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Thread: A Vanishing Breed?...

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  1. Default A Vanishing Breed?... 
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    In light of the recent closure (and pending sale) of the long-running Florida haunt "Skull Kingdom", does anyone else get the feeling that the freestanding year-round haunts outside of amusement parks are becoming extinct? Save a few like the Ripley's attractions (which are more of a corporate franchise, when you think of it) and some smaller independents, I'd be hard pressed to think of that many that are left...
    "We all go a little mad sometimes..."

    - Norman Bates

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    I wonder if 9-11 helped it go by-by?
    I seemed to sense alot more general fear and depression in people since that day. Confident, fun-seeking people usually frequent haunted entertainments. I believe.
    People from third-world countrys are very uneasy in a haunted house. Going to bed hungry, not knowing if tonight is the night the dictator's troops come, your Father out of bed and he just dissappears?
    It can be a whole different "ball Game" in other countrys.

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I believe it's more of a matter that they can no longer bring in the revenue needed to operate said attractions. They've got some pretty big competition sitting next to them.
    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

  4. Default  
    Raycliff Manor Guest
    The way property values have risen if you lease your property, it would probably be hard to recoop the expense in a high profile area. If you own your property it would be terribly tempting to sell. Let's just hope that some of the people who have chosen or been forced to close decide to re-establish themselves in a new location.

    Another consideration for those near amusement parks; with the amusement parks getting in on the haunted attraction action, it would be really hard to compete with their budgets. :shock: I guess there are so many possible variables it could be a completely different scenario with each incident. :wink:


  5. Default  
    Nightgore Guest
    Trust me when I say that only 2 chains of parks actually deliver a product that's hard to compete with... Knotts and Universal. Every other park haunt I've seen is mediocre (sp?) and believe me when I say that ALOT of private haunts are better than some theme/amusement parks. -Tyler

  6. Default  
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Manitowoc Wisconsin www.nightmarefactoryhaunt.com
    I think a few things led to Skull Kingdoms demise. #1, to keep a place like that going year round, you need mass numbers of people going, and you are not going to get a ton of people going to a haunt in the off season. Sure you will get a handful of people going, but not 1000 or so a day. #2, I went there two years ago and the place was not very good. Broken props, and maybe 2-3 actors in masks. That kind of word gets out and it will kill an attraction.
    www.atheateroflostsouls.com Or if you need makeup or supplies www.abramagic.com

    "I am a frickin evil genius who deserves some frickin respect!"

  7. Default  
    Raycliff Manor Guest
    I've only been to Knott's Haunted Attractions when I still lived in CA and they did an awesome job! Can't say that I've seen the rest. I'll take your word for it. Maybe it'll take time for the public to realize that the others aren't delivering, as far as the haunts are concerned. It would be hard to compete with an amusement park providing both rides and haunted attractions though. At least until the public realized that the "outside" attractions are delivering a better quality haunted attraction show. As the haunted attraction industry continues to receive more spotlight, it'll be interesting to see where things go. This is one of the reasons it's so important to have a strong professional association to help us stay ahead of the curve and grow as an industry! :wink:


  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Longview, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightgore
    Trust me when I say that only 2 chains of parks actually deliver a product that's hard to compete with... Knotts and Universal. Every other park haunt I've seen is mediocre (sp?) and believe me when I say that ALOT of private haunts are better than some theme/amusement parks. -Tyler
    I second that. Six Flags(in Dallas) used to have 3 haunts going every season, and everyone said-"Oh wow, Six Flags- we gotta go!" Six Flags just has that budget to make the biggest and best in the area, but they always fall short. On the down side though, with the high priced admission to Six Flags, many people dont go to other Haunts, because a)they've already spent enough money this halloween, abd b)they've already gotten their fix this year on being scared this year. Lately, Six Flags hasnt done tto much at Halloween, and it seems that Haunts in Dallas have seen a rise in attendance.

    Finally, Pro Haunts prosper over Amusement park haunts!!

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Portland, OR
    I think that it is hard for a traditional walk-through attraction to operate year round for a few reasons. One is that you can't put through the same kind of numbers night in and night out that you can during the season. This leads to several problems. One is, with fewer people coming through, how do you keep your actors at a high energy level. When they are acting year round the roles get old. Having fewer groups comes through increases the boredom, and the quality of show suffers.

    Then there is the matter of how many actors you can support with those smaller groups. Fewer actors again affects the quality of the show. And a lower quality show, leads to fewer patrons. A cycle of death to the attraction. I am not saying that this is what necessarily happened to Skull Kingdom -- I have never been there -- but my experience with actors leads me to believe this is reasonable.

    That said, it is my goal to eventually open a year round attraction. It will, by necessity, be a different model than that of a seasonal haunt. Look at what Jim has been able to do with Raven's Grin Inn. He puts through smaller numbers, but the come night after night. He doesn't spend a fortune on advertising. He doesn't have 50 actors. And his audience it entertained.

    I live on a farm. I am hoping to eventually plant grapes and build a new building. It will be themed as a haunted winery/vineyard. We will host dinners, ghost hunts, theatrical seances, business meetings, parties, weddings, and more. We will have hayrides, bonfire, and ghost stories in the summer. All with a haunted theme. Sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much.

    This is my long term retirement plan and it will be years before I am able to put it into action. I have, however, been researching this idea for a year and a half and I firmly believe that it is a viable business model.

    So, is it the end of the year round attraction? I certainly hope not, but for an attraction to survive it will have to evolve and adapt.

    Just my two and a half cents worth.


    Lords of Chaos, LLC
    House of Chaos Haunted Attraction

  10. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    I think it is real simple. The people that are running them have had enough. The same people that were there in the beginning quit or passed on and the new bunch just didn't have the same heart. Some of the places were family owned and 50 years in the family was enough.

    It's tough sometimes when the little convienence store guy is driving a Mercedese and you have an old truck or a hearse. You start to wonder.

    On the same token many businesses make only enough the make a mediocre living, pay the utilities, the help and pay the mortgage and then taxes take away what you thought was the profit. The only asset that isn't worn out is the land.

    Buildings only last so long before they need major maintenance. The larger they are the more big money it takes now. Especially in Florida with Hurricans every year ripping everyting apart. The insurance must be impossible. When the ice caps finish melting Florida will be mostly underwater anyhow. It's a good time to move.

    It would also be difficult to have to raise prices from what worked 10 years ago with out it being a nice sanitary experience for the customers.

    You never see a haunt washing guy in the buyer's guide.

    There's my niche, have pressure washer will travel. Does your haunt ressemble a public gas station rest room after years of patronage? Are you affraid of future pandemics and present day unidentifiable viruses?

    Give us a call or contact us at HauntedScumAway.com

    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.

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