View Full Version : Hours open - later worth it?

07-11-2013, 08:07 PM
We're contemplating staying open until 11 on fri and sat this year instead of 10.... Is it worth it? We see a significant drop off after 945, maybe because people KNOW we're open only until 10? Idk. This is a shot in the dark, and things are going to print next week...

07-11-2013, 08:23 PM
Oh yeah! Gotta keep the ticket booth open until 11!

We don't cap our ticket sales. Lines suck but a big one only makes you loo all that better! So I've always only listed a time for the ticket booth to close, and after that we just finish off whoever is already in line.

Allen H
07-11-2013, 08:41 PM
Wow Im a bit shocked at that. I know a lot of haunts in the dallas market close at 10 on sundays but Fridays and saturdays most are open till midnight. Im happy to be going from a haunt park that closed at 1:30am (that was an hour drive away) to a haunt that closes at midnight that is 20 min away.
I highly reccomend staying open till 11.

07-11-2013, 08:42 PM
Allen I also am pushing for that with the people I am helping out, just wanted the general consensus.

Thanks so much for the input, keep it coming! :)

07-11-2013, 08:55 PM
It almost seems not worth it to even open for only 2-2.5 hours on a Friday and Saturday night ya know?

07-12-2013, 08:56 AM
Very interesting topic... in fact make sure you buy your subscription RIGHT NOW at www.hauntedhousemagazine.com because this magazine went to the printers today. Its going to be the best one we've done so far!!! The magazine is 64 full color pages jammed packed with awesome content! Now why did I bring that up... well because I wrote my entire letter from the editor about this EXACT SUBJECT!!!

The article was about when to open, when to close and how many days you should be open. Here is the shorter version for the sake of this topic...

On weekends we are open until 12am in September and 12:30 in October... as the season gets closer we open sooner. If thru put is an issue at your house you don't want to limit the hours you are open you want to expand them. However I've found the later you stay open the nutty the people are more in force. We use to list open until 1am but now its 12:30.

At the end of the day its really simple closing at 11am on a busy weekend in October doesn't sound like a great idea to me. Larry

07-12-2013, 09:07 AM
The question still is, are we seeing a drop off in attendance close to the previous years' 10pm close time because it was so early?

Anyone have an issue where they open later only to have attendance still drop off at the old time?

Obviously it's a concern. Would hate to pay the actors for an additional hour and not have anyone show up past 10 anyways.

I believe what you all have said: people come when you're open.

I personally believe the drop off is because we're closed too early. Just my opinion.

Thanks so much to all who have responded!!

07-12-2013, 02:31 PM
We advertise last ticket sales as 10:30. We are out in the country but major interstate interchange one mile away. If cars are pulling in we extend based on weather and time of season. That wraps us up by 11:30 - midnight usually. And by then the actors are getting wore out anyway. And some nights I jump on a combine and harvest long into the morning. If I wasn't harvesting corn and beans and timeclock hitting 110 hours a week already for me heck yes I would extend hours. But over a dozen years we are getting crowds to come early season more. We WORK the lines getting people to realise how much better it will be next year to come earlier in the season and miss the long lines...and hit another haunt instead of standing in line so long.

Wicked Farmer

07-12-2013, 05:41 PM
The haunt I help at advertises open till midnight. If anyone shows up before the clock strikes 12, they can buy a ticket. I don't mind, but the hour between 11 and 12 always seems to be slow... except for the final weekend. Sometime we find ourselves sitting around praying for someone to show up. You can almost always figure on a car pulling up right at the last minute.

07-12-2013, 06:59 PM
...and that last car has friends coming "just a few minutes away". And that car; all the girls have to pee when they finally show up.

Wicked Farmer

07-12-2013, 11:33 PM
People would come to us later cause they knew other haunts around us closed earlier. We close around 12-12:30 every night. But I think it really depends on how you market it. You can say from 11-12 its the Xtreme Scream hour or lights out. I worked at a bar that stayed open until 4am. All bars in the area closed at 3am so people would show up for that power hour and the bar would be packed because they knew we stayed open. BUT... Like larry said the later you stay open the crazier the people are. BTW that bar burnt down so .... yeah.... Use your best judgment.

Best of luck to you and your season!

Peter T

07-13-2013, 04:14 AM
I've found that the later you're open the more drunk and high nut jobs you get. Remember the old saying nothing good happens after midnight.


07-13-2013, 05:53 PM
you created the trend that people stop coming at 9:45 because they know you are only open untill 10. We have 2 rushes, one at 9 and one at 10.

You should be open until midnight fridays and saturdays and sundays and off days depend on your market trends.

Jim Warfield
07-14-2013, 01:33 AM
a large number of your patrons were driving 3plus hours just to get to Your Haunt? I used to have a policy of remaining open til the last person in the parking lot had their ticket honored.
I found that it is Very difficult to "entertain" people who have been in-line for several hours after driving several hours to get here, especially when it is 5:30AM! Yes.
I had several guys from Chicago wait half the night to get in, couldn't get in, drove back home, came back the next night to see the house. Then my Exit was only 20 feet from the entrance so as people left the house those still in line would ask them:"Is it worth the wait? Is it worth the money?"
People being puked out of the giant skull's mouth would enthusiastically say:"YES! YES!"
There is a huge difference between the 9pm groups versus the 10:30 and later ones , who do show up more scatter-brained from .. "Whatever?"
Screaming, staggering drunks do not get in. Those who can't hold in "their Crazy" also have to leave as this becomes a problem.
Are the late-night customers worth the extra efforts and extra wear and tare on your employees? Sometimes it is not.

07-14-2013, 08:41 AM
I agree with you all. Opening until 11 or 12 is about the best scenario. Any later and I think you start getting the drunks from the bars and such....

Jim Warfield
07-14-2013, 11:29 AM
But then if your location was way out in the middle of "nowhere" with no booze buyable, late night people might have to arrive sober then remain that way= a perfect scenario?
I used to have groups arriving off -season from 90 minutes away who would arrive drunk. I eventually convinced them to arrive sober and everything was "peachy"... except my now Ex-wife didn't like it.
Some would intentionally show up at closing or later , they seemed to think this was more of a full-effect sort of tour since this house is haunted, and has had such a reputation beginning at least as long ago as 1925.

07-14-2013, 12:03 PM
We are open until 11pm each night (Fri/Sat) and for the past 4 years it's seemed that we drop off at 9:45 also. Around here are small towns and the charity haunts used to open either 6-9, 6:30-9:30 or even 6-10. We noticed this year (2nd year in the mall-different store) that we didn't have drop off until 10:20 or so. We are in the same store in the mall (3rd year mall overall) and are hoping to be open past 11 because of the line this year! We will sell tickets as long as they're coming in.

07-14-2013, 01:17 PM
Dark, how do you advertise?

It appears as if being open year after year til 11 has helped you to keep busy longer?

07-22-2013, 04:28 PM
We advertise gate times. Gate closes at 11PM. It gets slow about 9 but then we get another burst of traffic close to 10, and it runs steady until close. I would stay open longer but we are in a campground, so we do have to close it down by midnight.

08-01-2013, 10:30 PM
We keep our ticket booth open until 1am Fridays and Saturday but later in the season. For the first few weeks that we are open we stay open until 12.

08-01-2013, 10:37 PM
For some strange reason we are dead when we first open , an hour can go by with nobody showing up. But as the night gets later the busier we get. We hope that changes this year, we are getting 10 billboards and putting a 30 second tv commercial on a local cable network.