View Full Version : How small can you go?

11-20-2009, 03:37 PM
Does anyone know what some of the square footage sizes are for some of the smallest SUCCESSFUL commercial haunted attractions out there ?

I got an email from a home haunter who wants to open up an attraction in a 1,200 sq. ft warehouse up in Eerie, PA.

I actually think he may be able to pull it off, as he says it has a lot of parking.

Is it about quality and not size ?

Or does size matter ?

Opinions ?

11-20-2009, 03:59 PM
I'd say a lot of it is about price. If your attraction is short, you shouldn't be charging very much, or people will leave feeling like they aren't getting their money's worth.

Even if it's great quality, I see a lot of people getting upset if it's overpriced.

11-20-2009, 04:27 PM
I agree. If say the standard ticket for a 7,ooo sft haunt is $!0, his haunt should be $5 or under and it better be pretty good. Unless of course tyhe guy has no competion. Maybe consider adding an outdoor maze or something

Front Yard Fright
11-20-2009, 04:37 PM
I've been wondering this myself as I plan to open a pro haunt next year. I do believe that quantity isn't everything. However, like HauntedMephis said, either is quality. I guess it's up to do to decide the happy medium.

If anything, start off small, and expand after each year.

11-20-2009, 05:25 PM
How long will it take to go through the haunt? If it is done more a long the lines of having dramatic performances with scares then people will be in the haunt longer even if it is small and they will feel that it was not to short, so you should be able to charge more. If you do this you should get very good actors and they will need to be paid more. It's not always about the size but you have to make it worth what they are paying or your doomed. MMMAAAAHHHAAA

11-20-2009, 08:15 PM
I don't know how convenient the location is... but I would venture to say that 1200' is waaaay too small to have a stand-alone attraction.

We just added a new haunt "Sinister Circus" which was a high-energy, disorienting haunt in a 30x60' tent (1800 s.f.) It was actually the fan favorite this season, even over our hayride. Next season we plan to nearly double the space for the circus, but we're limited by the size of our sprinkler system (yes, in a tent) and by using creative outdoor space.

Like xxxdirk said... if he can include creative outdoor space into his haunt, it might be worth it...

Jim Warfield
11-21-2009, 12:16 AM
Trying to create an automatic money/machine?
Everything worth anything requires commitment (read :"Long Hours") and Work.
I know I could do a mere 1,200 sq. ft. haunt show, make it entertaining, noteworthy and usually create an experience that would be distorting time enough that the clockwatcher-penny-pinchers would be fooled and pleasantly happy to have journeyed through time along with me guiding their minds as to what is real versus what was merely imagined.
Engaging the human mind takes time and energy but it also creates the real possibility of thereby allowing their mind to become the entertainment..often without them realising it..but giving away the credit for their wonderous time spent.
Pregnant pauses and speaking slowly makes time seem to pass at a creep. This should be a simple task to do.....do..do..do..
I heard of a small seasonal haunt which only took 90 seconds to walk/run through it, yet it was so entertaining that people would jump back in line, pay $7.00 for another ticket and see it again!
(I hope they weren't coming back through for revenge!)

11-21-2009, 08:41 AM
I live very close (45 minutes) from Erie, Pa.
I know there's a haunt or two up there that are at least 4-5,000 sq. ft. and one has expanded recently to add more space.
I would love to know who this person is to get in touch with them.
Our haunt is almost 5,000 sq. ft.
The haunts around here are generally in that range to my knowledge.


11-23-2009, 10:07 PM
I remember years ago here, someone maybe Larry, but out the stat, that folks charge a buck a minute as a national average

at least for the run and scare style haunt

not really sure if that holds true anymore
1,200 seems pretty small, but there's ways to expand linear feet to make the ride last longer, and the scenes better be small, so there's lots of hallways to wander/run thru

Doug Kelley
11-23-2009, 10:23 PM
People pay $5 in tickets to go through a 45-second trailer "haunted house" at the county fairs. So, you may be able to make it work.

Allen H
11-23-2009, 10:38 PM
This is a great post due to it forcing us to think up answers to a common problem. I have been in many haunts that were huge, and they mostly stunk they relied on their size to make them good.
The key for him will be to wow his audience with something other than attraction length. It could be an immersive theme, it could be amazing actors, it could be interaction, something has to make the memories of his attraction last longer than the length of the attraction.
Im sure it can be done, but it will not be easy.
Allen H

Raycliff Manor
11-24-2009, 07:56 AM
This is a great question and I hope I can help with our experience this year. We have the Raycliff Manor attraction, which is approximately 4,400 sq. feet. The attraction is highly detailed and begins with a pre-show featuring an animatronic telling the back-story inside a gallery of changing portraits. The average time it takes people to go through the attraction is 25 minutes.

This year we converted a 1,600 sq. foot building into our second, Carriage House, attraction. We start the show with an elaborate pre-show in the first room, which is highly detailed and theatrical with animations, programmed lighting and effects. After the pre-show the guests run through a series of mostly 3' wide halls with the actors performing from behind the walls in the actor alleys. We were able to make the haunt very disorienting and give the illusion that they are going through many different "rooms", which are designed as many different small scenes. We also have a pitch black area that takes people a while to find there way through and we have a pivoting wall in one area that we use to send people in circles to further confuse them. On average it takes people 15 minutes to experience the entire Carriage House attraction. Some people tell us they like the Carriage House even better than Raycliff Manor. I guess I'm saying all this to say that it can be done. I would recommend you provide a good balance of detail, change-ups and scares and include a pre-show experience that sets the tone for a good thrill. As you experience success, you can always add on, maybe even extend the experience with a tent haunt later on, or have the guests exit out into a graveyard area and then back inside to finish the experience. Just some thoughts. I hope this helps!;)