View Full Version : Any Houses near you get "competitive"?

10-10-2009, 09:50 AM
I say "competitive" in a negative way. I've always been one to help promote all things Haunted and Halloween, even going so far as to give directions to other Houses to our patrons who ask. But this year, I was disappointed to hear that another non-profit House was telling people "If you want fake, go to ___". They've included us in their slander a few times(lol, "slander".. We're all "Fake", but you know what I mean"

Now, our Core team is livid. One of them wants to write to the Club that puts on the Haunted House and let them know what a shitty thing their House has been doing to other houses.. I'm of the opinion that we should talk to them and see why they're doing things like that.

Any opinions/thoughts?

10-10-2009, 10:37 AM
I am a firm believer of promoting yourself, but not by trashing others. That is something you learn early in organized sports. Cheer for your team, but do not trash the other team. In my opinion it makes you look weak.

Edit: After a certain point you have to decide though, if they want to play hard ball do you return fire?

Jim Warfield
10-10-2009, 12:01 PM
I was really too busy to do this , BUT, I did anyway, spending maybe 3 very valuable hours of my October advising a JC chapter about things they needed to know concerning putting on some nocturnal entertainmnet.
Then people were telling me THEY were telling customers not to waste their time coming to see my house because:"It's just a "walk-Through" for little old ladies!"
...revenge is So Sweet!
After their season ended (mine never does) the guy saying this crap, the JC President, came here for a tour of my "Walk Through".
I set up his friend to be able to scare him with all the lights on and bright sunshine pouring through the window.
This man was maybe 6ft.2 and a very stocky build, he jumped SO HIGH! And so quickly that it amazed me!
He jumped and spun around like a ballerina in mid-air, landed on his feet and ran another 8 feet, all in the blink of an eye!
"How did you enjoy your "walk"?
The JC Pres. returned so he could do the same thing to a friend of his a week later.

After all of my advice, I was told the scariest part of their show was the werewolf wrestling with customers in the graveyard! Of course the werewolf didnot always "win" that match and some physical abuse was evidence of that! (Black eyes, loose teeth)
Why did I bother?

freak 'n' stein
10-10-2009, 12:49 PM
Last night was our first night open and another local haunt came out to visit us. I believe we put on a fairly good show for the first night and our turn out was greater than last years. Our show has a lot of "mini-shows" throughout so they tried to give us a hard time by not going along with many of the volunteer aspects of the rooms, but we told them it was on when we visit them!!! PAYBACK IS A B*TCH!!!

10-11-2009, 10:05 AM
I'm fortunately to have found exactly the opposite in the Memphis area. Although everyone pretty much does their own thing, every haunt owner or haunt staff member I've talked to has been great to deal with. The only negatives I've heard about anyone at all is a couple of people who used to work with a certain haunt and had bad experiences from that side. That isn't used to badmouth the haunt to customers however.

Front Yard Fright
10-11-2009, 04:44 PM
We do and we don't even run a commercial 'pro' haunt yet. This season we've had threatening phone calls, we've had the city called on us, and it just hasn't been much fun this year.

And I totally agree with the statement 'Cheer for your team, but do not trash the other team. In my opinion it makes you look weak.' because that's exactly the case.

Some people just need to grow up...

10-11-2009, 05:18 PM
Most haunts around me have a friendly relationship, however there is one that I must be making nervous because they keep doing real kiddish things and some of their actors do their best to slam us whereever they can.....

10-12-2009, 07:46 AM
I would talk to the person face to face about it. Explain that there are plenty of dollars out there to be had. Competition in marketing, set design, scare factor, etc are all fine, but no bad mouthing.

I would also verify that the person really said what was relayed back to you. That person might have gone to your haunt and then said to a volunteer at his haunt "They are not as scary as ours" then after a few rounds though the rumor mill you hears that he said "There haunt sucks".

So don't get all upset until you talk to the person.

10-12-2009, 08:56 AM
For the most part we all do our own thing and not trash anyone. Each person has their own likes and dislikes, so what I may like someone else may not. We figure as mature adults that it is a large enough sandbox and we all can fit in it, but there is one person who thinks they are the Queen Mary and trashes others and tries to control the information because they think they are the one of authority. The funny thing is, they aren't, everyone thinks they are a joke and they have no clout what so ever in industry. No one will say anything to them because we would rather watch them spin in a circle chasing their tail. I agree, Karma is a Bi*t*h. They will get what they give. Money can't buy respect. The difference is like the saying that you can take the person out of the trailer park, but not the trailer park out of the person. With the money and clout the only thing that seperate them we say is that they are in a double wide trailer.

Jim Warfield
10-12-2009, 12:19 PM
Someone has more (money, diplomas, brains, good Luck) than you feel you have ...so to get a "Leg Up" on them ..what happens?
Muddy the waters? Baffle them with bullchitt? Cry like an injured animal?
Gotta get that Attention somehow..no matter what?
Unfortunately for the trully ambitious and gifted sometimes the real noticable rewards will fall to the one playing the leg up game and not because of their own good energys.
The haunting field is not unique in this unpleasant description, it's everywhere, it's human nature.

10-12-2009, 03:38 PM
There are 4 other haunts all within 10 miles from us and we all pretty much get along. We do haunt flier exchanges at our ticket booths etc.

10-12-2009, 05:57 PM
The folks we compete with are in Orlando, that being Universal's "Halloween Horror Nights". They are a big corporate entity, so they have every advantage. Still, I don't mean them any harm, but I tell folks the honest truth about them. I say, "they have better make up, and they have better props, but we're MUCH scarier, and here's why: they put everyone through in a continuous line and it telegraphs exactly what's going to happen ahead of you in the line. You see and hear every surprise. But we break them up in small groups, and you never know what's in store for you. People leave our haunt with their hearts pounding and lungs panting, just stand by the exit and see." And so far, every single person I've asked who has been to both haunts agrees.

Our customers also benefit from the lower cost of 1/7th the ticket price, and no travel or hotel required. So we're hoping the recession will actually help us this year. Folks can get better thrills for a fraction of the price. They do have more haunts at Universal, but ours is four to five times bigger, all in one long walk through. It gives the patrons less time to recuperate between scares!

John Coen
10-30-2009, 07:39 PM
I have a "personal psycho" who tries to tear down anything I do. I tried again and again to be friends with him, and invite him to come and see my haunt while we're building it, and offer to cross promote our haunts and in return he sicked the fire marshall on me, made threatening calls/ e-mails, lied about his own haunt, told other haunts that I was trying to shut them down, etc..

He reads this forum too, so he knows who he is. "Hi personal psycho!" :)

11-07-2009, 05:56 PM
It is a shame when two people who share the same interest in something that very few people know about or care about, chose to become enemies instead of allies. It's almost like those marriages where two people raised the same kid, got divorced, and now can't stand to talk to each other. They are the only two people who really know or care about their collective experience raising that child, but they cannot share or enjoy those memories because they are too angry at the only other person who really cares about it.

The Nightmare Factory
11-08-2009, 01:59 AM
We have for the most part a freindly relattionship with most of the haunts in Oregon, there are a few that are too far from us to know them, but we all get along for the most part.

Why trash talk eah other, that only speaks poorly about your event.:confused:

The Asylum House
11-13-2009, 05:43 PM
We get along with most of the local haunts. We trade nights with a couple, sending our actors there and theirs come see us for free. We try to send at least a few of our people to the ones we don't trade with so they can see just what the other haunts are up to and how they are different than us. We always remind them to act as they would want customers to act in our haunt.

Our ticketing booth and parking lot have the directions and prices for the other haunts in the area and give them out freely.

Over the years we have helped when we can. One guy built a room in our haunt, the next year he built a small haunt co-located with us, then told us we didn't know what we were doing and went across town to build his own place. This year was his third and final year in business.

This year we did co-advertising and ticketing with a new haunt down the road which helped us both out.

Our creative side also designed a haunt in FL for disabled children a couple of years ago.

We do have one local haunt that does not care for us. They tell people we are not very good and have gone as far as to call us "pornographic" to the customers that ask about us. One of their "associates" sold himself as a 'haunt expert' to a local paper a few years back and was hired to write the reviews. As you can guess, he raved about his own place and trashed everyone else. A not so nice call to the editor got a second review, but by then the damage was done. When we approached the owners about it, their answer was they had nothing to do with it and could not control one person's actions. (They did not fire him)

All in all, we feel that haunt feed off each other and it is better to get along than to fight and bicker. There is enough of that out there the rest of the year.

What comes around goes around!

Asylum House

Raycliff Manor
11-14-2009, 06:38 AM
I guess we're fortunate in that the haunts in our area really seem to want to work together to cross-promote. Some of the area haunts even put together a Masquerade Party in the largest park in Joplin and brought in a DJ and hosted contests for the public including costume contest, dance contest, pet costume contest, etc. They invited all the area haunts to come in and set up tents to promote their individual haunted houses. It was a great opportunity to meet the other haunt owners and actors. This year we displayed a bulletin board at our haunt that contained at least 6 or 7 other haunts flyers/posters. We also handed out a package of flyers for the other haunts to each person purchasing tickets at the Ticket Window. We even allowed the other haunts to display signs at the end of our drive for people to see as they drove out of our parking lot. A number of the haunts returned the favor by distributing our club cards and displaying our poster. We hope this helped the other haunts and our guests.

Having said that, I do have to admit that I did hear a couple of rumors of people from other haunts giving mis-information about our attractions and speakly poorly of them. I believe our reputation is good enough that this type of activity isn't effective though and I try not to worry too much about it. We'll just keep working hard to raise the tide so all our boats can be elevated together. We'd love to see Joplin become known as a true Halloween destination. With all the haunted attractions, hay rides and haunted trails in Joplin I believe we can and are seeing this happen. ;)


Jim Warfield
11-15-2009, 11:31 PM
He would come into a town for a few days, letters would get published in the local papers, letters saying his show was second-rate compared to the show across the street and vice-versa.
All of this letter writing stirred up public intrest and people would comparsion shop, seeing both magicians.
Many years later it was discovered that the "Other" magician was Houdini's brother!
He was doing Houdini's show from the previous season.
A little such controversy , handled right could stimulate business.......

02-22-2010, 07:05 PM
Where I am it isn't the competition that bothers me so much as the whining. The way the other haunters feel that they should not have to comply with the same rules that others do. Yet if something were to happen at their haunt its ok that it would cause problems for those complying. There is a home haunter that decided this year to say that for an 8.00 donation someone would get a ticket to their haunt. To me that is not a donation that is charging and it does not matter whether they make a profit or not. If this haunter wants to compete with the haunts in the area then play by the same rules. Pay sales tax on the money, abide by the same codes. No they just whine because they shouldn't have to do the things to keep people safe like sprinklers, firewalls or hardwired smoke detectors. They want to use black plastic, and when someone says anything its you are trying to shut everyone down. No just trying to protect my haunt from more unnecessary regulations. If you can't afford to do it right I say don't do it and wreck it for the rest. Talked to state legislators who said if it states that sprinklers are to be used and they are not and something happens they would outlaw haunts in the STATE. That is not fair to those who follow the rules.

Heritage Haunt
02-22-2010, 07:36 PM
This kinnda happened to us, we spent tons of money and time advertising our haunt, we went to events, put up flyers, etc.. i go into a couple of buissneses, to see if they needed more flyers and it turned out another company came in and tore our flyers down and put theres up, we were livid, but we just put even more back up, and it turns out that the other haunt did terrible that year and it was there last year...i strongly believe in supporting and advertising your haunt, but not disrespecting others....

Front Yard Fright
02-22-2010, 07:56 PM
Many of us Iowa haunters get along great and sometimes have small meet and greets to catch up with each other in the off season. In 08 we even went on a tour of a local haunt, it was great to get together!

Also a haunt owner from Cedar Rapids put together Haunted Iowa (www.hauntediowa.com) to list some of the haunts Iowa. Each haunt listed was given a stack of fliers to hand out at their haunt to help promoted each other - it was a great success! I'm hoping to help make the site even bigger and better for this year!

The Nightmare Factory
03-21-2010, 12:50 AM
I am so happy we have no of this bull out here wher we haunt. SHEESH.

I get along with everone, hell we trade ticket with each other so workers can visit on nights off.

I take my actors to the other haunts that are close by so we can see what they are doing.

One haunt owner in Portland offers cheap and effective advertisng on his portland haunts site.

I put banners up on my nightmare guild site for the other haunts.

The only haunt we did not see ey to eye with with the soft core porn haunt that wnet up last year in Portland. I had no words wth them, we are 50 miles away, but other owners were not pleased.

Sorry you have to put up with this...


03-25-2010, 05:59 PM
it isn't competition that causes problems for frontyard fright its the fact that he is not complying with local ordinances and wanting waivers for life safety issues. He calls himself a haunted attraction yet it is in his garage and then he builds a couple buildings next to it and then blames others for the city inspectors showing up asking what he is doing. They told him as long as there are no roofs on the buildings it would be okay, so what does he do covers them with tarps. No fire protection and thinks he should get away with it. To try and get around tax issues he states on his website for an 8.00 donation or whatever you get a ticket to his haunt. This isn't a donation it is selling a ticket and I DO NOT mind competition but damn it do it on the same level. Don't know about anyone else but in Iowa we have to pay sales tax on ticket sales. I guess next year I will try this with the State since he seems to get away with it. For the donation of a ticket price I will give you a ticket and you can go in my haunt. Here in Iowa and in the industry, for I have seen it sometimes in the writings on these forums the mindset that " they should be left alone all they want to do is run a haunted house and love Halloween" and yet with this way of thinking if something happens at their "haunt" its okay that it will adversely affect my haunt through more regs if it is a fire. Thats why if you truly love Halloween stop trying to skirt laws and playing russian roulette with what others have built the right way. Like I said I do not mind Competition if it is on the same playing field as I'm on. If you do that you don't have to worry when the city comes calling.

03-25-2010, 09:33 PM
I'm sort of an outcast around here because I speak out. There is a haunt that was operating for years in Hampton The Dragons Eye, their walls were made out of black plastic no smoke detectors, no sprinkler, nothing. Last year they were not open.Says on their website they will open this year I just hope they come up witha better way to put it together. Things have changed in the last few years and no one in the industry or that have been on these forums can say that they don't know what should be done for safety, especially when it will come back to "haunt" everyone else.

03-26-2010, 07:53 AM
when i am not working at the haunt i am at. i work on my front lawn haunt.

the Neighbors here try to get competitive but they know i will do better than them. so before october hits i help them once in a while on there lawn haunt. it shows them i care but i don't tell them what i am doing for next halloween. so that way i can still be on top..

is that a bad thing???

this year's halloween haunt yard is coming out from a moive that i love... Trick 'r Treat... any guesses what i will do??

and i will have my hearse with me so what can i do with it???