View Full Version : How does it work?

03-03-2012, 07:51 PM
How exactly does one get into the business of being a professional haunter? The acting is understandable and so is makeup and costume. But quite frankly, I'm stumped on how one can actually get into this industry. Sure, every year there's houses upon houses of folks that spend tons of money on Halloween stuff. There are thousands of people that will pay money to stand out in cold weather at night in the middle of nowhere, sometimes, to walk through a haunted space. They are, in fact, a majority of what makes the haunted industry what it is; they are the people that we market to. Granted, I'm speaking outside of theatre and movie.

Anyone that I know of that has a passion for something will find a way to do what they can do. I want to know how it works. What is the process? Clearly, this isn't an industry that anyone can get into because not everyone is into Halloween. Wouldn't you agree that most of us are, ya know, a little off and weird? Lol. I'm going to bring in the saying that some people will say: "it's easy and anybody can do it; taking pictures, painting, what-have-you is easy, anyone can be a photographer, anyone can paint. I'll say it here, no they can't. True, anyone can snap a picture and anyone can throw paint on a canvas but it's not the same thing.

Are most of the people who do hauntings professionally coming from some kind of art field? Are they coming from a technical design, electronical engineering field? Is it a bunch of people who have a common interest getting together, throwing stuff in a space and having at it? Or is there someone or several people in the bunch that actually know how to paint, set up lighting, sew, etc? How does it work?

03-07-2012, 03:02 PM
We area a bit of an anomaly in that my wife and I have been working in the arts all our lives. I started as a professional musician, as well as technician. Sound engineer, lighting designer, learned set design, and have worked many huge productions (everything from Jesus Christ Superstar to Rolling Stones Tours). I started applying a lot of this knowledge at home around Halloween to make the scariest house in town, and it just went from there.
Pretty son we were being asked to design a haunt somewhere else, and then we started selling tickets to help pay for the stuff we bought. Being a businessman as well, I saw an opportunity to really make this work, so we started the business and went pro. The business part is like any other business. You have to look into insurance, financing, business plans, marketing plans, etc (just as you would any business). The haunt stuff is the fun part!

03-08-2012, 10:02 PM
Big T,

thanks for replying. It's interesting that you are coming from a professional music career into the haunted business. Did you find the transition hard at all? In other words, were music colleagues against your decision to do this with your wife? Of course, knowing some or most of running a business works certainly helped. Aside from economics/business experience, I'm seeing the experience as a technician really being the biggest benefactor in your case. That's an area where I have no clue in how anything works.

03-09-2012, 05:21 AM
Many of your answers can be found in one simple resource: http://www.hauntbook.com/entrepreneur.html I have recommended Kelly's book to several people interested in getting into the business...

03-14-2012, 10:01 PM
I just ordered the book, "So you want to be a haunt entrepreneur". Excited about getting and reading it! :) Thank you Badger for recommending it.

03-14-2012, 10:13 PM
I just sold my soul to Booblady and she promised to make me a professional

The Nightmare Factory
03-15-2012, 01:30 AM
Please feel free to contact me at westcoasthauntcon@gmail.com

Attend one of the smaller cons this spring/summer, talk to those of that have been doing it and have survived. (we've been at it for 25 years this season)

also if I may plug our convention www.westcoasthauntersconvention.com Come check us out!

03-15-2012, 02:33 PM
Actually the music factor never really played into the Halloween stuff too much other than the tech experience. What has been really beneficial for me to take it to the next level has been the business knowledge. There are great resources out there for developing business cases and how to start the business aspect. I have used many of these resources my self and they are full of great information (like how much to budget for a buildout). The technical stuff has ensured I can build what I need and make it work the way I need it to work, and has helped in the design aspect, but get the resources on business cases and stuff that are out there as that is the biggest challenge!

My son and I incorporated this year to add another layer of protection and for tax purposes. Sure helps to have an accountant in the family as I do not have a clue when it comes to that side of the business. Get an accountant to help with the financial side because there is a lot to consider there as well.

03-15-2012, 02:37 PM
I just ordered the book, "So you want to be a haunt entrepreneur". Excited about getting and reading it! :) Thank you Badger for recommending it.

Anytime, let me know if I can be of any other service...

03-15-2012, 02:41 PM
McKamey Manor is moving to South Dakota so you might wanna get in touch with him he's moving from San Diego to pursue his pro haunt dreams.