View Full Version : Haunted Forest - Outdoor Haunts

09-04-2006, 08:02 AM
I want to pick some brains here. Who all is involved with an outdoor attraction such as a haunted corn maze or haunted forest? Are there any outdoor specific resources for haunts? Any particular information someone should know before considering a venture like this? I mean, I'm a pretty smart guy (more smart than pretty) so I'm aware of all the common sense stuff, I'm talking about the stuff someone may not consider until they've done it a few times. How is electricity ran outside? How do you place your compressor for air-powered props? Is special insurance needed?

I'm not limiting my question, ANY information on this topic would be helpful.


09-04-2006, 08:22 AM
Running an outdoor maze, and even more so with corn or forest, can have ALOT of problems.

1- Since it is outdoors and is exposed to the elements, weather WILL decide if your attraction opens or not. This is were having a indoor
attraction comes in really handy.

2- In our maze we have NO electricity... Electric company said it would cost well over $2K to run it... so screw it. We set-up around 3 high-powered (8000 Watt Troy-Bilt from Lowes) in locations were we want power and run cabling. We really promote the idea of darkness and being "alone" in the woods... so we create 3 major "scarzones" in our maze. One in the beginning, one in the middle, one at the end. We useally will give each zone a theme... and decorate it to the MAX! This allows us to have a "themed/created" attraction and a natural/dark setting with the trees.

3- As far as codes go... since it's outdoors and open aired no sprinkler system is needed. However, we do set one up by running "lawn sprinklers" through the maze (several hundred) and all we have to do if pull the spout and away the water goes!

HINT: This could work for an indoor attraction needing a sprinkler system... just invert the lawn sprinklers to face the ground and hook-up!

But we always post that there is NO smoking in the haunt at all times. It's outdoors, trees ARE flammable. But we also keep a cop on hand with the fire dept. on speed dial just in case something wierd happens.

4- When working with electricity outdoors... moisture/dew WILL be an issue. DO NOT turn on ANY electronics in the morning... Just don't do it. Let EVERYTHING sun dry (mainly generator cabling)... But I really suggest taking down and setting up ALL electric componets up and down EVERY night... Also, as the night goes on, dew WILL collect on the cabling and lighting/fx instruments... So do several scheduled "checks" a night... Maybe after every 6-10 groups!

5- I don't know about the insurance as I am not the one that deals with it.. sorry.

6- Air.... Hmmmm... we ran one SMALL compessor (actor operated... shooting with)... and we just placed "away" with the generator.

7- You soon learn that having a small "control area" in the haunt (as with any) will be very helpful. Have the electric/air power systems in one location is possible... then when something happens you only have to go to ONE area to fix it... Also, try to keep all cabling off the ground. Since we run through trees... all of our cabling follows the tree paths... and NOT the customers paths. But if a cable MUST cross a customers path... place a little dirt and straw over it and SMASH it into the ground until it is flush and NO ONE will trip over it.

Our maze is made of evergreen trees planted to form the paths/rooms of the maze. It takes up 18+ acres on two hillsides and takes around 1 1/2 - 3 hours to get out.

I hope I was able to help... if you have ANY more questions please PM me. Happy Haunting. -Tyler

Jim Warfield
09-04-2006, 05:02 PM
So Tyler, you then must have about 18 acres of potential restrooms!
(Go behind a tree!)

09-04-2006, 05:56 PM
For lighting you can use low voltage garden lights, this will allow you to get meny lights for one plug in. The cables I have will run up to 10 4w lights on 100' of cable. 4w does not sound like a lot but I have the spot type and it does well. They have colored bulbs too, I use red, green and blue. Now I bought a set already in the box but, you can get a larger transformer and longer cable ect. if you buy it piece meal. As for insurance I don't run a pro haunt but I think someone once post that it cost more then a indoor haunt because of falls.

09-04-2006, 05:59 PM
Actually... the low voltage/solar lights (charge by day, fright by night) are the best. Just put a color "fill" over them.

Yes... many, many restrooms! LOL :twisted: -Tyler

09-04-2006, 07:35 PM
Thanks, Guys.

What about sound. Is silence and screams enough, or would a soundtrack go the extra mile? Would you go as far as to station permanent outdoor speakers in certain locations, or set-up and tear down nightly.

For power, my plan might be to build a large garage near the parking. The parking lot would be in a field in the center of the woods and the path would kind of circle around the perimeter of the field and then back. I would have a service set up for the garage and probably run a lot of power from there. I would like to have more of an outdoor safe power scheme though, to avoid having to worry about any dampness.

Jim Warfield
09-04-2006, 07:36 PM
I had to modify those low-voltage outdoor lights to protect the bulbs from thieves...raccoons!
I would check the lights, ten minutes later 4 bulbs are missing! Some of them laying on the ground next to the fixture.
No humans had been there yet and getting into my backyard is not a very easy thing to do..for humans, anyway.
This happened time and time again, in every season of the year until I ran some drill screws through the sides to hold the lense in tight and used duct tape wrapped around the light.

09-04-2006, 08:45 PM
Yes, natural sounds and screams are awesome... also... the echo of a chainsaw is really thrilling! But we do run sound in our scarezones, but that's it. Also, give your actors noise makers of sorts... animal calls, shaker cans, saw/drill/weed-eaters, etc. Just have fun with people senses. Also... we rent out flashlights to people that don't bring them (we advertise to bring your own light). When your not in one of our scarezones... IT'S DARK AS HELL! We don't light these areas... so a flashlight is needed, which also hightens the 'thrill' factor. -Tyler

Jim Warfield
09-04-2006, 08:59 PM
Wouldn't it be incredibly neat to have every customer be carrying your flashlights, they feel safer, calmer, then a radio signal turns them all off at once!
Enter the green saucer from just above the tree tops , "They're here!"

09-05-2006, 05:20 AM
For the out door. I get some really cheap solar lights from Woolworths. Cost me a 1 each on sale and they change colours with blue read and white 'sparkle effect' Solar lights for Halloween are better the cheaper they are because then the light is weaker and has a yellow tinge and looks creepier.

If it is too 'bright' I just wrap it in hesian, creep cloth or spider webbing. It is just the glow I want. I have a pond and it is good to mark the edge to keep people from 'swimming with the fishies'..... LOL

I especially like the really tacky 'hanging lanterns'. They can be hung on a branch or a hook stuck or tied a long bamboo pole.

Cheap and very effective.

09-05-2006, 05:31 AM
Here is the link! http://www.woolworths.co.uk/ww_p2/product/index.jhtml?pid=50591156

There is also a 'mood moon' same site that can hang from branches. I am sure 'Wallworld' must have loads or any dollar store....