View Full Version : How much $$$ do you make?

08-10-2007, 11:53 PM
I was just wondering how much money a good haunt makes in a season. I saw that on the blog on the homepage of this site, there was a video saying that a good haunt bring in about a $1 millon in one season. JUMPIN' JACK O' LANTERNS!!!

My next question is, how much of a profit do you make? After you pay all your actors, take out the cost of props, make-up, etc.

Here's another question: Do most Haunts have more than one owner? How many own their own haunted house by themselves? Does that mean all the ticket sales go directly to you, then you just pay off the actors, and misc. helpers.

So, even after the haunt owner pays off his workers, he still gets to pocket a HUGE chunk of change for himself, right? I mean, once you pay off all your workers and your electricle bill, advertisments, etc., then you then you still make about $900,000. You can just relax the rest of the year and just buy and sell some props or whatever with your free time.

If I am completely wrong please let me know :)

Jim Warfield
08-11-2007, 12:06 AM
Toyota, Ford, GM all make alot of money, whereas Loo Chin's Chinese car company operating only in one province(he is not allowed to license cars to be driven across county lines) only makes $20,000 a year, seven employees, rebuilt mechanicals, a homemade fiberglass body.
October is a finite season, at least most of the general public seem to think so.
How many nights will you be open to rake in a milion dollars?
I also plan upon taking in a million dollars this season, but then I have raised admission to $50,000 per/person.
"$50,000 per/person!! Are little kids $50,000 too?"
"Yes they are but they should be MORE!"

Howie Slobber Erlich
08-11-2007, 06:42 AM
I don't think you'll find a lot of haunts who will be honest here about their real numbers. They will tell you that they make more than they do and they they have more customers than they do. But here are some honest facts.

I would guess that there are only a very few haunts that even come close to bringing in that kind of cash. Some haunts are very happy to even make a profit. It all depends on what type of event it is, where it's located, attendance numbers, ticket price etc. I would think that the average profit for most haunts falls between 30k and 200k.

I have a relatively small haunt in an area that has a ton of competition. Each year it cost me about 70k to operate. You have insurance, rent, payroll, advertising, construction, permits, costumes/makeup, props, bonuses, paid entertainers and about 100 other things I am forgetting at the moment. Our average attendance on a good year is around 11,000 customers at about $12.00 a ticket. That means we bring in around $132,000 minus $70,000 equals about $62,000 profit.
Oh yeah, don't forget about paying taxes every year.

There are a lot easier ways to make more money than operating a haunted attraction. Most haunt owners have other jobs and don't make their livings from their haunt. I do this because I love the business of scaring the crap out of people. I love the people that work for me. I love our loyal customers. If you think your going to get rich from owning a haunt you are probably fooling yourself.

Just my two cents, which by the way, after paying taxes is about all the profit I have left. LOL! Now how's that for being honest?

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House

08-11-2007, 08:39 PM
Profit???? Ahhhh, I knew something was not right.

08-11-2007, 08:49 PM
If I am completely wrong please let me know :)

You are completely wrong. As Howie said, most haunts are happy to make anything at all. Ticket sales our first year were just over $7000 and myself and 2 partners put $100 in our pockets to cover the gas we used getting back and forth to the haunt. However the experience we gained and fun we had were priceless.

08-11-2007, 09:35 PM
Dr. Evil: I demand the sum... OF 1 MILLION DOLLARS.

Jim Warfield
08-12-2007, 07:14 AM
Maybe if most of us hadn't began as 8 year old kids only charging 5cents admission to the haunted house we built in our parent's basement we would all be making a living at this today!?
Of course when I was a kid, a 50 cent weekly allowence could buy you alot of neat stuff!
Candy bar= 10 cents
Movie ticket= 15 cents
Small plastic airplane model=29 cents
Tube of glue=10 cents
Testors paint=10 cents
A big issue of Mad magazine=25 cents (My inspirational literature)
comic book=10cents
Admission to little Jimmie's basement Spookhouse=.05 cents
I was born in 1949.
also..a brand new 1952 Ford was $1,700, 6 cylinder, 3 speed w/overdrive, 20 MPG, top speed 95MPH and could very comfortably seat 5 large adults, plenty of head, leg and hip room.
How much have things really progressed for the better?
My Dad made $1.oo an hour working at the US post office but made $25.00 for every TV antenna he installed and he could put up 3 of those some days!

damon carson
08-12-2007, 09:00 AM
Wow you can make a million dollars off doing this thing.?! Wow and all along I was doing it for fun and love of Halloween! I might have to check into this!

Jim Warfield
08-13-2007, 08:02 AM
Damon, Just be prepared to take on a new financial business partner...could his name be...."satan!"? (Shades of Dana Carvey's "Church-Lady")

Howie Slobber Erlich
08-13-2007, 09:07 AM
Satan has already partnered up with me this season. Actually I made a deal with him several years ago. So, go find your own sugar daddy.


08-13-2007, 10:04 AM
MAKE a million dollars. no. I'm quite sure no one has done that.

GROSS a million dollars for the season, sure, and much more.

The theme parks do that easily.

Back when spooky world really truely was doing 100K people for the year, easy math says they did as well.

profiting that, well that's a bit different.

Disney type parks are tHrILLED when they can clear 10-13% of gross as thier profit.
( that's taken from all those mouse/business books from the 90's)

But if the old spooky world, or Rocky Point, or Hades, or terror on church street, or any of the grand old names were actually CLEARING a million profit, well, they probably wouldn't have quit now, would they?

and while I know plenty of folks with nice sized small to mid range haunts that make 10-20K a year, and are okay with that. It only takes one bad year to throw it all out of wack.

you loose money 1 year, it may take 2-3 till you really see profits in your pocket again.

so, while I DO believe in Santa Claus, and possably the easter bunny, I don't believe there are privately held haunts that turn a million profit for thier one regular guy owner.

except maybe Larry LOL

08-13-2007, 02:56 PM
Some haunts gross one million plus, while most under $100,000.00.

Some haunted theme parks like Knotts are taking in about 20 to 30 million in October alone. I would say a haunt that does 20k people might gross 300k and might profit about 75k depending on expenses.

We pay a lot of taxes, labor and advertisement. I think most haunters spend too much to fix up their haunt, and this is where their profits go down the tubes.

How important is it really to change your haunt to the tenth degree every year??? I don't know, I think most of us do it because we enjoy doing it.

I know we spend way too much... this year I wouldn't be surprised if I have already spent $150,000.00 upgrading my attractions.

That is a HUGE percentage of profit!


08-13-2007, 03:10 PM
Satan has already partnered up with me this season. Actually I made a deal with him several years ago. So, go find your own sugar daddy.

Funny, you should mention Satan -- I like to play Gin with my son and for the past several days, I've been getting the match 666 in every single hand....AND I WIN!! I don't want Satan's help and would refuse it if he offered it to me, but I'm beginning to wonder....will this year's season be the financial winning hand I've been looking for?

Mr. Haunt
08-14-2007, 01:22 PM
Honesty is the game to this thread. How many have been honest? It's to hard to say. I do believe, and it show's, a lot of haunters do it for fun as a side job from their everyday jobs.

However, I have not earned my right to call myself a pro-haunter, but I believe that if you play your cards right, know what your doing, have a large network, strong will and desire, you can make money off your haunt. I think that if you have all the time in the world to plan out a successful haunt. Anything in life is possible.

If I am wrong, I am wrong.

Haunting for most is a part-time job, but if you have the time and effort to work on it full-time, and not rush into opening there is light at the end of the tunel.


damon carson
08-15-2007, 08:42 AM
Jim I did have a business partner he was Satans cousin though. He turned out to be the greedy one. We parted ways years back. In case anyone couldnt tell I was being a bit sarcastic in my post. I think its really amazing bigger haunts in larger cities can actually pull in this amount of business in only about a months time frame. But I understand its all about location, the quality of your attraction. Not to mention detail. And many many other small factors just to keep your head above water. Promotion and changing your attraction every year are big factors in all the overhead these big city haunts pay out. Im just a small town haunter, like I said I just do it for the love of it.

08-25-2007, 10:30 PM
Im sure some will disagree with this thread, but if you don't love Halloween, don't own a haunt. Although it is possible to turn a profit, and in time build upon that profit and make a rather substantial income from operating a haunt. Without a love for the season/scaring people you are doomed to fail. If you are doing it only for the money, it will show throughout your haunt.
I have seen many people stand on the sidelines and look at a successful haunt during October and let their imagination go wild with delusions of grandeur, "man they are raking in all this cash, i can do it too" The truth is, most successful haunts are their owners passion, their blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice have been poured into them to make them what they are. Without their determination and drive for doing what they loved doing they never would get to where they are today.
I'm sure if you asked most successful haunt owners how much they made in the first 5 years, if they were to calculate the amount of time they have committed to their dream, I would imagine it is somewhere in the amount of .57 cents an hour. Hardly a easy million.

Make no mistake It is a Business, but no where does the phrase "You should love what you do" apply more.

Howie Slobber Erlich
08-26-2007, 01:00 AM
Well said Maximumterror!


08-29-2007, 09:36 PM
It's very unlikely to make that much, unless you are a theme park. I know that places lke Knott's (I used to work there) easily make more in one month of Haunt than their combined gross for the rest of the year (gee, wonder why Cedar Fair was interested in buying?) The most I've ever heard an independent haunt grossing was in the neighborhood of 500K, no more. I'd say 'Howie Slobber Erlich' is pretty acurate on his numbers... I do know personally of some haunts that make annual profit around $120K (but they don't pay their people very well, if at all, and bend (er, break) all kinds of laws which saves them capital). It seems apparent that a lot of money is made on dishonest ticket tactics (like VIP lines that make you wait as long as general admission, but you pay a good $10 more), merchandising, parking lot fees, etc. Sorry, don't mean to rant...

Jim Warfield
08-29-2007, 10:11 PM
Do we really need a million dollars?
How about enough money to eat well, pay your other bills?
Who changes their haunt out every year? This sounds needless to me. Just keep adding stuff to those empty nooks and crannies making the tour experience more valuable and something people will talk about and want to see again (because they couldn't see it all the first time?)
Along the way keep your original haunt name and stay located in the same place or at least close to your first location, then you can cut way back on unnecesarry advertising expense! = increased pocket money for you!
If you do these things always watching the expenses you may even be able to keep admission prices below $50,000 a person ("No hocus, no pocus, no deals no 2 for ones, no coupons, special nights, just give me your $50,000 please!")
"Sorry I lied alittle Mam, there is a small upcharge of $100.oo to lay in our mink-lined coffins."
"Those little animals had to die to make a lining for the coffins?"
"Of course not, who said they were dead? (Makes it more "interesting!")

Greg Chrise
08-30-2007, 10:50 PM
You'll just have to wait for my new book to come out. The working title is Tax Deferal Through Intentional Poverty. The story of how our main company spends thousands yearly just to prove that guy wrong that says if you don't make money you can't play next year. Screw him. Just go make more money.

Think of it more as people spend big money on a bass boat, a bunch of gizmos and a new truck to pull all that stuff to catch a $3 fish.

Or people buy a fancy motorcycle, a leather fashion gear so they can go stand out in the sun all day with lke minded people.

Or people that go on cruise vacations every year.

Or people that have a swimming pool.

Or so many other things.

You have a haunt because it is fun first and foremost there is some kind of satisfaction in doing. If it makes money you have more fun and or have more toys. If it loses money it is no worse than spending all the money it took to be drinking the water in Venezuala.

If you can call the pizza guy every once in a while you have it going on.

I don't want to go fishing, I am not wearing chaps...I'm sorry, I'm not going to get sea sick and I hate swimming pools.