see Bug in Pink and black tights hehe. :o) This is an awesome house Brenda! I love the wrought iron style fence.

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  • jenifer

    September 27, 2010 at 12:39 am

    how much do the boxes cost?

  • Brenda

    September 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    You can find boxes for free lots of places. Backs of stores, especially hardware stores if you ask them nicely.  I bought these ones at a mailbox store and they cost $10 each. 

  • Erica

    September 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Wow – I’m floored (um, no bad pun intended). My son would go bananas if I made him something even 1/10 as cool.

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  • kristen

    October 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    this is ridiculously great!  

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  • Lynn-anne

    October 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This is FAB!!!

  • Monica

    October 17, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I LOVE this!!!!! shared it on my blog! I wish it was big enough for me to get in with my little ones!! =)

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