Build a Haunted House

Building a Haunted House is a really fun way to incorporate Halloween arts and crafts with solid STEM skills, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. It’s a spooky adventure in art, imagination and bringing your visions to life. The fun is in making something magical from the ordinary. It can be a simple art project using recycled materials, or turn it into a challenge. No matter what, your students will have a spookily good time with this haunted house activity.

Cross Curricular Haunted House Ideas

Cross curricular Haunted House STEM ideas

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Halloween is a fantastic time to do some hands on learning. Today we wanted to share some unique ways you can use a “build a haunted house” STEM craft project to build skills, but also reinforce lessons in other subjects.

First, let’s explore two different and simple ways you can build a haunted house with your students and build those STEM skills at the same time. First we will tap into our love of No Prep Paper STEM Projects and build a haunted house out of paper, then we will do a more traditional cardboard build.

Paper House Challenge

Can you build a house only using paper that is strong and solid? By using the concepts we explored during the Rainbow Paper Bridge Challenge, we can apply those same ideas to building a haunted house.

Our key question in that challenge that carries over: How can we build a strong structure using only construction paper and one chosen connector? For Halloween, we will be testing our haunted house designs by see which ones can hold candy pumpkins or a cauldron of coins without collapsing.


For this haunted house design challenge, students will need:

Construction Paper
Some sort of connector (tape or glue work best)
Craft materials to decorate

Paper STEM Haunted House

Tips for Making a Strong Structure with Paper

How can you make a strong structure with paper?

Fold It – Folding paper into different shapes and thicknesses will give the paper more structure and strength. A tip: Run your ruler along the folds to make them strong folds (this is called scoring the paper).

Roll It – Rolling paper into a tube shape makes it stronger because it adds layers to the paper to make it more rigid.

Stack It – Stacking paper into a pile gives it added strength by making it thicker.

Weave It – Whether you use plain strips of paper or you fold pieces into thicker pieces and then weave them together, the act of crossing paper over and under other pieces lets all of the pieces work together to give the paper more strength.

Twist It – Rolling a piece of paper into a long stick and then twisting that stick gives added strength because you’ve essentially stacked those twists on top of each other.

Crumple It – Crumpling paper into a ball or other shape gives it more structure and therefore more strength. Connecting crumpled papers could be the same as stacking rocks!

Cardboard House Challenge

Another popular and easy to access material is to use cardboard to build your Haunted House. You can use any recycled cardboard, cereal boxes, facial tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, postage boxes, etc.

Cardboard construction comes with its own challenges. It may help to show students how cutting a flange base into a paper tube rather than just trying to tape it into place will provide stronger support. Or how overlapping parts of boxes and then connecting them can give you a stronger foundation than just standing materials on end.

Pro Tip! For a quick and simple glow, grab some electric tealight candles and place them inside your haunted houses for a quick and easy, and spooky glow!

Haunted House Ideas for Multidisciplinary Learning

Now we have two different ways of building a haunted house out of paper or cardboard, here are some fun themes and concepts you can use to really challenge your students. These ideas are especially great for your older students who can turn this into a fun, yet multi-disciplinary project that incorporates history, science, STEM, and more. Pick the concept that most aligns with your October lesson plans and watch the learning blossom!

Historical Haunt

Give your students a historical event or time period (perhaps something from your history or social studies lessons), and ask them to design and build a haunted house that incorporates aspects from that event or time. For instance, students can create a spooky colonial-era house or a haunted pirate ship. Students will need to research and incorporate historical facts into the haunted house design.

STEM-Themed Haunt

Why not really challenge your young STEMists by getting them to incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math into the activity.

Science – Why not challenge students to incorporate movement (physics) and simple machines into their design? Or maybe they can make fake blood or eerie fog and learn the science behind these dramatic additions to their designs.

Technology – Have your students incorporate a circuit into their haunted house design to give it an eerie glow. They could make a simple paper circuit, or do a more complex circuit like in our bat with glowing eyes.

Engineering – Challenge students to create a stable and strong structure that can handle different weights, or maybe is multiple stories high.

Math – Bring on the haunted math by having your students build a haunted house then calculate the square footage of their new houses.

Literary Legends

Choose a famous work of literature, like Frankenstein or Dracula, and have students recreate scenes from the book. This introduces them to classic literature while allowing for a spooky and educational experience. Or keep it current by having kids read a modern favorite like Ghosts.

Cultural Haunt

Does your curriculum include exploring other cultures around the world? Why not ask kids to incorporate some of the spooky folklore of those cultures into their haunted houses? Students can research and incorporate elements from various traditions, such as Dia de los Muertos from Mexico or the Yurei from Japan (our grade 8 curriculum includes studies of Japan), into their haunted house. This promotes cultural awareness and appreciation and ties in beautifully to their existing social studies curriculum.

Environmental Awareness

Raise awareness about environmental issues by creating a haunted house with an eco-friendly twist. Students can use recycled materials, homemade bioplastics, and focus on themes like endangered animals or climate change. This combines education and sustainability.

Interactive Mysteries

Why not create a breakout box style haunted house? Break your students up into teams and challenge them to create a haunted house that is an interactive mystery-solving experience. Students can design puzzles, riddles, and clues related to a specific subject, such as math problems, historical facts, or scientific principles. Participants must solve the mysteries at each haunted house to progress around the classroom. You could even do this as a school wide challenge and have kids spend the day exploring and learning from their peers haunted house designs.

Fun Extension Ideas

Adding an extension activity to a project like this is a great way to link learning and leave a lasting impression on the students.


Paper bats are a great way to teach a little lesson about symmetry. Fold a piece of paper in half, draw the shape of a bat wing on the paper and cut it out. When students unfold the paper they will see that it is now a full bat with two symmetrical wings. You can apply the same concept to spiderwebs, pumpkins, ghosts or even Frankenstein with his two bolts.

Q-Tip Skeletons

Use Q-Tips and Glue to add dancing skeletons to the outside of your haunted house.

Symmetry Math Halloween Projects


What would happen if we put spooky shapes behind a piece of paper covering the window in your house? Explore light and shadows with in your haunted houses by using tracing paper in the windows and cutting out spooky designs to add to the windows. Use an electric tealight for a spooky, flickering glow!

Circuit Halloween Crafts

A fun twist on a traditional TP Halloween Craft is to create a TP Mummy or a TP Bat with eyes that glow thanks to a simple circuit.

These haunted houses are always a hit among the school crowd. These haunted house ideas are a great way to tap into that creativity, build those STEM skills, and tie these fun projects back into your lessons.

Happy haunting!