To celebrate Halloween 2020 we thought we’d have some fun and make a ‘scarystory’ using free media. Virtually all the video content in our story comes from free sources, including the spooky soundtrack. Read on for the details and have a go at making your own!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween celebrations are held in many different countries and date back to traditional festivals such as the Celtic Samhain and Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The word Halloween means ‘the evening before Hallows’ which is All Saints Day in the Christian calendar. In some traditional beliefs, the dead were thought to return to visit their loved ones on this night and the practice of dressing up as ghouls, witches, ghosts and zombies was thought to confuse any evil spirits and prevent them from recognising or harming the party-goers.

In Mexican traditions, the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead festival runs from Oct 31 to Nov 2, with similar beliefs that the souls of the departed can visit relatives for a brief reunion. As part of the celebrations, food and drink may be laid out for the visiting spirits.

In Celtic beliefs, this was also a harvest before the start of winter. Wearing masks and costumes, people would celebrate and feast, leaving portions of food and drink out for the returning souls of the dead to share in celebrations. Bonfires were lit and games like bobbing for apples were played.

Trick or treating, which is most popular in the USA, may date back to old customs of going house to house on this night, telling stories or singing in exchange for food.

Telling scary stories was a part of the celebrations, as it still is today, so we had some fun making our own Halloween Scarytale.

How to make a Halloween Video

Our Halloween ‘Scarytale’ cost just $12 to create, it’s made mostly with free content. Here’s a rundown of how I created it, with full credits and links to the free downloads so you can make your own!

First I selected clips that I could use to make a basic storyline with a hero, a few villains and a lot of suspense, using free videos from Pexels. The key content I’ve used was created by CottonBro (the boy and the evil clown), Thirdman (the witch), Sarah Lim (the scary forest intro), and additional clips created by Matthias Groeneveld, Steve Johnson, Pixabay and Mark Edwin Hedia – all these are from Pexels. They’re all silent footage.

Then I found a suitably spooky music track for free on YouTube, the track is called ‘Good Night’ and was created by Private Hell Productions. This was perfect for my story!

Once I had my storyline edited, I created the full sound-design by using scary atmospheres and SFX. I’ve added some selected creaks, groans, footsteps, screams and scary risers from our own SFX library, and a couple of specific things which created in-house (like the boy hero’s dialogue).

All that remained was to finish off with some blood-soaked graphics. I created the Hammer Horror-inspired titles sequences in After Effects using ink splashes. I’ve used a Rocketstock pack called Hisan for these, but you can easily find similar free ink splashes here.

You’ll need a bit of After Effects knowledge to create a similar effect, but there are plenty of ‘how to’ videos available that will show you how to colour the ink splashes by linking to a solid to alter the colours, or by using the Hue effect.

My font selection ‘Violence’, is created by Aiyari – this is the only thing that wasn’t free.

I hope this has inspired you to create your own Halloween video, but if you’re not the creative type, you just don’t have time, or you want something more professional you can always contact us here at Sonic Eye, and we’ll make one for you!

*Disclosure – I am not being paid for endorsements for any of these sources. Thank you to all the awesome creators whose free work I’ve used to create this video.

– Thalia is the lead editor and sound-designer at Sonic Eye video and sound editing service, based in Sydney, Australia.