View Full Version : Your thoughts on charging more on Halloween night

04-24-2008, 09:49 PM
Like everyone else, we get swamped on Halloween night. The line is so long, some people just drive on by to avoid the wait. (Last year the average wait was 1 hour on Halloween night.) We want to get more people to go on the OTHER (earlier) nights.

We charge $10 per night, and offer $1 off with coupons any night besides Halloween. We also offer $2 off Sun-Thursday. It doesn't seem to change the big crowd waiting till Halloween.

$10 is kinda cheap overall, for a 12,000 foot haunt, but it's easy to make change for. Refunding $1 or $2 is okay for coupons too, but if you change the base admission to $12 or so, you have to have a LOT of ones on hand.

One thought was to charge extra on Halloween. Make it $12 or $13. Being that we're open on Saturday after Halloween, we can tell those who gripe, "The price goes back down tomorrow, if you want the non-Halloween price." (Of course, angry customers dont' come back the next night. They just get miffed.)

Then again, that extra $2 can really help pay for advertising and more.

What has been the experience of others with this problem, or solutions they've come up with?

RJ Productions
04-25-2008, 04:39 AM
Like most we always have discounted coupons etc available before the last week of Halloween. But instead of just raising the price on October 31st, you have your set price the week of Halloween, say in your case $15.00. Then you have an "Early Bird Special" of $12.00 available the first couple of weeks.

The key is that you have the pricing structure located in advance on your web site. Remember you are not RAISING your price on Halloween, but LOWERING your price prior to Halloween!

I have had people at the ticket booth say this ,"Oh you raised the price for Halloween" and I reply "No Sir, this IS the normal price. We lowered it for an Early Bird Special." Then the wife or girl friend tells him "See I TOLD you we should have come eariler!".

Don't forget a VIP line. It's just like printing money.

Jim Warfield
04-25-2008, 06:20 AM
Yes, only charging $10 is a lot easier making change , But, I will learn to make change five different ways for the extra money sticking to my cash box at the end of October versus only charging $10.
1/5th more for the same amount of haunting , how about that?
We don't do poop-ons, er coupons because my ticket seller, my wife, is also managing the tour's flow and overseeing employees and my personal opinion is that coupons just encourage whining and weaseling from the customers.
Does your food store have a notice posted about Not accepting internet coupons?
We had a large group pretending to get miffed when they arrived here with internet coupons that were basically blank pieces of typing paper that said "Haunted House Coupon" Good for $2.00 off in any haunted house." No name of the house or organization ..GEE? why didn't we honor this coupon?
Stupidity knows no boundaries .
"Here's my internet coupon good for $20,000 off the price of a new car, here's the one for $2.00 off a gallon of gas."

04-25-2008, 03:04 PM
Dear god, in our market Halloween is one of the slowest nights of the year!

Jim Warfield
04-25-2008, 04:26 PM
Yes, Halloween itself is Very Slow here and it always has been. It is competing with Trick or Treating, parades, vandalism and parties.
Many customers seem to think we will be so busy that night that they don't bother.
This season having it fall on a Friday, then Saturday, should see a busy Halloween night.
Halloween on a Tuesday night kills it, work and school the next day sort of thing.

04-25-2008, 09:15 PM
Well, it's hot down here until the last week or so of October, so people are less likely to get into the Halloween mood till closer to Oct 31. Plus, we get mainly college patrons, not a lot of kiddies, so competition from trick or treating doesn't happen much. The line is always an hour or more on Halloween, all the way down around the corner. We could push them through in one long line, but then it would suck as most the scares would be telegraphed by the person just ahead in line, and most of them wouldn't come back the next year. We have about a 75% return rate, so we really believe in delivering the goods. On the other hand, it shows we need to focus more on bringing in new blood. But throwing money at advertising is a very expensive proposition. We need to come up with some sponsors or businesses that will do the advertising for us in exchange for some publicity. Any suggested ideas in this regard?

I think the $15 ticket with discounts is good idea, but that's quite a big jump from $10 during hard times. Maybe $12 with $2 discount, and get the full $10.

What's the poop on the VIP lines? How does that work and how do you prevent resentment that others appear to be cutting in line?

Jim Warfield
04-25-2008, 10:39 PM
I strive to achieve only positive words and thoughts concerning the name of my place and how customers feel about it.
Pointing out to the entire world that "Daddy" comes up short of money for the "Now" ticket can't possible feel good to "Daddy'
He's the guy wheeling the non-driving teens around and bankrolling those night, better allow him his pride, honor and maybe a gracefull way out if he needs one.

Jolly Pumpkin
04-26-2008, 11:06 PM
The last thing you should do is raise your price. I would suggest that you cut the ticket price in half. As everyone knows Halloween is the worst night for a haunt and people will more than likely visit your haunt on Halloween night if they see that the ticket price has been reduced. Some business is better than no business and I feel that you'll get tripple your business if you reduce the price for just one night. Or you could work together with another local haunt by creating a combo ticket for Halloween night that would include both haunts for a reduced price. It would be a Halloween special.

04-27-2008, 03:25 PM
That's amazing, what a difference a Florida climate must make. We get twice as many people on Halloween, without exception, it is by far our most crowded night. But we are not a giant metro-area, only about 300,000 people (Tallahasseee Fl), so we don't have all the competing Halloween events. And most our patrons on college students, so trick or treating is not competing either.

I'm inclined to keep it the same though, on account of the uncertain economy, even though students don't seem phased at all by a recession threat. Heck, it's their parents money, they don't seem worried about it. Kinda like our Congressmen, it's taxpayers money, so they don't mind blowing it on whatever. Haw-haw!

04-27-2008, 03:41 PM
I don't think you should charge extra on halloween unless you have something extra special going on. It will lower you crowds when they have the entire month of October to come to your haunt, Or however many days you are open, I am open only 3 days a year, but if I charged extra on Halloween, I wouldn't get any patrons coming through then. and everyone would come one of the two days before it. That is just my opinion. I hope it helps.

Jim Warfield
04-27-2008, 11:40 PM
Confusion over the ticket price is not good for creating any good vibes for your place.
Jerking the price up, down will make more consternation and a much more difficult night for the person selling tickets ,having to either argue or explain what's happening with the ticket price to every other customer All Night Long!