I'm not seeing any advertising costs being offered by either party. I would have to know what kind of attendance you got the first year. If you have $20,000 worth of stuff, this has a perishable time limit to when it is all rotted, damaged or needs maintenance. It will cost another dollar figure to replace things or make things into something else. In this day and age $10 is expected behavior. Compared to $5 it gives off thr vibe that there is $500 worth of stuff rather than $20,000 worth of stuff and has probably deteriorated consumer confidence to begin with.
I have experimented with an ignorant charity that one year went from $10 to free for one year and only half the people showed up as when it was $10. When the board decided to go to $7 they only saw 3/4 of the people and I had learned enough from them to move on.
Strategically the group that is participating in your event will also move on, lose excitement, be disillusioned and make stupid decisions that will allow you to move on. Say 3 years should be your big intention to provide as much different every year as you can and see what works even at little or no profit. Then your inventory of what you have to go pro is 3 times what the little starter haunt was and perhaps worth $12 when comined in a pro haunt. So what ever you can reinvest money wise and what ever you can make for little cost is not lost, it is all investment that at some point outweighs whether it is being recieved and compensated for by the public and your partners. Or you never know, they may honor your offerings as it becomes more obvious and upgrade their thinking for the event to match. More likely they will stagnate and do no more than they did year one.
You can actually create a social network and have the customers tell you what they would suport, would like to see and so on. When you have more online activism and support that are actually attending the event, you know if you sent out an announcement things can happen, customers will show up, customers will pay and have developed a tasted for the event.
Say over the years you have then totalled $40,000 worth of stuff, you will also find backers that originally were people you simply wanted to see your haunt and wanted to see what it was about. The bottom line is only those who really bother to show up really have an opinion. It becomes a one at a time sales effort and invite system and actually monitoring your congregation personally. Eye to eye at the front of the haunt. Being the promoter that makes sure people are attending is the most important job that no one ever does. They expect "they" will come but no one knows who they are when it can very easily be a known factor. Who ever has the customers is the real pro. It is more than stuff and knowing how to use it.
Developing the market while you do have a group fronting lots of bills is a great resource that should not be overlooked. When 800 are showing up, the real market might be 8,000 would show up if they got good customer service and were kept informed of where and when something good is happening.
Further, don't make time schedules, if it takes 5 years or 10 years to develop the market and no longer get the support it deserves, let it play out. Make the case of why you jumped really make sense because the numbers proved to be correct and no one will blame you for moving on or going pro. It may take 5 years or more to play out everyone that thinks they need to have an event. You simply let them see first hand how much work it really is and question what they do with all the crap they have. Still everyone has developed a market or several types of markets and the longest vision wins.
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.