View Full Version : Night Terrors soft opening.

10-07-2012, 10:23 AM
Well, we have been advertising opening on the 12th. Reason being, a long story about the newspaper not knowing what "10 days prior to meeting" means and getting override from the mayor to get zoned etc etc.

Only our facebook page (200 likes) and a few flyers up in Jonesboro (65k ppl non college times)

We went to open Fri the 5th. Didn't make it. No audio in our temple, still needed lights and the snakes put out etc. Zombie room wasn't done... several odds and ends and it was POURING down rain until 8pm. We said to he11 with it and worked till 9:30.
We opened last night, again no real advertising that we were doing a soft opening, was suppose to be for friends, family and sponsors only to get timing down etc.

We started out with a few friends and their families. All gave $10 donations (can't sell tickets till the 12th) they went through, ... SCARED THE SH.T OUTTA THEM! Got em good. They left building 3 going "HOLY CRAP that was awesome"

So, then we start hearing cars pull into the parking lot. one after another. Hear a beat on the wall "Yall got a line out here, game faces on" and then it started.

Keep in mind, this is my first real haunt. Most I've done was 5 room parties and yard haunts. Impressive I've been told, but still NOOOOTHING like this. EVERYONE, except the last 3 dooshbag magees that was kicking tires etc over (they got THROWN out by our mechanic basically) everyone, left saying how awesome it was and how they'll definately be back. Not ONCE did we hear anything negative.

We had close to 100 people, and 75% of people didn't donate. We took in $350 from donations and some people only gave like $10 for the group, or $3-5 person. We closed at 10. Had been slow for 35 min's and the last car load pulled up as one of our last groups was leaving, had a girl and a boy crying (teens) ... they turned around and got in the car and left lol. That was our last carload. Actors were leaving and 2 truck loads came up FULL about 45 min's later and wanted to go through, so unfortunately we lost about 15 people there but they said they'd try to be back next weekend.

We have to do 2,500 people for the season to pay rent and stay again next year. We're open on Fri's Sats and Sun's (for only a few hours on Sunday)

We all had a blast and we found a few things we can adjust to make it better. So far, for not really being open I think we had a good turnout for one night.

Thought I'd share.

Hope everyone has a great season.


10-07-2012, 06:47 PM
Awesome Dewayne,things definitely looking up for you.Keep us in the info

10-08-2012, 08:33 AM
You go DeWayne, to you and the Mrs I hope you guys have some great success and an amazing season! Keep scaring people like that, and keep marketing and you'll see a return of more than 2,500 (well...that's the plan! Lol) kick ass and are names good sir!

10-08-2012, 08:42 AM
Thanks Bobby. Yeah, it's been a rough ride. We've had TONS of road blocks, speed bumps etc. It's almost taken my family in fact!

We'll see how the season goes. We're ramping up the Radio Ads because the hearse sprung a water leak on the front of the block. So I can't take it to these towns I was wanting to, like Memphis, Little Rock etc. SO we'll see what we can do with flyers and radio.



Greg Chrise
10-08-2012, 10:14 PM
A freeze plug costs $1.54 in metal. The rubber ones you can't find anymore with a bolt on them. Knock the old one out by stabbing it and grabbing it out with channel locks, clean the surface and pound the new one in with some kind of gasket sealer and a big socket. Inless the reason it came out was because it has a blown head gasket.

Strategic flier drop offs should be at any spirit halloween store or similar stores in surrounding towns that usually have a table set up with everyone's fliers. Hundreds to thousands per day that ARE intrested in the Halloween holiday come through.

Next would be any BBQ shack and dollar stores. Forget the rest unless you can get them on the counter at movie theaters and big box stores. Even if during the week you have to take some money you just got ahold of and buy more fliers.

to see 2500 people, you are going to have to see like 300 people per night every night left in the season. Possibly make a big deal out of the first week in November to make up for things that have happened. If there are any resort areas you need to try to hit those, like time shares with swimming pools and water parks and a snack bar. Each one of those is 300 people a night.

Then the cycle of where you went isn't a one time deal, you have to somehow hit that route every week to monitor is fliers did get taken, replenish those, or they were removed and are not being offered and can be recovered and dropped at somewhere that will take them. You have maybe 15 nights so it is finding those 5 killer places for fliers and making sure they never run out of them. Using fliers you may have to provide lots and only 1/5th will actually end up at your place this season as paying customers with a few people. 2500 means you need like 10,000 fliers for this to really happen with fliers. Radio is going to cost $1000 per station and no reason it can't be budgeted to be one different station per week unless you get a deal.

Lots of these places will help you out with the idea that you are going to be a customer buying much bigger plans and being a lifetime patron in exchange for helping you out. Of course if they don't really help you out they are on the shit list to be avoided the rest of your life.

100 people with everything screwed up is actually good. trying hard, having it all happen too easy and only 60 people show on the opening night is bad. You don't do any high fives until you can see 400 to 800 people that last saturday night.

Get everyone that is with you to go crazy posting things on facebook about the event. Kind of a hack the planet scenario where if 5 to 20 people actually mention something once a week or once a day, versus one spammer bastard mentions the same thing 4 times a day. Each content different and personalized. Organically searching for freinds. Even having made sure there is a hillbilly sign at the haunt saying the face book site, become our friend if you really liked you visit tonight.

It is so much easier to say it is time to come when it is actually open which is why lots of premature advertising and all year long web sites get over looked and forgotten about. You don't need press releases, you can call the TV stations and they will or won't show up for a remote depending on how slow a news day it is. The portion of the proceeds having gone to charity is the excuse. Oh, you don't really help the community?

The hearse may actually be kind of a turn off to some people. Oh, if they have enough money to have one of those, it doesn't matter if I show up and I'm not sure about death anyhow or what is up with these people, maybe I'll stay away. Now people in costumes walking in on the news crew while they are at their desks on TV is fun a fun prank that pays off.

Just because the haunt is not open right now doesn't mean there isn't something to do.

Greg Chrise
10-08-2012, 10:25 PM
Come up with legitimate content for an everyday facebook update like pictures of people standing in line. Little sneak peeks at a prop or scene a day or a character you may run into. Next year it will be different somehow anyhow so it is something to sell, rather than keep secret. Allow others with you to do similar things, here is my character in costume with other people in the photo. There are other people there and they all have smiles on their faces, you could be here smiling too, you don't say that, just this is what the photos infer.

10-13-2012, 01:04 AM
Thanks Greg.

Yeah, we opened tonight, had 100 people again. Radio station's remote? Lasted 45 min's and they were out! They won't be receiving a full check. For some reason they didn't stay the full 2 hours. Bass turds.

ANywho, it was ALL GENERAL public tho! All paid. So I'll get to buy a few more costumes etc in the morning and more make up. Maybe some original Stop Leak for the hearse.

We already ahve posted flyers at the main mall in Jonesboro, about 10 up in major stores. Some on the windows as well as on the counter. We have about 5 or 6 on coke machines scattered around (with permission) we also have them at Golden Grotto, which is a party store that does SUPERBLY in halloween season. They're all working on our marketing with us. We're going to be getting a lot of flyers to put in bags, Golden Grotto's gonna help with that too.

We thot about staying open the first weekend of Nov. as well.

We don't actually have to QUITE hit 2,500, but it would be nice. We can do 1,500 and make it to next year, but I'd have to regain a job to help pay some of the rent when the money comes short (we plan to pay half of next years rent up front)

We also already have tons of facebook people spreading the word. Lots of people liking the postss but not a lot are coming to like the page. So I know the traffic is getting there. But maybe not as much as we need. We'll see.
I'm tired and cold, Ima take off.

BTW... we were told that it was WAAAAAY better than what they've been to around. There's not a LOT around either tho, so I don't know if that's actually a good thing or not.

Greg Chrise
10-13-2012, 08:45 AM
You will probably get 100% positive feed back. Customers will tell you what you want to hear not to screw with them anymore.

Stop leak for a freeze plug leak isn't a good idea. For an old style copper radiator or possibly rusty ends of fittings where hoses just won't seal it is okay. It is copper filings with an additive that when it hits air it hardens. Yet nothing sticks to rust long term and if this is what that freeze plug has done, the entire inside of it is rust, the pin hole that is leaking is rust and if you stop it up another rusty granule will just let lose under pressure out on the road somewhere. Stop Leak costs $4 and a freezeplug costs $1.50 or maybe 80 cents and some sealant. Of course you have to unbolt a bunch of crap to get to it but it is better to fix it right that do both the stop leak and melt a head gasket the following week driving around. You can only afford to do this if you happen to have 2 other parts hearses and run them like stock cars, when something falls on the street, you replace the whole engine and drive off again.

Continued marketing even if it only hits 100 per night for the next few weeks might pay off with an 800 customer Saturday night so think about that Saturday night being the pay off not judging the 100 people nights or nights where weather knocks it down to 70. Now under 60 people a night, start packing shit and make sure the hearse is ready to haul your underwear collection. Everything you mentioned sounds like progress to me and something to continue even though what seems to happen is people don't react until the final weekend on a new location.

10-16-2012, 02:05 PM
Thanks Greg. No, we're not asking folks, we're hearing it as they leave. They'll run out the door and we usually hear "that was awesome" or "OMG that was cool"

We aren't getting but about 4-6 guys on average from the fire dept. (volunteer) and there's a few nights they're not going to be able to do it. Mainly on Sun.

We'll see how it plays out. Wife adn I are already set our minds to cutting and running after season. If we can't stay for next year, that's fine. I can sell waht I have (hopefully) and just be happy I was able to fullfil my dream somewhat. Dream was to run a haunted house period, not necessarily make a living at it :P

Thanks again,
We'll see what the rest of the season holds for us. But so far, 100 per night is what we're standing at.


10-22-2012, 03:23 PM
Dewayne, im happy for you man! Its gotta feel great to hear ppl come out saying its better than others close by. Keep getting out spreading the word, and I can't wait to hear you hit your goal!

01-22-2013, 04:31 AM
I wonder how everything worked out.


01-22-2013, 12:37 PM
At 100 per night, doesn't sound like they were going to make it. Everything was very chaotic for these guys; it seemed everywhere they went there were issues. More than normal?

01-22-2013, 03:11 PM
More than normal?

Perhaps so. Most regrettable.


03-22-2013, 01:38 PM
Well guys, I figure it's time for an answer to your question.

*sigh* (no literally, took a huge sigh...) Um. Hard to say really. Long story short, and in order because I know what happened. What I'm about to say, is a very VERY REAL thing.

Our haunt failed. Not because of anything I did wrong... In June, 19th, my wife went into a clinic because of her chest hurting, slight pains and sometimes a hard skipping beat of the heart. They prescribed her Citalopram for anxiety. In 3 months time her personality completely flipped and went nuts on me! Started hanging with the teen help, having affairs, lying, started drinking and doing drugs. Antidepressants are called SSRI's and SNRI's and is just now coming to light that they can change a person completely, and sometimes for the worse! This is a very real thing and I'll stop talking on that subject at this point. I am now an activist on this and if anyone has questions, please feel free to pm me. I'll send you all the necessary links to get you started. The point is, she went nuts. During the seasons he even filed for divorce, which was final Feb. 5th. (She has since come off the medicine and VERY SLOWLY stopping her erratic behavior and very, very slowly becoming less of a .... yeah.)

Now you know WHY. I'll tell you what. She was telling me she was having 'talks' with the other 2 planned radio stations. TOLD me she was having actors / volunteers spreading flyers etc. TOLD ME she paid rent for Oct. Even said she had us scheduled for 3 more publicity stunts where we pumped gas, bought drinks and fuel for customers etc all while spreading our word. The dates came, nothing happened.

We only got 20% of our marketing plan completed. 1 radio station, 2 magazines and 500 flyers printed and given out. Only 2 of the 10 planned publicity stunts were done. We pulled 800 people in.

Rent. I moved out at her request on our anniversary, Halloween. I came to move some of my personal stuff Friday. I came with a friend's truck and extra trailer Sat.... the building was locked down, signs on the doors and windows claiming everything in a foreclosure from lack of rent due. $10,000 due in fact. Her name was on the lease only and I could not talk or deal with the owners. I lost everything. Also included in the building was my Tshirt airbrush business. I lost all the haunt contents minus one small truck load, all the foggers, tools, generators, masks, mask making equip, $500 worth of foam and materials, shirts, bed, ... well you name it. Gone. Everything I made, everything I built. Gone.

In the divorce she even claimed the hearse... and got it. Everything was 50/50. But there was nothing left after the foreclosure. I got the suv, she got the hearse, 50/50 custody with no cash left. People still recognize me and BEG me to bring back NT for 2013. Not had a single bad report and we had 3 'wetters' in the 3 weekends we ran.

I hated to post so much about my personal bit, but since it was all connected, i figured it relavent (sp?).

03-23-2013, 05:38 PM
Sounds like you had quite a load on your hands. Our heart goes out to you. Its bad enough to have to close down a business, but having to close down a marriage is horrific under your circumstances. Best of luck to you with your new ventures. It sounds like the activist role is a good thing for you right now. I wouldn't try opening the haunt gain this year if it were me. I would focus on my personal life, and my wife's health, and take a year to figure out my direction.

Good luck!

03-24-2013, 12:48 AM
Thanks bub. Well, divorce was final Feb 5. The doctor and counselors at paxilprogress' website all told me that it's most likely going to be 6 months to a year before she starts to feel more like her old self, because of the drastic change in her. They have no doubt it was the medicine.

So, for me, focusing on something else is healing for me. It's hard for me to sit here without much to do. Thinking of all I lost. I still have my rocking granny, talking busts, a skeleton or two, a few fright props stuffies like pig head and cat etc... Ohh a decayed female head from midnight studios. But that's about it. BUT, I think doing a trailer haunt (or at least STARTING on construction for one) will help occupy my mind while I sort things out.

I don't want to give up. I own a few grand to a friend and I'm pretty sure he's going to push to continue.