How to keep ghouls out this Halloween
If you want to survive, don't just sit there — do something!
Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 05:01 PM
At this time of year, it seems like every channel is running a horror movie marathon stretching deep into the wee hours of the morning, and it's enough to send you burrowing deeper into your bed in terror. But is that really what you should be doing? If you're going to stay safe from things that go bump in the night, you need to take a few protective measures — think of it as preventative maintenance for the supernatural set.
We've got the rundown on some common supernatural threats ... and how to make sure they won't crash your Halloween party.
These blood-sucking night dwellers famously can't handle direct sunlight, but more importantly, they can't enter your house unless they're invited. Make sure all your party guests have personalized invitations and that they check with you before bringing a plus one along ... and just in case, you might want to consider wreathing your door in a charming garlic braid, just to be sure.
Additionally, vampires have been known to have trouble crossing running water, so now might be a good time to install that water feature you've been thinking about. Consider a babbling brook or pond with a low Japanese-style bridge on the way to your door!
Fast, slow, skeletal, rotting, and more, zombies seem to come in a lot of different types, which can make them tough to tackle. What you've got to keep in mind is that your home needs to be reinforced, with exactly the same measures you'd use to keep it safe from thieves. Think heavy doors with triple locks, stout double-pane windows with locking shutters, and an elevated house (bonus: flood protection!) with a secured stairwell up to living areas. While you're zombie-proofing your house, consider checking on your roof and siding to make sure they're securely fastened so they don't provide easy areas of entry for determined undead hands.
Since zombies may lay siege to your home for a couple of days, make sure you have plenty of potable water, safe food, and medication supplies; in fact, the government in general recommends having at least three days of supplies not just in case of zombie attacks, but also for earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Ghosts can be difficult, especially if you're not sure why they're hanging around. First, you need to determine whether they're malignant (hint: Weeping girls on staircases are probably fine, ghosts who wake you up by looming over the bed with a knife might be a problem). If you need to, considering calling in an expert like a white witch or a religious officiant who might be able to help your ghost put her issues to rest.
But you can also take some steps of your own. Ghosts like to cling to the past, so now is a good time to repaint, take out that gross old carpet, redo the wainscoting, and take on other remodeling projects around the house. If you have a historic home, make sure to work with a restoration remodeling company that specializes in that kind of work — and warn them about your supernatural resident, because she might get mad that people are messing with her house!
While these pests are generally only a problem on the full moon, they definitely can be an issue. Make sure to secure your trash and recycling just like you do to prevent wild animals from snooping around the house — a carpenter can help you build a stout enclosure. Since werewolves are a little smarter than your average bear, consider adding a lock and key to keep them out.
These creatures also fear silver, and while it's not logistically feasible to do anything as extravagant as building a silver fence, you could consider upping your silver jewelry. Some stragetically placed silver weapons (antique letter openers work well) are also not a bad idea; when not in use for werewolf defense, they can make lovely home decor.
Definitely a potential issue, especially if you live near a museum with a large antiquities collection. Mummies aren't exactly known for their problem-solving skills, but they can be irritatingly determined. We recommend unwrapping their windings, as it tends to slow them down in addition to adding comic value. Make sure you compost all that muslin!
These spirits can be extremely obnoxious, as anyone haunted by one can attest. If you're plagued by randomly opening doors, thrown crockery, taps turning on and off, erratic electrical problems and more, you may have quite a job on your hands. Consider installing child locks on your cabinets and lips on your shelves to secure dishes (this will also be useful in earthquakes, to prevent objects from falling). Consult a plumber and an electrician to make sure you aren't having more mundane problems with your plumbing and electrical systems before getting down to business with an exorcist.
They might not all have crooked noses and pointy hats, but you don't want them in your house, that's for sure. A white witch can help you cook up some protective spells that will also get the house smelling sweet during the holiday season, including herbal sachets to hang over doors and windows. (If you steal an extra for the shoe closet, no one will mind.) Salt across windows and doorways can also help keep unwanted witches out, as can applications of essential oils (consider blending them with wood oil so you can condition and polish your trim at the same time you anoint your home).
Wendigos, drop bears, skinwalkers, chupacabras, banshees, headless horsemen, and so many more seem to stalk the woods, streets, plains and houses of the world. Each one requires its own personalized approach, but don't be intimidated: Many of the protection measures listed above will help in your quest to secure your home, and a local expert can help out with more specifics.
Related Halloween stories on MNN:
- What do you know about Halloween? Take our quiz (if you dare)
- Feeling brave? Test your zombie knowledge
- The science behind some of your favorite candy
Click for photo credits
Zombie crossing: alexsvirid/Shutterstock
Letter opener: Pics by Nick/Shutterstock
Cemetery: Alina G/Shutterstock