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Smiling little girl dressed in witch costume holding a ghost stuffie next to a black life-sized haunted house made from cardboard boxes with white roof and green door

A Haunted House for Pint-Sized Witches and 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!

little blond girl in witch's costume with hat and pink and black striped stockings wither back turned and pointing toward handmade black cardboard house with white roof and ghost peeking through the window

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.

overhead photo of supplies to make Halloween life-size haunted house including paint roller, x-acto knife and duct tape.

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:

four close-up photos of cardboard being cut with x-acto knife and turned into a life-size haunted house for Halloween

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.

four photos with life-sized cardboard-shaped gingerbread house showing details of the "carved" roof

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.

three photos of little blond girl wearing white shirt and pink sweatshirt adding black paint with roller onto cardboard box made into haunted house for Halloween

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.

close-up of hand painting white fence detail onto black cardboard haunted house with green door for Halloween

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.

little blond girl in witch's costume and hat outdoors next to a handmade life-sized cardboard haunted house with white roof and green door and shutters

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 an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of card...

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. 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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