Just a few methods we've used
We've been doing a haunted house in connection with the local fire department for six years, after a brief hiatus we are finally back this year (gotta love political reasons). Anyhow, some of the techniques that worked for us in the past in getting the word out were through press releases, word of mouth and parades. I've been in the media industry for more than 12 years, so crafting the press releases were pretty easy. It's always a plus to know what the local papers or stations look for in the releases, yet not giving everything away. In our early years we had a lot of help from those still in high school. Not always the best crowd to work with, but putting them in charge of flyers, around the area and throughout the schools was huge. They used to take stacks to of flyers to school and just hand them out.
Our haunt has always been geared to the 16 and up crowd, but we were always able to do walk throughs for those younger. One of our biggest though were the local parades. We are located in a small town in Central New York, and every year there are a variety of parades from Old Home Days to Field Days events. We also have the privilege of being in the same town as the Boxing Hall of Fame (Canastota), which has a huge parade every year. In the past we built a mini haunted house on the float, it was basically a pitch black hallway where the actors could reach out at those walking through. As the float would move we'd jump out of fog off the back of it and scare the crowd. When we were stopped for the progression to move, we'd pull people in to walk through it quickly. It made a lasting impression.
This year we're taking advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even shooting short teaser trailers leading up to it. We'll still reach out to the papers, tv and radio stations but will rely mostly on word of mouth and social media.
Ken - The Butcher