I'm working with a farmer and his small country farm with pumpkin patch and corn maze during October. For other seasons he grows and sells other products. We have kid activities/events/areas as well and have schools, churches, and families visit year long. This is a very conservative Christian area. So right now, families visit the farm for the day and know it is a very "safe" place to bring their kids. And by "safe" I mean exposure to darker entertainment. A common compliment made by grown-up guests is "I'm so glad you don't do any of that scary stuff." They don't allow drinking and have sent home entire groups of college students who were obviously intoxicated (an entire bus one time) who had come for the night time corn maze.
Now most of the activities run during the day. The only thing open after dusk is the corn maze. And it's generally emptied by 9:30pm or 10pm. The farm is the only business for this farmer and his family.
We are very close to a large university and we (I and the farmer) know he is missing out on a whole other business. The "scare" business. That's me. That's my world. While there are no spooks in the corn maze he already gets the request from his younger crowd (college and high school).
The biggest problem seems to be how to integrate haunting into the overall family oriented farm. There is no doubt that were there to be zombies walking around near dusk some (maybe a lot) of the church crowd would be appalled. (I can see in my mind little kids who have been sheltered their whole life running for the lives when they see a zombie actor walking to his post.) I've played with safer ideas like zombies hidden inside scarecrows but some props would probably still be visible during the day. Signs that said something like "Haunted Trail this way -->" would be visible during the day.
But I think another concern is the college crowd that we'd draw in is nothing like the current conservative family crowd. The two crowds would not mix well. The Sun would be our ally though... most families go home by dusk and none of the haunted trail stuff could start until well after dusk.
The farmer is very worried of losing the core of his current (and profitable) business model on the new endeavor. Obviously... it's a risk.
Any comments? Anyone been through this dilemma? I want to tell him "dude it's going to be OK... we can keep the tone down a little on the visuals" but I've never tried this merge of worlds before. And it's not my livelyhood to lose.
Thanks in advance!