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Cost of scenes

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  • Cost of scenes

    Hello first post on here we have been running a haunted hayride and corn maze for about 10 years and have some questions for larger guys. Every year I try and expand and improve I do all the building myself we send about 600-1000 people through a year and like to move things around to keep it fresh but my main question is for example I see some places might have a 30 ft dinosaur that cost $10000 or more how do you afford it. I understand it takes a good show to bring in the people. Is it something that just takes time? It is tuff for me I have to run our vegetable farm all summer to make ends meet September hits and all my energy goes into the hayride. It seems like you need millions to run a top of the line haunt. Any advice would be great we do get more and more people each year

  • #2
    Also we do not sell any food or drinks. Is it worth it?


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum. Congratulations on 10 years and still going. To address your question, the places that offer the high dollar props, scenes, etc. must bring in a lot of money to pay for them.
      The nationally recognized big name haunts are open for 15, 20, 25+ nights during the season and do a high volume of traffic especially as Halloween draws nearer. This coupled with ticket prices at the higher end of the scale gives them the revenue to support props, scenes, marketing, etc. These haunts are big budget and deliver some of the best entertainment the industry has to offer. Spending a ton of money does not guarantee a terrific haunt. The true 'pros' at the top of the industry work very hard to deliver haunted attraction experiences that amaze and entertain their guests.
      Expanding your current haunt and changing/re-theming areas to keep it exciting and guests coming back each year is more important than adding a $10,000 prop. If it is not in the budget, so be it. Be creative and do your best to put on the best show possible. With the volume you listed you have the opportunity to deliver a more 'personalized' experience and can use that to your advantage. If in the future your revenues can support some higher dollar props you can add them. Best of luck this season!


      • #4
        "Eye Candy"

        With no showmanship or storyline ends up doing very little to impress most customers. Gotta go people arrived for a tour! Later.


        • #5
          Low cost ideas

          Check out the Stiltbeast Studios YouTube channel. Allen Hopps has tons of videos on low cost ways to enhance the guests experience at your show- from make up tips to scenic design, it's a huge resource for any haunter. Like and subscribe for new updates each week. -JF


          • #6
            15 years and some insight

            I agree that the bigger props do NOT bring in the customers. I purchased a big prop from Unit 70, (I love it and Bo builds all my stuff), and I was told before hand that the larger props will not make a difference in drawing the crowds, from a very experienced haunter in the business, and I must say I should have listened. It has nothing to do with the prop itself. When using a prop of this magnitude it is usually used as a distraction and not a scare. I have learned and am looking to replace it this year, of more things from the one and only Unit 70:lol:

            We to have the same holding pattern and I think that some of ours might be location as we are located out in the sticks.....but one thing in our favor is the atmosphere, a historical farm homestead, which plays along with our farm theme. The haunt also changes in layout every year. It might be time to move away from the farm theme however the farm theme is what this is.

            One of our major problems is having the money for advertising. I have always been careful in the advertising budget as I make sure that I do not spend more in advertising than we are going to take in. I also find that I am conservative in the amount due to the number of actors that we need to have to run such a large attraction (haunted barn/corn maze and a haunted hayride). It seems no matter how many actors I do have there is never enough. So we pay bonuses at the end of the year to actors, based on performance and attendance. We also support local FFA groups, and disability groups.

            I think that advertising is the key here. We by no means have the budget for the advertising that the bigger haunts have. More money for advertising would be great if we could cut down on the number of actors, however having animated props located in the two largest areas of the haunt, corn and hayride, are a hard thing to accomplish with limited use of power and air in these locations. We do however, try to keep as much of an even mix as possible in these locations.

            I would love to hear more on the advertising situation, and how the budgets are acquired to do such, as I setup our own advertising, working with radio, media, etc. myself.

            Kim Hicks
            Owner, The Haunted Farm LLC
            Pleasantville, OH


            • #7
              you want to know my experience..... props mean nothing!!!! We have a haunted train ride, been going 10 or so years. It starts in the afternoon for little kids, goes until 10 or 11. our props are plain out terrible, I mean bad. There are wal-mart blow-ups, a graveyard with 10 or so plywood stones just bad. But we don't seem to want to improve and still get 3-4000 a year. our price is cheap, and it is all volunteer(plus we own the train), what the people like is the live haunters plain and simple. Could we be better with better props, no doubt, but the person in charge is set in her way of doing it, and we make a fair profit(we are a non-profit historical club). We will probably ride it out until it tanks, then quit.


              • #8
                "Amazing Props?" = Amazing Dumpster-Diving!

                Old steel pipe,plastic pipes, rebar, conduit. makesome "bodies" drill holes in the pipe, bolt the pipes together , dress it with old clothes from a dumpster or a "Goodwill" type place, 25cents for a men's suit around here. String it up with 1/16th steel cable, use pulleys or not, make him move, dance, twitch, at the right moment and some will jump and scream, laugh at one another and maybe never forget it!
                Showmanship can carry the day (Night too!) Become a storyteller, have one for kids, one for adults, make it more mysterioius and unpredictable instead of stupid/gory, leave some things un-said, implied, leave them a few things to ponder, think about, wonder, worry about.???
                You have to reach people. Make an impression.
                It takes effort, even practise.
                Make them remember you and the haunt and you will reap business that no ad can duplicate as they can't stop talking about it to everyone they know.
                You could never make this work if you paid them to do this, impress them and they will be promoting you for free, forever.
                When a friend , relative, co-worker comes at us with genuine enthusiasm in their voice , we listen, don't we? We usually remember too.
                Last night a Family was here, newbies because a co-worker had told the Father that they "HAD To COME HERE!"
                They drove about 90 minutes to get here, to this small village, turned down some tiny, short streets,around a corner to find an 1870 inn with an actual haunted reputation that began at least as long ago as 1925.
                This house and grounds are full of things I have made over these last 27 years, goofy stuff, odd, strange, sometimes remarkable. Things not to found anyplace else, most will tell you.
                Today I installed my "No Zombie" rocket and launcher into a very tight, small space to make people possibly become somewhat paranoid standing so close to a weapon of mass-destruction, especially if they might be feeling zombie tendantcys...
                Last edited by Jim Warfield; 04-18-2014, 05:27 PM.