You’d love to have friends and neighbors over for a scare this Halloween, but how much fear can you pack into a tiny studio apartment when you’re never more than 18 inches from your bed, kitchen, and toilet? Plenty… if you know how to work with what you’ve got!
Start by having any costumed performer perch themselves on top of window sills or wall-mounted floating shelves, or having them wrap their arms and legs tightly around a securely-installed ceiling fan as it slowly spins. Incorporate the height into the costumes themselves by selecting creatures that could plausibly have found their way to the very top of furniture — they’ll believe your gargoyle is real if you have him squat on top of a TV stand.
An Inferno ’Neath the Bed
The area under your bed is overlooked real estate most days, and Halloween is certainly no exception. Since the majority of Americans are generally happy to belly crawl along a filthy floor if just provided the right opportunity, why not jam a space heater and a red light beneath your bed and let your visitors — if they dare! — confront 5 Feet Of Hell (3 feet for twin-size mat-tresses)? If you have a cat, you can dress it as Lucifer and just toss it under.
Slash Your Floor Plan
A room divider is an efficient and affordable way to create the illusion of separate rooms in a confined space. On one side of your cardboard or bamboo partition is a torture chamber; on the other, a mad scientist’s laboratory! Each “room” will likely be no wider than a pizza box and require that visitors edge along sideways, breathing only through their noses, not speaking, chins high, arms reaching toward heaven, jackets off, women’s hair pulled into a tight bun, until their thirty-second ordeal is mercifully ended with a shove out the door and a shocking arrival back into the hallway — that is, if they can survive that long!
Ghosts in the Walls
Your guests are guaranteed to hear each and every sound in your apartment, but you can use this to your advantage! Your neighbors are making love? Just randy ghosts of former tenants who died while making love. Your building manager is pounding on the door because he was never informed about this haunted studio? Just a particularly unpleasant and sweaty zombie who can be a little weird around women! Be sure to patiently explain that he’s not allowed to grab anyone who’s not wearing a wristband!
All the clutter you likely have in your little apartment is the perfect environment for authentic spider webs, with the potential bonus of authentic spider bites. Feel free to give the last of your visitors a handheld vacuum and have them bravely abolish any and all webs as they exit your astonishing attraction — that would be good of them after all the scares you provided!
WHAT THE HELL IS That?!
Do not be afraid to push boundaries! Unshaven and prone to unpredictable behavior, the younger brother of your college friend is the perfect demon beast to awake from a futon nap in a terrifying, explosive state! Just as likely to accost you for drugs as he is for any connections you might have in corporate law, he’ll inject a bit of chaos that will ensure no two visits to your haunted studio are ever exactly the same!
Patience is a virtue when it comes to Halloween shocks, especially with so little floor space at your disposal. “Follow me,” you can whisper, as you discreetly hail a Lyft (for which you will demand to later be reimbursed). When your group arrives at your external storage unit, unlock the door slowly, slowly, slowly, and then … bam! A severed head resting on that weight bench you couldn’t squeeze into your apartment, even after you gave away that loveseat! If your group hasn’t somehow passed out from sheer terror or the overpowering mildew, lead them on to your parents’ house, where who knows what lurks behind all those textbooks and yearbooks from college you stuck them with!
You Must Be This Tall to Scream
Your haunted studio will seem less confined if your visitors are proportionately smaller, so absolutely no one over five feet should be admitted under any circumstances!
Fear Lives in the Mind, Not the Studio
Your visitors will barely even register how cramped your apartment is once you discreetly spray them in the face with a potent LSD-infused aerosol. All sense of space will simply dissolve away, leaving them with foggy memories of monsters that will seem terrifyingly real for months or even years but with zero recollection for the reason behind those shin-high bite marks.
Supersize Your Spooks
If the person next door has a studio of their own and wants in on some tandem terror, just have your visitors free climb along the face of your building through an open window until they reach your neighbor’s kitchen. If they’re not up to this physical challenge, respect their wishes and let them know they’re more than welcome to unassumingly drop to the pavement below.
You Are Optional
Your own presence at your haunted studio may take up valuable space, so feel free to luxuriously enjoy Halloween outside the city and return home with time enough to set up your magical, four-hundred-square-foot Christmas Wonderland! If you have a cat, just dress it as an industrious elf and fling it under the bed. It’s Santa’s workshop now!
And that’s it! You’re well on your way to creating the tiniest but scariest haunted attraction in your progressive, urban area. Get screamin’!