View Full Version : Kids hours, lights on hours

07-03-2010, 09:55 PM
Do any of you have lights on kid friendly times for your haunt?

I am thinking of doing this but feel it might make people think that the normal hours are not as scary because it can be a kid haunt too.

07-03-2010, 10:52 PM
We tried this, but with so many kid-friendly events around town it wasn't a very profitable venture. A fun experiment though! I don't think the perception was negative- but we made sure to do it only at the end of the season so as not to give away anything in the bright lights. I'm of the opinion to stick to your customer base, not because of any perceived lack of scariness, but just because there are so many other options that parents can go to that they may think your event will still be TOO scary for their young children. We made ours as nice as possible and still children were crying and sobbing by the end- much to the consternation of their parents!

07-04-2010, 12:44 AM
We are doing a "Kid Friendly" time frame.

We are also offering something new for us. We have "Haunted Birthday Parties". In effect we have a time slot in the afternoon when parents can book the house for a private Birthday party. They party will receive a group trip through the house and then the actual party in the main entry way (grave yard). We supply the cake and refreshments (all Halloween themed of course) and then when everyone is done with cake, we turn the lights on and give the kids a VIP tour (No cameras). After that we take them backstage and have demonstrations of makeup and dimensional effects. It is kind of like a tour of a film set.

I do motion picture SFX and always loved doing this for kids. This is a great way to keep the industry alive.

Jim Warfield
07-04-2010, 09:23 AM
My house is a tourist attraction/haunted house, open every night of the year & Sat. & Sun. afternoons.
Some children will not be able to handle the haunted house no matter what you do or don't do.
This remains a "given". (And usually reflects poorly on the child/parent relationship)
This is a great opportunity to show the kids and adults that they can have fun in something called a "Haunted House". You will have to NOT start up the chainsaw. Sorry.
You will have to have extra lighting available and probably turned "On".
No chasing, no grabbing, no chainsaws, all must be truthfully promised right upfront to have a chance. "But those people with you (family members) might do some of those things to you.
We can't control them.
We hand scared kids a remote control, let them push the button..see what happens.
Most kids really like this, especially when one button usually scares the rest of their family!
Just making lights go on and off with a soundtrack coming (safely) from the next room works nicely. How inexpensive is that!?
Consider roping off and leaving display areas dark that are gruesome, bloody, too disturbing.
If a boasting child steps out the exit and proclaims, "That wasn't scary at all, they never scared me!"
Have a goon drag him back inside and finish the tour as a regular house trip! hahahahah!
Yes, tempting, I know.
A whole new younger generation of customers await, you just have to show them the fun.
I have many people come back here with their children, grandchildren expecting to have a fun time, trusting me to provide that, from their previous visits here.

RJ Productions
07-12-2010, 07:34 AM
We do a Lights On Tour every year. It's only one day and all proceeds go to a charity. It's main purposes are strictly publicity and community involvement. We always ened up with families that bring the younger kids then show up that night with the same kids!! Sort of.. if you make it though with loights on we'll take you through in the dark!

We usually have it either on Halloween or very close so we can promote it the entire run. With all the proceeds , not just a percentage, going to charity you tend to get more free coverage for the event. Also we have the charity run PSA's themselves about it.

It's good publicity for us and helpful to the community.

07-12-2010, 01:59 PM
we had ours on the last sunday of the season for one day only, with very little marketing. For two hours and we had more and more families show up nonstop, more people than on Halloween night. The Hours were in the early afternoon and we are doing it again this year and promoting it more this time. Our Haunt is a not for profit and very community based so that might be the reason for the large numbers on that day. But even if it is for a profit i think its a good idea!

07-12-2010, 03:11 PM
We started doing the last Sat in early afternoon with the actors/characters giving candy out in each room with the lights on.

The thougth behind it was that when the parents dragged their kids through on an open night, we were scaring them and some would never return after getting bigger. My own daughter went several years in the lighted matinee until she felt big enough to go through in the dark, One year she even made it to the door before stopping, but the next year she went through inthe dark, full throttle.

And then...

We have very little gore. The last year was about 5-6 years ago.

We had a mother go all the way through with her kid/s. Then she demanded to see the mgr. Wanted the Board of Directors info to complain to but got even more upset when it was explained to her that the board was on the committee and were aware of the content of the show. She wanted to know why it was the same rooms. She thought we would have set up a whole new haunt for her kids to see. She was upset that her kids saw the very small amount of red, lots of bones, and other stuff. She started getting more and more upset (mostly with herself) while blaming us for scarring her kids for life. The kids stood there and were not upset until their mother got to the almost hysterical mode.

We felt that she should have stopped immediately and asked for an exit if it was that upsetting to the kids or her. It seemed she was upset with herself for going through with her kids and tried to rationalize the "blame" on us.

We always basically broke even after buying the ads and candy. We charged a dollar. Hard to staff for an hour, too. That was the last year for several reasons, but she broke the camels back.

07-12-2010, 04:50 PM
So what do you charge in comparison with your normal admission.

Our charity is a youth club, so I think a lot of good press will come from this, but I also want to make some money for the club.

Our normal admission is $8, I was thinking $5 with a $1 discount if you bring in a can or bag of cat or dog food for the local animal shelter.

What did you all charge in relation ship to your normal price. 100%, 50%, 25%, a dollar (like Huntington)

07-15-2010, 12:41 PM
With our Family Walk, we originally had the first hour of each evening be a "More Lights, Less Frights" hour. It was popular, but really screwed things up trying to transition to "Scary Time," as customers would come at the last minute then take their dear sweet time through the show.

Our solution? We moved it to Saturdays only, and it ends a full half-hour before the real show begins. We charge $5 and provide upgrade tickets for the regular show on site, as often a LOT of the parents want to see the show when it's scary.

It's not great business, but for a non-profit / community based event it is an excellent source of more revenue. PLUS, you tend to get advertising through other channels (such as family-friendly event websites) that wouldn't otherwise post your event.