View Full Version : The haunted (and hauntworld) community

07-26-2011, 06:50 AM
I was at my little brothers basketball game when a friend of mine (another kid on my brothers team older sister) told me about this haunt she was working at and I was in AWE at how freaking cool it was. That night I volunteered for the first time at a haunted house. This was YEARS ago. Now, I'm about to be a sophomore in college, run the haunt for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life at SCSU, co-created and managed a haunted trail for a local trolley museum until the big guys in the museum corrupted the damn thing and wanted to pocket money instead of improve the museum. So I left. I'm currently working with a bunch of friends to make a fun home haunt because every where I look there's always issues somewhere in this business, who screwed who, who broke what, who overspent, who made out with who's boyfriend in that really dark room....etc. And now, it's who got screwed at transworld, who is copying who and so much crap.

This community and this whole industry (including the people on this very forum) were my idols. From an outsiders perspective you guys are/were the bee's knees! I have aspired to be like most of you, most kids had superheros and cartoon idols, I had haunt owners and actors.

The point of this thread is a venting session, but also a wtf moment. Why does everything have to be negative now?? I posted on these forums everyday for so long and there's been nothing but disputes and debates, how can an industry grow if the very people who run it are so cut throat?? Even if you are or aren't one of those being consistently involved in this swirl of negative crap, don't forget why you got started in this industry, what you care most about, and how so many people (whether you realize it or not) look up to you. I'm tired of always being put down or reading arguments on here, everyone here is so much better than that. And to see all this all the time bothers the hell out of me.

There's my rant, congrats for making it to the end haha. I feel better now. Hi! :)

07-26-2011, 09:29 AM
"from the mouths of babes" . Or in the words of Rodney king, "can't we all just get along?" Amen brother. But seriously. The world is how the world is regardless of the industry. You can't let yourself get sucked into the swirl and pulled down into anyones negativity. Focus and pay attention to the posts of the positive people who are in it for the pure joy like Allen H and Jim Warfield. True "salt of the earth" folks

07-26-2011, 09:37 AM
I hear that Mick, it's just frustrating. I got involved in haunting because of the pure fun and joy it brought me, and I never made a penny from any of it, every dime made was handed straight to the charity/nonprofit I was with, or I left. That simple. It's fun and should be, and for those who make it profitable congrats, but this is a holiday thing, there's no need for unnecessary misery, if we want to be an angry mob with pitchforks and torches, it should be towards scaring patrons, not yelling at eachother.

Ha. Was WAITING for a Rodney King input lol. :)

Ps, sorry if that's jumbled I'm using th browser on my phone.

07-26-2011, 10:10 AM

I agree with you .. it HAS gotten so "cut throat"

There are times I wish I had not gotten into the "Haunting biz" (so to speak im also a home haunter as well) but it "grabbed me when i was 16 years old (Ill be 39 in october), and to be 100% honest
I have loved every minute of it :) There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about something "haunt realted"

I had a good coversation with Allen H last night (BTW Thank you Allen for taking the time to talk to me.. and sharing "horror stories" .. it was appreciated :) ). And we both agreeed that " everyone has to start somewhere" ... no matter if its plunging your money into a free admission yard haunt(which me and my freind do every year) .. or being a "full bown" commercial haunt ..

Every one starts some where.. .. DON'T give up .. and dont be afraid to ask questions as to "how to do this or that " the "gems" will tell you .. in a weird sort of way .. how to do what you want to do ..

There is no right or wrong in the "haunt biz" its all what you make of it .. it's YOUR SHOW.. you want your patrons in YOUR WORLD ... it's whatever works for you ... take the info you got ( even if its "cut throat") and learn from it.

Thats the best (albeit long winded) advice i can give you .. hope it helps some what ..


Allen H
07-26-2011, 10:29 AM
I actually thought the board had been pretty positive lately minus one or two threads...and I dont read the threads that are heading down the wrong path. I give up on them and post in the good ones. Model the behavior you want to see from others thats the best approach- I cant tell you how often I type out a response that is less than exemplary...then delete it because I dont ned to be throwing it out there or adding fuel to fire.
Allen H

07-26-2011, 04:00 PM
I like it allen. Thats a great way to look at it. GUYS Sorry I havent been on here as much but man Building a haunt from the ground up takes Every bit of time one man has!!! oh yeah horror fields won 2nd place in a car show on sunday. with our hearse.

07-26-2011, 07:10 PM
It can be frustrating Bobby, I completely agree. I dislike negativity and you know some of what I've personally been dealing with in the haunt industry lately and it does suck.

But everyone is right....avoid it and don't let it become you or sour something you love to do. You are a great person and the dedication and enthusium you bring to your haunts to help with charities is amazing to say the least. :) I look up to you for that, enjoy seeing your enthusiatic posts! Don't let 'em get you down!!

I spent years working in the scrapbooking industry. I know, you automatically envision middle aged mommies sitting around cutting up paper and gossiping like boring old housewives, LOL! What could possibly be cut throat about THAT industry? Let me tell you what...on the professional side..... I watched friends steal page layouts from their "dearest friends"...even going so far as to photoshop out the pic and use the page with their own child's photo popped in.... in an attempt to get credit for the ideas and published in the next scrapbook magazine or use it to get a coveted design team position with a company. These companies usually pay in product and you make cool layouts for them with it. So "scrapping fame" becomes your only real payment and these women became horrible demons to eachother to become the next "it" girl. Blogs with more traffic than major websites sprang up by anyonomus people in the industry and would slam scrapbook artists for anything from their weight, their children, even having their house repossessed and would post stalkerish photos of the scrappers home and family. I couldn't take it and got out, stumbling into the haunt world along the way.

Any industry out there has a dark side, especially when there is creativity involved. The creative soul seems to be steadfast to what it envisions and doesn't always appreciate the different way to do it. My humble opinion is to agree to disagree and I don't post if I can't be positive. :)

There's plenty of wonderful people I've met here like Jim, Allen, and Damon to name just a few and I respect their advice and opinions because they've earned that. Take everything said with a grain of salt and keep your chin up!!! You are awesome at what you do and I wish I had as much dedication to the community as you have at your age!!!

07-26-2011, 08:39 PM
Thanks lonewolf, nothing long with long winded advice, it was nice to read and Allen I appreciate the input!

Congrats on the hearse show! And don't be sorry! Make an incredible haunt and every now and then maybe post some progress pics! Haha. :)

Kimmy! I never knew that about scrapbooking and what happened to you was TRULY not okay. And thanks! I don't think I'm really someone to look up to, but I don't mind helping out those in need. (Me for President! Don't get me going on politics and how this relates lol). Btw, I haven't forgotten about what we talked about and set up, I'll PM you! :)

Overall, thanks everyone, for an 18, (soon to be 19) year old, I have been through so many personal and family struggles. This whole Halloween thing was my escape, my way to turn my spiraling life around and actually help others, and it kills me more than most could comprehend when my heroes, my idols, and my escape, be turned upside down. If that makes any sense lol. So sorry for the commotion, but this thread really brightened my day :)

Greg Chrise
07-26-2011, 10:17 PM
There is also such a thing as going through the charity phase of this business. Going through too many startups and dealing with people who really don't think anyone but them needs to be compensated at some rather inflated numbers. Ultimately things that are not a win win proposition do not win. The bottom line is learning everything, even what can go wrong is priceless. Not only in the haunt business but in anything you do. Gaining perspectives and crossing thoughts is very valuable.

I would also like to say being negative full time is a performance art. When everyone else is saying how are you today and everyone says fine or wonderful I like to say I'm not sure yet. If confuses the over happy and gets a laugh out of the intellegent. Those who listen to motivational tapes baulk with when will you know. The day is almost over, you should know pretty soon? No I won't really know for about 30 years.

Bobby, you didn't come off to me as quite that young! A great part of experience is being able to pick out the negatives people put off or determine when they have no idea what they are talking about when of course they know it all, they have had some business before (they no longer have so how successful was that) or they have read some article written also by someone that didn't know but was given an assignment to write something.

You have to look for the real doers to be impressed. You have to look for people that have been doers for a long time, that actually make a modest living rather than go to court about getting paid. A big majority if people will eventually screw you somehow. That's kind of negative but it is just how and when will they do it. I grew up in a town where they say screw you what are you lookin at instead of hello. I moved to a town where they are highly hospitable, say hello, how are you today and proceed to learn everything you have to offer for about 6 months and then say screw you. It is going to come, just wait for it.

In long term business situations you have to sort of blank out the knowledge that every time you deal with someone they are screwing you, if it pays enough. It really comes down to how long does it take them to write a check. Are they trying to strap you down and then steal another $20 on top of that or are they making sure you get another couple hundred dollars a week for no reason what so ever beyond you have paid great attention to their project. Which one do you make sure their work gets done first. Which one do you say, sorry I'll be there in a week. Some you have to just at least in you head assign the ranking that they just aren't one of MY customers.

Haunted houses are tough deals because so many are do it yourselfers that tend to not give up the doing it and trusting others easily. Or constantly compare what they could do it for not paying themselves at all versus hiring a professional to do anything, whether it is managing, building anything or marketing. Well, that's the worst kind of customer in the world defined in a nutshell. So, you help them as much as you can in order to learn but at some point the only way to be compensated is to do it yourself. Not allowing anyone to front anything or risk your performance in anyway. This simply comes with hands on self realized confidence.

Listening over and over to the government statistics of what percent of the US population has millions, how much the middle class percentage is and how many are poor and soaking up entitlements and not paying taxes at all, There are a whole lot of people strapped for cash to make it every day. Those who supposedly have all this stuff many times just have really good credit and are so involved in keeping a standard of living that they aren't any fun at all. So if you ask this type of person that is normally quite self absorbed to volunteer for something or do anything through to completion with a goal down the road, they are going to revert back to their own little world.

In the haunt world you have owners that will do it over and over with no profit and a high percentage of actors that are willing to tell you what you should oughta do and how you should live your life from their arm chairs. Even these forums I am really all about who the hell is this person. Who really is this person I'm spending so much time trying to help. Are they helpable. Are they an unidentifyable scam in the making? Are they just a kid thinking the world owes them something, all they need is a deli number and they should get service, never mind they can't pay for anything and don't plan to ever.

How negative is that? It sometimes takes a long time paying attention but eventually someone will reviel why they are a such a dick. Or come down from their internet persona to offer they don't have shit and no real talent either. They go to the haunt for the beer.

There are a lot of new people on here that are working it all out. There are some that have been beat back for 15 years that are finally getting serious and sharing their skills. If you put stuff out there you will learn something one way or another. It takes lots of time. No way is this forum as useless and as infighting as it was back in 2000 when Jim Warfield and I within months got online and had to break up all kinds of real crappy name calling to take over the forums as something possibly productive someday. Lots of time has been put on here. Lots and lots of time. To the point of maybe being dysfunctional.

But the overall sociology is young people want it all now and want to know why they can't have it now and old people realize it will come with great time and effort. Right there if you read this far is something not negative that was very expensive to have related to me. I was young and it explained something to me about the old dudes and now that I'm old I see it as the stupidity of the young. It is really a statement to have some level of compassion and a willingness to participate even though there is not the right warm fuzzy full service experience you would desire daily.

So Bobby, don't be such a dickface.

07-27-2011, 04:59 AM

The boards have been quiet lately I think with very little negativity haunters are too busy working on their haunts. What happens in this industry is no different, better or worse, than any other industry out there. Anytime you deal with people, you're going to have disputes and cut throat competition it's all part of business. As you get older and go through more experiences you'll get a tougher skin and not be as bothered by it all. You have too adapt or it's just not for you regardless of the profession.

Also, where you really waiting for some Rodney King imput? That took place before you were even born lol.

Relax man, and enjoy the whole haunt experience good and bad alike.


Mike Goff
07-27-2011, 05:14 AM
Sometimes Greg cracks me up, sometimes he pisses me off. Hauntwold is a better place for both reasons.

There is no denying that Allan is a better man than most, including myself. I belong to several forums ranging from a wide variety of subjects and I have always complained that other forums do a great job of sharing ideas and experience, but the extent of help someone will get on hauntwold usually stops with a vendors contact info. It's not that I have anything against vendors, and I wish them nothing but the best in terms of business success. There are many here on a very limited budget and not everyone can start out by placing large orders with vendors. Allen is the most notible exception to the secrecy. He is ridiculously qualified and has demonstrated that he is willing to help anyone and everyone. We should all be more like Allen.

There is something else to consider. There are associations and individuals who sometimes try to speak for the entire industry. I believe their intentions to be good, and from time to time they do some really big things that benefit us all. The problem is that we don't always agree on what is best for the industry, and there are times when some are affected negatively by the decisions of the collective. It is these times that people have a decision to make, they can sit back quietly and do nothing, or they can voice thier opinion. Face it, we will not always agree. Sometimes these debates can get passionate. The debates need to take place, or the entire industry can be impacted by a handful of people. I believe that all haunters deserve a voice when it comes to decisions that impact us all.

07-27-2011, 07:34 AM

07-27-2011, 08:38 AM
Lmao Greg! Thanks and I'll try to be less of a dickface, and now lonewolf, THAT was long winded. :P

DA, I never know what to make of you two. You and your husband/you and your wife are always back and forth, I can never tell what you're all about and you were one of the worst people to me way back when lol. But the past is the past.

Mike, that was well put and much less long winded haha. But you make some good points :)

Greg Chrise
07-28-2011, 03:01 AM
Actually, for someone that seems to piss so many people off, I have a lot of real friends on here and otherwise would not drop by so often or offer what ever I can. This is where you figure out where you can go to see other haunts, meet other owners if not in some convention setting, with in driving distance. I have jumped in the car and gone 1200 miles to see people and other haunts off season.

And over time the benefits have been pretty sweet. The obsession over having an event is no longer some madness when you meet others that have done it and continue to have this life style and even occasionally make a living. Much more than the haunt, what happens when you delve into these kinds of events, what it does to normal family and who becomes your new family.

I have gotten lots of information otherwise not obtainable or easily transfered by going and doing. In kind I was introduced to many that needed larger projects taken care of for money. I have freinds I can talk to daily, the entire 500 mile area has gatherings yearly and everyone catches up for no real reason beyond they can. You can sell things you no longer need that might be costing you to store, buy things you need to finish out an idea or even parts of haunts to remodel and use.

It has gone so far as one haunt person helped me with money to save everything when I got caught with too many employees with my regular business. Another haunt here I figured out is a great place to find helpers instead of using the temporary services in this town that seem to be hookups to the prison system.

Right now I have a large construction job remodeling a pool and home that is actually the people that are the very first haunt I heard about and they told me what others to seek out, but they called me for the contracting work. Over the years I have been able to keep track of everyones attendance numbers and get a feel for what is happening over all in the haunt market and have real proof of what increases per year you should be able to get. And so on.

And just like any other education the information crosses over into any other kind of business you would ever imagine only competitors in any other field don't invite you for a house party 100 miles away and never will.

And just like Bobbies event where for the first time I saw how inflatable haunts that can go up for a day and go away really had a proper application at a charity haunt, somehow that information and lots of stuff came from other haunters eager to help out.

Stuff like this doesn't happen for total haters or people that think it is them against the world or think the competition is going to take something away from them if they open up. And as an observation this lack of connectivity shows up in poor attendance records compared to all the ones that do what ever they can. So the whole thing is a big crazy circle.

Greg Chrise
07-28-2011, 03:24 AM
And contrary to popular belief, a few weeks ago a bunch of haunter got togther in a secret undisclosed area and showed me that there are lots of new things to try. New things to build that make sense, new technologies being adapted to these events, new materials to apply to old skills. It is something evolving and adapting that mean bottom line the excitement is still there. So what that means is haunts will continue because they have heart behind the shows. It has nothing to do with the economy or the dead pan way someone has dealt with building codes, security and fire mashals since the late 70's.

There are real shows out there. Real innovation on the cheap. People bringing their other worldly experience back into the haunt. It doesn't have to be a phase where you been there done that for a few years then move on with your life. Some people do that and look at it that way but it doesn't have to be. These are skills developed over great time that are a little different.

You aren't limited to being put into some cubical and being expected to crank out data. You can go anywhere, do anything. You can be a scenic guy, then be an actor, then be a manager, then be an owner, then be a marketing guy or al of the above in no particular order. You can make products or just build for your event. You can enter into the latex mask economy or become a fine costume outfitter. You can master lighting and sound or effects no one has seen yet. Similar talents can mean income supporting other events or movie sets or photo shoots both in equipment and talent.

The overall knowledge will allow you to really help other people by hearing what their desires and real skills are and figure out how they can make an income from what they love doing. Just because you can.

You can watch a roller derby documentary and then go weeks trying to work dick face into a sentence! The world is yours!

07-28-2011, 09:30 AM
I'm pretty sure that entire post(s?) made my day. You work dickface into a sentence quiet eloquently and made total sense....I think. And yeah, inflatable haunts are really cool, can't even tell it's an inflatable when you're inside it. Incredible really. And I've started to feel that way too, networking is huge!