By Mitchell Parker, Houzz
Home sure is where the heart is — just not when people find themselves home alone. An empty house is where the spooky things are. That’s according to a recent Houzz survey, in which 77 percent of the 800 people who responded said they get spooked while home alone.
Break-ins, not clowns, topped the survey of the scariest things that can occur (54 percent for urban dwellers; 46 percent for those in rural areas).
Other fears included fire (35 percent), spiders (24 percent), carbon monoxide or gas leak (22 percent) and tornadoes (17 percent).
Other fears? One respondent wrote that a snake in the toilet would be the most frightening scenario.
And while most of the respondents said they don’t think their house is haunted, quite a few do. One claimed to have seen an old woman wearing black with a chain saw, another saw a little girl running in the dark, and several people have felt eerie things among them.
Others aren’t so sure what they’re hearing. “Either my husband is a liar or we have a ghost with a flatulence problem. I’m not sure which I’d prefer,” said one Houzzer.
Getting the heebie-jeebies isn’t reserved for just inside, either. In fact, the survey found that 39 percent of people consider the backyard at evening the spookiest place to be, followed by the garage (24 percent) and the basement (23 percent).
A lot of being spooked has to do with hearing strange noises — or unidentifiable or random noises. Howling wind tops the survey for noises that give people fright (28 percent), followed closely by creaking floorboards (26 percent). More than one respondent said that mysterious voices spooked them the most.
Superstition abounds in the home, too. About 24 percent of people knock twice on wood. What’s interesting, though, is the breakdown for that number: About 43 percent of urban dwellers knock on wood, while only 23 percent of those in rural areas do.
Also, people avoid breaking mirrors (28 percent), open umbrellas only outside (27 percent) and walk around ladders (23 percent).
Other superstitions? “I say, ‘Rabbit, rabbit’ before anything else on the first day of each month,” wrote one survey taker.
So how can you cope? Decorating helps, especially around Halloween. About 82 percent of people in the survey said they decorate for the holiday.
Related: Rustic Decor That’s Cozy, Not Creepy
Most popular decor: any kind of pumpkin, obviously, at 76 percent; carved pumpkins (54 percent); and spiders (54 percent) — as long as they’re not the real kind.