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10 Ways to Make a Horror Puzzle Scarier



A horror puzzle is not just a challenge to be worked out and solved but also an activity to scare, shock and/or disgust the person or people who are doing it. This activity will try to create a frightening or creepy atmosphere whilst the person tries to solve it which could be through sound, text, feel or visuals depending on what the puzzle is and there may even be a jump scare involved or at least the threat of one. It is a type of puzzle that comes in many different and varied forms such as a toy, an audio file, a picture, a video, a book, a video game or in a real-world setting with people as actors. Boards games, jigsaws, audio puzzle books, puzzle books, escape rooms, video games and movies are all puzzles in which a horror or scary theme can be commonly found. I have discovered some easy to implement ways of enhancing the terror experienced from a horror puzzle which I have implemented when I have found one to be not that frightening or that it has frightened me but I want it to be the scariest experience possible. So here are ten ways I have found and used that have worked for me in making the experience I got from a horror puzzle scarier and more immersive.


1. Play the horror puzzle alone with nobody about - Doing a horror puzzle alone with nobody around I have found can be a scarier and more immersive experience as there is nobody to distract me and therefore take me out of the frightening experience that I am having with it. There is also then nobody around to reassure me and/or joke with me if I am feeling scared from this activity in order to ease my nerves or to reduce the tension I could be feeling. Being alone I find just on its own can sometimes be frightening depending on the setting I am in so it makes sense that when I do a scary activity such as in this case a horror puzzle I feel more scared doing this scary activity alone. Doing this activity alone in an empty house, particularly at night I find can be an ideal setting and the right conditions for ensuring that this activity is not only immersive and gives a fright but is as immersive and as frightening as it can be. Of course, not every horror puzzle is a single-player activity that can be done alone as some need other players to play them as they are multiplayer such as those that are board games. Therefore when doing a multiplayer horror puzzle with other people I could try to ensure only those participating in this activity are in the house or location we are doing it in or at in order to try and make sure the group as a whole doing this activity feels alone and consequently more terrified.


2. Play the horror puzzle in dark conditions - An easy way I have found to make any horror puzzle a more terrifying experience is to do it at night when it is pitch black outside as I find it is not just the darkness that can make the night feel so frightening but also the quiet or even silence that often accompanies it. To further enhance the terror felt from doing this activity at night I dim the lights of the room in which I am doing this activity to the point that there is just enough light that I am still able to do the activity. Doing this activity in pitch black conditions with no light I think would be even more terrifying but for most horror puzzles I need some light to be able to see, attempt and solve them so it could only be a horror audio puzzle that could I really do this with. Attempting this activity when the only light there is would be from candlelight could be a creative way for me to make the dark conditions I am doing this activity in even more frightening or eerier that would also be relatively simple to implement. I can still create dark or even pitch black conditions during the day when there is light outside in order to make a horror puzzle scarier to play if this is the only time I can do this activity or want to do it as I can just draw the curtains of the room I am in to block the light from outside, wear sunglasses, do the activity in a room that has no natural light coming in such as my basement or do the puzzle under a bedsheet.


3. Play scary music or sounds whilst doing the horror puzzle - Having scary sounds or music on whilst I am attempting a horror puzzle is simple to implement yet a fantastic way I have found of being able to gain or further enhance the terror experienced from attempting this activity. Playing scary sounds or music whilst attempting this activity from my experience can also make doing this activity a more immersive experience especially when the music or the sounds being played fit with the puzzle that I am playing. For example, if the horror puzzle that I am attempting involves a werewolf then I would play whilst I do this activity, to correspond with and immerse myself more into this puzzle that I am doing, sounds of wolves howling or better still werewolf sound effects. The place I go to search for and that can play these sounds or music that I want to play whilst doing a horror puzzle is Youtube as they will almost certainly have the horror sounds or music I am looking for no matter how specific, unusual or niche it is. On Youtube, I can usually find videos that are long in length that have the specific horror sounds or music I am looking for which is important because the horror puzzle may take more than an hour to complete. Therefore I need the horror music or sounds that will be played whilst I do a horror puzzle to last the amount of time that it will take to do this activity which may mean having to put the Youtube video that is playing this horror music or sounds on repeat if this Youtube video doesn't last as long as this activity takes me to complete. I put on and use headphones to listen to the scary music or sounds that I play whilst doing a horror puzzle as I feel this option from my experience in comparison to speakers gives a better sound quality and more immersive experience and thus a scarier experience. However, I will use speakers to play out loud the scary sounds or music that I want to accompany a horror puzzle when it is a group activity so that everyone participating can hear this music or sounds and hopefully feel more terrified. No matter if I am using headphones or speakers I obviously make sure the horror sounds or music that I am playing and listening to whilst doing a horror puzzle are loud enough to hear clearly so that this music or sounds can have the effect I am looking for which is to create a more frightening atmosphere.


4. Watch a scary movie before playing a horror puzzle - Watching a horror film or a film that I find to be frightening and then after this whilst I am still feeling scared and on edge from this film go attempt a horror puzzle I have found can make attempting this activity even more terrifying to experience. I try to choose a scary film that will make a good companion to and complement the horror puzzle that I will attempt right after watching this film and therefore whatever monster/villain(s) or scary story has been incorporated into this puzzle I will then try and find a scary film that has this or a similar monster/villain(s) or story to it as well. It isn't crucial for me that the scary film matches the horror puzzle, that I am going to play directly after watching this scary film, in terms of the monster/villain(s) or the scary story that they contain but when they do match in this way then it can make the horror puzzle a scarier and more immersive experience to undertake. The less time there is between having watched the scary film and then starting to attempt the horror puzzle I find the better in terms of the impact the film has on making this activity scarier and more immersive for me to attempt. Playing a scary videogame instead of watching a scary film I have found can also work just as well in making a horror puzzle that is attempted after it a more frightening, immersive and compelling experience especially if the videogame has the same or similiar monster/villain(s) or story to that of the puzzle. Of course, watching a scary film or playing a frightening videogame and then playing a horror puzzle can take up a considerable amount of time in a day to do and complete and thus I try to make sure before I set out to do all of this that I will have enough time in the day I want to do all of this. Therefore to try and make sure I can comfortably do all of this in a single day I try to find and choose a scary film to watch that doesn't take too long to watch such as one with a run time of no more than two hours and then I also try to find and choose a horror puzzle that will take no more than an hour or two to complete. If I decide to play a frightening video game instead of a scary film before attempting a horror puzzle then I will only play this frightening video game for a maximum of two hours and then make sure that the puzzle that I choose to play directly after it can be completed within a couple of hours. Scary TV shows usually have episodes that are around an hour or less in length which is a lot shorter in length than a scary film often is and therefore watching a single episode of a scary tv show could be better than watching a scary film in terms of allowing me to watch the whole of it and then complete a horror puzzle after it without this taking up too much time.


5. Play the horror puzzle in a small or limited space - Being in a place/room where there is not much space and is cramped when attempting a horror puzzle has from the experiences I have had of doing this helped to heighten and also engender fear and a sense of suspense from attempting it. The place/room with a small or limited space where I will attempt this activity won't be somewhere that my movement would be completely restricted as I am too cramped up there or somewhere that I won't have enough room to be able to physically perform this activity. Neither am I going to put myself in a place that is a small or limited space to do this activity that is dangerous for me or is potentially so where I could get trapped, where there would be a lack of oxygen or where I could get crushed. The places that are small or limited in space that I have used and chosen to play a horror puzzle in the past are either my shed which has a shelf in it that I have used to play this activity on, under the stairs or up in the attic and these are all places that I have felt a sense of isolation in which has made the horror puzzles that I was doing in these places feel scarier to me. Being in a small space or a place with limited space can sometimes make me feel trapped and this feeling of being trapped can fit perfectly with the activity that is a horror puzzle when I want to feel as if there is no escape for me from whatever it is about this activity that has me frightened. Being in a large area/room where there is a vast amount of space for me to move about in, that is the complete opposite of being in a place that has limited room/space, I find can also occasionally be a terrifying place to be especially when alone in this kind of place with no other people in sight. This is because being in a large area/room I can sometimes feel particularly when by myself isolated and/or lonely and therefore doing a horror puzzle in such a place could, especially when on my own, make it scarier and more intense for me to play. This large area/room that I could choose to attempt a horror puzzle at/in to make it more frightening to play could be outdoors at an empty or quiet beach or playing field or could be indoors in a library when there are very few people in it.


6. Play a horror puzzle in autumn and/or winter when the weather is colder and it gets darker sooner - The colder weather of the autumn season when there is a chill in the air I believe fits perfectly with the festival of Halloween as these colder conditions, especially at night, can feel spooky and create a frightening atmosphere. This chill in the air that can be felt in the autumn period of the year when it gets colder outside I believe can feel quite frightening because this is an ominous warning that winter is on its way and it is going to get even colder and darker. During the autumn and winter months of the year the leaves drop off, the days have less daylight and the temperature is colder outside that all combine to create, for me at least, a spooky and unsettling atmosphere which is a perfect atmosphere for playing a horror puzzle in for making it more frightening to play. The Halloween season is probably for me the ideal time of year to attempt a horror puzzle as not only does it have these colder weather conditions and shorter days that I believe can make it a frightening time of year but the Halloween decorations and costumes that are present during this period can make this activity a more appealing, scary and immersive experience to attempt. Although winter, where I live, can be at times for me a bleak and miserable time of year to experience due to the cold weather and the lack of daylight hours it does contain the Christmas period and festivities which can make winter for me a more pleasant and jolly time. This is why I don't think playing a horror puzzle in winter during the Christmas period is the greatest idea when my goal is to make the experience of playing one as frightening as possible as the pleasant and jolly atmosphere and decorations that are prevalent during this period will hinder this objective. However, the periods of winter that don't consist of Christmas and the New Year's festivities I find can provide the right setting and atmosphere for making a horror puzzle a more frightening activity to participate in due to the colder weather and shorter days that are present during these periods creating this right setting and atmosphere. During the winter months I have my wood burning stove lit to keep me warm and although this can create a cosy atmosphere fire is also associated with horror so being able to see and hear a fire flickering whilst I play a horror puzzle can make this activity feel more immersive and frightening to play especially if this puzzle has a fire element to it either story-wise or pictorially.


7. Use scary props and decorations to make a horror puzzle feel more frightening to play - A horror puzzle I find can be a scarier and more captivating experience to attempt during Halloween because of the decorations for this holiday that I have up in my house for the duration of this festival. The decorations that I have up in my house during the Halloween period that I find work most effectively in making a horror puzzle scarier for me to attempt are the decorations that match the horror element of the puzzle I am attempting, for example, the puzzle could have a vampire as the horror element of it and therefore having a toy/cardboard bat(s) as a Halloween decoration would fit perfectly with this puzzle in making it more immersive and terrifying for me to attempt. I play horror puzzles all year round and playing one when it is not Halloween doesn't mean I can't still put up scary decorations or props that will fit with the horror element of this puzzle I am playing to make it a more frightening proposition to play and an activity I will be more invested in. I find it can take just one scary decoration or prop to make a horror puzzle feel to me more frightening and immersive to play but when I am surrounded all around by scary props and decorations then this can feel very unnerving and make a horror puzzle that I am playing feel extremely immersive and terrifying to play. A scary decoration or prop is most effective in terms of it making a horror puzzle feel frightening for me to attempt when that decoration or prop is in my eye-line and can be seen easily as I am attempting this activity. To ensure that I can easily see the scary decoration or prop that I am using to make the horror puzzle I am attempting more frightening to play then I put this decoration or prop as close as possible to where I am attempting this activity which can even sometimes be on the table that I am playing the activity on. Another approach I use to ensure that I can see easily the scary decoration or prop I am using to make the horror puzzle I am attempting feel scarier to play is to use a large in size decoration or prop so that if the prop or decoration is or can only be placed far away from where I am attempting this activity I can still see it easily and clearly. To make sure that a scary prop or decoration is in my eye-line whilst I attempt a horror puzzle I will put the decoration or prop in a place that will be in front of me at eye level from where I will be sat/stood attempting this activity. There are certain types of horror puzzles that can have a scary prop(s) included with them such as board games or escape rooms and when this is the case then this will be the ideal scary prop for making that particular puzzle more frightening for me to experience as it will match perfectly with the horror element(s) of the puzzle it has been included with. When a horror puzzle that I want to play doesnt have a scary prop included with it then I have the option available to me to make my own scary prop or decoration to accompany it which can have the advantage of being cheaper than just buying one and when I create my own scary prop then I can make sure it fits well with the horror element of the puzzle I want to play. There are many ways I could go about creating a scary prop such as through knitting, 3D printing, clay sculpting, woodwork or metalwork but the way that will be easiest for me to make a scary prop or decoration is to draw/paint/print and cut out a frightening image that I think will make the horror puzzle I am going to attempt feel more terrifying to experience.


8. Play a horror puzzle with a scary video playing in the background - Having a scary moving image(s) playing in the background whilst I attempt a horror puzzle I have found can be an effective way of creating a more intimidating and frightening atmosphere in which to attempt this activity in. The scary video that I put on in the background whilst attempting this activity I have discovered through experience usually has a more terrifying effect on me when this video has sound to it and that the sound for this video is on and can be heard clearly. However, the sound from a scary video can sometimes distract me from the horror puzzle that I am playing which hinders my chances of solving it or performing it well and when the audio from a scary video is a distraction to me or becomes one then I can simply play the video on mute as then I still have the visuals of the video playing to frighten me. To make sure the scary video that is on in the background whilst I attempt a horror puzzle can be seen clearly and is as frightening as possible for me to look at I ensure this video is played on a device that has a big screen which will be either my TV or laptop. Watching a scary video on a big screen I find is a much more frightening experience for me than it would be to watch it on a device that has a small screen such as a mobile phone because on a large screen I am better able to see the smaller and more subtle details of a scary video and it could be these details that make this video frightening or more frightening to me. Also whatever it is about the scary video that I find visually frightening will be bigger in size when the video is played on a device that has a large screen compared to the size it would be when played on a device with a small screen which I usually find makes it more terrifying. Viewing a scary video on my mobile phone, which has a much smaller screen in comparison to the screens of my TV and laptop, can still mean that this video is scary to me but I have to ensure that the mobile phone is placed right next to me when playing the scary video on it so that I can see all the subtle details of the scary video that is playing on it in order to ensure that this video has the best chance to scare me or to be as frightening as it possibly can be for me. The scary video that I have on in the background as I play a horror puzzle will have to last for the length of time it will take for me to complete playing this activity which might mean it is necessary that I have to put the scary video on repeat if the video is not long enough in length or that I make sure that I have a series of scary videos to play that will automatically play one after the other for the duration of the time I will be playing this activity for. I also try to remember to knock off the lock screen or screen saver on the device I am playing the scary video on so that the lock screen or screensaver won't activate during the period of time the scary video needs to play for which will be the length of time I am playing the horror puzzle for. I have to be able to see the whole of the screen the scary video is being played on from where I am standing/sitting playing the horror puzzle for the video to be as frightening as it can be for me which means positioning the device I am playing the scary video on in front of me and/or that I am sat/stood facing the direction of the device the scary video is playing on so that the scary video is in my line of vision with nothing obstructing my view of it whilst playing the horror puzzle. The device that is playing the scary video, which I have on in the background whilst I am playing a horror puzzle, cannot be too far away from me that I am struggling to see clearly the images that this video is displaying as this will likely reduce how frightening this video is to me which means the smaller the screen of this device is the closer it will have to be to me so that I can see the scary video it is playing clearly. When I have watched a scary video in the past whilst attempting a horror puzzle I have found it is important to ensure the brightness level and resolution of this video are set as high as the device this video is being played on can reasonably handle so that I can see all the details of this video clearly which will mean this scary video will have the best chance to be as frightening as possible for me and to make this activity feel more terrifying for me to attempt. I always try to make sure that the content of the scary video that I choose to watch whilst playing a horror puzzle matches the horror element of this puzzle as I find this will allow the video to have the biggest impact on me in terms of making this activity I am playing whilst watching it feel scarier and more immersive to me. The Youtube website I find is by far the best destination and source for me to find and play a scary video, that I will have on in the background whilst playing a horror puzzle, as this website has a massive range of horror-themed videos to choose from and Youtube videos can be put on repeat or played one after the other in a playlist. This massive range of horror-themed videos to select from on Youtube means I am likely to find from them a scary video that matches closely to what I am looking for in terms of the content it contains no matter what specific terrifying imagery I am looking for unless it is very extreme and also in terms of the run time of the video. I do find a scary video to sometimes be a distraction for me when it is playing whilst I attempt a horror puzzle as it might annoy me or occasionally be more captivating to me than this activity I am attempting. This scary video distracting me can lead to me not being able to fully concentrate on the horror puzzle I am attempting and my performance level with it reducing which ultimately might mean I struggle or can't solve it and when this video does become too much of a distraction for me whilst I attempt this activity then I find it better to switch it off.


9. Dress up and wear a scary costume whilst playing a horror puzzle - Putting on a scary costume I find can make playing a horror puzzle a far more immersive experience than otherwise and can really increase the fear experienced from playing it. Wearing a scary costume is strongly associated with Halloween and although this is the perfect time of year to attempt a horror puzzle wearing one without this feeling like a strange thing to do I think that wearing a scary costume for attempting this activity can be a really good idea any time of year when it is a group activity and the other people participating are also wearing them. Playing a multiplayer horror puzzle with other people and with everybody that is participating dressed in scary costumes I find can be one of the most terrifying and immersive ways of doing and experiencing a horror puzzle. The more people there are dressed in scary costumes that are playing this activity with me I find the more terrifying, unnerving and surreal the experience of playing it can be depending on how terrifying I find each of their costumes to be. The scary costume that I choose to use doesn't just have to consist of clothing and footwear but can also include applying face paint or makeup to myself and/or me holding or wearing a prop(s). The easiest way for me to obtain a scary costume is to buy or rent a ready-made one but it can be more fun and cheaper to make my own costume and I can then create and tailor the costume to look exactly how I want it to when I make it myself. Making my own scary costume doesn't have to be complicated as, for example, to become a ghost all I need is a large white sheet that I will cover myself with and scissors to cut holes out this large white sheet for me to see through and also there are plenty of places online for me to look for ideas and instructions on how to make a scary costume easily and inexpensively. Whether I buy/rent the scary costume or make it myself I try to make sure that the costume matches the horror element of the puzzle I will be playing whilst wearing this costume in order to hopefully make playing it a more immersive and frightening experience for me. It is also important that the scary costume I choose to wear for attempting a horror puzzle doesn't prevent or hinder me from playing with this activity properly and solving it as the scary costume I am wearing might include a mask that could obstruct my view or the scary costume I am wearing might include gloves that might cause difficulty for me in terms of holding or manipulating the puzzle. Therefore I can either choose a scary costume to wear that won't prevent or hinder me from playing and solving the horror puzzle I am going to attempt or choose the horror puzzle I am going to attempt on the basis that I will be able to wear the scary costume that I have chosen to wear for playing a horror puzzle without this costume preventing me from playing with and solving it. Another solution to this problem, should it occur, could be for me to only remove the part of the scary costume that is preventing or hindering me from playing with the horror puzzle properly but the downside to this solution is that this might ruin the look or aesthetic of my scary costume and thus make this activity feel less frightening for me to play whilst wearing it like this.


10. Play a horror puzzle with another person or people who frighten easily - I can sometimes find that when I am playing a horror puzzle with somebody else and this person is frightened by it that their fear and angst can transfer to me and make me feel scared or even more frightened by it than I already am. Therefore when I want to play a horror puzzle with another person I will try to find somebody I know who is easily frightened in the hope that their angst from playing it will create a more tense and terrifying atmosphere to play this activity which will make it scarier for me to play. In order to have another person or people who frighten easily play a horror puzzle with me this activity will have to be multiplayer or it will have to be capable of being adapted from a single player to a multiplayer challenge. Alternatively, I could have a person who frightens easily stood/sat near or next to me just watching me attempt the horror puzzle in the hope that just from observing me play this activity this person gets scared and then this person's fear transfers to me. It is important that I choose a horror puzzle to attempt that I am confident I will be scared to play and that it is not necessary that I need another person playing it with me or watching me play it who is scared by it in order to feel scared playing it. The reason for this is to try to ensure that I will have a frightening experience with the horror puzzle because it is not always the case that when somebody else, whom I am playing this activity with or who is watching me play it, is scared by the puzzle that their fear transfers to me and makes me feel frightened. Another good reason I find to play this activity with a person or people who frighten easily is it can be very entertaining to watch another person be frightened or try to pretend they are not frightened. The more a person, who I am playing a horror puzzle with or who is watching me attempt it, is scared I find the more frightened it can make me feel as this person can create a very tense atmosphere when really terrified and I also find the more people I have playing this activity with me or watching me play it who are scared by it then the more tense and frightening the experience of playing it can be. The closer in proximity I am to the person who is frightened by the horror puzzle we are doing or to the person who is frightened by watching me play one the greater the likelihood I find of me becoming frightened or more terrified due to this person's fear.


In summary, I have used all ten of these approaches and I believe that they have all helped at some point in the past to make a horror puzzle at least a bit more frightening and immersive for me to play. The approaches that I believe have worked most effectively in making this activity more frightening for me to play are attempting it in dark conditions and using scary props and decorations. I do think that to make this activity as terrifying as it possibly can be for me then I have to use as many of these approaches as I feasibly can. These approaches I think do work best if I find to begin with that the horror puzzle is frightening to me before I have even used any of these approaches to make it a more frightening and immersive playthrough. It also took me quite a bit of trial and error to work out how to make these approaches work most effectively for me so that these approaches make the horror puzzle I am attempting feel as frightening and immersive as they can for me. The fact these approaches have worked so well for me though in making this activity more terrifying and more immersive might be because I am somebody who can be frightened relatively easily.

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