Designing Scares –
Coming up with a theme is always a good starting point if your doing the design yourself. If you have visited any haunt they all are design to there space so having a pre-made design most likely wont happen. I dont know actual costs but having a haunt designed for you im sure wont be cheap.
I start with a idea of my theme. I then try to put a logical progression into the theming. IE if your doing like a cryps theme. Start at the decay and work back to when they where alive. Like cryps then to the morage then to a hospital then to a crazy killer.
Something like that. You want to sit down and make a list of the props you have and props you'll need to make the theme you choose come to life!
The second stage is to get a rough layout, you'll wanna use a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program if you have access to it. Layout your build space as accuratly as you can. Then keeping a few rules in mind start to snake a path threw your space.
Rule 1# make the walkway 4' wide
Rule 2# never go further than about 20 in a strieght line if you can help it.
Rule 3# Leave space for Props and actors.
Rule 4# design to be foward flowing (Never double back into the same hallway)
Rule 5# design your wall system to be modular (this allows you to change things easily to make it different each year)
Rule 6# Need to design for fast exit so make sure you can get from the center to a exit quickly
These insights will help your haunt flow smooth and not get congested. one thing i will do is in the design i leave what i call Prop / Actor islands. What this means is the walk way goes around the actor / prop on 3 sides. This gives your actor the most oppertunities to scare your group. The more you do this the few people you will need to run your haunt. The down side to this is that you have to space your groups out to give your actors time to work each group as they go by.
Lighting and fog add to the design making rooms and halls longer and harder to see where they go so try to add them into several spots.
Having fog machine shoot into a pastic bin with ice gives you a good low lying fog also.
If you have any other questions on design let me know! I'll try to help out if i can!
Brookdale Campground Haunted Halls
Kozy Rest Campground Haunted Hay Ride
ScareHouse Pittsburgh, Pa (Actor)
Designer & Technical Director