View Full Version : Is there any law?

Dr. Giggles
07-05-2008, 08:27 PM
Hey everybody,

Alright this is what i was looking to do. This year we have secured a loan and we have a huge haunt. We have all the fog machines strobe lights and props that we will need we even have all the actors set up. I was planning on having 1 or 2 people in full costume walk around like the mall or something just scaring people, and kind of getting tourist traffic to lean towards our haunt. Does anyone know iff there are ANY laws against this? Or any restrictions or curfews i should know about? I tried searching it, and it doesnt work.

Thanks very much guys, really appreciate all the help.

-Zackary J

07-05-2008, 08:43 PM
The main law you will probably need to be concerned with is trespassing. I assume that you will be asking the mall for permission?

If you have anyone walking around in costume anywhere, go down to the police station first (don't call) and tell them what you are doing so it doesn't come as a surprise. A surprise for them will work out badly for you.

If you get everything worked out, carefully think about the type of scares you are going to do. People going to your house expect to be scared. The person that throws seven dollars worth of ice cream when you sneak up on them at the mall won't be expecting it and will want to be reimbursed.

I have done this before and set it up with someone dragging along a shackled creature. This gets just as much attention and the person doing the leading can pass out flyers for your haunt (get permission before handing out the flyers since many of them will end up on the ground/floor).

Think very carefully about having someone sneaking around scaring people. Besides being annoying to some, you need to get the word out about your event. It might be fun for the person doing the scaring but if you alienate potential customers and have no effective way of telling them about your attraction it could be a waste of time.

Dr. Giggles
07-05-2008, 08:54 PM
Oh yes of course, i have already contacted the mall and they have agreed to allow my actors a 3 hours period where they can roam, and pass out flyers. And im thinking that i will probably have them just be creepy and hand out flyers instead of sneaking up on guesst and physically trying to scare them. And i already planned on it, but i was just wondering if there is anything im violatin if i have permission. Like is their any liability with my actors being out there like if they get hurt can they sue me? If someone else gets hurt can they sue me ?

Thanks for the help, and advice.

-Zackary J

07-05-2008, 11:33 PM
Sorry, my comments probably came across as sarcastic. That's because I have seen too many people do this and rather than draw customers in to the haunt they just act totally rude, annoying and obnoxious. Make sure that whoever is in that costume understands why they are in it, what their purpose is and what they can and can't do. Have them walk around the area without a mask on for a while so they can see what the floor is like and if there are any obstacles that they might not notice with the mask.

Personally I would stay away from the scaring completely. What if the person being scared trips? What if they jump back and knock down an elderly person not even involved in the scare?

What if the person in costume can't see very well and bumps into someone? "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendent sent this employee out knowing full well that there were visibility problems with the costume. His callous disregard for the safety of others demands that you award my poor, crippled client the maximum award."

Can the actors sue you if they get hurt? I would count on it.

If anyone else gets hurt can they sue you? Again, they probably will. Especially if they have medical bills. In this day and age you don't even have to win a lawsuit like this. Oftentimes a business will pay money just to stop a lawsuit, and lawyers know this.

Sorry, I'm sure this sounds pretty scary (How about having a lawyer in your haunt? That would probably terrify some people) but these are the times we live in. I think the best use of a costumed character would be as a walking billboard.

07-05-2008, 11:34 PM
And before anyone jumps me for being too negative, note that Zackary lives in California - birthplace of the frivolous lawsuit.

07-06-2008, 06:33 AM
Its a bad idea to have them dressed up. I assure you even if the mall allows you three hours or so in an hour you will be asked to leave. I have seen this many times. It surprises me that the mall would even allow you to do this. My company has contracts with many malls here in the south and I guarantee not a one would allow this. People dressed up in public is not the answer you will offend more than you will bring in especailly in a mall. The malls for the most part don't have haunted house crowds. Malls usually are a more of a up scale crowd. What I would do if I was going to do it at the mall is just place flyers on the windshields of the cars out in the parking lot. This way it offends no one and they will see it when they get in their car. Also your annual fair is another great place to do this people who go to fairs go to haunts. You local high school football games is another great place. Bottom line there are much better places to go to advertize than the mall but where ever you go I don't think having them dressed in costume is the answer. Shane

Jim Warfield
07-06-2008, 06:51 AM
We heard someone say as the 5 of us limped out onto the football half-time field. The stands emptied we had to run for our lives!
After physically fighting off a drunk trying to punch me and my Mummy mask only had one real eye hole, we got into the car , the car was surrounded, the crowd began rocking the car almost upsetting it (A small Mustang), we finally got away.
This happened right here in little ol Mount Carroll, we were adveertising our JC haunted house.
The earlier you go out in costume the more people won't like it, or so it seemed.
Try to get a car or a float into the Homecoming parade instead.

Frighteners Entertainment
07-06-2008, 07:26 AM
That is a great idea Jim!!

Try to get a car or a float into the Homecoming parade instead.

07-06-2008, 08:35 AM
The city of San Diego has a law against the passing out of flyers.

07-06-2008, 10:04 AM
I worked for a haunt that was located inside a mall years ago. An I was dressed up walking around in the mall part with a few other actors. I remember a security guard telling us we had to go back to the haunt and not walk around the mall.

Greg Chrise
07-06-2008, 12:02 PM
Inside the door ways coming into the mall you put a butler figure or frankenstien or skeleton holding fliers. Something like a Dragula car in one of the big lobbies again with fliers and arrows to the haunt. It doesn't even have to be a functioning car if it looks cool, just parts all bolted together and painted.

07-07-2008, 05:41 PM
I don't know if California is the birthplace of the frivolous lawsuit?

Our Lawyers have just Perfected to an obscene art form...

(13yr old.....If you touch me, I'm calling my lawyer)
^ can be heard every night @ my Haunt.....

Jim Warfield
07-07-2008, 09:30 PM
When I hear this (usually from a 14 yr. old girl) I turn on all the house lights and tell them that if they really think like that, that they can leave the building NOW!
And I am serious but then they back down real quick.

07-08-2008, 09:43 PM
For that info... All you have to do is contact your own local law enforcement and see what they can do with you, depends what city and state you live in... For those fog machines, if they are large, all you have to do is ask everyone in your own neighborhood to see they will not be bothered at all... For lights, do the same thing, ask your neighborhoods, even the police too! But please do NOT TRUST cops at all because they always give out B.S. info, you know? Just ignore!!!

I have fog machine, I have light strobes, I have hanging props and life-size props, etc... One time I had a corpse with blood splattering all over the body layin in the coffin, when someone called the cops, they came over my place and took looking around... Nuthin's wrong!!! They laught and left my place. BUT they told me it's still illegal! WHY???? They told me it's kinda fake call, even if it looks REAL!!! WTF???

Well, just advice you to do what you want to do, and be extremely careful! Some laws are dumb!!!

Dr. Giggles
07-09-2008, 08:36 AM
Alright everybody thanks for all your advice, and based on what iv read i dont think im going to send out some people in masks, just because of the liability and all that. But thanks again for everyones advice and help!

-Zackary J

damon carson
07-09-2008, 10:03 AM
Get permission where ever you do this. Tell them you want to do it in costume. You cant really go scaring children ect. Some parents are overly protective and mainly assholes. You may not even try to scare them and they see you in costume and the kid starts crying. Then you got the the law there. And then the cops like well I cant really do anything it isnt illegal to be dressed up but your gonna have to leave. Trust me this stupid thing happened to us at a festival where we had permission. Ridiculous!