An American Halloween practice is to decorate a house, yard, or garage and open it to other members of the public. For some, the decorations are something created specifically for trick-or-treating and are in place for one night only. For others, the decorations are done more in the tradition of Christmas decor and appear a month or so before the actual holiday.
Common motifs for Halloween are settings resembling a cemetery, a haunted house, a hospital, or a specific monster-driven theme built around famous creatures or characters.
Typical elements of decoration include jack-o'-lanterns, fake spiders and cobwebs, and artificial gravestones and coffins. Coffins can be built to contain bodies or skeletons, and are sometimes rigged with animatronic equipment and motion detectors so that they will spring open in reaction to passers-by. Eerie music and sound effects are often played over loudspeakers to add to the atmosphere. Haunts can also be given a more "professional" look, now that such items as fog machines and strobe lights have become available for more affordable prices at discount retailers. Some haunted houses issue flashlights with dying batteries to attendees to enhance the feeling of unease.
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