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Thread: *** OUT-DOOR HAUNTS***

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  1. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Things you will struggle with when doing an outdoor haunt:

    - Vandalism. If possible, get a big fence and a scary dog.

    - Power. Traditionally, power is a complete PITA. Make sure you have that all planned out.

    - Plumbing. Your cast won't like you most of the year because you lack bathrooms. If you are near an area with gas stations or other public restrooms, this is less of a problem. You will be required to have Port-o-johns during the season for your customers. Suggestion: Get one dedicated to the cast. The main ones get horrible.

    - Special materials / equipment and planning. You won't be able to use cheap materials like you can with props that won't get wet. You will have to water-seal everything. Plan on extra costs for cables & splitters, you can't use indoor grade stuff.

    - Super long runs for everything. Your air lines will be longer, your power lines will be longer, your audio lines will be longer, your control lines will be longer.

    - You will need a building that is water-tight for some things, like a place for your cast to meet, get makeup, do control/audio, have power come in, protect your air compressors, etc.

    - electronic controllers, etc will need to be installed into weather-tight boxes. Sometimes electronics won't like this (especially microcontrollers), so you need to invest in a few other things to protect them against moisture, like electronics potting material, silica gel packs, and regular maintenance & checks to ensure things are staying dry (remember: weather-tight doesn't always mean MOISTURE tight)

    - if you are in a cold part of the country, your actors will hate you for being outside. Keep them happy with hand-warmers, warm costumes, hot chocolate, hot food, etc, etc, etc

    Don't think that running an outdoor haunt is less expensive. Sometimes, I think it would be less expensive to be indoors and having to pay a lease/rent (we do pay a lease on the land, but it's not terribly expensive for us). Your major expenses still exist: insurance, props & show related, advertising, inspections, permits, etc

    Not that you shouldn't run an outdoor haunt, it is a great thing, and very rewarding. Just be aware that the money you save with not having a building to pay for will easily be chewed up by the other materials you will have to buy to support the wet environment.

    There are a few things you don't have to worry about, like sprinkler systems. If you lack a roof, you don't need 'em (but you SHOULD have fire extinguishers EVERYWHERE)

    I could go on for pages, but you get the idea.

    -- I

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    being in minesota i would be worried about the weather. I know in WI it gets COLD! it rains alot if its not snowing. Although it can be done if u plan it right.

    Sean De Wane
    The De Wane Asylum

  3. Default  
    Hey everybody,
    I'm new if you didn't already figure that out from my post count.

    I just wanted to weigh in on this, though I am not a professional haunter I am an enthusiast and I got my first acting gig this past season so I hope I can give some helpful advice:

    1. From an actor's perspective, working outside can get pretty dismal. It's cold. If it rains it can be a huge pain to stand out there getting rained on and freezing just to wait for the occasional group. One local haunt, The Terrorfied Forest, breaks up their outdoor haunt into scenes, all of which have at least one small shed, and most of them are heated, if I recall correctly. Obviously this means fairly high generator costs so I guess it's a thin line between taking good care of your actors and insane gas costs.

    2. One of the things that makes an outdoor haunt so scary, at least for me, is the fact that you really feel isolated. The further apart you can afford to space the groups, the better.

  4. Default ok 
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Again thanks for all the imput. I checked out the slide show from an above post. Some good ideas. I think one down fall to some out door haunts is that as patrons walk and come across lights and other props, they tend to get the feel that something is going to happen.

    I am not sure what I am going to be able to do with what I have to work with. I need to drive to the location and take a look. I feel though that there might not be a lot of tree's. But then again I could be wrong. I think that weather will play a part in my haunt, if I decide to do it outsoors. We are Minnesotans and I thing with the proper clothing and what not it will work out.

    Any way more pics would help. Anyother information please share.

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Wallingford, CT
    Hey Mr Haunt,

    We have an outdoor trail in CT and the advice given so far has been great. I'd like to add a few things:
    -First of all look at your market to see how many outdoor attractions are in your area. When we got started 13 years ago there were mostly indoor type haunts or outdoor hayrides. Today, there's more outdoor than indoor, or a combination of both.
    -Also, as mentioned above, lay out your scenes and have all the proper power cords. ALL ON GFI'S. We were shut down one year for having too many regular extension cords and some were not on GFI's. You'll need to hire an electrian and most likely need a permit.
    -I would also recommend a walk-thru with the local fire marshall and authorities to make sure you are doing things right. It's better to know now then later.

    We originally planned on an haunt inside a really old house but after talking with the fire marshall we decided outdoors would be better. We love being outdoors and when the weather is bad we close and visit other haunts. I will admit a permanent indoor haunt would be awesome, but for now we're satisfied.



  6. Default reply 
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Outdoors haunts in warm places im sure do very well, in Illinois and wisconsin it can be done but expect to be shut down a few nights because of rain. IT RAINS IN OCTOBER,LOTS!! This meens you shut down and lose profit!

    Bearded bill put up a picture link, i watched it and saw a lot of code violatins if that haunt was in Illinois,maybe not so in New York.

    A few i saw.

    Black Plastic in the buildings with no sprinkler system!!!! UMM why?

    Indoor lighting being used outside in the elements! How can they get away with this?

    Power cords within reach of the patrons, a huge no,no for us. These pictures had cords strewn everywhere.

    In all reality all these things could be avioded with a few more hours of work (cable ties and cord hangers,man power) and for a few bucks more a few sheets of plywood could have been used instead of the plastic.

    I know when i build in the future, i will think very hard about each room and it's safety.
    The key question is Who is their Fire Marshall ? and how do i get him relocated to my town!

  7. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    New York
    This was not my haunt, however when I told them these things, they said since they are run by the local government they have fire/ambulance/police on staff at their location every night which i believe they only run it for 1-2 nights tops.

    But I agree with you completely.

  8. Default  
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Dearborn, Michigan
    Depending on location, don't forget about the natural resident's.

    5 Years ago I did a small outdoor haunt for free in south Texas for a community center, very simple set-up and we had a lot of visiters including a black snake (lucky for us was not poisonous) which was probably the scariest part of the haunt. We had us stop everything for about 40 minutes untill someone who was brave enough to catch the snake and take it away.

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    And took the black snake away without paying him either, I suppose?
    OH well, in court he wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

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