View Full Version : can this be too big?

07-04-2008, 09:51 PM
for our home haunt this year , we have enough funds and time to make it possibly the largest home haunt ever. I talked about it in the thread called "very proud" how were having tons of news crews and newspapers coming out. However our plans leave us with a few problems.

We dont have enough money to make this haunted house as detailed as i know we are capable of making it and keep it as big as we want.
So im left with a choose, do i want a regular sized home haunt that is very detailed and very sturdy, or do i want something a little less detailed but just as intense and have it be unbelievably large.

Dr. Giggles
07-04-2008, 10:24 PM
Honestly Detail hands down, they get crowds and have them begging for more. My haunts arent HUGE but they are detailed as possible. I feel that it enhances the customers experience when your as detailed as possible. It helps to make the haunt more realistic and scary as well. It also makes it look like you put a LOT of work into it, rather then big and kind of thrown together((Not saying you do this but it may look like it)). Big un detailed haunts can tend to look rather sloppy.

But then again all this is just based on my personal experience and opinions, so do which ever you think achieves the scare you are looking to get from your Costumers.

I dont know if it helped but i hope it did.
-Zackary J

07-05-2008, 10:39 AM
People that are coming out of a haunted house holding their chest because their heart was just pounding like crazy is what we all want. DETAILS in set design doesnt give that to them. If you can detail some things out and really focus on clever set ups and big scares... well thats what they remember. Thats what they want. NOT how cool the book case looked.

07-05-2008, 10:49 AM
But a haunt with little or NO detail... is NOT scary at all, no matter how much work goes into it. Without detail, the overall value of your haunt goes down... if a customer were to walk through and see plastic, black walls, wal-mart props and teenage actors... they WILL NOT be scared at all.

So I vote... DETAIL! DETAIL! DETAIL!!!! -Tyler

07-05-2008, 11:02 AM
Oh yea i agree your props have to be really good or it doesnt work. You cant have cheap plastic skeletons or any of that crap. I think if you spend all your time on DETAILS in set design and dont have any good set ups whats the point?

07-05-2008, 01:09 PM

It's always expandable for future years if you have a solid base. Too many times I've seen home haunts that are huge in square feet, but it is a black plastic nightmare, you can't wait to get out simply because of the lack of attention put into everything. In this case, the shorter haunts always win because it's much more engaging for the audience.

You'll always have people who will be psyched with whatever you do, but don't let them talk you out of going above and beyond expectation.

Jim Warfield
07-05-2008, 02:06 PM
Unfortunately it seems to me (after talking to so many customers here over 20 years) that many haunt customers arrive at the haunt with very few or very low expectations, all from past disappointments.
It's sort of like the same reason teenagers go see a movie 1) it's "Something" to do.
2) It's a social outing to spend time with their friends.
So go ahead, do your very creative and nutty best , impress and distract them with detail to set up the scare and they will be remembering both.
Of course all this is moot if they are just screaming, totally distracted younger teens with a 2 second attention span.
To get that attention you have to prove to them that you are the one in control, control of everything(almost) whether that have to sit or stand wait or run, dark or darker rooms.
This is when a manual over-ride to activate some displays in invauable to make it work for certain people in the group who have not yet been impressed or scared.
Last night a young man was hanging back perpetually so I waited until he passed within range and "Got" him!
His eyes bugged out, his head jerked back and then he knew.....that I knew.
Why else did I wait for all those girls to pass by?
(Insert evil laugh here~)

07-05-2008, 06:33 PM
Deffinately wanna focus on detail.

Yeah, you're gonna have camera crews come out, and naturally you wanna impress the viewers with "The largest home haunt", but it's even more effective to have stuff around every corner and all over the place.
Making it larger and stretching it out, means your gonna have long hallways connecting the rooms. These long hallways with nothing in them, can deaden the mood, and the scare factor.

Last year, I was 2000 ft. smaller than the guy down the road(I was only 3000 sq. ft.), but I filled it with tons of stuff, everywhere.

I had quite a bit more people show up, loving the fact that the action didnt stop, from beginning to end.

Greg Chrise
07-05-2008, 10:34 PM
Scary comes from the mind of the customer, unless you are a brain surgeon there is no way to put that in there, it must be facilitated. I go with smaller with greater detail. This inspires repeat customers, in the same or future seasons just to see more of the detail they may have missed. Also, in general, any time you see a news report about how terrible some Halloween yard display or billboard is, what has been offered looks pretty retarded. The general public is not after halloween or haunted so much as they are opposed to blatant displays of undetailed, thrown together crap.

It is more like judging wether your grass is properly cut and hedges trimmed vs. wether you have a collection of unregistered cars on blocks in the yard. If it appears great effort is invested it will pass. If it looks like you just maxed out your home depot card to be a bother, it will be treated as such.

07-05-2008, 11:09 PM
There are a couple of things you can still do.

One is to make the maze narrower and darker so that your patrons don't have as much to take in. I have seen lots of detail work that hardly anyone ever noticed. Also be sure you scare people forward and put the detail towards the front so you aren't wasting money/props in the back of a room where no one can see it.

There is also a lot of time left. I know you still have a lot to do but there are lots of things you can build that look good that don't cost much or anything.

just my two cents.

07-06-2008, 07:47 AM

you've had your home haunt before I take it, correct? What were your guests reactions when they left? Were they scared? Did anyone complain about the detail or lack of scares?

If you can, think back on reactions and comments from your last years guests. They are the ones you are catering to -- let their last season's reactions determine your next moves.

For me, I love scary. I'm not a detailed person at all. It's not that I wouldn't like to have lots of it, but it's just not my vorte. Thank goodness I'm not alone with this season's haunt -- perhaps there will be time for those who are a little bit more detailed oriented to work their magic.

07-06-2008, 01:29 PM
This is a quote from someone and I can not remember who it was, I think it was Rob Zombie. " Detail is not noticed until it is not there" go with detail.