I have read many haunted house books and seen many others related to haunted houses and operation. Below I have listed what in my opinion are the 5 best.
How To Haunt Your House by Shawn & Lynee Mitchell
This book now with several follow-up series has some wonderful props and effects in it. Shawn & Lynee have done a wonderful job of detailing out the projects and have given written and vivid photography of the processes.
How to Haunt Your House, Book Three has risen up from the grave once more! Find out how to take your Halloween decorating to the next level. This year, cross over to the over side of Halloween decorating and bring our your inner spirit–The one that longs for dark corners and spider webs! You don’t have to wait till you’re dead to create these incredible props. Wouldn’t a Werewolf Rug look perfect in front of the fireplace? How about a Brain Bubbler for the kitchen? Find out how to turn a living room into a Fortune Tellers Den or set the time on a Witch’s Clock. There’s something for just about every room in the haunted house. So get out the glue gun and start sharpening those files. It’s time to perfect the art of haunt decor! For more great tips and videos visit us at: www.howtohauntyourhouse.com
Haunted House Halloween Handbook by Jerry Chavez
Jerry Chavez has created a wonderful haunted house book. He covers all kinds of areas from props to business. Focused mostly toward charity haunts it covers everything you need to get up and running and a small budget.
Every October, schools, civic clubs, scout troops, little leagues and charity groups of all kinds sponsor Halloween “haunted houses” as fundraisers. But where do they go for good information on how to do it? How to make the rotting corpse that scares the bejeebers out of everyone or the demonic knife-wielding doll or the living, beating heart that visitors swear is real? And what about the mundane details (e.g., permits and insurance) that make the haunted house a profitable and safe venture? Where does one find out about that? All aspects of the successful haunted house are covered here. There is good information on site selection, logistics, design, security, budgeting, sponsorship and volunteer management. This is followed by detailed, descriptions of many inexpensive illusions for your haunted house; each is accompanied by illustrations that further explain how to make the effect successful. Floor plans, advertising flyers and design worksheets are some of the sample materials included.
The Mask Making Handbook by Thurston James
Thurston James has done wonders with his books on masks and props. Here you get a detailed look into the mask making process. Learn everything you need and how the various methods can be used. Great for those interested in the costume side of things.
A Complete Guide To Special Effects Makeup by Tokyo SFX Makeup Workshop
Makeup can make all the difference in your haunted house. Taking your makeup effects up a step to bring your creatures to life can take your haunt to the next level. Tokyo SFX Makeup Workshop has done a wonderful job with this book covering just that special effects makeup. Learn to do burns, cuts, scraps and more.
Acclaimed as the best book ever published on the subject, A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeupcovers everything from basic facial makeup styles, simple scars and gashes, to masks, molds and cast-making; everything you need to know to create vampires, zombies and other fantastical characters.
With clear step by step instructions and hundreds of color photos, it includes stunning conceptual pieces from many of the contributing artists and a section on manga/cosplay hair and makeup. Bound to thrill anyone interested in creating realistic and unique makeup effects!
Every haunt needs props. When you first start out getting them from the big players is not always an option since a single prop can run you more than rent will cost. So your next option is to make your own. Here you will learn many techniques. Eric Hart has done a wonderful job with this book and covered a wide range of props that you can use in your haunted house.
Theatre and film frequently require replicas of three-dimensional objects built for actors to use. This book lays the groundwork for an artisan to determine what materials and techniques to use to build these props. Walking the reader through the various tools and techniques used in historical and contemporary prop-making, the author presents a process for deciding the materials and methods to build any prop. With an explanation of how the craft and its products have developed over time, the budding artisan will understand not just how and when to use certain techniques or materials, but also why to use them and what advantages they give. It arms the prop maker with a structured procedure for approaching the construction of any prop. Illustrated with step-by-step examples of how to use each construction method, and explanations of different types of materials, this book gives the beginner prop artisan a strong foundation to approach the construction of props and answers the question, “How should I begin?”
The author is hosting an online component to the book along with his successful blog. It will feature additional resources for the prop maker, including books, shops, contact information, and how-to videos.