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Can you make something spooky from resurrected materials?

October is haunted house season!  Instead of visiting a haunted house this year, we’re challenging you build your own out of “resurrected” materials.  Use boxes, cardboard tubes, paper bags, or any other recycled materials to build a 2 story haunted house that frightens all who see it!

Build a haunted house from recycled materials in this STEM challenge that explores engineering!

 Background Information:

  • The origins of the haunted house date back to 19th-century London, when Marie Tussaud scandalized British audiences with an exhibition of wax sculptures of decapitated French figures, including King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Marat and Robespierre. Tussaud’s likenesses were remarkably accurate, and with good reason — she created death masks of the French Revolution’s many guillotine victims. When she set up a permanent London exhibition, she dubbed her grotesque collection the “Chamber of Horrors” — a name that has stuck to the wax museum to this day.
  • Halloween-themed haunted houses first emerged during the Great Depression as American parents schemed up ways to distract young tricksters, whose holiday pranks had escalated to property damage, vandalism and harassment of strangers. Haunted houses gained popularity around the same time as trick-or-treating as cities, essentially, looked for ways to buy kids off.
  • The haunted house became a cultural icon in 1969 when Disneyland opened the Haunted Mansion. The attraction, which was designed in the style of the Evergreen House and the Winchester Mystery House, quickly became a success. In a single day shortly after its debut, more than 82,000 people passed through the Haunted Mansion
  • In 2017 there were an estimated 2,700 haunted houses in operation during the Halloween season, and the industry is worth $300 million, according to an NBC report.

The Challenge:

Using a collection of recycled material, build a haunted house of at least 2 stories.

The Materials:

  • Different recycled materials (cardboard, paper bags, aluminum cans, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Glue
  • Scary decorations(optional)

The Experiment:

  • Find the materials to build your haunted house.
  • Design a haunted house that makes use of the specific materials you found.
  • Use the scissors and glue, along with your materials, to build your haunted house.
  • Use the paint and any decorations to make your haunted house scary enough to frighten off visitors
  • Send us your results.



Once you have finished this challenge, email our Youth Services Manager, Gina Knowlton,  Please include your first and last name, a picture of your haunted house, and tell us what materials you used.

We will post any entrants experiments to our Facebook page on Thursday, October 22nd!