View Full Version : From your experience...........

04-08-2010, 05:18 PM
This will be my first year with a haunt and im so excited but it's such a daunting task!!! So i wanted to ask fellow haunters, about some advice for a first year haunter. If you have anything that you learned from your first year i would appreciate it!


04-08-2010, 05:23 PM
Are you asking from an owner operator standpoint or an actor? Haunter can mean a lot of things.

Mike "Pogo" Hach

04-08-2010, 05:27 PM
from an owner operator

SlightlySick Illusions
04-08-2010, 06:24 PM
Make sure to have a solid marketing plan. Don't spend all your money making the best haunt and have none left to market and tell people about it. Plus go talk to your local fire marshal and work with them on your planning stages, it's much better to find out there is a problem now not on inspection day.

Jim Warfield
04-09-2010, 07:30 AM
Maybe I had an advantage over most though when I started here because I always had alot of "daunting" physical and mentally engaging tasks in my everyday work for 15 years so my confidence level was maybe reinforced and any doubts I might have felt along the way were overshadowed by my personal angst.
My favorite book my Mother used to read to me when I was a very small kid was "The Little Engine" (Or something like that?) The main repeated line was:"I think I CAn! I think I can!"
I had almost everybody I knew telling me "You Can't!"..but I did..and with tremendously long hours and an ocean of sweat rolling off my back, "I DID!"
I actually had quite a few people thinking that I was trying to work myself to death, which ain't bad if you have a burning desire for getting something accomplished.
Dropped dead.
"At least he didn't die staring at a lit up piece of glass."

damon carson
04-09-2010, 09:29 AM
If you cosponsor with another haunt make sure you know them well and dont let them stab you in the back. Even if you have known them a while or you think you can trust them. I had this problem with an expartner. What it really boils down to is trust nobody. You may find a haunt or two thats cool but not all of them will be.

04-09-2010, 11:12 AM
Kelly's book covers almost everything you never thought of about a haunt. http://www.hauntbook.com/products.html
For a great actor training video Check out Allen's site http://Stiltbeaststudios.com

Make friends with your local police and fire department. Contact city hall to make sure you follow all laws. Please post your site as well on this forum.

If you don't listen to it already check out Rotting Flesh Radio podcast it has alot of great information, products, and some good inspiration that might spawn some good ideas. http://rfrpodcast.com/

If you don't already carry a note pad with you start so you can write down ideas when you get them and sort them out later.

check your local thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales for stuff you can use for costumes.

Start to use the social networking sites to start some buzz and begin to research marketing options in your area.

Don't expect your haunt to be an instant success be prepared for some bad first few years. Hope for the best but always prepare for the worst.

That is about all I can think of off the top of my head this board is a great start the people here are all great and many haunt owners and haunt vendors come here.

you may also want to check out http://www.hauntedhouseassociation.org/

Jim Warfield
04-15-2010, 05:55 AM
..and still not be well thought of as far as the "Show", the "Entertainment" you provide.
Pay close attention to what actually works, be mindfull of your own ego, just because you think an idea of yours is "golden" doesn't really mean that it is, remain flexible, one size doesnot fit all customers.
It's tricky.
Experience helps.
Good Luck.

Allen H
04-15-2010, 08:58 AM
Have a budget for your show and stick to it.

Parking and the line to buy tickets is where money is made and lost keep them running efficiently.

Pick a theme and use that theme throughout your show.

have a few elements that are consistent through the show to tie it together (could be a color, a light fixture ,or a Logo (think umbrella corp) that shows up over and over).

Have more than one sound per room. I like one track that plays in my hallways that set the mood for the show, then two or thee tracks for each room coming from things that ought to make noise.

Design your show with actors in mind. Give them a place to come from and a place to go when they are done scaring.

Go to seminars and go to other haunts! Learn from others mistakes so you make less of your own.

04-21-2010, 07:14 PM
This will be my first year with a haunt and im so excited but it's such a daunting task!!! So i wanted to ask fellow haunters, about some advice for a first year haunter. If you have anything that you learned from your first year i would appreciate it!


Last year was our first year... in China! and what an experience --- things I learned (these should pertain to haunts in general and not just in China)

- Stick to a high capacity actor break schedule, even on slow days --- since this is your first year (and probably your actors' too), you need to train them for the crowd even when there isn't a crowd. don't let them walk around and socialize just because it's a slow night ---- the crowd will pick up and they won't have time to socialize.

- install your lights before you detail your set: i realized a lot of the details i created, ended up in the dark, or looking odd/off under set lighting. this year, i will install my lights first with respect to where i want my audience to look, then i detail the visible areas

- SAFETY: make sure all actors are properly trained and know how to evacuate

- Security cameras: point them right between your actor and guests and videotape any misconduct... you need proof if you're gonna kick someone out.

- Don't rotate too many actors... some jobs are easier than others, eventually your staff will all wanna do the easy stuff.

- Post your rules and have someone ENFORCE IT! For us, it was a bit tough because I'm only 26... my staff sees me more as a friend than as a boss, that's sometimes bad... you need to be strict. A haunted house is a GUEST CHUGGING MACHINE, keep it oiled and efficient --- it's a business.

cheers, and good luck!