View Full Version : What do you think are THE MOST important things a Haunt Own needs to do...

12-14-2012, 02:59 PM
To run a successful haunted house and what do you think are the most common mistakes. Additionally what do you think needs to be covered more so you can get better at... I would like this information for the magazine and a DVD I'm working on! What do you think most haunters need help understanding or need a more in depth knowledge of? I'm getting people to write articles for the next magazine and need YOUR input!


12-14-2012, 09:20 PM
I think the hardest thing to do in starting any business is to keep all the different aspects organized. I have taken every convention class, video, and book out there. If you can't commit it to the written word the you don't have it under control. I have found that i find flaws in my plan just by writing the process down and the comming back to it a few days latter to make sure it makes good business sense. If you put a plan together and find you have blanks for items, then you need to get them filled in before you proceed. Most businesses fail due to lack of planning. I am personally very good at the business and technical end a haunted house, that is the part that I like doing. When it comes to acting and makeup I would say a 5 year old is better than me. I need help with this area so I need someone who has a aptitude in these to join my team. Untill then I can't proceed. People that think you can force your way through on hard work and determination are fools. This does not mean that they won't make it, it just not very easy. I have watched every video that you have made Larry and will say I learn something in almost everyone, but if you want to hit some areas that I had to learn the hard way it would be dealing with the city and the fire marshal. A video using a real fire marshal and building inspector showing the process of what they are looking for and what to watch out for may be very helpful for some. This is a subject that is not fun but, if you ask most haunters what was the toughest part of starting out, it was probably the worst day when they felt the FM and city didn't like them and just wanted to make thier life hell. The other is a good business plan outline so that people know what blanks they need to fill in to start with, if they can fill in the blanks then they are not ready to start a haunt. Thanks for your work to help with advancing the industry.


Front Yard Fright
12-14-2012, 10:32 PM
"Give me all your ideas, I'm going to make a DVD and sell them!"


12-14-2012, 11:16 PM
I know what my first year haunt mistakes were.
1. Giving control of my marketing to someone else.~ Marketing concepts and applied practices.
2. Staffing.. over staffed for first year.. payroll was over 100k and that killed profit.~ How to calculate the staff to the haunt. Payroll needs.
3. Actor management. ~Dealing with the C,D and F employee
4. Targeting the wrong audience because of visible traffic. So how to qualify and target your audience. ~ Does the location meet the need?
5. Preparation time was to short. We had 2.5 weeks to put up about 30K sq ft of haunt.. about killed me. ~ guidelines on what and how much time a temp haunt should allow themselves to be able to do this sanely.

Then I would add
6. Fire code as always.
7. Tactics at Avoiding law suites when possible.
8. Emergency preparation

12-14-2012, 11:26 PM
and answer or advice on these
Capital or lack of and how effectively the capital is deployed and managed.
Management issues
Sales (Lack of)
No Market
Poor Professional Advice
The Inability to Attract and Retain Talent
Competitive Awareness
Obsolescence or Market Changes (Awareness)

Jim Warfield
12-15-2012, 12:00 AM
If this has to be "Easy". Or you have to be "Sane"." Normal" counts for almost nothing either.
How are you going to entertain people if you are a shirker, normal and sane.. sounds like the description of a GREAT MANY very uninteresting types of people who are already out there walking around auditioning for "Walking Dead"!
Figuring out what type of a show the people want to see AND actually pay to see is where it can get tricky.
Like Scooby says "Rots of Ruck!"

12-17-2012, 05:51 AM
"Give me all your ideas, I'm going to make a DVD and sell them!"


Lol zach good stuff!

12-17-2012, 03:44 PM
Employees vs. Contract Laborers
Leasing vs. Buying a building...and off season "storage lease"/land contracts
Order bundling with vendors at Transworld to save money
"Halloween Pricing"
Basic codes that are enforced in EVERY state and city
Dealing with land lords, inspectors, city officials, etc.
Haunted Public Relations
Permanent vs. Tear-down
Productive Staffing and staff training/motivation
Haunting with numbers...haunted houses and accounting
Admission ticket marketing/placement...where to give free passes and how to get tickets sold inside Costco/Sams Club/Walmart
Contracts and copyrights

I think one thing you should NOT do is talk about marketing; at least not specific things in radio, TV, print because this DOES change (severely) market by market. Some things like websites and social media are all the same for everybody, so that can be covered. But I'd leave marketing out of this one other than to talk about how to budget it (haunt accounting).

Just a thought.