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Thread: What's a good square footage?

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  1. Default What's a good square footage? 
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I'm putting my first haunt together, and dispite having ample (and great) help for most other issues, I'm wondering what a "common" or "good" area would be for a single walk-thu. I have a prime location with about 5,000 sq. ft of indoor usable space.

    ALSO, is there a place to obtain floorplans? Again, my crew can (and has) built effects and scenery, but we all agree we'd rather go with a "tested" floorplan. Thanks.

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Bartlett, TN
    I don't think there is an answer about what is the right amount of space. There are haunts that are 2000 sq ft, and others that are 50,000 sq ft.

    Obviously the first consideration is how much space you have available. 5000 should be just fine, especially starting out. I think people who try to start out a lot bigger than that likely bite off more than they can chew. (Of course there are exceptions to every rule.)

    Second consideration is what will you have for props and actors. Do you have enough to fill 2500 sq ft? Remember that walls are just the start. What kind of furniture will be needed? What static props or animations? How many actors do you think you'll have? Do you have costuming for that many actors?

    I'm sure there are plenty of people who can help with designs, and I've seen a few floor plans online. (JB Corn's layout for his haunt is pretty well designed if you like the 60 degree system over 90 degree walls.) Make sure that you find what works for you though. A design that works for one person, may not be right for someone else.

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Tennessee *Hellbilly Hills*
    5,000 is perfect and if you design it right you can easily get more than enough room and scares.
    There are a few questions and things that anyone would need to know before designing.

    Does this include your actor space?
    Restroom Locations?
    Emergency Exits?
    And the actual layout that is there now. Is it a perfect square? Rectangle? L shaped?

    I believe Leonard Pickel said it first - 2,500 to 5,000 square feet is the largest any haunt should go - if you have more sq feet - break it into multiple haunts.
    Main reason being $$ - Charging $10 for one haunt at 10,000 square feet is great but what if you had 2 or 3 haunts? One being 3,000 square feet second being 2,000 (3D of Light Haunt) and another 5,000 square feet. Now you can charge $5 each or $10 for the larger and $5 for the smaller.

    Sorry went on a tangent -

    No matter when you design a haunt try to make sure each actor has 2 + scares. The design of your haunt is key to success and utilization of your actors. Feel free to e-mail me personally: todd@fearconnection.com

    And Good Luck!

  4. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Find out if there might be a certain number of people that can occupy the building at one time.
    If you think you have to have the place non-stop packed to make a dollar, then get told you can't have it this way....
    It will also require a certain number of helpers to fill the place if not for entertaining and scarin the customers just to keep the customers from ripping the place and one another apart. Video cameras help this and they aren't free either.
    If you take customers inside in groups, smaller groups work better for the scare and for protection of life and property. Don't try to scimp on personell, it will cost you otherwise.
    Nothing beats having an actual person nearby to console, help and watch what is happening.
    Of course if your 5,000 sq. foot is all in one elevator shaft forget everything I just put here.
    One employee at the top, one at the bottom, you're done!

  5. Default Designing Scares 
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Near Pittburgh, Pa
    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!
    Michael Chilson
    Brookdale Campground Haunted Halls
    Kozy Rest Campground Haunted Hay Ride
    ScareHouse Pittsburgh, Pa (Actor)
    Designer & Technical Director

  6. Default Google Sketch up 
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I had the same question and had read a bit about the triangular grid system. It made sense but was a bit abstract without an example.

    I downloaded google sketch up [free version] and was able to find a great starting example of both triangular grid and general haunt walk. Do a search on sketch up for 'haunt floorplan'. The plan you'll find is 500 sq. ft, 16 double sided walls, 20 single sided. It shows spots for actor nests with multiple scare box options. I would use less interior walls to create larger set areas, but this is a great example of a core design to expand into a larger haunt.

    This design is also freestanding with no use of existing walls, which makes the overall panel count higher.

    I highly advise sketch up. I have Illustrator and AutoCad architecture, sketch up has very similar output with much easier interface.

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