The psychotic patients can be milling around the front yard to scare the approaching trick or treaters. Give each patient a unique affliction — perhaps one can “hear voices,” another can be searching for something, etc. Have your cast turn up or down the scare tactic intensity depending on the age of the trick or treaters. As the trick or treaters approach the house, the “escaped mental patient” can run out of the front door shrieking in terror. Make sure to close the door after the patient leaves; so you’ll need to station another person inside the house to accomplish this act.
Then, when the trick or treaters actually ring the doorbell, the sadistic doctor/nurse will appear, wearing a blood-stained lab coat and rubber gloves. He/she will either brandish a meat cleaver dripping with fake blood or squirt a hypodermic filled with red liquid. Either variation of this greeting is a sufficiently creepy way to answer the door, and the scare factor is multiplied when you couple the motion with a sadistic giggle.
Let the sadistic doctor/nurse greet the trick or treaters in an eerily quiet sing-song voice. Try to channel the pyschotically-restrained voice of Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to weirding out your audience! Engage the children in some dialogue while you’re passing out the candy. But don’t fall out of character. Use verbiage that the sadistic doctor would use — “we had a child about your age in here yesterday…….but she wasn’t a very good girl and she just didn’t survive in here…..” With the right intonation, a simple phrase can take on an entirely different nuance.
Finally, don’t forget to address the sense of smell in your Disturbingly Haunted Halloween Display. You’ve created auditory stimuli in the form of shrieking patients; you’ve provided a smorgasbord of freakish visual images, and you may get sued if you actually incorporate the sense of touch or taste into the display! However, leave a lingering presence for your guests by creating a disturbing fragrance near the front porch. This smell could be something as simple as spoiled food — create your own rotten egg smell by leaving a carton of eggs in a warm location (preferably NOT in your house) for several days or create a musty smell by foraging through your teenager’s gym bag for some stinky socks. In either case, put your aromatic items in a key location that is NOT visible to the trick or treaters. The area behind a piece of porch furniture or some large pumpkins would be ideal.
Have a Ghoulish Night!