View Full Version : Does your haunt allow actors to touch?

Evilution Unlimited
10-23-2008, 11:30 AM
Way back when all haunts were touching. Then most had it a big no no. Now it seems to be making a comeback. So which is it? For those that do allow touching, what problems have you seen from it if any and what does it do to your insurance?

Jim Warfield
10-23-2008, 12:25 PM
Touching is not something you want just anyone actively pursuing as far as your hired helpers go.
As I am placing the customers in nearly total restraint gear making them virtually helpless, some of them ask why?
I tell them I have to hire some guys who just got released from prison and they just want to touch some of the girls a little bit but don't want to get punched or kicked as they do this.
For some basic reason my words to this effect never seem to calm the victims very much?

Killer Katie
10-23-2008, 10:04 PM
People are sue happy and way over sensitive. People will sue over the slightest brush, a drop of water on their jacket, a dirty look from an actor. My theory is to keep at arms length. This not only stops them from touching the actor, it also keeps them far enough away (I said in theory... lol) so they don't get hit either. I think touching invites so many problems and headaches, it's totally not worth it.

10-24-2008, 02:08 PM
In 2008 NO! In 1988 YES!

Funny thing is people want to be touched because I'm asked over and over again (LOL) where is the haunt where they can touch you or grab you... I think people are looking for that super extreme haunted house, but as we all know the liability involved is well to much.

The first thing you'll hear is some girl was groped and well then you have an issue... Larry

10-24-2008, 02:41 PM
I was gonna say what Larry said.

If a girl gets grabbed or touched and she comes out saying she's gonna sue... if it does go further than that and goes to court, it's a he-said-she-said ordeal.

The actor says he grabbed her shoulder, and she says he grabbed her breast. With no evidence, who do you think they will go with.

So it's just better to have it no-touching

Mike Goff
10-24-2008, 03:03 PM
video cameras are great at bringing out the best behavior in employees. I think that becoming a full contact haunt is something that has to be done incrimentally. Proper preparation of your customers is vital. I love the signs at Dead Acres, "If you don't want to be touched, don't buy a ticket" It makes no excuses, and implies a sort of arrogance.
If you believe that the pendulum can only swing so far before it changes direction, frivolous lawsuits will become less tolerated.

10-24-2008, 06:27 PM
No touching in our haunt. If we were a profit haunt that had paid actors, in the same spots, doing the same thing every night, I could see it.

But as it is, we're 100% volunteer based. 20+ on staff and 50+ actors on any given night. The staff is steady, but many of the actors that we have are a one night type of thing.

10-24-2008, 09:21 PM
For me, If I am the owner of my Haunted House and I would not allow any of my haunters to touch all customers at all, or else, we'll get sued! Perhaps... Also, as you know, some girls always tell some very good lies if you touch thier private parts which some of the haunters really didn't do that!!

It's almost considered sexual harassment! Be very careful!

Jim Warfield
10-25-2008, 12:34 PM
When a customer touches another customer?
Does the haunt get the blame, sort of like a college not providing enough Police protection for it's students?
A few years ago many college campuses were the targets for criminals because they realised there was not a serious number of security people for the size of the student population or the size of the campus.
Last night during the first tour as I walking across the living room suddenly a boy maybe 13 years old jumped up and basically tackled me ramming himself full-body standing against my full body, he wrapped arms around me and screamed "I love you!"
He came very close to knocking me down. This was a first.
I don't need to ever experience this again.
That whole group was roudy and very nutty, not in an enjoyable way.

scattered screams
10-25-2008, 01:32 PM
last night I took my kids up to a small town haunt. In the mix of things we come across this actor that stops each and everyone and ask them for some candy we all said no and he lets us go, but for my 13 year old daugther he kept asking for candy and would not let her by. So after about the fifth time she just pushed him down and walked on top of him, He pops off you cant do that , so then I said once is enough. He still wanted to bother her for about 25 to 30 feet out of his area. My daugther handle herself pretty well.

Killer Katie
10-25-2008, 02:01 PM
Scattered - this is the problem withg young actors and not enough supervision. In that case, as a cast manager, I would side with your daughter. He got what he desreved. He wasn't "acting" he was harassing.

James Lurgio
10-28-2008, 09:35 AM
We have many people ask us if the actors touch and we've been saying "No, absolutely not." I actually thought it was illegal to do so but evidently not everywhere. We also know that it can get pretty tight back there and sometimes there is contact of some kind or another but no more than brushing against clothes etc... I can't imagine how there would be NO touching or contact with actors trying to scare you. Maybe if there was a glass partition? Anyway, there was only one incident of a 13 year old girl who got very scared and the mother went carnival freak show crazy and screaming to a point where we had to call security. We had no idea she was going to be a nut going in. She did ask about some code word if it gets too scary for her daughter and we said "Monster be nice" usually gets a good response. When it didn't get an imediate response, she got kind of nuts with shoving my actors. After screaming at us for 10 minutes, we advised her not to go to haunted houses because they can get pretty scary as it is the custom. Who doesn't know that haunted houses are supposed to be scary??? Has anyone ever had an incident like this?

James L.
Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery

Haunted Pandemonium
10-28-2008, 03:02 PM
We're the same as most, I think. We tell people that unless it's an accident, our monsters won't touch you if you don't touch them.

10-28-2008, 03:21 PM
Seven people voted yes. Im curious what those have to say and how they get away with it. At my haunt we say no touching but we have some tight spots where you might get brushed up upon. I just warn my actors you get too close be prepaired to get hit or kicked..

10-28-2008, 04:01 PM
At Erebus (a Haunt World "Top 13" haunt) in Michigan, they will touch you with their props. There is a giant padded dragon head that "bites" you... It's great fun!

Killer Katie
10-28-2008, 08:48 PM
James - we have idiots like your situation all the time. Who the hell would waste their money if they don't want to be scared. And what kind of parent brings a kid to haunt if that kid doesn't want to be scared. It's like they all assume we have to cater to their wimpness. Enough i say! I tell my actors everyone deserves the same show, no matter who they are.

As for Erebus - one of the most AWESOME haunts I have ever had the pleasure to go into, but they do touch, I was ran into several times at a haunt tour. Getting eaten by a foam creature is a little creepy (andfun), but having someone in a costume they can't see out of run into you, is not.
I think if you are going to decide to be able to touch patrons - you need to know two things:
1. Who your actors are and their level of maturity and your trust of them.
2. Your customer base. The customer base that i have been involved in would rather hit you, and then sue. They seem to just come in looking for a fight.

Jim Warfield
10-28-2008, 10:56 PM
Chicken wire was put up between the haunt actors and the public. It looked real crappy and made a safety zone feeling, removing much of the joy of anticipation and potential attack.
The Minnesota JCs were sued many years ago by a woman because they "SCared" her!
She was asking for 11.3 million dollars.
This was the beginning of the sour grapes in haunting.
This was all happening about 1975?

The Doctor
10-29-2008, 12:59 PM
We just had a lady get upset because she and her daughter were screamed at. We have exits every few rooms and if someone is that freaked out we tell them to exit or we will have an actor escourt them out. We do not tone down the show for scared patrons. It is not fair for the other people in the group to get a watered down show because you were too ignorant of your childs level of fear or your own. Exit them out and keep the group moving has been our stratagy for scared actors.

As far as touching we are a strictly no touching haunt. There is of course the occasional inadverdent brush or bump but nothing intentional. There is a haunt close by and they are full contact and they have a very staunch following. I think there are always people who enjoy that kind of haunted house, we have chosen to go no touching because of the liability and have not seen an adverse affect on our numbers. People are raving about the attraction and leave having had a great time, and in the end that is what we all want, satisfied customers who will be back year after year and talk about how awsome their experiance was.

Jim Warfield
10-29-2008, 11:01 PM
Said:"Entering a construction zone
Do not touch anything, not even yourself!"

"Oh! OH! I was touched ! I'm suing! I'm suing!"
"Who touched you young lady?"
"It was dark I'm not really sure, but it might have been ....me?"

Sort of like an olfd high school girlfriend who told me :"Last night I was in a car going around this curve at 100 miles an hour, I was really scared!"
"Who was driving the car?"
"I was!"

All true.

10-30-2008, 08:09 AM
I've been to 12 haunts this year. 3 of them allowed touching. Those 3 clearly expressed on their tickets, with various signs, and during the introduction that they may get touched. Purchasing the ticket means they agree to these rules. So if they're going to sue after agreeing, they really dont have a case.

The Doctor
10-30-2008, 08:40 AM
Sadly in this day and age they can sue and can win, just look at some of the cases where criminals were injured in the commision of a crime and then sued the owner of the building they broke into and won. Contracts are only as good as the lawyer defending them in court.

Jim Warfield
10-30-2008, 09:11 AM
Doesn't winng a lawsuit still demand witnesses?
"He said-She said" would not a winning lawsuit make, now would it?

The Doctor
10-30-2008, 10:28 AM
You would think and of course for the vast majority of them it does require some evidence, but there are those that are so ridiculously squewd as to make one wonder what the Hell the jury or judge was smoking. Plus the level of proof is much lower and many things that would be hersay in criminal court is allowed in civil court. Many times insurance companies will just settle out of court even when there is no fault on the insuredes part just to prevent a court battle.

Lord Barnabus
10-31-2008, 09:33 AM
In nine years I have never allowed my staff to touch the guests. And the guests are also told not to touch the actors or props. We have always hung signs up pertaining to all of our rules, plus had them playing on the radio in the que line, and had the tour guides explain the rules when they entered the first room.

I tell the actors to try to stay an arms length away. Some people to swing and kick when they are scared, and safety is one of my top two concerns.

The haunt I am helping this year for their first year seems to have a totally different approach than I do. They don't seem to care what happens in their haunt, cause they keep bragging about how heavily insured they are and don't care if people get hurt or if they sue. So maybe I should just start groping all the cute girls that go through so I can get my jollies (I would never do that!).

I'm totally against touching, unless it is an accident (we know actors can't see too well out of a mask, especially in the dark).