View Full Version : How Did you get started?

Haunt enthusiast
09-27-2006, 07:57 PM
I'm just curious to see how you all got into haunted houses and haunting? For me it was probably about 5 years ago when I went to my first haunt. :twisted:

Funny Bones
09-27-2006, 08:18 PM
i got started way back in 1986, a friend took me to "volunteer" at a Jaycee haunt for credit for school, and i never left.

They put me in a closet dressed in black, told me to do something scary when people came through, the first poor person through was a large lady that lost bladder control...

The next day i went shopping for a clown costume and gave my work notice. Twenty years later i still get a charge everytime i hear someone say "i'm gonna pee"

09-28-2006, 07:29 AM
Jaycees with me too! First i went to the haunts, and i thought they were awesome, and it was even cooler when i volunteered for them. Now i own my own haunted house. I call the love for haunted houses "The Haunted House Curse" HA HA

09-28-2006, 07:41 AM
Yup, it was those darn Jaycee's. I showed up to go through the haunt but the line was three hours long. I noticed they had some major parking problems so, I grabbed a mask that I had in the back of my car and started directing traffic for them. The guy who was running the haunt came over and introduced himself and thanked me. Then he asked me if I wanted to come back and work inside the house the next night. The rest is history.

Hey Funnybones, you look familiar. Do I know you from somewhere? LOL!

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House

Mr. Malice
09-28-2006, 08:28 AM
I had a friend that did the March of Dimes haunted house back in '93. He brought me out to meet some of the people and the next night I went out to meet a few more. The man in charge comes to shake my hand and says, "we open at 7pm tomorrow night so be here by 6pm." I had no idea what I had gotten myself into but after that night 'ooga booga' was in my blood and has never left.

09-28-2006, 08:33 AM
Yep, I started with the Jaycee's, too. :) Good times, good times.

09-28-2006, 08:34 AM
As a wee whipper-snapper my parents would decorate our door area for the trick and treaters and I would don a creepy costume and man the candy station.

There were no professional haunts in my area but once I knew these existed and visited them I knew that I wanted to grow and grow my home haunt until I could turn pro.

I didn't turn pro fast enough - even as an amatuer I had people giving me things wine, cake, treats, money etc.

Also when you have 300 hundred people turning up at your house and are daisy chaining extension leads on a 240/400 volt system in order to operate all the lights and foggers lets just say its time to move it somewhere more safe and set it properly before you burn the house down.

09-28-2006, 09:11 AM
That is a definate.

We started as any normal house on halloween, but that wasnt good enough. We thought we could use more flare! Soon we began to buy more and more props, costumes, prosthetcs and special FX.

Eventually, i'm still not sure when, we became "That haunted house in Braman", now known as "The Haunted Hideout". Still free by the way except for the novelties we sell. Next year that will change but ill get into that later.


09-28-2006, 10:04 AM
My church use to have a yearly Halloween party. My dad and I use to decorate one of the sunday school rooms into a SPOOK-HOUSE.

It wasn't much... just some black plastic, a strobe-light and Disney's Sounds Of The Haunted Mansion playing on the phonograph. It was always a big hit anyway.

We did it from 1975 to 1987.

I started helping out at the local Jaycees haunt after that.

09-28-2006, 10:10 AM
Jaycees for me too. Worked as an actor at the North Hill Jaycees Factory of Nightmares when I was in high school. Worked with the Jaycess in Millington TN for a couple of years and now I own my own haunt in Memphis.

09-28-2006, 11:48 AM
I started almost 10 years ago now right out of highschool, a friend of mine was working at Nightmare In Painesville, and 3 of us went one night to see him act. The next day I went up as an actor, and stayed there for almost 10 years, now i'm with a actual horror effects company :)

Duke of Darkness
09-28-2006, 01:53 PM
I was in the Navy and stationed in Athens, Greece in the mid-late '80s. There was very little for the kids (or the sailors and airmen) to do for Halloween, so some of us proposed that each unit on base adopt a door to decorate and give out treats for the trick or treaters. Our "door" was extremely cheesy, since there were almost no costumes or props available and we had to put it together on short notice. What we lacked in ambiance, we made up for in enthusiasm.

The next year they gave us an entire kwansit hut in which to create a maze. The year after that we got two, and two other groups also did haunted houses. There we were, in a country that didn't even really celebrate Halloween, with four haunted houses, dozens of volunteers and thousands of visitors. There the addiction began and the need to scare has never lessened.

Keep 'em screaming!


09-28-2006, 02:42 PM
it was the nightmare in painesville for me too. My girlfriend took me up there to visit some friends who were running the place, next thing I know 4 years later i am doing all the special effects and pneumatics.

Jim Warfield
09-29-2006, 01:15 AM
My parent's basement has an ajoining coal bin that wasn't being used anymore. It has a guillotine-type door from the basement into the coal bin, of course the coal bin had no light , no windows, all concrete.
I saved money, mailed off $2.98 and got a poster of Zacherly, life-size , printed on a white movie screen type backround, which really made his photographed image really "pop!" This thing accidently scared me so many times , seeing it out of the corner of my eye, with some dull part of my brain forgetting it was on the inside of the basement door.
Thread looped over a water pipe, tied to a ball of kleenex to make a little ghost (that could be moved from across the basement) and away we go!
Jimmy's Haunted House. Admission 5 cents.
Another $1.98 got me a book on Hypnotism. My Mother got scared when a bunch of kids were sitting in the basement and one of them had his eyes rolled back in his head while looking at a candle as I told him his eyes were getting heavy......
Thinking about this, it seems almost like it all happened yesterday.....wait, this did happen just a week ago!
I now have a coal bin full of little hypnotised Zombie kids, waiting to work in my haunted house!
Keep them in a dark room, they won't grow too much, too fast.

09-30-2006, 09:54 AM
When I was a trick or treater we had two houses in the neighborhood that would go "all out" for Halloween. One guy would always hide in his yard and jump out at us - we would scream and run away every time- but we'd go back year after year.

When I got my own house my husband and I decided that we would "carry the torch" and decorate the yard. Four years and thousands of dollars later we have a yard haunt that's meant to be driven by - we get a lot of visitors and make the paper, etc etc. It's a lot of work, but we have a great time.

We also act in our friend's haunted house - Darkwood Manor. We met him because of our love for Halloween but neither of us really thought we'd be any good at acting. (After all, I used to be one of the favorite patrons of haunted houses - I'd scream all the way through them). Three years later, I work the front room and my husband is usually one of the "Favorites" of the patrons and I can't imagine a season when I didn't act in a haunt....

10-01-2006, 08:55 PM
I too got started with the Jaycees. It was back in 1990, when my parents joined the Jaycees and I was only 8 and we learned about the haunted house. In the years before that, I had always asked my mom what those trailers with scary things painted on them were and she never would tell me. Then a year or so later, I was actually inside it, helping paint and learning how to scare.

The first year I worked outside, next to the exit, because I was too scared to work inside, but as the years progressed, I got more and more brave. I started working in the front of the first trailer, then further inside and further inside until I was completely comfortable working inside. Through the years, I've learned what works and what doesn't and this whole "haunting" thing has taken a stronghold on me. I've worked at 5 different Jaycee haunted houses, 1 for-profit haunyed house in MI and since I moved, this year is my 3rd season at this haunted house I'm at now. My parents have lost their passion for running and working haunts, but my passion for working them has kept going. :twisted:

Jim Warfield
10-02-2006, 12:24 AM
Darn it! I am still waiting to "Learn Something" in haunting!?
Open almost every night for 20 years, still waiting.
Maybe I'm like a Doctor, Lawyer or Dentist? I'm just "Practising", since I don't seem to actually know anything?

10-04-2006, 08:46 PM
Aside from haunts in my basement, and a few at church... JAYCEES were my tooth cutting drug of choice.

I was asked by a teacher who was dating a Jaycee in Johnson City, TN, if I'd like to work with them. I was a sophomore in High school.

She drove me down there and it was 3 night before opening night and in likely Jaycee fashion they weren't half done. I then worked for them a 2nd year, and then a different chapter in my home town of Bristol.

I then worked for a Knoxville suburb chapter, the Powell Jaycees, for 2 years during college. After College I contimued to work back with the Bristol Jaycees for several years. You learn alot when you have NO money to spend.