View Full Version : What do you do with your theme each year?

Duke of Darkness
12-22-2006, 02:51 PM
I am very curious what about how everyone handles rethemeing every year. Please fill out the poll and lets discuss the options.



Raycliff Manor
12-22-2006, 03:03 PM
We have pretty much kept the same theme three years in a row, but we added new props and upgraded the sets substantially each year. We're talking about changing the theme for next year. To what extent we revamp the haunt depends on whether or not the inn business sells. If it doesn't, we'll try to keep the rooms pretty much the same as far as configuration and try to determine the best method of changing the set designs with as little expense as possible. I'm not sure if we'll ever completely change the theme and room designs each year like some do. I guess time will tell. :)


By the way Dave... excellent survey question!

12-22-2006, 03:19 PM
I just started, infact I'm not a true business yet. so not a lot to change but adding a lot. Next year we will have a Vortex Tunnel and will make the battle field larger. The town will get two more buildings "Savannah Hemlocks Garden Cafe" {Lunch specials for yankees} and "Ungers Undertaking" {Best pine boxes from the Pine Blood Forest}, if you look at my website you'll see how these fit the theme. The plan is to run with this for a few years (4 to 5) and then scrap it and build something all new, taking what we can from the old theme and then selling off the rest. I think half the fun in haunting is coming up with creative ideas and then building them into your vision.

12-22-2006, 04:07 PM
I keep the same storyline ( Creepy family that died off around a century ago) but show different aspects of their lives each year. 4 years ago it was based loosely on their house, 3 years ago the theme was their family cemetery , 2 years ago was the circus put up on their property when their house burnt down, and last year was the asylum they opened for their crazy daughter.
If you are in on the story it makes more sense...

Jim Warfield
12-22-2006, 07:59 PM
20 years ago when I first began here I had about 3 minutes of stories to tell anyone about the happenings in this house, so I attempted to entertain them with my goofy artwork and the strange things I made here , like the crashed UFO on the roof of the cupola (actually the body of a 1950 Hudson automobile with wings, tail, landing gear added with a tail mounted flame shooter for nocturnal thrills.)
Then gradually supernatural incidents began occurring to my wife, my employees and myself.
Then five years ago it got very crazy here, with all the stuff happening here on a regular basis.
After the prediction from the psychic that I had been given "The Kiss-Of -Death' (I had 4 kisses go across my forehead and no one was there) and that fall's semi wreck (it hit me going 75-80 MPH!, I wasn't moving) I became a compulsive teller of the incidents here, hoping that if I told enough people all about them long enough, that maybe someday, someone would happen to come walking through my front door that might have some real answers for me concerning all this stuff?
No, I'm not re-theming anytime soon, can you tell?
I will not be spending 60 minutes in just the first room talking all about such haunted things anymore, "On with the show!"
I have never told anyone any fictional accounts of anything concerning this house.

I have very unusual displays here that might make people "Think" or even laugh and that's all right with me, I like entertaining people this way.
Remember the Vampire from "Blade-2" with the zipper face that opened very wide with little fangs on the outstretched parts?
I have an example of this with a foot long hot dog between his outrigger fangs, titled:"The Wrong Way To Eat A Footlong Hotdog", just one example of the kind of show I do here.

12-22-2006, 09:15 PM
We keep the same theme (undead western) but change the story line and about 75% of the scares each year. That saves us money and time in props, painting and costumes.

We run a more theatrical haunt then most, and the story is a big part of our show, people dig it.

Agreed, great question!

12-23-2006, 04:31 AM
Every since I began this thing called haunting on my own about 9 years ago, I have always completely changed my theme and storyline. 2007 will be no different with the haunt being "The Ha Ha Institute for the Comically Insane." However, after scoring a HUGE amount of medical equipment the other day, I'm thinking we should probably build on the "clinic" idea for awhile.

I'm wondering from a customer's point of view how they like thier haunts --the same theme with a different storyline or completely changed every year.

Jim Warfield
12-23-2006, 07:03 AM
There might be a slightly different psychological aspect to my customers because I am open year-round and people see this as a tourist attraction more than just a seasonal attraction, but, that said, I seem to see alot of them as liking things to somewhat remain the same from one visit to the next, I mean, most of the adult population seeks predictability in most things in our lives, we get more conservative as we age, probably because we grow weary of struggling so much to accomplish the same results of merely paying bills and feeding our furry, gnawing pets.
They feel somewhat superior and secure as they return with new friends and relatives , then I surprise the previous patron with something new or strange that I might have built recently. The familiar scene is now amended and that previous visitor is the one jerking, jumping, screaming infront of the newbies!
I also have so much "stuff" on this property that items that have been displayed for ten years will be seen as "new" to most people as their memory gets jumbled and distracted by the volume of sights and experiences not quite the "norm". This is why I never hire anyone to work here named "Norm". (especially if he would also happen to have a middle initial "L"!)

01-07-2009, 10:50 AM
Our haunted hayride relies heavily on the back story. Our first two years have been heavily reliant on wagon guides and a video back-story. We have outgrown the ability to have guides, and a private viewing of our video (available at www.youtube.com/legendsofthefog) before the customers board the wagon. We are brainstorming new ways to deliver our newest chapter of the 'Legend of the fog' in the queue line, without creating a bottleneck at the start of our ride, and having our writers and actors execute a story without guides.

Allen H
01-07-2009, 01:48 PM
I have started putting my back stories On signs as they go through the cue line. At each turn or so there is another sign and another chance for cool art (I have good pics of actors in makeup). each sign has a sentence or two telling them about the haunt. It cost about $300 per attraction for good full color signs printed at a local sign shop and it really helps get them in the mood.
Allen Hopps

Jim Warfield
01-08-2009, 07:56 PM
Do your signs get much vandalism inflicted upon them?
Seems as if they might present a pretty attractive target (or stolen as a souveneer?)
Replacing such indivualistic creations on short notice would be tough.

01-16-2009, 02:59 PM
For the last eight to nine years, we have completey changed our theme. We have done everything from Aliens to Haunted Mines to Zombies. As for last year, we choose the Dark Carn-Evil theme. After much discussion, we decided to try using it for 2009, but also to change some of the less "eventfull" scares. We will also be adding scenes to the ones we already had on our Hayride. Changing our Haunted House every year wasn't a problem because we used the campground's pavillion and made removable sides and interior partition walls.

Allen H
01-18-2009, 12:53 AM
Not much vandalism, no. The signs are printed at a sign shop for about $35 each or so, they keep a digital copy so I can get one the next day if necessary.

Do your signs get much vandalism inflicted upon them?
Seems as if they might present a pretty attractive target (or stolen as a souveneer?)
Replacing such indivualistic creations on short notice would be tough.

Jim Warfield
01-18-2009, 08:43 AM
I like customers who know how to read. Getting them reading takes their mind into a different mode, often a mode more susceptible to imaginings, theirs or mine, no difference, it's all working.
Readers do move more slowly than non-readers who may be runners(great god throughput!)
I like going for the quality of entertainment that implants real memories of experiences that create return customers who then become patrons.
I have so much story here that I can not tell it all during one tour and then things keep happening here that also tend to add to the story of this haunted , haunted house.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not it really doesn't matter, the things I talk about concerning this house have happened, right here, to numerous people.
The definition of fear that people can come away with from The Ravens Grin Inn is one that can be too powerfull for some to comfortably handle very well.
This is why I consciously add some humor to the incidents as I tell them to play down the mystical, oddness and potentially mentally upsetting aspects of the new truths that assail their minds and may cause deep doubts concerning their previous life experiences.
"Entertainment" is not "Brain surgery"?
Yes it is. Be careful as you wield more and more powerful tools.

Fairbanks Asylum
04-16-2013, 10:31 AM
Allen that is a great idea for assisting with the story. I am planning on always keeping the Asylum theme, but changing up the sets a little each season. Last year I had the Fairbanks Asylum "Dare to Face your True Insanity" This year I have the Fairbanks Asylum "Nightmares Of The Damned." I find it gives people more intrest knowing that something is going to be diffeerent and of course scarier to the year before. But there are Key rooms I will be keeping, just upgrading each year.

Fairbanks Asylum