View Full Version : Do You Touch?

01-26-2007, 02:25 PM
In my haunt, we've always had a "no touch" policy. For the customers, do not touch anything or anyone and for the actors, do not touch the customers.

Well, this past season, there were several customers who wanted to know if we would be touching them. When we told them "no" they sighed with relief. They said they were touched by some of the actors in two other haunts here locally and it freaked them out.

Now, I thought about this and said to myself....isn't freakin' them out what we desire to do?

So, here's my question: DO YOU TOUCH? If not, why? If so, why and has there been any negative consequences?

Ken Spriggs
01-26-2007, 02:31 PM
Honestly...I touch people! When they deserve it!

We never let the actors touch people...if they do they are done.
Our actors are also taught the difference between a bump...a hit...a punch...

The worse thing in the world is an actor complaining about being hit....They jumped out at a deaf guy (ok they didn't know) when he finally saw what was coming he scooted so fast out of the room he pushed someone out of his way.....Then they said He hit me!


01-26-2007, 02:35 PM
Why? One word. Lawsuit!

01-26-2007, 02:51 PM
Why? One word. Lawsuit!
How can someone be sued for touching another? Please elaborate.....

01-26-2007, 02:52 PM
That may have been us...

I tell all 19 of my actors each night not to touch, but I have to admit that I do touch some of them!

I feel that I have been doing this long enough and that I can read most people better then my volunteer actors.

I only go after the men, because even I am not about to go groping women! That is a lawsuit! And I generally go after the guys much bigger then me, saying things like 'oh, this ones got a lot of meat on his bones, your gonna be popular in here!' Tends to really freak them out! It freaks out the ladies in the group as well, give them the feeling that no one is safe.

So to answer your question, yes and no. No for my crew, but sometimes yes for me.

01-26-2007, 02:58 PM
I do occationally touch a customer, but I'm not a 'scary' character. I'm just the 'hostess'. Sometimes, our people need a little encouragement to move along... so a hand on an elbow helps them find their way. This passed season, we had to offer a hand to negotiate a tricky step down onto a ramp.

But touching to scare? No. Never.

01-26-2007, 03:03 PM
In today's litigious society people will sue for anything. An accidental touch or a "guiding hand" is one thing, but touching to scare is a no no! Why chance loosing everything you worked so hard for?

01-26-2007, 03:04 PM
In the haunt I work at, we have a no touch rule. Its just too much responsibility on the actors part to read patrons. How far can they go? Is the boyfriend going to slug me if I touch the girlfriend? What about the group of 8-10 teenage girls who take a 1 ft x 1ft space as they go thru, if I touch one are they going to take off and fall down and hurt themselves? It is always a smart policy to enforce no touching.

01-26-2007, 03:07 PM
Up in Canada all haunts touch you! Its actually very disturbing what they do up there especially at Screamers.


01-26-2007, 03:48 PM

do your actors touch?

Scream Shack
01-26-2007, 04:51 PM
As an owner of a Haunt in Canada I can assure you not ALL haunts touch, You should really think before you Post.


Jim Warfield
01-26-2007, 05:35 PM
Touching may be ok sometimes but anti-cootie serum is very expensive, especially if all the hired help needs to have some.
I like the almound bark-vanilla flavored anti-cootie serum the best.
(Stains my shorts though and smells like Grandpa's old pet weasel "Bucky") Never touch Bucky.

Duke of Darkness
01-26-2007, 05:36 PM
There are exceptions to every rule, but I don't think that touching patrons is a good idea and always direct actors not to do so.

That said, I worked at a haunt a few years back (not my attraction) where they did have one gag in which people were touched by a monster. Right before entering the attraction, the guests had it drilled into them that they were not to touch props or monsters. Early on in the haunt they entered a totally dark area. I would stand in the middle of the pathway and let them run into me in the dark. I would then yell "don't touch the monsters!" It got good reactions and was pretty safe, complaint wise, since I never touched them with my hands (I kept them behind my back).

As well as that worked, I still don't like the idea as a general rule. While the above gag didn't draw any complaints, and probably wouldn't, it is exposing the actor to unnecessary risks. It is situations like this in which actors get punches.

As I said, exceptions to every rule, but you have to put my vote down as no touching.


01-26-2007, 09:56 PM
We had a haunt open up in our area a couple of years ago and they advertised that it was "interactive" and their actors can and will touch you. I had a number of patrons come to our place complaining that the actors at the "interactive" haunt were chewing on girls hair and and even groping some customers. An angry parent called a local news station and told them her daughter had been touched improperly. The news station did a big story about the "incident" and the day after the story was on tv, they had their biggest night that year! Any publicity is good publicity I guess. I believe that you do not have to touch someone to scare them!!! As far as I know they have switched to a "no touch" policy, which is smart because you can't trust everyone. I make sure that everyone at my place knows that there is to be no contact at all, that way if I get a complaint that a patron was touched I can defend my people without having to drag the actor out and have a face to face confrontation. Safety of actors and customers should always be the number one priority of any attraction. All it takes is one person to get hurt and the whole show could be shut down for good. Peace :twisted:

01-26-2007, 10:13 PM
With the haunted house tour videos I've watched, it is nearly impossible for the actors not to have bodily contact with the customers with the way they get in the customers faces and crowd them, so to speak.

However, what if you touch a customer not with your own hands, but with the hands of a costume? For example, you know the costumes that have extra large heads and extra long arms that you hold on to by a pole? What if you touch the customers with these hands or even a prop? Would that be acceptable?

01-26-2007, 10:15 PM
That may have been us...

I tell all 19 of my actors each night not to touch, but I have to admit that I do touch some of them!

Actually, Joel they said the haunts were Gyros and Fright Planet.

RJ Productions
01-27-2007, 03:42 AM
It's real simple, You allow actors to touch patrons.
Now some young girl go to the local media and claims one of your actors "gropped" them in the dark.
Now your attraction is accused of sexually accosting its customers!

Here's a true story, a lady complained that an actor had gropped her. I stated we had a very strict no touch policy, maybe someone brushed her by accident. No, she claimed the actor grabbed her butt!! I asked her where it occurred. She described the room. Hearing the location I suggested we go in and confront the actor. She stood in the room positioned herself where it occurred. I signalled the actor who activated an air cannon. Seems the lady got "goosed" by an air cannon!!! The actor, physically behind a wall could not touch the lady if he tried!! She laughted and apologized!

Had she not confronted me it would have gotten around that my actors fondled customers!!!

THAT'S why we have no touch rules!

01-27-2007, 11:50 AM

The haunt I work at has a no touch policy.....
performers and guests...

Jim Warfield
01-27-2007, 12:15 PM
Butt did you make use of the grope opportunity and sell her an air cannon?
Woo! Woo!

01-27-2007, 04:11 PM
Larry, what does Screamers in Canada do??? I can't beleive they haven't had a lawsuit?!?!

Jim Warfield
01-27-2007, 06:38 PM
I once invested at least three hours of my time, telling a local JC group what not to do as far as possibly touching their haunt customers.
After the season I asked one of them what the scariest, or neatest thing they did in their two semi trailer-haunt was?
"We had a graveyard scene where a werewolf was wrestling with a bloody manniquin, as soon as the customers were all intensely watching this , the werewolf would jump up and begin wrestling with one of them!?
"And the customers tolerated this?"
"Well, we got punched a few times and thrown down pretty hard."
I should make mention that high school wrestling was THE sport in their town, but........??

Kevin Dells
01-28-2007, 09:23 AM
I learned a very valuable lesson this last season let me explain a little further.
Our haunt did not open this year so instead of taking a year off i took 20 of our best on the road. A huge Thanks to Ken Spriggs of Dream Reapers, Ron from Theater of Lost Souls and John from Statesville Haunted Prison for giving us a home this year! You guys are the best!

What i learned was every crowd is very different! Rons haunt is located in Appleton Wisconsin a very mild mannered crowd to say the least, these people loved to be insulted, touched (we poked at their ankles) and humiliated. This was in the Q-line and i had my best five with me,very good at crowd reading!

Ken's House the almighty Dream Reapers in Melrose Park, crowd i would say was inbetween Ron's and Johns atmosphere wise,Johns i"ll get to.

Kens crowd was half drunk,meening near Chicago it was quite a few gang bangers and half were drunk. They did not like to be insulted or touched even mildly in anyway! When acting at Kens place i tell my actors as im sure he does his to give them plenty of room! Most of them fall on their butts to begin with when you startle them,why touch them and get slugged when you know that is the crowds dimise. From reading a lot of Kens posts about his costumers complaining about everything why fuel the fire!

Johns house at Statesville. Loved this haunt and it's interactivness. Prison guards belittling the patrons,locking them up in holding cells for the crowd coming in to antagonize and poke at. You didn't need to touch them the prison guards had them on edge to begin with. But the real deciding factor for Johns place was what my crew called a Top Shelf crowd. His patrons came in SOOOO drunk, i feel sorry for his crew, they deal with huge drunk crowds everynight! Jeez don't touch these people, you will get into a fight!

So with that i say every crowd is very different. Haunts in the smaller towns can probably get away with slight touching or bumping. Big City crowds are very different, they will fight back and even provoke a fight.

The biggest question is how drunk is your crowd! Not saying i hate when people come through drunk, actually i love messing with the really drunk ones and their freinds think it's funny as well,but jeez be careful!

One last story that happened at our haunt two years ago. Two family's came in together,had to wait in the Midway for awhile but not hours so i don't think this was a factor even though they used it as a trump card.
While waiting in the midway one of my very seasoned actors scared two of their kids,they retreated directly behind them into a folding table and bumped themselves. Parents never said a word about it,my actor never even mentioned it as he didn't think anything of it. Well midweek our hotline gets a call from the local hospital asking if we were going to pay the bill for two kids fat lips and badly bruised arms and legs?

We get the info and of course tell the hospital we need the patient info so we can claim it on insurance. We call the people with the kids and they start throwing all kinds of warnings at us, were going to sue the hell out of you and so on. We talk to our actor and watch the videon of the crowd that night and Tony was telling the truth. He never touched them he did scare them really good and the two 9 year olds that had been messing with him and touching and pushing him for an hour was caught on tape. So we played the game. Offered both familys comp VIP tickets to come back again along with a pizza party as well as paying all the bills (which they never gave us and wouldn't, so we didn't pay!)

What it boiled down to was the hospital never called it was the parents impersonating the hospital, they never took their kids in and obviously didn't take the 13 and younger clause in we posted very well all over the haunt and our vouchers and posters.

When they did come back in they were total A$$es about it. Treated us like we had killed their kids complaining about everything and expecting us to jump at every whim. Finally after dissrupting us and our crowd long enough we took the family's into our office and replayed the video tape and asked them very nicely for the hospital bill again(By the way we did call the hospital and they had no record of this ever happening).

So a long story short, we almost got sued for not touching people! Watch your butts people there are idoits out there that want what you have worked very hard for and they will go to extremes to get it!

01-28-2007, 01:50 PM
We don't touch and in the rules we tell the guest "Do not touch anything or anyone, keep your hands to yourself". With that said I think if you use something to touch them with like a prop arm or a duster ect. I thinks it is fine as long as it not in a inappropriate place.

Jim Warfield
01-28-2007, 03:21 PM
...and don't aggressively touch them with the prop, although a baseball bat is rather tough to bunt with when you feel like hitting one out of the park!

Ken Spriggs
01-28-2007, 05:28 PM
Well since this is the last time DREAM REAPERS is going to be open for the TW crowd...and it is all haunt owners...we decided to go full contact for this coming TW!!!!!!!!!

Sure that would go over well!

01-28-2007, 07:01 PM
Well since this is the last time DREAM REAPERS is going to be open for the TW crowd...and it is all haunt owners...we decided to go full contact for this coming TW!!!!!!!!!


Kevin Dells
01-28-2007, 10:30 PM
Well since this is the last time DREAM REAPERS is going to be open for the TW crowd...and it is all haunt owners...we decided to go full contact for this coming TW!!!!!!!!!

Sure that would go over well!

Im tellin Ya, Ken lets lock them in all night that way they can't go to Vegas next year, they won't have any legs left to get there!

Full Contact!!! Ye haa The Billy's will be wearing extra padding for those 100 mph slides! :: PPPshshshhsshshh THUD! Oh sorry Mister heres your head back, did you need some duct tape! We have a Doctor in the house that luckily specializes in Duct tape procedures!

Or i should have said, Full Contact! Oh my, which one of you studs is first!
Step on in here Darlin Fruitopia would like a word with you!


01-28-2007, 11:21 PM
Lordy lordy lordy... that's just disturbing :shock:

Kevin Dells
01-29-2007, 04:54 AM
Thank you Cluster one! I try hard.

Ken Spriggs
01-29-2007, 07:22 AM
Time to put the chain back on the saws!!!!!!!

Kevin....was that last weekend?

01-29-2007, 11:10 AM
Nope. Absolutely not. We don't touch them and we ask them not to touch us. At least not intentionally. They're already freaked out enough as it is, but it endangers actors and other group members when you enter their "personal space." It's more safety and CYA than anything.

Jim Warfield
01-29-2007, 11:20 PM
Really now, if my employees touched someone, it would only mean one thing...they weren't paying attention in pick-pocket class!