DEAR MIDNIGHT SOCIETY,

Life advice, via Are You Afraid of the Dark (index) (random)

Dear Betty Ann,

Your interior design sense is an inspiration!  As it so happens, my new home contains both a haunted funhouse and an alien toy factory.  Do you have any tips or tricks for how to best utilize these spaces?  I would like the strike maximal terror in the hearts of my child prisoners.

With love,

Interiority Complex

* * *

Dear Interiority,

Thank you so much!  You have no idea how much time I spend designing these sets, but the gang’s always saying things like, “Ok, Betty Ann, we get it: bright colors.”  But it’s not just bright colors!  You have to be careful to create the appropriate blend of light and dark, and you can’t underestimate the importance of each little “extra.”  Let’s go through it together.

For the haunted funhouse, I recommend keeping the rooms pitch black, except for a few brightly lit and brightly colored panels.

Traditionally, these panels will be doors.

In this example, one door leads to the exit, and the rest are terror traps.  However, I do not know the exact layout of your particular haunted funhouse.  If all else fails, feel free to include something that might literally burn the whole thing down:

Kids hate to burn.

As for the alien toy factory, I recommend decorating exclusively in pastels.  The more you stick to a unified color scheme here, the more terrifying it will be:

The goal, of course, is for your toy factory’s design to appear meticulous but misguidedly over-the-top: you want this to appear to be the result of alien misconceptions of what constitutes fun for children.  And don’t go to pains to construct this out of sturdy materials—it’s not a real toy factory, after all!  Aliens have places to be, and so it’s actually better if a closer look reveals your toy zone to have been constructed on-the-fly.

Most importantly, though, make sure not to skimp on the details.  For instance, consider hiring an imposingly tall elevator operator with a deliriously out-of-time personal aesthetic:

It’ll add a nice touch if you can include a hatch for the mothership:

And remember that a whimsically designed murder-device will always pay its way in terror:

I hope this helps!  Your house sure sounds like a scary time.  Feel free to DM me if you need any further assistance—I live for it!

All the best,

Betty Ann

  • 5 October 2012
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