Halloween: How to Creep Out Your House

Production designer Corey Kaplan (the X-Files, Cold Case) shares her secrets

➻ To create a scary bathroom scene, fill the bathtub with water, add a quart of red tempera paint, and sprinkle in diatomaceous earth. Then stuff old clothing with rags and towels to create your “victim.” Make sure he’s weighted down or he’ll float when you put him in the tub.

➻ The trick to making fake cobwebs look good is tossing fuller’s earth over them when you’re done. In my B-movie days, we used that for everything creepy.

➻ Blacklight paint is my personal favorite. Paint twigs and branches with the stuff, stick them in white floral foam, and place a lamp with a blacklight bulb nearby. It looks otherworldly. You can place them in pots around your house. You can also paint a sheet with blacklight paint, which is fun because in blacklight it will glow like it’s irradiated. Get a foam ball, paint a face on it that’s as bad-ass as you like, drape a sheet that’s been painted with blacklight paint over it, and hang it like it’s a ghost. You can make a bunch of these and suspend them from trees in the yard. 

PLUS: Deadly Decor

Where to score the ghoulish stuff

Stats Floral Supply
Every autumn this Pasadena institution becomes a Halloween superstore where one-of-a-kind decorations, like maniacal hanging clowns, hit the shelves. 120 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-795-9308.

Dapper Cadaver
Take your pick of coffins and animal carcasses, or rent everything needed to create a mad scientist’s lab.7572 San Fernando Rd., Sun Valley, 818-771-0818.

If the Addams Family ran a store, it would look like this. Year-round, the selection of ornate tombstones and menacing birds will help turn any rec room into a fiend’s lair. 2921 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-848-3642

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As a food writer and restaurant critic for the L.A. Weekly, Shatkin was best known for her “30 Days” missions, in which she reviewed the same item (burgers, sandwiches, ice cream) from a different restaurant for 30 consecutive days. Before that, she was a staff writer for the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times and the events and festivals editor for the paper’s short-lived Guide. Shatkin has been a contributor to the book EAT: Los Angeles, film editor of LAist, and a writer for such publications as American Cinematographer, Bitch, Toque, and Variety. She is a regular guest on KCRW’s Good Food. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, and raised in Cupertino, she is an alumnus of the UCLA School of Film & Television.