View Full Version : How Old Are Your Actors?

07-12-2008, 06:37 PM
I am starting this thread thanks to little tittie tease Tyler. He informed me today that he was a professional who started working in a professional Haunt at the ripe old age of 8!! Yes you are reading this correct I said rather he said 8. Now moving on to the question. Do you guys that have pro haunts just accept any age? Graystone Manor has set an age limit of 21 although we do have some that are 18 and 19 because they are good and rather mature but our general rule is 21. We would never allow an 8 year old to even enter the haunt without a parent or legal guardian. I want to hear from Larry, Ben, Sean, Paul, all of you professional haunt owners out there. It just blows my mind that either Tyler has lied to make his years as a haunter look better. Or the haunt that allowed an 8 year old is not much of a haunt. I am serious what is the age limit in your haunts? Shane

Jim Warfield
07-12-2008, 07:05 PM
It can be decided by answering just one question. Who might more be able to take a punch from a drunk? An 8 yr. old or a 21 yr. old?
"Brave" victim-seeking drunks always punch the little person in the costume or mask or make up, but yet they claim it was a mistake because they were "drunk"!?
If they were really drunk they would punch the big person and suffer the consequences of strong physical retaliation upon their person. "Take it like a Man!"
Smaller, younger kids could be very scary if used correctly and kept out of harm's way, but then..there is always that dangerous possibility of serious physical harm...

07-12-2008, 09:17 PM

Keep in mind, it was my grandparents haunt... so family, yes! But! If one ran a true business and paid his/her said actors, you COULD actually hire an actor at the age of 15 or 16 depending on the worker laws in your state. I know for a fact that 'some' theme parks has hired people as young as 16! -Tyler

07-12-2008, 10:16 PM
under 18 only if they have adult family working as well

07-12-2008, 10:19 PM
16 or older, but 16-17 have to have a parents permission slip signed. I did once have my 15 year old cousin work but that was the only exception.

Greg Chrise
07-12-2008, 10:44 PM
Not only mine but a few haunts in Texas I would still consider very pro have younger kids in them. It does go with themes to have children wandering around, infact it is striking to have one with "dead" make up looking through openings and following you along to look at you further in other holes or to wander across the path out on a trail.

Many haunted houses have customers that are families rather than the young punk drunks. One I watched the line out of 400 people waiting, only 2 where azzholes. And most of the nights there were no Azzholes at all.

Yet, it is very common in these parts to have someone claim expertise from an early age and all they really did was hold grandpa's beer while he measured things. In a way it is all very educational but in actual practice there is no ability to actually do things. Of course no one wants to deal with the reality that they don't really know something, don't really have the skills or thanks to grandpa, they can't really use their hands and stand in the way of people that can do things. Everyone wants to at least feel like they are somebody.

Maybe at 12 I watched my grandfathers trials and tribulations building swimming pools and servicing power plants, 2 extremes of engineering. Over the years on my own just knowing where the light switch was in the building had some impressive occupations and not just got hired but full filled the jobs for 5 to 8 years.

I would also consider what happens in a haunted house not to be anywhere as critical a domestic threat as someone not knowing what they are doing teaking the instrumentation to a full blown 5 stack power plant. Testing explosives or adding a million pounds of concrete to the side of a hill above a road way.

It runs the full gambit of expected behavior and real grasp of skills that in todays world so many young people feel they get paid just because they showed up and watched. At some point to keep this identity they have to do something. How long have they been allowed once matured to continue to hang around is a testiment to real experience.

07-12-2008, 11:35 PM

I know i havent been around much but i started at the age of 8 also..although my dad was beside me and with me the whole time.

07-12-2008, 11:53 PM
I got all of you beat. I got a rat working for me this year that is not even 2 years old. And, if it works hard, and stays away from stray cats, I foresee it rising to the top of the haunt business. I think it may even have plans for its own tradeshow in 2010.

07-13-2008, 04:29 PM
The longest running haunted attraction in our area does NOT pay actors and, at one time, took 8 and 10 year olds as actors. Now, his limit is 13. It's a babysitting service. Kids work and don't get paid. Their parents drop them off and leave them run. The stingy owner begrudges feeding his actors a meal in the middle of the show and giving them bathroom breaks. His extent of makeup is throwing a 15 year old in a mask and cape. He has been WITNESSED by many people taking money from the till for himself, and yet he's been in business (and this attraction IS a business built to support a non-profit organization selling thousands of tix a night in the final week) for over 25 years. I know this because I worked there at 10. And every other year or so til I was 18. I'm 38 and I really do consider myself having 28 years experience in this business. I learned alot at that Gawdawful place. I learned what NOT to do so when I started my home haunt and later started designing haunted attractions for local non-profits, I was prepared. There are now 3 haunted attractions in my area that bring in crowds and he's STILL one of them.
The only reason he still has anyone coming is because he was alone in the industry in this podunk area for 20 years. I can honestly say, I was glad to see the others come along and take "haunting" a little more seriously! LOL


07-13-2008, 05:31 PM
I am shocked at kids being allowed to work in haunts. God for bid there is an older perv or sex offender in your mist! I myself only see 8 year olds as a libility not to mention I run a haunted house not a day care. Oh well Tyler all I can say to this is I am shocked and will say I was dead wrong on this one. Shane

07-13-2008, 06:07 PM
I know last year we had a few 12 and 13 year old actors and then 15 and 16 year olds only because we where hurting for help. Everything is volunteer so we took who ever was interested.

Jim Warfield
07-13-2008, 06:34 PM
Of course one of the biggest employee problems is how they handle temptation in a semi-dark room.
How they handle temptation after working long hours ?
Some people get all caught up in the mood of the character and sort of might forget who they actually are as far as a real person goes, that boring under layment of reliable human fabric that holds us in-check so we can continue to enjoy a normal society.

Dr. Giggles
07-13-2008, 07:04 PM
Im not going to lie. I let kids of pretty much any age participate in my haunt. However my haunt is volunteer run i get LOTS of requests from kids who arent that mature. As long as there parent signs a permission slip and i have talked to them, and there kids maintains ATLEAST a 3.0 GPA ((or its 3.0 when he enters the haunt to volunteer)) and that the kid does conduct himself in a mature and calm manner...when not scaring people of course, he can go crazy then. But yeah as long as their mature, doing ok in school, and their parents say its cool, i have NO problem with it.

Thats just my two cents of course.

-Zackary J

Jim Warfield
07-13-2008, 09:54 PM
Does your charity haunt close around 9pm? I have heard of some that close that early to avoid most of a night's people problems that always seem to happen.

Dr. Giggles
07-13-2008, 09:57 PM
We close actually around 1:00 or whenever the people stop coming. I mean we arent going to stay open for people that arent there. But i make sure the kids are mature enough to handle the long hours. Also i dont accept kid volunteers on school nights has to be a friday saturday or sunday night.

-Zackary J

07-14-2008, 12:24 PM
To each there own..
To be a member of our cast they must be at least 19 ( but like them to be over 21) with some type of training. We are not babysitters! We have a background check done with their approval to see just who we have working at our place..You can't be too careful..

07-14-2008, 07:16 PM
I got all of you beat. I got a rat working for me this year that is not even 2 years old. And, if it works hard, and stays away from stray cats, I foresee it rising to the top of the haunt business. I think it may even have plans for its own tradeshow in 2010.

Don't push things too much, most people will tell you that you should be at least 6 or 7 before starting your own tradeshow.

07-14-2008, 07:17 PM
I got all of you beat. I got a rat working for me this year that is not even 2 years old. And, if it works hard, and stays away from stray cats, I foresee it rising to the top of the haunt business. I think it may even have plans for its own tradeshow in 2010.

Don't push things too much, most people will tell you that you should be at least 6 or 7 before starting your own tradeshow.

07-16-2008, 05:39 AM
I run a charity haunt for a local youth club. Last year I used my 12 year old daughter and 5 of her friends. I also used the club's director's son at 13 years old and 7-8 of his friends. We had 15-20 16 to 21 year olds, no problems from them except a few of them texting during the haunt. This year, cell phones get checked in when they arrive.

We are open 7-11 only Fri and Sat nights in Oct. No drunks last year, but that was our first year.

I did not allow the kids to be in the maze or in contact with guest. The kids were behind walls mostly. They might open a door and shout, but then close it again.

I used the kids to run the air hose and pull the ropes on some of the props.

Our biggest problem with kids was keeping them in place. We have 4 supervisors in costume that roam around with water bottles and granola bars for the kids, and adults. We checked on each kid after every 2-3 groups went through. Mostly to make sure they were still there, but also to make sure they were OK.