View Full Version : How to Increase Length of Haunt without Tour

12-09-2011, 01:34 AM

We're looking for ideas that anyone might have of how to lengthen a haunted house. We have two 6000 sq ft haunts and it takes customers approximately 15 minutes to journey through both. We were wondering how haunts might increase this length without providing a tour. Does anyone have any ideas? I was looking at some haunts and I found Jim's haunt to be over an hour and a half long, but has less square footage than my haunt! I'm just wondering how this is possible.

A couple restrictions: we can't expand anymore square footage-wise because of our facilities we are currently in. We also can't change the size of our hallways because of ADA requirements. Our haunt is structured with rooms and hallways, and it is important to us to keep our design and rooms.

Any ideas?


12-09-2011, 08:30 AM
Turn the queue line into part of the haunt. I.E entertain them there in addition to your haunts. It's cheap and effective. Plus if you do it right you should get plenty of youtube videos to share with those on your FB page.

12-09-2011, 08:57 AM
Dark mazes, dark rooms, and lots of things to look at in each room (details)slow people down. I had a serial killer room and had newspaper clippings on the walls with mini spot lights shining on certain "headlines" and it even slowed people down to read them. The dark mazes slow people down ALOT depending on how much alcohol they've had. haha Rooms that appear to have no exit usually slows people down because they dont really know where to go so they stop. There are a lot of ways to get a couple of extra minutes out of it, but remember that will effect your through-put as well. If you have rooms where they will stop etc. then you have to space your groups out more to avoid them all catching up with each other. I also agree with the que line/holding room idea that if you look at Disney and big places they put as much if not more into their que lines and holding rooms than the ride itself because it makes the guest feel like they are already in the experience from the time they walk in the line instead of looking at their watches. Hope this helps.

12-09-2011, 10:59 AM
Could always add a mirror maze, or even better a curtain chaos maze. Add a couple bright strobes to the curtain maze and your guests will be lost for a while. Biggest problem with mazes is that you have to decide where to put it. If you have it in the middle or end of the haunt you will have major backup problems, so maybe try doing it at the beginning instead.

12-09-2011, 11:16 AM
having it in the beginning would lessen any conga line effect you may experience.

12-09-2011, 11:53 AM
Despite Larry and Leonard's opposing views, maybe you can look into Leonard Pickel's triangular design concept to utilize your space more wisely? Although if Larry see's I suggested that, I might get kicked off the boards ;)

Allen H
12-10-2011, 02:15 AM
How long was your line? wait time? How many spots do you have in your parking lot?
those things will greatly affect your throughput time, If they end up staying twice as long then how often do you need to flip your parking lot?

What do you mean by "without giving a tour" ? there are a ton of ways to make them spend more time in your show- but it is the quality of time that they spend that they will remember.
HAving them stop for an effect in each room- like a lowering ceiling can add to the time. Having them watch a video that fills them in on the back story.
What is your theme? that could inspire us to come up with more ideas.
Allen H

12-10-2011, 03:40 AM
Thanks for the responses. -Allen, our lines can be about 1-1.5 hours on busy nights and our parking lot is luckily not an issue...unlimited parking. We're thinking about changing out themes next year to an Asylum and a 3D CarnEvil.

12-10-2011, 09:20 AM
I've done a LOT of thinking, as well as haunt going. In my opinion, off the top of the head, would be to add / modify 2 rooms. A couple of FAKE exits, with or without actors, could use a pneumatic jumper prop in one and give an exit in an inconspicuous place. Meaning, make them crawl through a refrigerator. Hollow it out as much as possible and make it backless. Give 2 doors to the room. They enter through a 1 way door and htey're like WTF? when they open the 2 fake doors. Then someone opens the frige.

I'd have 1 at the beginning and one in the middle, to help with the bunching up of the "chain" Chains need to flow smoothly or they get bunched up, this should help give time between the 2 extension periods. if it takes 4-6 minutes on each of those rooms you should approximately increase length of time by 10-15 minutes. Being an avid haunt goer, (I did only because I've always planned on doing a haunt) I know that 90% of the folks will only see the total time, not the "ohh well it was only 22 minutes because of that one stupid room we couldn't figure out how to get out of"

But again, you guys must keep in mind, there's no huge haunts in my area, your patrons / setups may be different and have different effects.

12-10-2011, 04:55 PM
cool idea with the fake doors and the fridge. I'm not sure that the fire marshal would allow fake doors, and a wheelchair wouldn't fit through a fridge, but I enjoy the 'out of the box' suggestions. Too bad regulations are so strict.


Allen H
12-10-2011, 05:18 PM
Darker = slower, every now and then blind them with brightness and bright lights to keep them from adjusting to the darkness. keep the blinding lights in areas your actors dont need to go so they can keep their night vision.
One or two Stop light rooms, with actors who contol the flow of guests, that way they can tell a bit of back story and add time onto the total- on busier nights they can give a shorter speil in order to kill the line.
A sheet maze can add some time, especially if a swing gate is used to obscure the entrance for a min or two so they miss it the first time.

12-10-2011, 05:43 PM
he'd allow fake doors if you have an actor in the room who can direct patrons in the event of a fire.

Jim Warfield
12-10-2011, 09:51 PM
Customers remember to put double padding under the carpet and a really soft fluffy carpet to take away possible knee/abuses.
In other words make it fun and pleasurable not physically painfull.
Not everyone can crawl and not everybody wants to crawl either, no matter what their ages or the physical shape that you might think they are in. You must provide optional routes.
You will also need to invest in a good vaccuum cleaner .
Have a schedule of checking the crawling parts to make sure the lost cell phones and jewlery get regularly picked up by your staff... along with the wads of gum.

12-11-2011, 12:49 AM
That is actually an easy one... if you come to our haunted house tour during TW this coming March you'll notice that Terror Visions is a lot longer. Did we add on more space? NO we did not but its probably 15% longer walking space now that we've made several changes. A lot of times you can look at a room in your haunted house and realize that the room would look better smaller so you move a wall IN and what you end up doing is making that room detail tighter plus you've freed up even if its 8 feet wide by 8 feet you can make two hallways out of that. You do that several times and boom your haunted house is now 25% longer walking space additionally you can pick up a few extra scenes as well.

In Terror Visions we turned our Magic room from one scene to two. Another scene which was the Circus is still one scene but before you walked right through the scene now you "S" through the room again adding more walking feet.

Last year we did the same thing made one big room into two rooms and a hallway.... again adding more walking space.

In other cases you can take a look at a scene and realize they walk thru the room too quickly... so by adding a few props could create obstacles to get to the exit of that room... again adding more walking space.


12-11-2011, 09:12 PM
cool idea with the fake doors and the fridge. I'm not sure that the fire marshal would allow fake doors, and a wheelchair wouldn't fit through a fridge, but I enjoy the 'out of the box' suggestions. Too bad regulations are so strict.


Well, that's what we're all here for, to keep all of our ideas on the right path, right? :P Yeah, that's true. FM's and WC's. You know, I think fridgedair made a HUGE wide fridge that one may pass through, But yeah, an actor would need to be in the room. Could be a quiet actor, one that's a little , scream shy. Let them add some creep to the room and in case of emergency they can open the door they just came in.

Also, Larry's on the head there. If you have a large room with little decor, squeeze it in. Or throw a mid wall in and let them snake through them. More steps = more time. I love the blinding idea, sometimes we forget the easiest things!

12-17-2011, 12:12 PM
Went through Kevin McCurdy's Haunted Mansion this year and their concept is very theme/backstory driven. They put you through in larger groups but its a much more interactive experience for the group. You'll walk through a few "traditional" hallways and rooms, then you'll all gather in one room with some actor interaction/special effects, then more hallways, then another longer room, etc. Now I wouldn't necessarily want to do this for my own haunt, but it was very cool and well done and provided a more unique haunt experience. This also requires having great actors. This set up isn't really like a "tour", but is a similar concept in that you can slow down your customers to increase their time spent in the haunt.

12-17-2011, 12:17 PM
beast and edge of hell in Kansas city use the open concept theme. They have forests that are all fogged up and a very large room and you have to find which way to go. I went on a Thursday night this year so it was pretty busy still and a lot of ppl were in the one big room but didn't really clog up the rest of the haunted house which i was surprised at. This is one way to do it, they just have a very large area to start with also which many haunters don't have

Kyle Guillette

12-17-2011, 01:44 PM
How do you create a forest tree?

Jim Warfield
12-21-2011, 09:33 AM
If someone had been through my house a few times, and somewhat recently and wanted a "Quick" tour, and they didn't stop to read anything, didn't need to hear the haunted history of this house, didn't ask any questions, it would still be probably a 35 minute or more tour.
As soon as they begin gauking, closely examining things, the questions begin which is fine within normal limits if we are busy .
I have never thought there could be enough paying customers who would be "Happy" after driving for 2-3 hours to see my house , then only to have me chase them around and out with a chainsaw for just a ten minute experience.
Maybe I'm just insecure?
But then there is that business slogan "Expect less but get MORE!?"= HAPPY!?