View Full Version : family freindly vs shear terror

04-15-2008, 05:05 AM
I am in the design process of a haunt and was at first going to make it the scaryest grusome, terror ridin experiance, that the vast resorces of my twisted brain could come up with, untill I talked to one of my advertising consultants. She suggested that we' tone it down 'and make it more "Family freindly". Her opinion was that you will get more ticket sales and return visiters if its a place where families can go . I was planning on not allowing anyone under 10-12 in, now I may have to rethink that. what do u guys think?

04-15-2008, 06:03 AM

It might be a good idea to tone it down, that is if you want to make more money with your show. There are a few haunts that promote themselves as the scariest, more goriest shows out there, but the vast majority of successful shows do not go that route. If you go with the extreme gore and terror route, you will lose a lot of guests as parents will not permit their children to see it, plus not everyone one's to be scared out of their wits or grossed out, they want to get scared and have fun at the same time....


Jim Warfield
04-15-2008, 09:37 AM
You could go scary, gory whatever and then spend the efforts controlling who sees it once they are in your place. You could do this as simply as controlling the light in that room or have it be a side detour .
The problem becomes deciding and having helpers keen enough to notice who is in each group and take the appropriate course of action. Tougher with larger groups.
The other problem is with mixed groups .
I do this all the time with a forewarning that I can't take such measures when we are extremely busy.
My tours are adjusted to the people looking at me in each group as well as I can predetermine exactly "who" they are. This also takes time and effort.
Are customers worth such effort?
If their ticket money is paying for your fun it just might be?
I don't feature any displays considered gory or bloody by most people, sexy? Sure.
My post from a few minutes ago "Vindication via Yahoo" illustrates this.

04-15-2008, 11:56 AM
Is this a barbershop haunt? Threatening people with electric clippers? Running with scissors? I know, I know! All your monsters will have mullets. LOL :)

Jim Warfield
04-15-2008, 05:20 PM
A major New York store's display window had an old fashioned barber shop recreated and the one customer siting in the chair was Superman!
The barber had a quizzical look on his face because his scissors couldn't cut it!
A very thorough and neat diorama!

A barber shop display could be fun. The old shop I went to as a kid had numerous taxidermied animal trophies on the wall and an issue of a Men's magazine that had a bigger than life size photo of a corpse's face after grave robbers stole his gold teeth.
A fascinating picture to my young mind! Couldn't stop looking at it!
The old barber's realistic looking penis squirt gun was taken away from him and "hidden" in his display window for a couple of weeks, right in plain view of anyone walking passed it but behind a short wall so the barber couldn't see it.
Very thrilling for all of his wife's female patrons who had their hair done in the rear of his barber shop!
Quite the practical joke on the joker barber who had been squirting guys in the face with it as they walked in(as he held it down low, of course! "OOPS! Sorry!" he would say.

04-15-2008, 07:07 PM
Sythlor, one idea might be to have both at different times of the day. Set things up so kids/families can go through up until say 7 p.m. and then only adults after that. You could turn the lights up a bit for the kids, take out or cover up some of the goriest props, and tone down the scares from the actors. Then once you change to adult-only, turn the extra lights off, move a few props around and tell your actors to bump it up a few notches. I came across this idea a couple of days ago from some haunt's website (I wish I could remember who it was) and think I might give it a try this year to see how it works out.

04-15-2008, 07:30 PM
Who says ya can't do both? Dr. Pain's runs a horrifying haunt for most of the season. But on a couple nights we do a toned down "kids' scare". We turn the house lights on, remove a few props, play Nightmare Before Christmas music, wear 10 cent costumes/masks, and hold back on the graphic one-liners. Our usual opening time for the haunt is 7:30 p.m.; but the kids' scare starts at noon and ends around 5 p.m. This way we can run the scare in the (less frightening) day time and switch to the adult rated stuff at our usual time of opening. Everybody's happy. The whole toned down scare isn't really my cup of tea; but with this we are able to appeal not just the horror fans, but also the younger, not so twisted demographic.

Jim Warfield
04-15-2008, 09:34 PM
"You advertised this was "Family Friendly" but it's not, in my opinion!"
We didn't say what family, ever heard of the Manson family?
Reminds me of Richard Pryor's old line , he was filming in a real prison, right next to real convicted murderers. He asked the one why he had killed his whole family?
.......... "Well, they was home."

The really great and fun thing we do here sometimes is to set something up so the kid gets to scare the adults (or the older kids who had been giving them a bad time)
This creates quite the positive and balanced experience all around, very memorable!
I chose to place a Haunted Memories picture of that little girl and her doll (large size) in my upstairs hallway and it has worked on occasion just as I intended it to.
Parents see the little girl morphing and are repelled by such an idea but the little kid loves seeing the usually frightened, little kid being the "Monster", and effecting the parents this way. Quite the "Kick"!

04-19-2008, 11:56 AM
Family friendly doesn't have to mean 'not scarey'. to the advertisers it would more likely mean, no ripped apart beeding naked women half corpses swinging by the dozen for you to walk thru.

It's the theme of the haunt that will make it family ish, not the scare factor.
it'll just depend on what type of scares you do.

While we are not a visously scarey haunt even on the best of days, we do try to plug in all the required scares and jump points, etc..., but because we are so story based, some times we get the rep for not being scarey at all.
I think this is because the younger clients relate SAW to scarey, Frankenstein to not.

BUT once we added no scare matinees to our show on sunday afternoon, it had the effect of making the evening show seem scarier in ads.

" well if they need to have a kid show seperately, then the evening show must be scarey"

just how it worked for us, your mileage may vary

Jim Warfield
04-19-2008, 03:30 PM
Just last night I scared a young man who was not going to be "scared", he controlled most of his reaction but his friends still saw his quick little jerk-quiver and had a laugh at his ego's expense. ("Victory!")
Sometimes the easiest people for me to scare are the ones who have been here before because they think they know everything that's going to happen and they are off-guard and relaxed.......~insert evil laugh...here!)

04-26-2008, 11:01 PM
I've noticed the "family" customers are much less common and the college kids with dates are our blood and butter. Then again, this is a college town, but young adults taking girls to dates also fill up most the theaters, and night clubs, and whatever other entertainment is going on. So I lean toward making the majority happy and making it SCARY. I would never turn away kids, but I warn the parents, "if they typically get scared by the dark or have nightmares, this is NOT for them. But you know them better than we do. You can leave through any of the exits if they get too scared (but no refunds)." This usually satisfies most, but for a few, I go a step further. I give them a glow band and tell them it's monster repellent. If they get scared, just hold up the glow band and the monster runs away! Of course, you have to tell all your actors ahead of time to back off from anyone holding those bands up, even if they are adults (like a few of the women who start to freak once that freight door slames shut behind them and they hear everyone else in the haunt screaming in the dark).

So far, the monster repellent glow bands have done the trick and I've heard no complaints. (Now that I've said that though, I'm sure the gripes will FLOOD in this season, such is Murphy's Law!)

Jim Warfield
04-28-2008, 12:15 AM
From 2 O'Clock this Sunday afternoon til 3 two young women sat in my front room squeezing one another almost to death , screaming, hiding their eyes half the time, I had to stop and ask them if they were enjoying their scares or were becoming phobic?
I also asked them if they had had a supernatural experience before since sometimes those that have are much more afraid of just being here than other people seem to be.
No, they had not.
Then a Father and son joined the tour and the girls seemed more calm, usually.
I "Got" the Father and son twice with the same effect!
For some reason most people never expect that?
How about that?

The Dad and lad are moto cross people. "Dad" asked me how he should go about bringing a bus load of his friends here?