View Full Version : Outdoor Haunted Trail Design

11-09-2011, 06:04 AM
I have two areas of our property, one is grassy plain with a tree every 20 feet or so, the other is woods with dense trees.

My question is once its dark, how much space is adaquate to separate one part of the trail from another. If two parts of the trail are running kind of parallel, should I keep them 10 feet apart separated by woods, or 20 feet, or more.

I have 6 acres, so its not like I have tons of space and I want to give the customers as much trail to traverse as possible.

I'm thinking of actually making this two events. On the plain, lots of lights and sounds, and props, in the woods, flashlight only (or glowstick) very few effects other than fog and props or motion sensored lights.

Mike Goff
11-09-2011, 06:47 AM
The grassy plain with trees sounds like a great place for fog and some blue and green accent lighting. It makes me think of the Werewolf forrest at the Beast. As far as your spacing in the woods, there are a couple of things to think about, the tighter you run your trail the more action the actors can get and this will help with the intensity of your show. This is a huge problem with outdoor events. We rarely run the path 10 feet apart or closer, but we have done it. Things that can help with the separation are hillbilly sheds, privacy fence, clothes lines and sometimes just junk like old farm machinery. Just make sure that if people take off running, they are not going to get hurt. One thing that I have learned is when you run your path close together, have a backup plan. Actors like to wear paths from one spot to another and it can get confusing to your customers. You may not want to add a piece of fence to your scene, but it may be necessarry towards the end of the season. Another thing to consider is when the leaves fall and the weeds start to lay down, your scenes may run together. Sometimes it's not a bad thing to be able to see another part of the show from a different vantage point, I think that if you do it right it really adds some depth.
I almost forgot, don't rely on darkness to hide things in an outdoor haunt. A full moon can wreak havoc on your plans. It's not a big deal in a woods until the leaves fall off. At our haunted cornfield, the moon seems to clear the trees around 10pm and once that happens, it is almost impossible to hide. We have tried using strobe lights to reset the customers night vision, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Mr. Haunt
11-09-2011, 07:46 AM
We delt with the moon at my outdoor haunt on our first two weekends of being open and we had moonlight pretty much the entire time. We have about 200 yards of thick woods to use with a single trail through it that had only one scare and it was the only section that kinda gave the paytrons a break from scares. Funny thing though, a good hand full of peole never made it to the end of the trail or once they made it to the start of the cornmaze they bailed cause we were to scary!!!

Next year will be interesting because our corn maze will be in a diiferent place as the pumpkin patch and corn swap sides year after year. I am thinking with the corn being where it will be next year will make the haunt 5-10 minutes longer.

We also used battery powered strobe lights in some places (only changed batteries on some once) but other then that half of the haunt was dark and that was the cornmaze.

Had a trail running along the same tree line the path is through and that gave our actors in the woods a second chance to scare when they could, but they had to travel about 50-70 feet from their scare zone in the woods to do it.

Axdahls Haunted Farm