View Full Version : Looks like bad news...

10-08-2009, 02:08 PM
I have talked to SEVERAL haunt owners now and most everyone reports the following... DOWN between 15 and 30%.

Ouch! Our haunts here in St. Louis are down as well maybe 20 or so percent... I have talked to at least 20 different haunt owners from around the country and everyone reports the same.

Maybe people will wait until closer to Halloween don't know yet that remains to be seen. Now some report they are UP... but all those haunts who tell me that are haunts who haven't yet peaks in market awarness or are smaller haunts with lots of room to grow. The big haunts who have been doing well are have peaked ... for example reached numbers like 30k or 40k or more might have reached a number that would be hard to go over so really you could go up a little or down a little each you, you are at a number that give or take 5% that is where you fall each year... those haunts are DOWN big time.

Does anyone else have news to report on this subject? Don't be ashamed to admit its not going as well as you had hoped, because we are all in this together and find new ways to pull through it. That is what we do. I'm working on some stuff some really cool stuff, all the travel channel stuff will kick in soon, hopefully more media and other junk so we'll see.

If you are DOWN what do you think we can do to turn the tide ... days are counting down.


10-08-2009, 02:22 PM
Well I am sure the crappy weather has people hiding inside. I for one have caught a cold.... ( DAMN ) I usually get sick once a year but not in Oct. but then again I have run my body into the ground !

I did watch America Haunts the other night.... Areeebis looked great on film !

If the weather around the widwest cleans up Im sure the numbers will too !

just my .02

Ghost River Duck
10-09-2009, 09:01 AM
Actually Larry, here in NC we're seeing higher attendence at local, regional events due to people less people going off to the beach for vacation. they still want to be entertained, but they aren't traveling as far to do it. We had 2800 people at a demolition derby the other night that should have only done 1200. It's still early in the haunt season for us to tell on the door numbers for that yet. I don't see how it can possibly worse than 2001, right after the twin towers got hit. Man that was a rough year. We were not in the mood to put on a show so I know the majority of fans weren't either.

10-09-2009, 09:23 AM
We are good!

Allen H
10-09-2009, 09:41 AM
this is contradictory to your "haunts are recession proof" posts a few months back. Luckily I think that a good bit of the country had crap weather last weekend. SCREAMS in TX did fine, a bit under last year but sat night was a monsoon. I amazed we had the crowd we did. We are a mega haunt and do more than most haunts in our area.
to quote Ben "we are good"
so far.
Allen H

Jim Warfield
10-09-2009, 10:28 AM
Has been directly hit by the bad economic times beginning last year, this was a news story from a day or two ago.
Some CEO's are still downsizing their payroll (laying off, firing people.)
Here we have seen a great number of commited new fans deciding to finally come see the Ravens Grin after hearing about it for many years, this is always very gratifying to me.
Impress them with your show and showmanship, give them a different experience and they will talk others into having to come see what you have going.
Since usually THE busiest night of the year is the Sat. before Oct.31st, but this year it is Oct.31st, who knows?? This may diminish the business of Oct. 24th?
November business can be good here as long as the weather stays "Predictable", of course staying "Good" would be even better.
Sudden fog, freezing rain sometimes missed by the Weatherman are scary , nasty tricks most people really strive to avoid. Add to this the trusted gps units that decide to send them down questionable backroads in the dark and life gets challenging...
Last winter a gps sent a carload of girls down a road only 15 miles from here that I wouldn't drive down in the daylight. After they got here they said they would nevwer be driving on that road again either.
Next new product needed..a gps that thinks. or just knows.

10-11-2009, 05:51 PM
FIRST Year as pro haunt and our attendance is freaking skyrocketing out of control and we are doing next to no advertising.

we have lines of hundreds of people half an hour before we open and there is just a constant stream of people all night! each night obviously we get better and better and compared to who was in our building last year i believe were doing much better now.

the other haunts in town there doing much better as well this year..

10-11-2009, 06:09 PM
After opening weekend we are up 17% over last year.

10-11-2009, 11:20 PM
Our daytime events are through the roof! I had to open a 3rd window in the ticket booth for our daytime events due to the huge crowds waiting to buy tickets today. This is the first time needing to do that in 9 years at the Corn Maze. The Spookywoods haunt tickets are up year to date as well. The weather has been great the last two weeks, that is a major factor with both my events.

Keeping my fingers crossed to pull one out of the hat again!

10-12-2009, 01:23 AM
GREAT NEWS! Thanks for the updates.
I am soooooooooooooooo glad to hear everyone is doing well : }

10-12-2009, 05:11 AM
Is it possible the drop off in attendance is relative to how hard the area was effected by the recession?

The Southern states are doing fine but the more northern areas seem to be hurting...

How is Michigan doing?

Howie Slobber Erlich
10-12-2009, 06:39 AM
Michigan haunt here. I have spoken to a couple different haunt owners in the area. They are saying their numbers are down 30 to 40% from last year. As of last night we are only down 22% but even that hurts bad! Weather has been cold but only a couple nights with a tiny bit of rain. I guess I feel somewhat lucky considering what we are going through in this area economically.

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted Attraction

Lord Belial
10-12-2009, 11:41 AM
Now we are about even... The first weekend our numbers were up about 50% from our first weekend last year. This past weekend we had about 70% chance of rain predicted and it did drizzle quite a bit but we had a pretty good window of no rain between our opening hours. So I don't know if people just figured the bad weather had us closed but our numbers were down this past weekend. So now we are about the same... Maybe a little up?

We hope for good weather for the rest of the season for everyone!

Godd luck to all!
The House of Shock

10-12-2009, 03:25 PM
Things for us are starting off very slow! This time last year we where doing WAY better. I do hope business picks up soon.

10-12-2009, 06:32 PM
Not all houses around the country are down, some of the really great houses might even be up... See story below:


Night Stalker
10-12-2009, 06:38 PM
We are up this year and we are in Michigan go figure. All in all about 37%. We changed the haunt but we do that every year but are numbers are very strong and the reviews have been fantastic we really couldn't ask for much more.


10-13-2009, 01:31 AM
Some haunts who did bad last year could see their business go up slightly this year but are you hitting those numbers you really need to be at or the numbers you know you can hit. Again some haunts actually MOST haunts are smaller or just starting off, second year, third year whatever and they really have no where to go but up and many of those haunts will see small increases because they are growing but their expectations are lower, their costs are lower, they don't own buildings or employ hundreds of people.

As you grow your costs grow and you depend no count on large crowds because you book lots of advertisement, you take lots of risks with upgrades to your attractions, the amount of people you hire even the long term people who you agree to pay more more more to each year. As you grow your costs grow, the bigger your haunt gets the more it takes to break even so yes most newer haunts or smaller haunts will continue to grow but the haunts who are charging $20 or $30 dollars, which btw, in my opinion no haunt in the country is worth that much money, but more power to them for getting it, but what you have here is people question if the economy is bad maybe they don't go.

Maybe your team is in the world series, or maybe it rains rains rains and bam you do terrible... this year maybe you have all of the above like well this year!

Right now business for the larger haunts who depend on large crowds are DOWN A LOT...

This will end up being the worst year for haunts in maybe 10 plus years.

Again some haunts will do okay, so will continue to grow but the majority of haunts who did awesome last year will probably see a big decrease this year but that doesn't mean you will go broke!

You just want make as much, therefore you might not buy that new car, or take that trip, or and yes probably won't be spending as much on your haunts renovations in 2010.

We did awesome last year, best year ever, now we are going to lose about 20% from last year, but its not the end of the world, we'll still make money, but now won't buy that pool, or pay off your house, or won't take that trip, or again maybe we won't spend as much to renovate.

Our business did very well Saturday and Sunday, and yes there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and maybe it will take another year for this economy to grow who knows. Under Obama it may never grow because he wants to nationalize so much of our lives, he seems more concerned with spending more money than helping Americans make money.

All I can say is this... VOTE FOR REBUBLICANS for the house and senate and take back America and put it back into the hands of people who believe in business. Then maybe we'll get this economy rolling again and next year will be much better.

Right now Halloween is looking south but not Hell South, just south, not sink like the Titanic south, just taking on some water, but getting the pump running soon! I'm sure based on what vendors hear, they will cut back spending, they will build less new stuff, take less risks, but they'll assume haunters are doing the same. Maybe its too early to predict, maybe we should wait another weekend or so to tell, but if you are a haunt who charges 20 bucks or more you could see a big drop off in attendance just like Disney, just like Universal, just like Six Flags.

I guess its something you have to roll with, and we're are rolling and taking it in stride.



10-15-2009, 08:19 AM
Things were starting to gain momentum and then I get hit with this forecast. Rain from last night all the way to Sunday. But Monday and Tuesday look great, when of course when we're closed! It will be windy too. Our normal temp this time is at 70 degrees during the day not 46....


10-15-2009, 09:25 AM
The weather here in St. Louis hasn't been much better. We are about an inch and a half over the average and 10 degrees cooler..... Stinks.

Todd Shumansky
10-15-2009, 11:19 AM
"vote for Republicans"..... That may be the most ignorant thing I've read all week. Can you really say that we are in this financial blunder right now because of Obama? This mess didn't start in January of 2009. It started during the Bush administration. It will probably take a little while to correct it.

For the smaller to medium size haunts there is a ray of hope. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year it will give us one more busy night compared to last year. We were open on Saturday Nov 1 last year but it was fairly slow. One more good Saturday might make up some lost ground. We'll see how it all plays out.

Good luck to everyone.

10-15-2009, 11:24 AM
I agree. Republicns run up the debt and leave the mess for Dems to fix, like Reagan and Bush did for Clinton and all he did was not only balance the budget but we had a surplus.

10-15-2009, 11:53 AM
Reagen really run up the budget fighting communism the cold war and he won that and the cold war ended. Rich people make investments which produce new business which hires new workers, and when you take every dime a rich person has in taxes they stop investing.

Right now we're going to spend every dime we have and then some of social programs, and social programs don't create new jobs or spur investment all they really do is take money out of peoples pockets gives them less money to invest or spend.

Face it we are in trouble unless we can vote in more Republicans into the house and senate.

Either way its pointless right now nothing you can do, I've talked to at least 10 more haunt owners and everyone has told me 15 to 30% down.

No one is going broke because we are charging so much money per ticket that we'll be fine its just overall attendance will decline this year. I wonder... if times like this we should all be doing more discounting?

Higher rated coupon offers, stuff like that?

Any thoughts on that? We are considering sending out email blasts promoting like myspace night, or facebook night, or every thursday is buy one get the next one half off or something.

Maybe that would help.


10-15-2009, 12:33 PM
We are up 12% this season and we cut our radio spots by 50% and completly eliminated our newsprint and put some of that money into internet haunt finder banners and leader boards and that is really working for us. We also added a 3rd haunt and some other elements to our event and kept our prices the same as last year with the economy being what it is.

Its been rainy here too and is expected to rain the next two weekends. Fright Kingdom is all indoors and we are finally getting really busy on rainy nights after 5 years.

Best of luck to everyone this season.

10-15-2009, 08:55 PM
We've been up 15%-20% each night this season, but I would agree that we haven't peaked in our market yet. This is our ninth season.

10-15-2009, 09:57 PM
As new haunt, we have nothing to compare too... BUT... we're generally happy with how the season is going! -Tyler

10-16-2009, 08:35 AM
My website visits are up but attendance is down. Hard to say why, one big thing is I am by Flint and I am in a small town and have a poor location for a haunt to boot. I have had good feedback though this year. Plus we didn't spend as much this year, we cut from everywhere.

10-16-2009, 08:36 AM
Aren't you like right downtown in a good sized city? You guys have a pretty good location don't you?

10-16-2009, 10:24 AM
Yeah, we're one block from the arena in town... My only gripe about our location is parking, but who doesn't have that problem! hahaha... Last night, we just past (by a hair) 10K people... so, we're happy. But we don't know if this would have been up or down or not for a haunt in KY. -Tyler

10-16-2009, 10:31 AM
Very good! Sounds like a bright future for you guys.