View Full Version : Night Terrors NEA Build Progress

08-10-2012, 07:25 PM
I decided after noticing all of the other build progresses were in this section to move (start anew here) my thread.

I'll post some pics up till today's progress. Keep in mind, this is our first year.

Bio: Been haunting parties and yards for many years. I'm 36 now, and since I was a young kid, I had always loved Halloween. Mom and dad always joked how I was the only child who looked forward to Halloween more than Christmas. I quit a few years ago and sold all of the stuff I had made. Stuff I had made looked awesome, I had the time and the money to do great costumes and had sold such as a nice Darth Vader for $800 to a Spawn costume I made that looked VERY good, thanks to a nice latex mask I stole from Trick or Treat for $30! It was listed for $99 at the time and someone had ripped it in the back. I used a hole puncher and made a hole at the end of the tear and it never ripped more. I dodn't know how or why I knew that would work, but some things just came to me.

This year has been rough. We've been struggling since my father in law passed and his place (next door to us) became a halfway house. With a nice looking wife and a newborn baby girl, we no longer felt safe with convicts and sex offenders 65 feet from us. Their numbers were in the 40's when we left. We sold our place, sold our 67 Camaro and took our savings to do this haunt. It has been my dream since I worked at Jonesboro Jaycees where I had helped build panels (too long ago to remember how) and for a short time was Predator, in a very VERY hot suit. I didn't get an award out of it, but people always bragged on how I was the best Predator. I'm a short fella, so I used a few of the crates (very strong ones) to leap from one to another (2 stacked to 1 crate) just in front of the guests.

So here we are. Giving it all we have to make it in one shot.


08-10-2012, 07:28 PM
After the FM told us we'd be fine with our building (he didn't look at it, nor did he read the codes) we signed our lease agreement. $2,000 a month broken up to $1,000 rent, $12,000 at end of year.
FM came back 2 days later! And told us we couldn't do it in the big blue building. So I moved my old 1,000 sf carports and bought another. He signed off on the house beside the building and told me we'd be good.


08-10-2012, 07:32 PM
So we'll have just over 3,000 sf of haunt space to start with. Our place has an apartment inside so basically, all the haunt has to do is pay for rent, and we're golden! Electric bill may be rough, but we can handle it I think.


08-10-2012, 07:35 PM
So we got a hearse bought for a billboard and had it wrapped for about a 1/3 of the cost for sponsorship.


08-10-2012, 07:50 PM
I have had a lot of help from this forum to get here. I owe a LOT to fellas like, BrotherMysterio, Allen Hopps and Bobby Arrel to just name a few. I'll have to set back and get everyone included sometime (and double check some name spellings :P )
Allen's videos from youtube, pshh, I wouldn't have started making my own latex apps and partial masks w/o him. Bobby made my brain cap because I've been trying to save save save and be frugal, as Allen teaches. I got a few of his DVD's btw, they've helped a ton and I'll also be purchasing his Acting DVD's. I've also gotten inspiration from haunts like Shane's Disturbia and Larry's The Darkness! I'm even doing a "Poor Man's" replication of one of his scenes sort of as a tribute.

Hopefully, this thing will take off and I can have more time next year to do much more. I've had speed bump after speed bump, PLUS getting robbed and having to spend a lot of money to get my tools again... It's hard, but... it's my dream and it's now or never! Now, I know my work isn't great, but in time, I hope to produce such a haunt as some of the guys listed above, and others that haven't been mentioned. You guys, being here in this forum, has given a poor man like me a chance to make his dream come true. THIS IS IT! This is all I have left to do. I don't want to go to Alaska, or go deep sea fishing. I've had my 67 Camaro, I've got my Airbrushing Kiosk and done that 'pro', I've got my baby girl, married to a great woman... WTH else do I need? If this makes it, 2012 can wipe us and I'll ONLY regret not having more time with my family. I hope this explains some of us / who I am. Hope you enjoy watching a noob in progress!

This is today's work. We had the lady from Premier magazine, a local publication come out today to take pics for the next issue where we get an article, and hopefully another with the cover in October.

BTW:< I have more detailing such as paint and such on the facade of Bldng 2 and Captain Howdy there (the Monster Mudd guy there) And sorry for the crap pics, my camera is on it's last leg with a rod knocking. My foam work looks much better in person, the paint comes out weird in the pics for some reason.


08-13-2012, 12:44 PM
Awesome story Dewayne. That place is really starting to look good. I think the foam work is great! Can't wait to see more.

Pumpkin King
08-13-2012, 08:14 PM
I love the look of the facade!! It turned out great from how you were describing it in your other thread. Way to go, keep up the good work!!

08-14-2012, 04:33 AM
I am really enjoying this thread! I wish you so much success! The help on this Forum is tremendous and you mentioned my heroes and superstars as well.

08-14-2012, 09:18 AM
Amazing work! Excellent!


08-14-2012, 09:26 AM
You're doing great things buddy! Keep it up, can't wait to see more!

08-14-2012, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the comments guys! It's inspiring, at I tell ya, at this point, I need it! Man if I hear "wall panels" one more time today... lol.

I think it's time to shoot some face on Battlefield 3! I play on PS3 so hit me up a PM if you wanna noob around together.

We got 4 heavy duty wall panels built (thought I had enough for 5) I need 5 per exterior wall that includes a door. We got 10 more standards built as well. Cleaned out building #2, it's almost completed as far as construction goes.

Building 3 will be started in 2 days. After that, it should be all detailing! I'll get more pics up once the fun stuff starts.


08-21-2012, 04:57 PM
looks good and wish you the best of luck for the years scares. but um got to say you can never have enough wall panels they are a constant and constantly changing at that.lol hope you kill it.

08-23-2012, 08:58 AM
Thanks. Yeah we're just trying to build what we need at the moment. If it does enough that we can stay, we plan on doubling the wall panels and all that. We'll probably redo most of the rooms and make them smaller, tighter and can get about 5 more rooms.

I hope we kill it, but tbh, if it pays rent I'll cry happy still :P


08-23-2012, 03:39 PM
well that is the best attitude to have in my humble opinion. About two years back now i helped someone wtih a business plan for a haunt in Cali and it blew me away how they just argued and did not understand why i ws puting the value on marketing and shwoing no proft for the first two years and little profit the third and fourth year. I believe in be realistic and hey if the numbers show up at the door better then what is common on a new haunt then you did good if not then keep on trucking on like everyone else does and build the business. when i saw the final business proposal they took to a lender they were expecting to pay them selves like half a mil by year 3! seriously not realistic heck there would be haunted houses on every street corner if that where the case.
Again best of luck to you.

09-05-2012, 11:11 AM
... Well, I don't how to tell you guys this. After all the hardwork, and getting construction 98% done, and building 1 detailed and building 2 almost detailed, getting all of our advertisement paid for, after getting all of our banners and flyers...

we're done. We just got F#%#ed by our own city inspector's office. They're onboard, they like us, they LOVE us and want us here. However, someone choked on the date. Long story short, to get zoned correctly, they told us to have the legal in the paper by Tuesday at the latest. Well, they told us wrong, that's 1 day too late.

We did EVERYTHING everyone told us to do, paid all the fees and got all the permits etc. All that was left was to get the meeting done and over with.

My wife told me that the lady at the office cried all night on her husband's shoulder for us. Everyone in town is upset. She also said that Dennis (inspector) is digging to see if he can help somehow but... show's over.

Sometimes I wonder... just how right people were when they were telling me it's "Best to ask forgiveness than permission" .. but, I wanted to do it RIGHT... and still got screwed.

I haven't drank in 15 years but I think I'm just gonna go get some alcohol, order pizza and get drunk. Maybe call my volunteers that's been busting arse and shoot some face on Battlefield 3.

Good luck to the rest of you guys and thank you so much for helping me get 99% to my dream.


09-05-2012, 11:21 AM
Dude this sucks. It is so very depressing to hear about fellow haunters having to close up before the season even begins. I will be drinking a few with you mate.
But dont give up on the dream. Next year will be here before you know it, and it sounds like the whole town is behind you so you know next year will be a banner event. Maybe hold a party in the building this year for all the town as a prelude of whats to come?

09-05-2012, 04:31 PM
Me personaly i would keep on moving forward in hopes that something posative will come of it. i would keep doing as much as possible whyle spending as little moeny as i could. things can change to the good just as quickly as they have for the not so good. if the town wants you there they will make it happen for ya some how. hopeing for the best for ya. Dont bother with the alchy it will just hurt everyone else around you and not make the next day any better. wishing posative vibes your way man.

09-05-2012, 04:49 PM
DeWayne Buddy! Listen, there's a MINOR technicality you MAY be able to play on...

Keep cool and lay low for a little while, try and see if they can rectify the situation somehow but don't do any work.

Since the officials clearly aren't purposely trying to screw you, maybe you can work around their agenda....

Most towns don't shut ANYTHING down, at ALL without a 30 day cease and desist notice. Your season is 30 days long, and you'd be operational 20+/- days...so if you lay low and don't do ANY more work, and your town HAS to give you 30 days to cease, you can wait until atleast October 1st to get that order, and open for up to 30 days then shut down completely. It's a VERY low-blow tactic...but legal....you'd still save October and then would have an entire year to re-do and fix the paperwork issues, and GUARANTEE you'll be all set, you only have to go through planning and zoning ONCE to get your special exceptions as long as you never leave the space you're at, so do it right once and then only the building people and fire marshal can go through everything each year. I definitely am not saying that EVERYONE should do this, but i mean....it's a minor legal loophole, the only thing you can be told to stop doing immediately is work, after that the next order is to give you a 30 day cease and desist, so if you can avoid getting that paperwork until October 1st, you can salvage your season.


If not, I'll fly down and we can drink rum and coke all night long! I'll even get the pizza! ;P

The Nightmare Factory
09-06-2012, 01:17 AM
I'm with Bobby, someone is full of themselves here. They claim to want you, but are unwilling to make a one time exception. BULL!

Don't throw in the towel yet!

09-06-2012, 07:38 AM
Eh, I didn't drink too much. : P I just can't keep drinking anymore. I wasn't an alcoholic, didn't think about how that come across lol. I was just merely stating I've not been so depressed in years that I just had to drink something. Anywho, you guys, I appreciate your comments. And you're right. I started working again, not too hard though. We'll see what happens and go from there.

I'll check into the Cease order details and such. Bobby, you're on the nailhead there. If that's the case, that's exactly what we need to do! We're not "open" yet, so if they DO have to give us a notice, then well, we'll run until then lol.

Thanks again guys for the encouragement. I'll keep yous posted.

Until then, I'ma get back to building my spider puppet :P


Greg Chrise
09-06-2012, 08:40 AM
Also, rules are something to get around, you may not have permanent zoning but you can go into can I have a 30 day operational waiver? Like the whole thing is a test, at least in their minds (not a permanent threat necessarily) and all the dates a and rules are meant to be broken.

Rather than a seace and disist order you are liable to start the clock on fines every day you are even on the property like civil disobedience unless you have some kind of permit. Chances are, no one even knows where all those extra forms are or who made the rules to begin with. Think of all the poor children and Halloween and all that drama just a couple pieces of paper are holding back!

Bobby does have one view, you could do a one night a weekend party and everyone bring something (like money to get in)

All it takes is one cranky old lady in the neighborhood that doesn't think she can tolerate anyone else having any noisy funs past 9PM and you have the cops there saying there is a complaint. Unless you get it somewhat preapproved by the neighbors and demonstrate that that little stand off of what are you supposed to do never happens. Ot that the officials have an answer to the situation like mam, it has a licence to operate and it is only 3 weekends, if you have a complaint you can see the judge. Way across town and tell you crap to him. BUt I wear diapers and only have a little rascal to get there, well sorry mam, I would take an extra set and charge that thing up before I left the house.

Having a Halloween party starting immediately the first weekend of October will be a test of who bitches or who has perhaps made things difficult even thought they all said they were with you on this, then it is time to call the TV station and cry to them that the city was not totally helpful and you are missing this possible thing in your life from being experienced.

You can sway what ever is happening from we only have things on this one day of a month to we had to have an emergency meeting especially for you and the cookies were not that great at that meeting so I hope you appreciate what we have gone through just for you.

Greg Chrise
09-06-2012, 08:54 AM
Yoy may want to be aware of pounding on things at night, having large crowds lumbering about after dark and anything subversive looking for this month and then whammy.

People will just make up what they think is going to happen there. It might be a one night thing for 6 to 12 year old children where they get trick or treat things and that would be nice. Or it could be hundreds of teenagers having all night pool parties doing bath salts and giving each other tattoos and sexual favors and leaving behind disgusting things. It could be Monster trucks and whooping and hollering and pumpkin cannons blowing things through their precious gardens and landscaping and fences?

Who knows what it is or how to complain? It could be other business owners think it is taking that $8 out of the pockets of their regular customers or surely everyone is going to park and poop everywhere and they will have to clean that all up uncompensated, or they will be wandering the streets at night breaking windows just because they can. You are presenting something that doesn't usually happen here and it is scary even though at this point is is imaginary.

Go ahead with the newspaper thing and maybe only lose one week that was planned or plan to have 10,000 people out of control there one night and it wasn't you it was social marketing totally out of control, who knew? $250 fine for disturbing the peace? Can I make payments your honor? Like $50 a month?

Greg Chrise
09-06-2012, 09:11 AM
Occupy halloween!

09-06-2012, 12:56 PM
You know Greg, you're WAYYY too intelligent for me, but sometimes, I can read your posts and find the point. Thanks for posting. You and Jim always seem to grab my attention, and usually ends with a smile on my face.

You're sorta like Jim, in a way. You always reply with this smart azzy kinda story telling, like the gramma and diapers. I 'bout spit my tea on the monitor, haha.

Anyways... I thought I'd give some BETTER news.... The inspector went to the MAYOR and told him what happened. They requested that we proceed as planned and come to the meeting tonight!!

Well, we're halfway there, I think. If we make it through this, I guess it's up to City council, which my wife works for a local law firm which kinda knows some of them on the board. So hopefully, we'll all be good to go. Either way, we're doing something.
It's been mentioned that if we get screwed, to change our radio advertisement (with permission and free of charge from our stations) to advertise "Haunt is called off, due to Paragould City Officials not wanting us to do it" sorta thing.

I don't know about all that, but yeah, everyone we talk to seem to be rooting for us. Even the Book Thumpers! (well, the ones we've talked to lol)

We'll see and I'll let you guys know.

Also, on the other note, I got my spider box / cage all built and just need to rig the puppet system for it. My spider victim is looking good. Got a mask on him with a wig and all, it'll be somewhat see through and you can definatelly see the facial outlines with the hair... it'll be awesome.


09-06-2012, 01:03 PM
Hahaha it's all good dewayne!

And don't give up! Just stay on the down low and DON'T inquire about the cease and desist order, just don't show that you're doing any work, and you'll know if you get it because they typically staple it to your property on the door. :)

Rules were made to get around is right! Lol

Happy (I mean...OCCUPY!) Halloween!

09-06-2012, 07:55 PM
Well guys, we're beside Nidec factory (they were quick to tell us we were saying it wrong.. NEEEEdeck,, still morons, ever since they bought this factory last year, their employees went down to 30%, if that!)

Anyways, NIDEC showed up to contest our rezoning. Complained about how our customers will be parking over there and they don't want rioting and littering going on.. yada yada yada.

Well, the board was QUICK to tell them that "this isn't the place for concerns about those things, if those things happen, take it up with the police and take other actions, NOW, if you don't have any VALID reasons why we shouldn't approve this, please, take your seat!!!!!!"

We're good to go! Now all we have to do is see the board!

However, there's one drawback. Since someone DID complain about it all, the only stipulation is that we can NOT be open for business the first weekend! So, we've decided to have a FREE, EZ tour while taking donations for the family we'll be supporting this season.

Anyways, I gotta get back to Allen's blood recipe.

Thanks guys, we'll keep you posted!


09-06-2012, 09:11 PM

I wrote that post before reading/seeing the other ones (must've finished typing before me lol)

But I couldn't be happier for you! And don't sweat it, the first weekend is the slowest anyway haha

Creepy Works
09-06-2012, 09:47 PM
That really sucks. Between reading this and what Pickle is going through all I can thank is god bless I don't have some A-hole near me that I have to deal with.

When I built my building in '04 the only thing I was "requested" to do, but not "required" was to put a long curve schedule 80 pipe in the ground to run my power lines underground. Just so the power guys could push wire through easily. No permits, no inspections, no gubment anything, period. Still have no one to answer to, but at the same time trying to be safe and do things right so I don't ruin it for myself either. Arkansas is one of the poorest states there is but is a free for all if you live in the county outside of incorporated cities. In my case the "City" is across the road so I am lucky to enjoy close proximity to traffic.

09-07-2012, 09:16 AM

Thought I'd share a few pics. First is my daughter taunting the 2nd victim of our Tape Casting as presented to us by Allen Hopps.
Next is our divided house, I'm in the living room looking into the hallway that enters the kitchen to the right, and the bedrooms to the left. We punched through the closests to make a walkway and closing off what you see here. FP Plastic will be used on the side the boys are standing on.
The 3rd and 4th is my home version of the "Halo" from Gore Galore, back when I built it, I didn't realize WHAT it was or who built it. The picture a friend and given me was cropped. In the middle of building it, I went to find more reference pics, then I realized what it was. So I KNEW what it was when I was finishing it, but I couldn't leave it undone. Hope GG doesn't take offense, we will purchase theirs once the haunt gets going. The costume also isn't completed, still have paint etc to do to it. You can AAALLLWAYS use two Dr. Trauma's :P

Following are a few detail pics that were taken a while back. ALL of the mold and stuff was done by hand. The house is OLD, however everything is hand done. My friends and family have asked me if we were going to fix the leaks. I explained, then they asked how I got them to look so real. I told them "Well.... you see I've gone to a LOT of homes and mobile homes lately and took pictures of the mold in the homes... then I came home to replicate them" (those pics are on my friends phone, never transferred and I STILL need to clean my friends phone....lol )

09-07-2012, 09:19 AM

09-07-2012, 06:47 PM

Hang in their brother it will get better there is always some idiot.Pics look great by the way hope to see more.

09-07-2012, 06:50 PM
Dewayne, hang in their brother there's always some idiot.Pics look great by the way.Cant wait to see more.

09-10-2012, 09:36 PM
Well guys, I guess I should tell you.. WE GOT IT! We got approved, meeting was over in 15 minutes! Good To go, but now we got to figure out if they're going to let us open on the 5th or not (the time thing being jacked up may not let us open till the 2nd weekend.

We got our tunnel started from building 2 to building 3. It'll be like a mine covered in webbing leading to the spider puppet. We'll get pics up asap, we're just pressing and not taking pics yet.

Thanks for the support and I'll continue to post pics as we go.


Pumpkin King
09-11-2012, 06:38 AM
I've been following this thread since it got started, and it's great to hear that you're good to go! Congrats on sealing the deal Dewayne!!!

09-11-2012, 09:41 AM
Thats great news man. Gives me a little boost of confidence (maybe I can stop looking over my shoulder now). My wife's club went through a similar incident with a neighbor complaining about cars overflowing in his parking lot during their shows. Even had a towing company camp out and promptly start towing vehicles as soon as they went inside. I hate idiots like that (turns out his brother owns the beer distributor company my wide buys from ---- simple phone call about changing distributors, yada yada yada and the tow truck disappeared!).

Happy Haunting !

09-11-2012, 04:38 PM
Thanks Big T and King! Glad to have you guys' support!

We got our last legal sent to the paper today. TECHNICALLY we're not suppose to open for business till the second weekend. However, we were informed we can run the first weekend but not charge admission, for practice and such.

What we're going to do is open the first weekend, and take donations only for the fire dept. we're helping (volunteer) and the families we're going to be helping as well.


09-11-2012, 08:23 PM
invite the press out as well news papers radio tv

Allen H
09-12-2012, 01:32 AM
Im glad to read things are getting better for you. I want o wish you a great and profitable season!

09-12-2012, 10:48 AM
Thanks Allen. Hey, WEHRE'S MY CD FOO!? haha.

I worked on my foam a bit this morning, felt bad and laid down a bit. Getting back up with more hieroglyphic drawings to hit my temple area again. I'll take some pics as soon as something looks presentable. Building 2 is completely constructed and just detailing now.

Building 3 is 2 rooms from being constructed. We've decided to just put 4.5 rooms in there and use the rest for storage and such.

We got the magazine lady coming back out this weekend for more pics, so I need to get a few rooms detailed good enough for them.

Will post pics later.


Scenic Art Productions
09-13-2012, 10:11 PM
I was curious; in the photos of the rooms I could not see any fire sprinklers or openings in your ceilings. Since these are metal garage like buildings without walls, does that allow you to open without the use of a fire sprinkler system? Let me know. I would love to have solid ceilings but since we have a sprinkler system we can't.

Thank You,
Robert Travis
Scenic Art Productions

09-14-2012, 06:00 AM
NFPA Life Safety code requires sprinklers in buildings with a floor area of 1000 sq feet or more. I believe Frightner's buildings are smaller that 1000 sq feet. In some jurisdictions when using multiple buildings of this type they need to be located a certain minimum distance from each other (50 feet I believe) and cannot be connected by enclosed hallways otherwise they are looked upon by the Fire Marshall as one large building and in that case sprinklers are required.

09-14-2012, 09:03 PM
Mindwerx is correct. We have 2 24x 40 buildings, they're less than 1,000 ft and we have a hallway that ends 6 feet from the next building (actually backwards, you exit building #2 and enter a hallway that's connected to building #3) but there's a large gap on both sides with a clear exit path. We've ran drills so far, patrons should be out of the building in less than 14 seconds. We've pounded up 12 people, blindfolded them in the middle and hit an alarm. They knew right away what was needed and was out in 13 seconds. One had a trip, but it's in a small turn and was almost no way for an injury to come from it.

We've thought, read, researched and watched every imaginable video on fire safety. We have fire proof plastic, we also have FP coating. We can't prevent a fire, but we can sure as heck be prepared for when it does happen. Yes, I meant to say "WHEN" I expect every worse case scenario. All of our layouts are simple, BECAUSE we have a tight budget with no sprinklers. There's no real maze, and no guessing on where to get out.

I know my ethics aren't in question, I just wanted to be clear that we are NOT going into this blindly! Especially with all the fires here lately in haunts, its like an epidemic or something. Terrible.

Anywho, yeah hope this all answered your question. Any more, please feel free to drop a line or msg me on here. I'll get to you asa I can.


09-15-2012, 10:40 AM

Thought I'd give a sneek peak of what I'm detailing for pictures today. We're doing a boiler room past our temple area and this is what I'm doing today. Still needs some more layers but I think it's looking good.

I wanted to take pictures and see how they turned out before I let the photographer into the room. You know how sometimes paint etc will look fine to us, then BAM the photo SUUUUUUUCKS! lol. Anyways, just making sure there wasn't going to be patchy spots in the pics.

Whatcya think? My first boiler... ya ya, it's SQUARE! but in my world, NOTHING makes sense :P


09-21-2012, 09:42 AM
Edited. Changed mind about posting all that. We're just having issues...

I'll post pics up if I can in a day or so of what they got done recently. I haven't been at the haunt in a bit. Most of the work lately had been by the volunteers, my wife and brother.

09-25-2012, 12:02 PM
WEll, I can't hide it anymore. My family blew up and now I'm out. My wife has the information to this site. We had a problem that really should be worked out but she's flipping on me and making me stay away from the haunt. It's not her dream, it's mine, but for some reason she thinks she needs to finish it.

I'm out of the picture guys.

Thanks for the help.


01-21-2013, 09:15 PM
Eh, what happened here? Somehow I missed this last post, and was wondering why I hadn't seen Frightener in a bit. Any idea what actually happened, apart from something about his wife taking over?


Greg Chrise
01-21-2013, 10:16 PM
The last posts looked like this,


03-22-2013, 01:50 PM
I posted an update in the other thread of soft opening. SHould be bumped to the top.

Long story short, everything blew up and I lost everything due to foreclosure. WIfe went nuts (explained in other post) and dropped the ball on most of the marketing. Instead she was out having drinks and partying.

SO! While I'm here. Let me tell you about my thoughts. I strided EVERY LEGAL hurdle. And passed. The only thing that killed us is my business partner, ie; Ex Wife, failed at the most important gig of them all. Marketing. We still planned to move forward with the rest of the publicity stunts, just towing the hearse or going w/o it. But she never finalized things with the hosts.

I can't help but to feel a success though> We made money, and had we done HALF of what was left of our marketing bit, we'd pulled enough in for the haunt to have stayed and I could've paid the rent. I caught the wife pocketing money early so I would've been able to have the biggest weekends in pocket to save it. So what am I thinking of doing? Going MOBILE!

That's right. I don't think I want to throw in the towel just yet. Around here locally, we have 2 county fairs close together and a "loose caboose festival' that I can park at as well. The fairs and loose caboose I can run just 2 trailers, keep them for about 5-6 minutes with a theatrical room or two and make it what... worth $5? Maybe get on their ticket runs. I don't know how that'd work since I'm not a ride, but not selling stuff either. But that can be worked out later. Every location of these have plenty of power.

Also, during season, I can park at the mall in Jonesboro which is a fairly new (just a few years old) and a HUGE parking lot with TONS of traffic! It's on the corner of 2 major streets. I have talked to the mall director a few times on getting an airbrush shop going, I think she'd rent a single parking spot if she knew she could make money from it.

What do you guys think? I've been doing a lot of research (not much to go on) about the mobile haunts. I think I can do it.

Greg Chrise
03-22-2013, 11:01 PM
I found images of the loose caboose festival, not very groovy, old grandmas and sturdy sandles wandering the streets where people are standing by very small displays under tents. Church groups, vineyards, arts and crafts.

The jonesboro mall photos don't look very exciting either.

Still in one posting you have mentioned both airbrush shop and haunted houses. My first haunt was the excesses from my airbrush business. We did a halloween party for a custom motorcycle shop and my building was the odd off season maze you had to go through to see the air brush guy. I used all the haunt things as demos of what an airbrush can do and certainly as word of mouth that you could see all of these weird things any time of year and talk about getting your motorcycle sheetmetal customized or any item you could carry in detailed.

In other words the haunt was the hobby and a lost leader promotion and the air brush skills made money. Most jobs were $175 to $400 in a day or so and used about 50 cents in paint. The motorcycle halloween parties got pretty extravegant and were promotional for the custom motorcycle shop and my air brush offerings.

Still in reality all of those things in a town of 85,000 people were about my 3rd and 4th jobs for actual income. I see Jonesboro is a town of 65,000 people so it may prove to be even more of a challenge.

I had spent more than 5 years building up the props and haunt condition before it every hit the streets. Prior to that it was just an odd collection of stuff.

The secret there was not doing Tshirts but, more expensive motorcycle paint jobs. Alas I looked in the Joneboro area and there is only one custom motorcycle shop and it looks kind of rough.

In a similar story, the motorcycle shop guys wife went on a psychotic drug induced bender, just like you describe ending in divorce and resulting in my shop I rented being sold out from under me. So the haunt went to do charities. We got a much more expensive shop. In a way you are lucky everything kind of revieled it's ugly head right off the bat instead of having 12 years worth of stuff that had to go somewhere immediately taking a month to tear down and move 3 businesses.

Still getting real, starting over, the air brush business can fit in one carry tool box, actually it does to this day and you can go to any studio anywhere and hook up to their air compressor and make money. A haunt that can actually make more money than your first effort requires about 2 semi loads of stuff to be something that consistently brings excitement and can pretty much advertise itself. Whereas the customers are looking for where it will be rather than you having to market and rely on marketing to bring in the people. Plain and simple, two semis worth or storage garages full of stuff cost money or literally a decade to produce while making money somehow, paying rent and so on.

Eventually years and years of marketing do finally kick in and thing go times 10. In the first several years or up to a decade you can't make it a gamble that paying rent or paying anything is dependent on how many people will show up theoretically. Everything has to be made, paid for, a manageable expense.

The reality is many do not get out of that 800 to 1000 people in attendance and usually quit for some more responcible life reason. So the budget in a small town is not $150,000, it is more like $8,000.

Even all the haunted house facades and scenic design work we did, was actually just another application for someone with an airbrush to make money doing something. It can be signage, carnivals, circus trailers, photo back drops, faux interior embellishment, fine art, Automotive, lazer tag, water park, amusement park, haunted house work. Then you progress from air brushes to things that are giant airbrushes shooting concrete and overlays. You can be an airbrush guy for mask makers and prop makers, have the skills to do the faux finishes. I already see you can do these things. It is more the focus of making things to make money and the haunt is something that might make money someday but is the large sample board of your skills. You may have to show off $20,000 worth of haunted house stuff you made to get a $200 job applying a custom paint design.

One of the bitches I hear from the critics is you can't do everything. You have to do everything because it isn't buy a bunch of crap and you will be rich, it is show off your personal skill and it brings you work. The haunted house isn't your sole income, it is the grand conversation piece to sell upscale jobs that might be $2500 or $4,000. A real life portfolio of stuff you can see rather than some photo album.

I'm not going to be able to spend much time on Hauntworld for several months so if I don't respond right away, I will be in and out. I have had too many commercial jobs come up at one time. Last year it seems no company wanted to do anything until they knew who the president would be and so they all piled up now. Now everyone wants their $12,000 job done before World War 3 breaks out or something.

It all started with a good airbrush and a pager.

03-23-2013, 12:22 AM
Greg, thank you again for your response. Crazy enough, I remember you writing that story about your airbrushing etc very vividly. I guess it's one of the things that stuck to the roof of my mouth like the first bite of peanut butter in the morning.

I can't airbrush much anymore. During this fiasco I got into a fight with a hyundai. Someone threatened to 'beat rape' my niece and I didn't take too well to it. He hid in his girlfriend's car. I must've been some kinda pissed and very noticable.... cus he was a professional mma fighter. (self proclaimed but it was proven, haha. He is a fighter) Losing all my airbrush equipment wasn't all of it either. I lost my portfolio :( I have nothing to even show anymore. ALl I have left is some pics of tshirts I've done when I started getting back into the art. The whole thing sucks.

Loose caboose has come a long way, however. No, it's not huge. And I didn't think I'd make a ton off of just one venue. I spent 3 hours in Jonesboro tonight (tech. last night, it's 2:13 am now) scouting locations for a possible setup. Wow, Off the bat I found about 6 locations.

I don't want to get rich. I don't want a huge house, 3 or 4 cars. I don't want $50,000 in the bank. I want to make enough so if my body gets bad, I don't have to worry too bad if I can't keep a job at a factory because of my bad discs in my back. Or my hand that's been recently broken for the third time on a car glass. That sh.t only works in the movies. I figure if I can get 500ish people at $5 a head at caboose, maybe a thousand or two at each fair (which Jonesboro's fair this year, at it's new complex, broke records 3 nights in a row for attendance they said) IT'S HUGE! I figure 2 to 3 thousand ppl won't be that unrealistic. Hopefully I can get the haunt up to an $8 or $10 show and still be worth bucks. I'm willing to give it a shot, try and run it for 3 events during Sept and Oct.

I don't know which mall you looked at, but the indian mall is no more. The turtle creek mall is the new one. It stays packed. Especially during october. I can tell you, the halloween market has really come a long way since that mall opened. Kmart, Walmart even, Golden Grotto has ALL been increasing their inventory and sales have been wicked for them! Target and now Spirit Halloween has created much competition and business seems to be booming for everyone halloween around here. If I set up at Target / The Mall, I'll be between Target, and Chicfilet and Golden Grotto is right across from there! Traffic is thick in this spot. I watched it tonight, thought I'd count cars, but gave up at 600.

I do have a possible location, on the main highway between Jonesboro and Paragould. It's right beside a busy gas station. It looks to be about 6,000sq ft and has been vacant for at least 4 years. It's an older woman who has it and apparantly has been 'taken' by her last two tenants. She almost sounded like she'd go for a deal with us, but was still reluctant. The wife at the time wanted to try the old daycare building.

I plan to call the building owner Monday or Tuesday and have a chat with her, take her to lunch and see if we can negotiate something. If that falls through, I'll try the trailer haunt.