View Full Version : Now that the season is over... how did you end up?

11-10-2009, 03:20 AM
I can sadly report I've learned our attendance was down about 15% or so... why? Rain for one really impacted Creepyworld especially because its mostly outside. But rain as we know impacts all haunts indoor or outdoor because people don't want to drive in the rain. St. Louis got about 12 inches of rain when the norm is 3 inches.

Economy: This clearly imapcted our business especially when the government reports that more than 10% of Americans do not have jobs and I'm sure another 10% or so of the work force probably fears of losing their job, and or many Americans lost their job then found a new one at a much lower pay scale.

Its not the end of the World... when everything is considered I'm pretty happy that it wasn't worse. I think things will be better next year and after thinking about things I will spend a healthy amount to fix up my haunts. You can't roll up into a ball and hide, we have a tradition of major overhaul changes to our haunts and we'll stick to the plan.

When the attendence drops it could also be because of the economy they feel 'well your haunt hasn't changed enough to really justify the expense, it's something i can do with out'. The sense of urgency to attend your haunt might have hit the mark with what you did or didn't do the previous year to inspire another visit this year.

Maybe this is the time to go all out balls to the wall, go for broke, and sley your competition... well that is what I'm planning more so with Creepyworld than Darkness.

Anyway... I have now talked to several haunted houses across the nation. Seems like many haunts on the east coast are down up to 50% mostly due to rain. I have talked to some MAJOR LEAGUE haunts who report 50% down, 25% down, but no one reported up that I talk except one haunt. I have talked to some other haunts who said almost the same slightly down, but almost all are down.

Almost every haunt I talked to that is up are haunts still trying to hit their stride attendance all lower than 20k or in other words haunts who are building with lots of room to grow.

So anyway... how did you finish!


11-10-2009, 04:26 AM
We're still a young haunt with plenty of room to grow. We were down less than 10%, and we were rained out two consecutive weekends in the heart of our schedule. 90% of our show is outdoors, and we couldn't take the risk of opening after 3-6" of rain per week. I would have loved to see what we were capable of this season w/o the rain, but wouldn't we all? Our plans for 2010 are still in tact, so it wasn't a terrible season.

11-10-2009, 06:09 AM
Because I don't want to come off as bragging for those haunts who are down. But Graystone Manor had another record breaking year. I don't know where they keep coming from but I am glad they are coming and people are leaving happy. Its getting hard for us to keep putting the amount of people through and not compromise the show its something we will be addressing for 2010. Shane and its more than pleased! Shane this time.

11-10-2009, 06:44 AM
We were down a little but made money for the first time so I guess all is well.

11-10-2009, 09:38 AM
This was our first year and we didn't exactly hit our intended goals mostly due to the rain however, we did break even and the crowds (and SCREAMS! we did have showed us promise in our event so I think we will begin to re-think & restructure to make a better show next year.



11-10-2009, 10:32 AM
We were up 24%.. our ninth season.

I really pulled out the stops on advertising this year, so that has something to do with it I would expect. Can't tell you how pleased I am, though.

11-10-2009, 10:32 AM
For a first year haunt, I think we did AMAZING. We didn't do the number we wanted, but we did good! We set a really high goal, to break even our first year... now, I knew it wouldn't happen, but even though, we had a great season. I don't know how the other haunts in town did, but we scared 16K people... which I think is good for our first year.

Bottom line, we're happy... we scared lots of people... and had rave reviews. Next seasons clock starts now. -Tyler

11-10-2009, 10:39 AM
We are a small haunt with a lot of room to grow so we were up despite the rain and massive competition in our area from theme parks and many new haunts put on by ski resorts. I am extremely pleased with our operation thus far. We will never be huge and don't want to be. By keeping our costs low and building a solid customer base through good word of mouth the profit margin has been good for us even with relatively low numbers of people. We are only in our third year from my front yard and have a lot of momentum for the future. Each year we learn and adjust accordingly and I'm looking forward to next season's improvements.


11-10-2009, 01:17 PM
Well we were in our first year in an area that had really never had a real show before, so we had to build a market. Our area had one smaller haunt in a nearby town that was mostly black halls and blood. To my surprise, two other haunts opened in what I would call our market area. One was a charity one and the other was a low budget attempt at a scream park. By the end of the season we were known in the area as the show to see. The smaller older show shut its doors after the season and the scream park did not do well.

That being said, we did less than we thought we could, but right in line with what others would say to expect for a first year haunt. Had we not made a few big infrastructure purchases (lighting system and large sound system) that were over done in anticipation of future growth, we would have broken even in the first year. Overall very satisfied.

11-10-2009, 09:17 PM
Despite tons of rain and local flooding we did very well, it was a great season.

It is still going as well, very interested to see what Friday the 13th brings to our doors.

Last weekend was good as well, I feel almost certain that we will be open the Weekend after from now on.


Phil Miller
11-11-2009, 09:09 PM
worst year ever. this was our 13 th year of being in the business. no effect from the economy, just rain. we were open 7 weekends, Sept 25th to Nov. 7th, 4 of those weekends were very rainy. our numbers were down about 25%
on the positive side, we did a one day event, a 5K mud run and raised $130K for our charity

11-11-2009, 11:26 PM
We did fine. maybe up 1-2%. rain sure hurt, 4 of 5 fridays pretty bad. Only thing that saved me was seriously changing our marketing to less costly methods, and more hands on guerilla marketing instead of large media buys.

if I had huge radio bills to pay right now, I'd be screwed.

Jim Warfield
11-12-2009, 12:20 AM
I used to begin wishing that I had that advertising money back in MY Pocket instead of in their pockets!
I cut advertising expenses down to a very small, negliable amount...and lived more happilly in February ever after!
Friday night high school football games Plus the Rain saw some slow nights here.
Having so many local teams still in contention so late in the season also hurt.
We have had basically the same numbers every year for about the last four years, which is better for our place than having way too many customers considering our rural location and a house designed to be anti-throughput.
Tonight a couple spending the night at a local bed & breakfast came here at the urging of their B&B host and the three of us had a great time as I took them through my house with lots of laughs and wonderful compliments coming from them.
It's much, much more enjoyable for all concerned if I invest my time thoroughly entertaining and impressing the new customers rather than pouring cash into the advertising people's pockets.
Tuesday night a young woman from 100 miles away who was here for her first time last Saturday returned with 8 of her friends, all newbies. One of those girls exclaimed that she had just experienced the best time that she had ever had in her life!!!
"Advertising" can't get anyone this pleased or excited, now can it?
It's a Great Season..every night.

11-12-2009, 10:50 AM
How was your 2009 Season?

Many haunts have reported decreases and some others have reported increases. Many of the high end, big market haunts with higher ticket prices seem to have been hit harder. Go to the poll I posted a few days ago for your input. http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=10207

We had a record year last year with a good increase so it was going to be tough to beat it. We just barely baat last year's numbers. We were up some and down some through the season depending on the weekend. One weekend we had a great night despite rain that was blowing sideways. Our covered waiting line was not advertised, but must have been known to those that came.

We ended the year actually barely breaking several records, including paid attendance, average patrons per night, and gross receipts. This was despite a price increase from $ 9 to $ 10 and not accepting coupons on Saturdays, but having a "buy one get one" coupon offer for Thursdays.

Our radio ads started late and some other promotion not getting done due to preemie twins my wife delivered ten weeks early and the girls being in NICU and being at the hospital nearly ever day. Delaney was released Nov 2 and Alexis came home Nov 7. (They were due in November) My work schedule was brutal with mostly 12 hour days and going to college one night a week beside being at the haunt every weekend eve. And I was involved in wiring my best friends house that was supposed to be started in April, but was delayed so I had a few days there as well.

It was by far the busiest October of my life!!

See the pics of one of the babies in the first week of life in mid Sept and then their first together pic at six weeks in late oct.

11-12-2009, 05:05 PM
It was our haunts first year and we did well considering we got rain every night. But just to shed some light from outside the haunt industry, our Fall Festival which is pretty big was down only 10% from a huge record breaking year in '08. We figure it was all weather. The '09 season was also 5 longer than the '08 season. I think we had 7 days of 54 or 55 rained out, not including the ones that it rained but we opened the first half of the day etc. The rain was also all in the busiest part of the season. On our busy days we were totally booming, we figure the economy didn't have too much effect. DC is also a lot of government money, i don't think we are hit quite as hard here as some other areas.

We also dropped our expensive Washington post ad and relied more on facebook and some other cheaper new media stuff.

11-12-2009, 07:45 PM
I keep getting phone calls and emails telling me worst ever... let me say this though attendance wise yes not the greatest but money wise not bad. many of you are charging a lot more than you use to charge... how long ago was it you charged $10 and now its like $20.00 so 10,000 people now is 20,000 people then.

Money wise I don't think people did horrible because haunts are charging more than ever... its really just about the attendance I think.

Our attendance was down but money wasn't down nearly the same amount ... attendance down 18% money not down nearly as much because last year we charged 17 for darkness this year it was 20 so that helped some.

Is this the case for the rest of you?


11-13-2009, 10:37 AM
Our attendance was down about 15%, but we did really well money wise.

We added a second event, concessions, and a gift shop which incresed our money per person average about $3. So even though attendance was down, we made more money per person, and we had a successful year.

What we didn't do is meet my expetations. We had hoped to increase attendance by 1000 people, but did not.

This also includes some seriour rainy nights, the flu bug hitting our guests and actors hard, and losing power one night and having to close.