View Full Version : Troubles with other haunts

06-19-2008, 07:49 PM
Has anyone had problems with or have heard of haunts having troubles with other local haunts?

06-19-2008, 08:55 PM
What kind of trouble are we talking?

06-21-2008, 06:46 AM
do they tour your haunt and cause trouble (smoke inside your haunt, steal, cause fights, etc.) or maybe they steal your signs so no one can find a competitors haunt, put nails in the parking lot so customers get flat tires.

sadly, i know of a haunt in middletown that has done about all of this...if not more!

06-21-2008, 08:34 AM
Wow, well, two things, 1st I would not allow them to go through the haunt. Secondly, if they are vandalizing I would get a security camera and tape them doing it and get the cops involved.

Jim Warfield
06-21-2008, 08:34 AM
Buy a magnet on a a stick, sweep the lot. Call the Police let them know what is happening so they can be looking for such misbehavior.
Have a very flashy small card=poster printed on fairly weather-proof card stock, they can't mess with several thousands of smaller "posters" nearly as well.
Have squirt guns loaded and ready inside the haunt to extinguish those cigerettes. "Oops!, sorry, I didn't mean to wash your face for you, butt no smoking! Here, have a towel.... Oh sorry my cat did pee on that towel, sorry again."
Maybe the other haunts could be thankfull these evil-doers don't direct their energy toward making their own place better, more creative?
So much potentially excellant energy gets wasted and perverted in confrontational BS.

06-21-2008, 08:44 AM
I have.Like trying to prevent other haunts from opening by manipulating inspecters.That's all I will say.:mad:

06-21-2008, 09:43 AM
I have.Like trying to prevent other haunts from opening by manipulating inspecters.

With all due respect...


That is LOW, DOWN and DIRTY. ...and perhaps illegal if bribery involving money or business favors are involved.

We've cross-promo'ed with other local haunts that would be considered competition but we feel if we can all help each other out we ALL do well - especially in our market most people will hit at least 2 haunts a night if they are close enough. Even if there was a haunt owner I "hated" I couldn't imagine doing something like that!?! Just wrong.

06-21-2008, 09:53 AM
No. I am not kidding.

06-21-2008, 10:03 AM
I've dealt with actor's from one other haunt coming through and insulting all the actors, and messing with props. Luckily, they all wore their haunt's shirts, so it was easy for security to spot them and deal with it.

That's only one haunt, luckily, most others are really friendly to each other and the actors will play at the different haunts. We're al in this industry together.

Nicole, I agree with your comment 100%. It's one thing to not like another haunt, but to try to have it shut down?! Wouldn't your time and energy be better spent trying to improve your own show and obliterate the competition tha tway, rather than sneakily destroying their business?

06-21-2008, 02:51 PM
Messing with another haunt only hurts yourself. I think many owners would be surprised at how little thought customers give to which one is which, who owns them, etc. So if one tries to hurt another or one puts on a bad show or something bad happens at one, potential patrons don't differentiate, get them mixed up, and decide not to go to any of them this year. Anyone having problems should point that out to their competitors.

And people aren't stupid. Anyone who has ever been in sales knows one of the cardinal rules is not to bad-mouth your competition. You can compare your product or service favorably to the other, but don't knock it. Customers aren't impressed, and are even less likely to buy yours than they were before you walked in.

Think about Coke and Pepsi. They each say theirs tastes better than the other, but they don't say the other tastes bad. That would hurt the whole soft drink industry. Besides turning off customers, that has another effect. If Coke says that Pepsi tastes like urine, buyers would have to wonder just how little a step up Coke is to taste better than that. In that case Coke isn't saying that they taste really, really good; just that it tastes better than that other crap. It's a dangerous road to start down.

No offense to either Coke or Pepsi.

Jim Warfield
06-21-2008, 05:36 PM
I do know what urine does taste like. (not chicken)
It was three-day old, warm urine. No it was not a college frat prank.
Never the less my one time exposure did not hook me for life, no cravings, no habit.
Didn't resemble Coke or Pepsi, Peep-si, maybe?

I was very thirsty it was dark, enough said.

06-21-2008, 08:48 PM
We've been lucky enough to be free of any illegal or harmful activity from other haunted attractions, and lucky enough to work with great events such as 100 Acre Manor and Castle Blood on some informal cross-marketing ... but we have endured some obnoxious bevavior form other event owners whom shall remain nameless.

For example:

I know that representatives from one semi-local haunted attraction made an impression on our cast last year ... mostly by shinning flashlights in their faces, making rude comments, and disrupting the throughput of the entire attraction just so that they could spend some extra time stading still to study some of our props up close. (And yes, they got in for free since they made sure to hit us up before going inside)

We also had representatives from another semi-local event pass out flyers for their event in our lobby, loudly voice bogus safety concerns to customers, and also attempt to recruit our actors while they were actually performing in the house. Yes, that means that they were passing out flyers to actors while walking through our attraction. (Also comped tickets)

Then there was the haunt worker a few years ago who walked through the haunt while on his cell phone, giving a play-by-play to someone back at his attraction.

Or the guy in who requested VIP access since he was the editor of Hauntworld magainze.... and yet strangely looked nothing like Larry Kirchner.

By the way, if you do decide to visit another haunt and engage in such obnoxious behavior - you might want to:

a) Not wear a jacket with your logo all over it.

b) Not do it in an attraction with a video-surveillance security system capable of recording any and all obnoxious behavior to a permanent dvd archive.

Killer Katie
06-21-2008, 08:55 PM
I have taken the actors I worked with to other haunts and INSISTED that they behave like respectable adults. No matter how bad they think something looks or how horrible the actors - keep it to yourself, then have a "debriefing".
Unfortunaltely there are what i call rogues who were raised by animals and ruin the actors moods, the atmosphere and in general make themsleves look like asses.
In my opinion - it all boils down to the TOTAL lack of respect that seems to be taking the country by storm.
What jerks...

06-22-2008, 08:22 AM
There is just something about a haunted house that makes people act in a way they normally wouldn't. Most people wouldn't do things like this in a mall or movie theatre, but they will in a haunted house. We've never had any trouble with other haunts at The Darkness that I know of...but we get plenty of trouble from the average customer. I mean, a short list of some of the stupid stuff I have seen and had to deal with would include:

A couple sneaking into the bathroom scene in the haunt to "fool around"

A couple who stepped right into the actor/staff entrance to the haunt and proceeded to "fool around" right there.

A man who decided to urinate in the corner of one of the rooms.

A man who chose to light up some pot while wlking through the haunt.

Several women who repeatedly exposed their breasts to our actors.

Customers who ahv tried to walk off with everything from foam skulls to enitre bodies.

A guy who slipped out of his group and hid in the house. We couldn't find him for 20 minutes.

And that doesn't include the daily garbage of people sneaking in booze or flashlights or cameras or causing fights... It's stupid.

Jim Warfield
06-22-2008, 10:00 AM
Financially it was real nice this last weekend, but we did have the problems brought on by "THE STUPID", I don't mean people misfortunate who have diminished capacity I mean the normal people who seem to need attention for screwing up.
"You didn't have a sign on that little antique metal car that told me I shouldn't sit in/and on it!"
I guess I needed some signs for this person also saying "Do Not Chase the Cats in the parking lot"
"Do not pick up everything that is not bolted down, carry it around, then deposit it somewhere else "
"Do not use the "F" word in a room full of very young patrons"
"Do Not jabber like an idiot when I have warned you numerous times that you are disturbing the rest of the customers"
"Do Not Come Back"
We think this same group were the ones walkiong two blocks from here who may have been caught on the Sherriff's surveilance camera taking a shovel from a person's porch, then shoving it down a United States Post Office Mailbox on the corner, isn't that a Federal offense? Hope so.

06-22-2008, 11:03 AM
I have.Like trying to prevent other haunts from opening by manipulating inspecters.That's all I will say.:mad:

Speaking from experience.
The above statement is ONE of the many reason I left haunting along with several of my friends.

Plus my experience I have garnered from the years has helped me in my new hobby.

06-22-2008, 07:10 PM
People like that guy can't see the big picture and RUIN the overall industry... THEY SUCK.

That is sad you had to leave the industry because of a LOSERS like that.

Greg Chrise
06-22-2008, 07:11 PM
Just got the mail!

Thanks for the shovel!

Jim Warfield
06-22-2008, 07:17 PM
Now YOUR fingerprints are all over it!
Plead guilty Gregg, the Feds might go easier on you if you do.
Maybe it was fate's way of pushing you to do more problem-solving, use the shovel, use the shovel, bury them deep!

Mr Nightmarez
06-23-2008, 10:19 AM
In the business world you should not worry about the competition but your own product and business... So I try to keep that in mind when in the Haunt World!

I've had the building, fire, electrical inspectors all called on opening night - But I gladly open the doors and show I'm within code... I use to think of things and ways to get even... then I realized I should use the same practices I do in Business!

Promote yourself and forget the competition - recognize they are there and keep tabs on them - sure... but don't fret and attempt to ruin them - promote yourself.

In the long run - it will all work out!

We do trade for tickets and I take my crew to visit other haunts. (Normally we are open when everyone else is open - but a few are able to work nights w/ us)
Ok - Long story ending...
We tell our crew to acknowledge great detail, actors and say nothing if they can't say anything nice. *(PERIOD)*
I have been asked "What did you think" "How was it" by other owners... And I give honest answers. I point out the good and leave the rest silent. Except for one time - when a guy refused to let me leave until I told him my HONEST opinion...
Which I sighed...and responded : "I hate this style haunted house, I was bored, and ready to leave 1/2 way through... Detail and some actors were good, but the rest was meaningless and frustrating..."

Some people may despise or dislike what I do... So be it and that's what makes the industry great - each haunt has a little different offering - something better for some - something less for others. We are all a part of the same industry serving a different style or flavor...
Keep the customer in mind and do your best - Competition? There's no competition We are merely providing a different style of the same product...
We are all attempting to have the same end result. A happy customer.

Sorry to rant there... :)

06-23-2008, 11:49 AM
Mr. Nightmarez - Here here!

Well said! The whole "out to ruin" someone else approach is the complete asinine way of approaching the business and in the end hurts the industry. It doesn't foster healthy competition thus not allowing for haunts to improve year after year. Shady practices are wrong - life has a way of working itself out with those who don't play fair - Karma's a you know what. (sorry, I still just can't believe that earlier post about "manipulating inspectors so a competitor couldn't open.")

Kevin Dells
06-23-2008, 01:28 PM
When i was living west of Chicago and haunting a few years ago there seemed to be a bad case of "mimic what i do at my haunt!"

While this is not a very smart approach to having haunts miles within each other to have the same scares, same themes and same rooms it is what happened and customers actually did notice this and thought lame upon both haunts. Didn't matter who thought an idea up first, their both lame!

Seems to be pretty normal because now im all the way down in North Carolina it's happening all over with our crosstown haunt (and NO this is not spookywoods!).

We did comp their entire crew last year at the beggining of the year and yes they were asses to our actors and our patrons saying the childish lines like "our haunt down the street is so much better!"

The fun part is on our night off we wanted to see their show and we preach to our people the keep your mouth shut until we get back then debreif as well.
(Tony all good on your haunt, we actually had to talk about stepping up our show after seeing yours, a very positive learning experience actually!)

But when we got to their ticket booth we were denied any comp anything, so a few did pay and go through just to see a haunt with almost every theme we had yet smaller chessier scale.

Back in the Chicago area there was a lot of tensions and bashing going on back a few years ago. There were a few haunt owners that had parted ways and things did turn ugly.

Things were being posted so maliciously that Adam Drendel had to re work his website to better patrol these problems because over all when a customer goes on a search engine type website and reads a bunch of bad posting under made up usernames it makes ALL the haunts look bad.

This had hit a boiling point by 2004 so myself, Ken Spriggs and Nicole who has posted here started Knowledge for the Carnage. This was an off season mini-camp for anybody haunt, including actors and make up seminars, haunt tours, and lunch. We kept the cost very minimum, it was totally non for profit, it was a great way to keep your own actors busy,together and learning.

Last but not least it put all haunts that did show up face to face on level ground. What all our actors learned was that we all shared the passion of haunting, we were all very much alike even though we were from different backgrounds and city's, we all had great experiences to share, and lastly it gave all the owners a huge open crowd to address with their concerns for the industry in our area from haunt bashing.

Knowledge for the Carnage worked a LOT better than we ever anticipated, the turnouts were huge! People would come from as far as 4 hours away by carloads to attend (XXXDIRK,Ron from Theater of Lost Souls) eneded up being very good freinds with myself, ken, nicole and many others!

It opened up a lot of doors for people as well, from 2004 on my crew would help out Dream Reapers (Kens haunt) during Transworld. My crew would go up and help Rons crew train and learn new building techniques which also lead to campouts with both crews and eventually become a haunt on our touring schedule when we lost our lease and took to the road.

The bashing seemed to become almost non exsistant because now so many were aware of it, had become freinds in combat, and just wouldn't accept it by anybody.

After the entire Knowledge for the Carnage experience i would more than suggest it for areas who have these kind of problems and relationships, it worked thats all there is to it. Adams boards are now civil again.

And the kicker is that haunt that used to mimic/bash our haunt back up north i now talk to them a couple times a week, we have become very good freinds and my daughter may even go work with them this October!!

Bottom line! (and this goes a lot to the guy who's trying to get other haunts shut down as a way of giving himself more bussiness)

It dosen't work that way, you want a bunch of great haunts in your area! You want to cross promote as people said, your creating an area where people will drive up to 100 miles away because there are 2-3 great haunts to squeeze into one night. If you have the only haunt for miles and miles yeah you may get the locals but thats it!
Your taking away the celebration of Haunted Houses and just offering yours and unless you own the Big Daddy haunt that everybody Must See, your just killing your own bussiness!

Think about it this way, you have a good haunt and the two guys down the road do as well. That carload of people drive 100+ miles to see your haunt that they found on a search engine website go through and love it! They come out and see haunts vouchers that are nearby and go visit them. So by the end of the night that group has hit three haunts, and has had a great full night of fun. Guess what these roadtrips to do this will more than likely become a yearly tradition.

If anybodys interested in learning more about Knowledge for the Carnage please just drop myself, Nicole, Ken and even Ron a PM we'll gladly fill you in on the details,we"ll tell you how we pulled it off as it's very much worth sharing

06-23-2008, 01:49 PM
Bamasmith was saying we bribed the Firemarshall thats not the case. What he was saying is our competition used their friendship and a lil donation to try to have us shut down when we went pro. We were shut down for 9 weeks told we had to have an Architect, even though we were in the county and not 1 other business has had to have one. Well we got one. Then they said we had to have a building inspector. We did that. Then they said we had to have a sprinkler system, We installed that. They tried very hard to prevent us from opening but in the end we did and they can never come back to us for any of those reasons. Funny thing our competition did not have any of this either and on their 2nd night open after 10 years of not having it guess what ? they got shut down. I felt bad for them but you know what? Let me tell you what goes around comes around. And after they turned us in we still never turned them in. The state firemarshall went around and said if we had to do it everyone was gonna do it and they showed up there and they did not have it and could not afford to do it so they are no longer in business. So it was a blessing we just did not know it at the time. I hope that clears up any confusion. Shane Graystone Manor

06-23-2008, 01:55 PM
I had to have an architect, building inspector, and fire sprinkler. I figured it was normal. There must be more to your story then just having to have these three things.

06-23-2008, 03:06 PM
There is Mindtumorread what I said was our competition was friends with the fire marshall and we had to go above and beyond what would be normal! Also we were in the county not the city and the county and city has different rules. But then again when your a special amusment they are cracking down. But no matter what we did they tried to throw another you need to do this and that.... BECAUSE AGAIN OUR COMPETATOR WAS FRIENDS WITH THE FIRE MARSHALL!!! Shane

06-23-2008, 03:07 PM
A couple of these comments remind me of a story I saw on a business TV show about Subway and Quiznos sandwich shops. When one of them opened in a new town or area, the other would open nearby. They figured that the other had done the market research already and decided that the business would work there and decided to jump on the bandwagon. The interesting thing was that this created an increased market for sandwiches, as opposed to burgers or tacos, and both did well.

06-23-2008, 06:55 PM
Mr. Nightmarez knows of whom I was speaking and fortunate for him had the deep pockets behind him to combat that individual.

Us on the other hand were in it for the fun and did not have $$$ to combat the underhanded tactics. Our group has since gone back to our humble beginnings of "yard haunting" and last year we had F-U-N. I broke out my Paranormal Investigation Groups video system to use for surveillance (boo cam).

But as for me, I am really happy playing with REAL haunted houses all year round.

06-24-2008, 11:58 AM
I know that representatives from one semi-local haunted attraction made an impression on our cast last year ... mostly by shinning flashlights in their faces, making rude comments, and disrupting the throughput of the entire attraction just so that they could spend some extra time stading still to study some of our props up close.

I have a feeling I know exactly who you are talking about, we had a few do the same thing.

It seems so much easier to just cooperate, if the same group had shown up and been polite and friendly we probably would have invited them to stick around after closing and taken them back through without the crowd for a private tour let by the tech guys.

06-24-2008, 12:38 PM
I'm not sure why there's this "gang" mentality amongst actors (and sometimes owners). That's why we started the K4tC workshops that Kevin referred to earlier. It really broke down barriers and friendships were made and you could see the quality amongst all actors go up across the board at all of the haunts. Cooperation SO much easier, it's also cheaper (no one will come in and break your things) and everyone wins.

Jim Warfield
06-24-2008, 05:44 PM
Might part of the success be found in the group because the people who were the nasty boys decided not to bother to show up?
Or maybe they couldn't make bail to be there?

06-24-2008, 08:22 PM
:) Lol, no not that bad! :) from what I understood and had seen there was some "bad blood" and trash talking amongst folks on boards between haunts (some other deeper stuff I wasn't privy to) and these individuals actually showed up and after some talking and hanging out - ended up actually liking each-other. I don't think they are the "best of friends" but they are at least civil and respect each other as haunters and their craft is better for it.