Rania Peet: The Haunted Garden
By Caiti Deane
Rania Peet is the creative mind behind The Haunted Garden, an annual Halloween walk through in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her love for the Halloween holiday and her own passion for creating inspired her to put on the spectacular event. I had the fortunate opportunity to interview her and gain insight to her creative process.
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? Has that inspired your creations?
I grew up in northern Baltimore city. Now I live on a small farm near
Harper’s Ferry West Va, which has been amazing. I love living in the
country and being able to see stars at night or listen for owls. The
peace and quiet is definitely part of the creative process, helps me
feel connected, and more importantly gives me the room to build for
Where did you get the idea for the Haunted Garden?
The Haunted Garden came to fruition when I was working with Donna Kerr, a
local real estate agent in Silver Spring. She organized a lot of
community events and was doing a small neighborhood fundraiser for the
Humane Society. It was held in October on her beautiful private property
situated under 100ft oak trees with ponds and wooded paths. It was a
“haunter’s dream” really. As I was walking through the property, I came
up with the idea to make a small daytime Haunted Garden walk through
using my Halloween props from my past years decorating nightclubs. Then
some of the neighborhood kids came by and asked me if we were opening it
at night. They were incredibly excited so we “went all out” and opened
to the community as The Haunted Garden. The community response was
overwhelming. Everyone loved it and from then on, it became an annual
event for the next 3 years. 2013 was our last year at the property.
It all started with the late 90’s rave scene. I just fell in love with it
all – the lights, lasers, environments. I wanted in on it! So I just
got involved with the right people and it opened doors of opportunity to
be creative and learn along the way. Buzz was one of many legendary
nightclubs I got to work in and it served as a great vehicle for me to
get started on the journey. From then on, it led me to work in special
events of all kinds.
What is your creative process?
You know that meme online that says:
The Creative Process:
This is awesome.
This is tricky.
This is shit.
I am shit.
This might be ok
This is awesome…
It is exactly that! Every build is a new learning experience, but when
my imagination wants something, it goes after it and figures it out! I
gotta have it and that’s all there is to it.
In what setting do you usually create your pieces? Do you listen to any music while you work?
I have a workshop and a huge yard on my property. I am always listening
to music, from morning till night. Can’t work without it. It is my #1
source of inner power 🙂 During the Haunting season it’s a lot of Halloween music. Right now, it’s creepy carnival tunes since I’m building a Night Circus.
What is something that you can always count on to brighten your day?
What do you love the most about your life?
I am really really blessed actually. I live in a beautiful home, with an
amazingly supportive husband and our awesome 7 yr old son as well as my
extended family. I have so many great friends and fans who support me
and tons of encouragement from all directions. I feel really lucky
though because almost everything I go after in my life comes to me if I
work hard to get it.
If you could give any advice to aspiring artists/ creators, what would it be?
Get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Believe in yourself, face your fears of
failure, work hard, dream big, be humble, learn from others, be
positive, spread love, share, and when you want something, put it out
there in the universe and stay focused on it. You have to work for it
though….and it’s not always easy. But you never know unless you do it,
physically over and over and over again.
Besides The Haunted Garden, what other events can we catch you at this year?
Right now my team and I are building for The Nightmare Festival, which is a
2-day EDM festival in Darlington Md on Halloween weekend. I am bringing
my entire Haunted Garden with staff, actors and 20ft props to create an
over the top haunted experience all over the venue. This is probably the
biggest thing I have ever done, so there is a lot of fear and
excitement at the same time.
What is the best way for us to view your creations or contact you?
I have a personal blog where I share my designs, builds and tutorials:
My You Tube channel with fun music videos of my builds:
The Haunted Garden wesbite:
Haunted Garden updates:
And feel free to follow me on Facebook: