View Full Version : What makes a Pro Haunt?

07-02-2009, 11:05 AM
Hello All,
I have wondered what makes a Pro Haunt? Is it based on size? How long you have been in business? How much money you generate or loose? How many patrons attend your attraction? Do you need more then one attraction? If you are part of an association? I can go on forever. I think you get my point. Does anyone have any ideas or rules regarding this? What is everyone’s opinion on the subject?

Thank you!

Peter Tomeczko
Fables Studios

Allen H
07-02-2009, 12:55 PM
Amateur comes from the word amore which means love. Amateur or home haunts do it for the love of it. Professional haunts do it for money, sure many of them love it too, but they rely on the haunted attraction for a portion (if not all) of their income. Hopefully they also love what they do.
A pro haunt is one that charges admission and a the profits (note the word profits) go to the haunted attraction owner. A charity haunt also charges admission but its profits go to a charity.
That is technically the only requirement. Hundreds of haunts are pro haunts that are not involved in the haunting community in any way whatsoever. They are good haunts, but lack the diversity of haunts with creative staff that do get to see other shows and other operation systems. I call these "gold fish bowl" haunts. They are big fish where they are and think they are masters at what they do. The other end of the spectrum are folks who have little to no haunt experience and are deeply involved in the daily haunt chatter and talk on message boards and at trade shows. They know everything and come up with "new" ideas and they do not have the foggiest idea as to why the ideas are doomed. I call them "soft shells" because they are like molting crabs they have some knowledge of the world but the armor of experience has not yet hardened so even terrible ideas get right through it. They have potential to be good haunters if they stick with it and learn the business. We just have to peel them off of the internet and the 400 different web pages about "corpsifying a skeleton" so they can make a dozen or two for themselves.
Perhaps I ramble, now to answer your questions.

Is it based on size?
No if you pay $3 to go into a haunted closet and an actor yell boo while your there, you just paid to go through a professional haunt.
How long you have been in business?
How much money you generate or loose?
Nope you can lose money and still be a pro....heck you can lose money every year and as long as something keeps you afloat you still have a prohaunt. (more shows are in this pattern than you realize).

How many patrons attend your attraction?
Nope, business sucks at alot of pro haunts.

Do you need more then one attraction?
Nope, one show no matter the size will do ya.

If you are part of an association?
The associations do not legitimize you, lots of great people and lots of idiots belong to associations. They are a great way to get involved in the national haunt community but they will not affect your daily life or your season unless you choose for them to. they are a great resource...but then again if you can stomach all the BS, flame wars, and sales pitches this board is a far more valuable tool than any association I have or have not joined.
A Pro haunter makes money (in theory) from his show. However in my opinion (Im always short on those aren't I?) A good haunter is one who is willing to share their knowledge on set design, costuming, actor training, and operations with others for the betterment of the industry.
Allen H

07-02-2009, 01:57 PM
I don’t feel like a Pro Haunter even though I will be running a haunt for $$$$ but I know I am a step up from amateur. Maybe a Novice haunter hahaha! I do not have all the experience or expertise as the haunters who have been around forever or have gone thru the growing pains of a business but I am knowledgeable and willing. The reason this question popped into my head is… When marketing your haunt on websites there is either; Pro Haunt, Home Haunt or Non For Profit status and I don’t feel like I fall into any of these. Nor do I feel Legit by saying I am a Pro Haunt compared to other haunts in the area who have been around for ever and are great. I am not saying my show is worse then anyone else’s but I feel since I am and will be the new kid on the block (not the band!!!) who am I to say I am a Pro. I guess since I fall into the Pro Category that is a good thing, but I feel like I will need to grow ALOT before I can consider myself a PRO.

I might have my company and myself confused on this PRO Haunt thing. I think since I put so much of myself into my company I consider it me, not so much a separate entity. I wonder if this is a good thing..???

Thank you for your advice Allen.

Hope to talk with you soon!

Peter T

07-05-2009, 11:19 AM
A couple quick comments...

1) You charge admission

2) You purchase liability insurance

3) You pay your actors and staff

4) You advertise your attraction city wide

5) Attraction is open more than just one weekend but rather all month.

6) You purchase workers comp for your staff.

Those are a few things I can think about.

07-07-2009, 07:03 AM
Thanks for clearing that up all!!

Peter Tomeczko

Fables Studios

Twin Locusts
07-07-2009, 08:56 AM
Just to support the previous answers and shed some insight on my interpretation of your question.

Pro is simply one of many labels for a commercial venture, you're doing it for money. Any and all commercial haunts are Noun professional

Adjective professional is a whole other conversation and where you begin to drill down into production quality, safety, and customer service.

I personally believe that any venture that has consumate attention to the visitor or customer, no matter the size of the budget, is adj. professional.

Conversely, a big dollar production, with an immature staff, and 'only in it for the money' leadership is not adj. professional.

You charge a ticket price you are professional NOUN

you run a tight ship, treat your customer like your brother, professional ADJECTIVE

Allen H
07-07-2009, 09:02 AM
well said twin
even if your avatar freaks me out a bit.
Allen H

07-08-2009, 08:39 AM
I think treating your staff like family is the only way to have a tight show (and not a mob “Family”, hey I’m from Chicago). Giving the patron/customer an unforgettable experience, keeping them safe and not pushing them thru like sheep, are a couple goals of mine. I understand I am a new haunt so I can have smaller groups spread out. As 2010 will be my first year running a Professional haunt, I hope (keeping everything X’d) my plans for an Interactive Haunted Attraction will play out ok.

I am working on the website now and hope to have that up soon & a video in a couple months. I would love to have everyone look at it and let me know what they think. (once up)

I thank everyone for their time and expertise on this thread.

Peter Tomeczko

Fables Studios

08-20-2009, 08:09 PM
Well Said Allen! I think a pro haunt stems from love but at the end of the day it really a business not a hobby!

The Nightmare Factory
12-04-2009, 02:36 AM
I'm not sure being open a full month has anything to do with being pro, we are open six days and generate great proceeds, have a solid haunt, and good reputation as well. I argee with everything else Dr. Frightner says.

I's add reputation too, if you offer a great show, well lite, good set, props, music the whole package, then i'd call you pro. People will love what yo offer and if you continuw to offer the same quality every year and continue to change tis up, or at least add something new, people will lern this about you and come back, with friends!

12-28-2009, 10:56 PM
i agree with u nightmare having love for this industy and the staff thats under u makes a big differnts on how u play out your haunt from year to year

12-29-2009, 07:59 AM
Hello all,

Quick update on this thread..

Its been months since I started it and I now see why It is called a Pro haunt.

Things I have added/needed/completed since I first started thread.

Have a small building crew I can trust.
Marketing/PR crew
Scare crew
Met with Mayor/Licensing department and received the ok.
Fire Marshal meeting/ building inspection
Completed the website
And the list goes on….. and on……

Once you realize it’s a business and not a hobby anymore, is when you realize you are a Pro haunt.
Or in other words..

A legit business whom cares about their customers, and workers. Has a safe environment for all, and produces a Positive outcome. Ill keep all updated as things progress.

Check out the website if you have a free sec.

Have a great New Year!!

Peter Tomeczko
Fables Studios LLc.