View Full Version : looking for a little insite on Trailer haunts

03-27-2011, 09:36 PM
I attended the Trailer seminar at Trans. I am in a position to pick up a couple trailers for next to nothing. I was wondering if anyone has a copy of a trailer floorplan and or how you "attach" these trailers for a side attraction. I am not going to get it done this year but i am thinking f next. Thanks for any insite you may have. A floorplan would be great.

RJ Productions
03-28-2011, 03:50 AM
A floorplan is of little use if it doesn't fit YOUR attraction.
That would be like, "Larry, I want to do an indoor haunt, can I see the Darkness' floorplan?"
His floorplan wouldn't fit my location or theme.

Trailer haunts, like any other style should be designed with the theme in mind from the "scare, up".
Figure out what rooms you want and the sequence, then what scares are in each room, then how
the space can accomodate those criteria.

If you aren't opening this season I would suggest visiting a couple trailer haunts and getting a first
hand view.

Good luck

03-28-2011, 02:14 PM
I agree RJ. But what I am saying is I dont even know how a guy lines up the trailers to get started in this possible project. I am looking for a little insite into how this is done. I wont be able to visit a possible trailer haunt until next Nov. and I need to make a few decisions before then. So if you would be kind enough to give me a rough idea of how this is done that would help before I have the chance to get to Vegas and visit yours in Nov.



Front Yard Fright
03-28-2011, 02:46 PM

03-28-2011, 06:11 PM
GEEEEZ! Why didn't I think of that.....Google. Thanks Zach!

03-28-2011, 07:01 PM
hi, it might be helpful to look up a past issue of Hauntworld Magazine. The issue focused on Vegas and had a huge article by Rich Strelak on how to build a trailer haunt. The issue came out around June of 2008

Allen H
03-28-2011, 07:26 PM
Im sorry you havent gotten much help yet. It is my habit to assume every poster has googled their question.
I googled the hell out of it and I could not find an image of a lay out. If you plan on going to West Coast haunt con I know hytsteria city will be there and they do trailer haunts. They had a model there last year and it showed the layout pretty well.
http://www.hysteriacity.com/ they were nice guys and Im sure they would be willing to help you a bit.
I have been in and to plenty of trailor haunts I will whip up how I would do a layout and post it here in a bit. I really like a three or four trailor design and my floor plan will reflect that.

Perhaps your question should have been How the hell do you make a tiny trailor into an interesting haunt? I know it can be done, but I think you are referring to the particular challenge of making twists turns and rooms in a space that is only 8' wide.
I will post an image soon.
Allen H

03-28-2011, 08:02 PM
Hi there, listen I will help you as much as I can. My haunt is a trailer haunt. I have 4 - 45 foot long trailers. They lie in parallel to each other. There are many ways to position your trailers but I had to use the area I had to the best available. The first 2 trailers are 4 feet apart with 3 hallways built connecting them. Trailer 2 and 3 are 14 ft apart and have 1 -14 ft long hallway connecting them. The 3rd and 4th trailer are 16 feet apart and have 1 -16 foot hallway connecting them. Now I use the area in between trailers 2 and 3 and 3 and 4 for more scenes. My customers have to walk down in between trailers 2 and 3 where they go through the meat cellar and the wine cellar. They then walk up into the master bedroom then take the long hallway into trailer 4 where there are 3 large rooms. All my electrical runs underneath the trailers in conduit. Each trailer has it's own sub panel that is mounted on a pole at the front, outside. I would be more then happy to help explain further. Way to much to type here. You can call me. 903-918-3889. My email is terrormasue@yahoo.com Rich is correct in that you need to decide what you are want to build, ie. manor, asylum etc... Mine is a manor so I have rooms like a house would have. Den, kitchen, bedrooms, study, living room etc...Lots of hallways, get your people moving back and forth. Make up for the lack of "area" with linear "walking feet". They won't have a clue what trailer they are in. My friends that come over have no idea where they are at any one time. Trailers are narrow so you have to be real creative. I do like the closeness though. The height of the trailers are a very nice 9 ft. They are limiting however. You need to depend a great deal on your actors. Hard to get big pneumatics inside. Give me a call! I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about trailers....LOL!


03-28-2011, 09:07 PM
Allen......as usual thank you! I will look forward to your layout. Sue, I will get in touch with you. Thanks for the help. Google? Is this a new thing? LOL


03-28-2011, 09:41 PM
I have wondered a bit about this type of haunt too. where do you store your trailers?
Sue do you have pictures yo can share ( gabba5@juno.com)? if you have to move these trailers how much does that cost

Allen H
03-28-2011, 10:13 PM
The site I mentioned earlier has some great videos, Im working on my diagram but It wont be done tonight. There is actually a fun video series on this page about the building of their trailor haunts, it can olny help.

RJ Productions
03-28-2011, 10:37 PM
Just be advised the video is not an actual construction video but modeled after the Monster House TV show. He video tapes guys working all day on one small aspect, then "over night master haunter Scott completed trailer one and everything in trailer two" !!! Can you say movie magic?? Scott unfortunately didn't last too long in this market. He tried to market quanity by calling each trailer a seperate haunt! The Hysteria City concept touted things such as the Hotel, Jail, Meat packing plant, and several others. But these were not individual haunts, but merely rooms or scenes within the one haunt. Not as a slam but as a lesson, trailer haunts are already small by nature. Provide as much "bang for their buck" or your audience goes elsewhere!

Had a longer post with pictures, that one quick keystroke sent to computer no man's land!!!Poof!!! Gone!!!! Just wanted to comment on this link first then I'll rewrite the other!! Scott is a really nice guy, in trying to be different he forgot that it is the audience that is most important, and they ALWAYS know best.

RJ Productions
03-28-2011, 11:19 PM
OK so now I rewite the other…. Capt. Chaos, as stated there is no real “right” way to build a trailer haunt. One thing must be decided first. Is this a MOBILE attraction built in trailers or a permanent attraction built USING trailers? If you are building a mobile attraction as we have, the key is you have to MOVE everything. That means every ramp, bridge, staircase, façade piece and skirting that is outside the attraction has to either be attached or transported to the site. Larry has a killer façade on his trailer haunt at Creepy World. It is basically a stand alone building that sits in front of the trailer haunt, no way is it portable!!

Also you have to take into consideration the outward appearance of the attraction. We utilize the 6 trailer configuration because it creates a large box that the audience can drive completely around. It appears quite large and gives you the extra space in the middle should you choose to utilize it.

OK Sue I’m not slamming your configuration, in fact I am having trouble visualizing it. It obviously works for you and that’s all that counts, but I don’t think from the description that it is mobile.
You describe it as two trailers parallel 4 feet apart with 3 hallways. I assume these are 3 bridges which means you have to cut 3 separate doors in the sides of each trailer (6 doors or openings) just between the first 2 trailers. I assume you now have to mask these bridges or your audience is always walking “outside”. All of this has to be added once on site.

We use the 6 trailer configuration because it provides the largest footprint with the fewest doors cut into the trailers. There is only one bridge, you have the choice of having your emergency doors exit to the outside (harder to control) or into the courtyard. The trailers actually touch so you walk directly from one into the other except the one bridge. You can also either use the courtyard or not. We do because it greatly increases the useable space. However what you put in the courtyard must be transported and set up separately. Any separations in trailers must be masked to create the illusion of a single structure.

The 6 Trailer set up shown would have a front width of 98 to 110 feet. Its depth would be 61 feet.
That is quite a footprint. If you run 2 trailers parallel they are only 45 feet wide, 16 feet deep.

Capt. Chaos I would suggest getting the Hauntworld articles, they explain in more detail. The original article in Issue one is no longer in print (sold out). If you don’t have it email me directly and I will send you my original word file. Email me at: consultant@rjproductions.biz

Good luck!!


03-29-2011, 12:16 AM
how many emergency exits do you put in? do you build ramps from those doors?

RJ Productions
03-29-2011, 12:21 AM
You can be no more than 50 feet from an emergency exit. The entrance and exit count so one in each side trailer and one in the middle.
Ramps if required, we use stairs up to a platform in front of each door. Unless a local jurisdiction overrules you, ADA requirements are not required for temporary structures or else every carnival would have to be ADA.

03-29-2011, 06:49 AM
Thats what i was looking for! Thank you Rich. I will send you a email for that document and I will try and catch up with you in Vegas in Nov.


03-29-2011, 07:11 AM
I have exits every 45 feet or less, simply because my trailers are 45 feet long. I chose not to arrange mine in a circle because I am using an area off to the left of the manor as well as the areas in between the trailers. I still have the wheels on all the trailers but mine are not easily portable. Mine are located on my property and sit on hard packed dirt, not asphalt. I actually dug holes for support posts under each bridge or walkway. If you are on pavement you obviously could not do that. Like Rich said there are different circumstances to each venue or area where you will have your trailers set up. I do not plan on moving mine. I could but it would take a great deal of tearing down. I have a total of 5270 sq ft which includes the area off to the left that is the childrens playground. People walk through and around in that before exiting. I have room for 2 additional trailers off tp the right when I can afford them. Across the entire front of the facade I have a large porch with columns very close to that of Larrys trailer haunt. You walk up to the middle front of the trailer to the entrance. These are old pictures but it might give you some idea of what can be done with trailers. The fireplace is in the dining room with actor hiding areas on either side. This is a double fireplace with the other side in the master bedroom. Actors can scare both rooms with relative ease. Hope this helps.

03-29-2011, 11:35 AM
A company in Buffalo created a haunted trailer show to carry from fair to fair. Used 70 foot office trailers. (had air conditioning for the summer time, it was nice at the county/state fairs) Lined them up side by side nearly an inch away from each other. Laid down steel plates and velcrow curtains to block light and to safely transport to the next trailer. They created a floor plan as if they were together by just cutting doors in to the sides of them. Whats stopping you from taking a bunch of them and doing the same thing. theoretically all you would have to do is get an experienced driver to pull them close together and connect the door ways some how.

They were kinda stuck with the same floor plan but could change the theme in each room every year. They were great because they were built permanent inside but time destroys the frames. Plus every time they had to move it was costly.

Easy to assemble, fun to permanently make scenes. pain in the butt to move and level. still though, a time saver.

RJ Productions
03-29-2011, 04:36 PM
First Sue, thanks for the pictures, see what can be done when you don't have to move them!!!!
It also looks like people do not see the back or maybe even sides of the attraction which means you
just focus on the facade. If you are in a parking lot, all four sides have to be a facade so you tend
to use the box style.

I focus most of the attention in build portable attractions because that will cover more applications.
But if you do have your own space or space where the trailers do not have to move, a basically permanent
attraction can be built using the trailers as the building components. If you do NOT move them be aware.
Under these conditions they could be deemed a permanent structure and would permitted and inspected
as a "building" instead of a temporary structure. Everything is a matter of interpretation.

We had a secondary attraction one year that was a wood wall black maze with tarps on top.
The fire inspector stated there are two ways to look at this, a tent with wood walls which only needed
one emergency exit, one emergency light, one extinguisher.....or a building with a cloth top which
would require a sprinkler system. They chose the building!!! I countered with what requirements were
need for the tent choice, a center pole, guy lines, what?? They said NO they consider it a building!!
So everything is always a matter of interpretations.

buffaloSCREAMS13: building in a mobile home trailer has it's advantages and major disadvantages.
First is transportation and set up. They require a specialized truck and crew to move, skate together
and level. I have the Asylum that uses these. It costs $1,500 each way to transport and set up just 3
of the trailers that are mobile homes. It costs be about $700 to move all the rest (9)of the semi-trailers.
You may have to get a special transportation permit because of the width (another way the city prints money).

Also you may have different requirements because jurisdictions will have ordinances that cover the
use of mobile homes. Building in a semi-trailer has very few regulations...so far! Mobile homes may have to
install hurricane straps. Straps that wrap around the frame and then must be anchored to the ground. It not a
difficult procedure, just an added step that requires an added inspection, so probably an added fee. The mobile
homes are not designed for a lot of transportation, not like a semi-trailer. You "level" the semi by lowering the legs.
The mobile home has to have a crew level it ( I did it once myself, took me 10 hours to do a double wide!)
They do it in a couple hours. You also have to have it leveled when in storage. They are more critical for
being leveled. You may have a lot that looks level, but with a 60 foot trailer I have had it 10 inches off the
ground on one end and over 30 inches on the other side!!! Wheels had to be removed! Makes placing skirting a pain!!

A good driver can probably get the semis close enough to work with. IF you don't have good driver, you just rent
a fork lift or borrow if someone is close enough to nudge the trailers. Then you are not building and connectors
between trailers, you walk directly from one into the other which helps complete the illusion that it is one big structure.
Not too many houses where you outside every time you go from one room to the other!!

There are a alot of questions and decisions when choosing any style of attraction. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Your job is weight the facts and make the best decision. As a consultant for this style of attraction my job is to help
define those choices and the ramifications of those choices. The decisions that save the most money are usually ones that
I already learned the hard (and expensive) way!!

Hope this helps, now I have to get back to actually WORKING on my attractions, before the wife (partner) starts complaining
about all the time on the computer!!! Good luck!!


03-29-2011, 06:59 PM
Agreed with you Rich. They were a major pain but as everything has advantages and disadvantages to them. Semi's probably work fairly well. I know a few great haunts that do it this way. You are very right with the cost of moving an office trailer. Its very costly plus road permits. can only move hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. Definitely cant move them easily with one forklift.

The advantages with the office trailers is that they are a few feet wider and longer than a regular 48 or 53 footer. like i stated previously if you were planning on carting it around in the summer for fairs, they usually have air conditioning which is almost a reason on its own to go thru during a hot summer day while walking the fair grounds hahaha.

I helped revamp a few office trailers for a haunted house and also a Horror Movie Museum. Great ideas, but can only use them for so many years. unless you completely switch them up!

But otherwise you said everything else best!

03-30-2011, 06:54 PM
they usually have air conditioning which is almost a reason on its own to go thru during a hot summer day while walking the fair grounds hahaha.

A good reason to get a refrigerated trailer (reefer) and include it in there somewhere. The extreme cold can make a neat meat freezer or cave.

03-31-2011, 09:52 AM
Just curious, do haunts charge the same amount for the entrance fee on a trailer haunt?

RJ Productions
03-31-2011, 06:56 PM
If you have a large enough attraction it will depend on your market.
Haunts here are $12.00.

Refrigerated trailers: with the added insulation you end up with about 7 1/2 ft. Also the foam they use for them is extremely flammable.
You may have a difficult to impossible time getting one to pass use for occupancy.

Karl Fields
03-31-2011, 07:44 PM
Hey Rich,
Seems like way back when, the idea was to have a group of trailers less than 1000 sqft, which would preclude having it sprinkled. Then a non flammable 20' ramp, or something, between that and another 1000 sqft set of trailers. Is that still a viable option?

RJ Productions
03-31-2011, 08:10 PM
Yup, still an option, infact our Hotel Fear is built on that concept. The Asylum is too big and requires a sprinkler. The issue for anyone just starting in this concept is do I build accordingly and hope things stay the same or just bite the bullet and install a sprinkler from the get go???

I have already had to deal with a jurisdiction changing guidelines. I was originally designed for 75 feet to an exit, then had to accomodate to 50 feet.
It was obviously done, but it required a redesign, remodel, rewire, ect.

Another jurisdiction just created a new classification called "Haunted House" which overrides any other guideline and states if it is a Haunted House it requires a sprinkler...period!!

So if I was building from scratch I would just build in a sprinkler system while it's easy to accomodate, then in most cases you are OVER the code requirements!!
(that can really frustrate an inspector!!!)

So Karl...how are things in the Bay area??? Thinking of finally putting in a trailer haunt????
I have an awesome entry designed for your style of attraction!!!
Still love your ship/trailer/stage...it's awesome!!!


Karl Fields
03-31-2011, 11:32 PM
So Karl...how are things in the Bay area??? Thinking of finally putting in a trailer haunt????
I have an awesome entry designed for your style of attraction!!!
Still love your ship/trailer/stage...it's awesome!!!

Naw, got too many trailers as it is and I love our tents :)
Remember we looked at that option for the SoCal haunt a bunch of years back. Bad Karma then and it never wore off!

Now that you've unlocked the infamous film strip option on posts for the masses, thought I would try it out. One of the bands on our ship/float/stage.


03-31-2011, 11:33 PM
speaking about trailer haunts and portable/easily assembled haunts for temporary shows, hows everyones opinion on those black inflatable haunts and also the Inflatable beast and giant made by brainchild labs.

Other than the heat they contain and the easily puncture material, are they good to use at a fair or even as a second "location"

If it was me and I had my hands on "the beast" inflatable, I would just blow up the head and stick it on top of my building as a good eye catcher hahaha

RJ Productions
04-01-2011, 04:30 AM
See Karl,
us Ol' Dogs CAN learn new tricks!!! Linked over to your recap video. Looks like the move was helpful!! Awesome!!

Pirates of the Carribean...May 20th.... another Year of the Pirate!!
Not many of us with a movie franchise covering your theme!!!
Looks good in the previews I've seen!!!

buffaloScreams: many of us have looked into those options. If you are looking to use the inflatable haunt as maybe a kid's haunt
it could work or maybe a small 3D. Not vey effective as a main attraction. Smal footprint and the colums to support the thing take up a major space.
Same for the Beast. Great curb appeal, could be something to draw your crowd. But not many "rooms" for the size it covers. It IS an eyecatcher!!

Also you may want to check with your fire inspectors. A friend used the inflatable haunt as a small kid's attraction. FD was concerned as to what would happen if he lost power. Concern was it deflating and trapping kids under it!! They wouldn't take any info from the company showing how long it would stay inflated. He had to provide a special back up system to keep seperate power to the blowers incase of a power failure. Just check first, the Beast had several blowers.


Greg Chrise
04-01-2011, 09:31 AM
Inflateable things are a hassle. You discover late at night it is starting to deflate, walking around you discover one of the fans has blown out a circuit breaker hundreds of feet away behind a locked door and the plug that goes to the extention cord at the fan is smoking. So all of a sudden you are wrestling with things. The now not working fan is now a portal to 12 or16 inch tube of excaping air and has to be tied off. Of course that circuit generally took out a few fans so you are impromptu running cords to a different building to run the fans that still work.

Of course the guy who offered the inflatable even though he lives next door to the attraction has made sure he was gone for the evening. Do you have other fans? Are you into becoming an emediate electrician? The fans work many hours pushing against a force and this is what is going to fail. If you have extra fans they are seriously heavy and ususally there are no elephants to quickly move things into place and save the day. And it is in the dark. It is up to you Mister Phelps if you decide to take this mission.

Happy Halloween.