View Full Version : Walls

Mr. Haunt
02-13-2007, 09:40 PM
Would it be safe or a good idea to do all walls with old wood pallots? I just thought this good be something to get for free or little cost.

02-13-2007, 09:56 PM
Skids are hard to fire retard plus a real bitch to pull apart.

I have about 500 single and double-sided wall panels in my MN warehouse. Good price. Contact me if interested.


02-13-2007, 10:09 PM
I have done business with Frightprops and have had nothing but great experience. Actually I have an order in right now....if you want to buy walls, I would highly recomend.

Jim Warfield
02-14-2007, 12:28 AM
Not all pallets are created equal.
Some have beautiful wood, some are as rough and skanky as you can imagine.
Many around here are made from oak, very hard to nail, then it might split. Real heavy too.
I was recently given some pretty nice pallet wood it came all the way from France as crates containing car parts, I don't know what I'm going to use it for, maybe I'll go into the "Side-Of-The -Road-Grandpa-Birdhouse" business? Not much competition there....hahahaha!
"Look out you whittlers! Here I come!"
(Featuring a secret room for Mr. Tuxedo so he can give birdies a good scare!)

02-14-2007, 06:30 AM
Pallets make some fun "Texas Chainsaw" type walls. But I would suggest that you build plywood walls 1/2 way up - as in lay a sheet of 4X8 on it's side - and then put the pallets above. It looks cool because you can see some things through the slats, but you can't see exactly WHAT.

It also keeps the plywood down where people would be 'feeling their way along' and the splittery pallets higher so they are less likely to be touched.

Matt Marich
02-14-2007, 08:34 AM
You can buy pallets with a fire and insect rating, they are treated for international shipment. Call a pallet company, yellowpages, and ask. They are not to much different in price.


02-14-2007, 08:49 AM
I love pallet walls! It gives a different feel to a haunt when you have solid walls and then suddenly everything goes pallet. :D We build our pallet walls by fastening two that are of equal size with 2 x 4s on each side. And not all pallets are created equal. As you will see in one of the pics, we scored several pallets that were 2' wide and approximately 8' tall. Perfect for many things!



Jim Warfield
02-14-2007, 10:06 AM
Pretty pictures Empress.
I would be tempted to paint some of those pallets black and white transforming them into key boards!
Let the Music begin!

02-14-2007, 02:41 PM
its a good idea cause it seems like pallets find a way to reproduce when im not there.everytime i throw one away,2 more appear

Greg Chrise
02-14-2007, 04:50 PM
It might make a nice room or two but I wouldn't do the whole thing that way. Just the way it looks, like someone put up a bunch of used pallets?

Pallets tend to be quite heavy compared to single sided walls If you weigh more than 230 pounds and it is all muscle go for it.

Jim Warfield
02-14-2007, 05:23 PM
"230 and all muscle?"
All you need is a helper that is kind of "goosey" and a co-ordinated effort with the actual goosing.
"Ready, on the count of three, lift, 1, 2, (Goose!) 3!!!!! "

damon carson
02-15-2007, 10:13 PM
Pallets are bad news! Not only very flammable and like another post said hard to fireproof. I wouldnt say they dont make very stable walls. They can be or become very wobbily. A run of the mill haunted house in my area uses nothing but pallets. They used to set up in an open field with no roof over this thing. Mother nature blew this thing over twice before they ever opened it one year. I would hate to be going through this thing on a wet and windy night! You may have to spend some money on plywood and 2x2's or 2x4's or whatever you decide on but it the long run it is worth it!

Uptown Haunts
03-12-2007, 04:58 PM
Hi, Everybody,

New to the message board and will be doing my first haunt this coming October. Wooden walls are a big taboo for the fire marshal and building code inspector here in Bensalem, Pa. I'll be doing the haunt in Philadelphia in the hope that the City won't create rules above and beyond the National Codes as Bensalem does. My question is: What materials (other than wood) have haunters used successfully? Cost, portability and durability are obvious requirements. I was also wondering if someone can give me a contact person with the City of Philadelphia who will actually return phone calls and respond to e-mails. Hope to hear from you guys soon. Thanx in advance.


03-12-2007, 09:03 PM
i dont understand why wood is a taboo... Isn't 99% of buildings and houses made from wood? check to see if u can just fire proof the wood, otherwise use fire grade sheet rock just make sure it doesnt get wet!


Uptown Haunts
03-13-2007, 04:37 PM
Hey there,

The local Fire Marshal and Building Code Inspector have taken it upon themselves to create requirements which go above and beyond the rules and practices I'm sure most haunters are familiar with. After reviewing the National Fire and Building Codes, I questioned the alleged "fire proof" requirement. They both gave me pretty lame answers but still require steel studs and sheet rock. Two layers of 5/8" sheet rock. As a "mobile" haunted house attraction, I'm trying to come up with portable wall panels which will meet all code requirements. Even the fabricated ones.

For those who have seen my message posts on HAM's message board, there's a new response I've just written a little while ago. It will explain in better detail what haunters in my area are up against and what I intend to do about it.

Thanx for your input and interest on the subject. Unfortunately, we are subject to municipal ordinances (if they actually exist) and interpretation of the inspectors who are actually going through the haunts in an effort to confirm compliance.


Greg Chrise
03-13-2007, 08:07 PM
Two words....

Leave Pennsylvania.

Greg Chrise
03-13-2007, 09:06 PM
From what I have learned the Agricultural Department is who authorises permits to operate any where in the Commonwealth of Pa. Same for Mobile carnivals and rides as for haunted houses. Just simply being grouped like this and knowing how a carnival attraction is specified and harware designed I would forget this enitely unless you were infact going to be a year long follow the carnival circuit attraction.

If you alread had an attraction that was constructed like they have always been for the past 30 years, then it would obviously be that you have an investment, this is how it is done and you are incharge of the knowledge as apposed to authorities caught by suprise are expected to school you on requirments. Of course they are going to demand something crazy.

Can you say intrinsically safe? I've been around boilers that they take your lighter so no one kills everyone, I've been around explosives and in caves that are all about safety. In fact this all took place somewhere in Pennsylvania.

When I left PA. and ended up in Texas with one of the businesses I had helped, I couldn't believe for several years how I had wasted my very life force and didn't know any different until I left PA.

How much do you spend on your car to get it through emmisions testing and mechanical inspection? Maybe sometimes $1500 a year fixing this and that to make it compliant? Guess what, in Texas they ask what year it is and put a sticker on it for $12.50 in about 30 seconds. How much is your yearly State tax that is supporting these bozos? In Texas there is no State tax, no wage tax, no occupational tax and hence no bozos.

I built my haunt to code using wood panels and tell everyone what the code is and how I desire exists every 50 feet. I tell them how many fire extinquishers have to be in there or I'm taking it out. Because I first of have a haunt, have educated myself and no one else really cares. Everyone else just wants to count money and jump up and down with a silly mask on. And I'm not in a Nazi place like Pennsylvania which made me the monster I am today.

There are many other places in the country with much greater benefits and far more acclimated to a small business start up and operation.

If you think you are going to fight someone that is on a salary that is govenment funded you have already lost what ever you wanted to do.

The only temporary or seasonal businesses that succeed in Pennslvania are flea markets and illegal drugs. If you are going to comply with all of these codes as they are in the book, you had one better be on your own privately owned property, zoned for this event (not a leased building or mobile event) or if you want a mobile event be hooked up with established amusement parks or FECs that have already garnered a reputation for complying with such standards.

And frankly take a look at the flea markets and then look up pictures of what the Russian Black market looks like and it is the same. People have been taxed to death, not provided service and left unemployed to fend for themselves unless they are well established companies from 100 years ago and no, they do not want any shanty towns competing with their 3rd generation business investments.

Save yourself about $15 to $20,000 per year and leave PA. Forget them, they don't deserve it. Have thousands upon thousands travel from Philly to a field in New jersey! Or go south to W. Va!

Sure it can be done but why? When a start up in any other state would be so much more affordable and accepted? Then once you are established for a few years then go down town if you still want to fight them. If you have done it, you are all of a sudden more qualified than they are. If it is your first time, they will just say no.

Sure, there is going to be a seminar in Harrisburg discussing the rules from people who regulate gas pump taxes and make sure cows are healthy enough to be milked. This is all Nazi talk! Save yourself before it is too late!

What part of Pennsylvania is a good place to be FROM do you not understand?

Uptown Haunts
03-16-2007, 07:22 AM
While it seems almost insane to do business in Pa., I'm in a situation where I'm so heavily established here that it would take several years to fully vacate. As a rental property owner who is heavily involved in the local political arena and in a full time job which is super specialized to the point where finding similar employment would be next to impossible, I'm kinda stuck here for a while.

Moving the haunt to another area has been considered but it would be much easier to own and operate if it's relatively close to home. Going over to New Jersey and/or down to Delaware have been considered but, the high volume of rush hour traffic from here to those areas will add even more stress to the equation.

What I'm doing is setting up the haunt outside of my home town of Bensalem, Pa. The location is in Philadelphia just a few miles from home which will make overall operations much easier to deal with since I also have a number of other responsibilities going on in my life. Leaving the area would mean selling the real estate, finding a new home, new job if possible, learning about the new area and it's demographics, etc.

I'm not worried about playing by the rules and regs of Pa. I just need to know what they are where ever I'm trying to do business. As for the car inspections, I'd rather know that my vehicles, as well as others, are safe to drive rather than having the risk of them falling apart from under everybody and causing more grief than a few repair bills.


Greg Chrise
03-16-2007, 07:26 PM
You should consider that a haunted attraction is a seasonal buisness or it is a full time attraction. If it is a full time attraction it becomes the full time job to replace all jobs, carreers or opportunities or one must really weigh out why one is taking on such a business. Is it to be better than all businesses currently engaged in or is it a lost leader, an over active hobby.

If it is a seasonal business venture, you have to realize, this is the way it is done. People ship their attractions over 1500 miles to a better market for just the season and stay where the haunt is for a few bursts. People operate several attractions in the season hundreds of miles away from each other, some have 2 some up to 10 get shipped out of a warehouse when it is time.

This is what it takes to be succesful, to recieve full time acolades requires full time comitment.

Now if you do intend to let these bozos to call the shots there is perhaps a silver lining. Steel studs and drywall are cheaper than the initial investment of doing it right and having the capability of being mobile. It's one or the other. What ever you build out of drywall, gypsum board or what ever you want to call it is seasonally trashed. This is tantimount to building out a store, fully finishing the structure and then trashing it and throwing it in a dumpster like a remodel. This is only great if someone else pays for it, builds it and provides all the labor to go up and down.

Plus the limitations of this kind of construction pretty much provide you with a sterile lame entertainment venue that requires so much more to hide and give a feel to.

As far as vehicle inspection is concerned, for the most part in Texas, the roads are highly maintained vs. in Pa. as soon as you see the welcome to Pennsylvania sign you just drove onto a bombed out territory and wish you were driving a tacticle vehicle.

Further, in PA the roads and salt kill the cars and you need an established burocracy to make people not have holes in the cars more than 1/4 inch and physically tear down each wheel and make sure the suspension is still really connected. It has been proven here that you slap a sticker on because most people if allowed to be are self disciplined enough to maintain their own vehicles provided they aren't continously dealing with road hazzards and goat trails the size of a wagon.

It's sort of the government is wrong so we need more taxation to have people inspecting every little thing to as detailed a fine line as possible. It's only a good deal if you work for the government.

What I'm reading in you existing level of commitment to your community and business affairs is that perhaps you might not want to engage in something that requires so much and returns so little. If you can not pull away from these affairs for say a month or so like it is just another huge project, you might in fact be sabotaging yourself not only with complying with those that are making it up as they go along but, as well taking away from existing ventures.

It sounds like you have responcibilities and are responcible and this might be like running away with the circus and destroy all that you have. Not all think highly of haunted houses and you might want to consider that. Yet another reason to have it somewhere else so the locals are not inspecting and judging your efforts and or weirdness. The over all outcome will only be looked upon with favor if you are either a big success and were right all along or you were a philanthopist and did it all for the community at great personal sacrifice. There is no in between.

You will lose a portion of your business simply because you have this other thing going on and might not be giving your full attention to the origional concerns like you did when you were hungrier. It' just human nature.

To succeed in the haunted attraction industry especially in a town that is all beefed up with rules and regulations from their founding fathers, you better be talking millions in only satisfaction out for years and years. Mobile events are meant to be mobile when necessary. In bigger business the attractions are the advertising for a product rather than the big money maker. At the lower level where the haunt is the premier venue that is to make the money, it needs to be like a rock concert rolling into town or something at the local firehall that only cost $10,000 to build and raises $4,000 a year for some cause.

Not to say something great can not be done but, there are other factors in history that show the PA region and why haunts are the way they are. You have attractions at major theme parks or at family tourist destinations Or they are way out in the country where any entertainment or event for the community to do is welcomed. Sure the 5th generation parks certainly want these rules up held for the saftey of everyone, but the real reason is so they don't have new upstart competition. They already have enough problems with the economy and gettting patronage.

You in a down town area are fighting city hall and city hall is being supported by these parks. Sure make up any rule you want, we have been grand fathered in to be exempt from that right? Who do you think passed all these laws? Was it a third grade class that was surveyed and the majority said yes, there should be a law against that?

I was in a strange place for lunch the other day. An old cafe where it seems the clientel were all haunted house acts. I wondered if to my own personal disgust I might have become such a reject and that's why everyone was so welcoming? Well, that's my own personal hell. The food was good but, I will find better places when we work there through the next weeks. I though thank god for the internet. One used to hang out for a coffee to see what was up with politics and the local area.

One old guy into his 3rd very opinionated and loud sermon proclaimed he has the constitutional right to bare arms. They were into some pretty heavy stuff while I'm trying to digest. I thought that only really works when the congress finally arrives. I'm not really sure Nancy Palosie is going to come here. Until then, put down your weapon and put your hands up over your head old man. (I thought in my demented head)

If you put up with everyone elses rules being dictated, that only really works if you are making rubber tire sandals in some place that gets a lot of hurricanes. If you are going to operate a haunted house that will only be open for business for so many hours, it will not return an investment even over a great time if the laws are not accepting of it. It certainly can be done no matter what the obstacle. Any amount of struggle can be won over time, you out live officials and such. Yet, plain stacking of the cards is never found in 1001 Business Opportunities magazine.

You will find thousands of businesses you can learn and operate from home with only $10,000 invested! You could be making millions in the windo cleaning proffession by just calling this toll free number and giving us money. One out 100 go into buying the next $10,000 worth of inventory. If you show up time after time to buy these people are actually quite amazed that there wasn't a one time big sale and they never saw you again. Now lets add some more obsticals, you need a special squeege and need to be certified to report vacuum leaks in double paned windows as this effects the energy efficiency of the planet. And you must be recertified to have you compitency checked every year and get the window chemical update from the authorities and see a safety film about the proper use of ladders. Only Then are you are free to make money. Or you can forget all of that go where there is no regulation and clean a window to the best of your ability and be known for your window cleaning skills.

03-17-2007, 05:03 AM
Well, I can't seem to find it on there website, but StudioTek FX makes some walls that are very nice, no wood, and fireproof. Give Robert a call at 818-999-4565.

03-17-2007, 08:12 AM
Mother nature blew this thing over

Oh do we have one of those stories. Scarlett, you still have the story of our "minor" wind damage?

Jim Warfield
03-17-2007, 08:18 AM
Beer and Beans and releasing that compressed gas can do that!

Uptown Haunts
03-19-2007, 03:28 PM
Hey, Everybody,

Thanx for responding and offering your suggestions, advice and personal opinions/experiences.

As a government regulatory official myself, I understand the need for a certain degree of "Big Brother" in order to prevent extreme situations but, I'm not one to take my job to the extreme as some of these other idiot inspectors do. In fact, I can be pretty reasonable with the business operators I inspect on full time job. They really don't mind seeing me on an annual basis. We have rules in place for a reason which most business operators understand. There's no need to create new ones on the fly.

Another part of my background includes fire fighting. Although it's been 20+ years since being a nozzle nut, I still understand the concerns of some inspectors who just want haunters to do it right and safe. Unfortunately, there are inspectors in my line of work, as well as those who dictate policy for haunters, who tend to take things to the extreme just because they have a badge, a title and a little bit of authority that went to their heads.

I don't mind playing by the rules and will do so no matter where I set up shop. The safer the haunt, the better off we all are but, there is a fine line between being safe and being totally rediculous. Moving the haunt somewhere else would not be cost effective especially since it's my first year. That's when the expense is probably the greatest. Once I get going, I'll just re-use a large portion of my supplies annually with some updates and remodels along the way. Not quite as costly as the initial setup. If relocating seems like a good option, I'll make the arrangements to do so. Until then, I'll be staying local until I get a couple of seasons under my belt in the field of pro haunting.