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  • Several Haunts and Vendors going out of business???

    I can't confirm all of these but it appears that Oak Island, Pale NIght, Evilusions I heard they're closing, Scarefactory might not make it, I also heard about two more companies that either closed or talking about closing.

    I'm also seeing tons of middle class haunts closing, meaning haunts trying to do 5 to 15 thousand people. What gives?

    Well I think I can explain at least the haunts side of things... haunts are getting hammered due to high cost of operating them. Simply put they cost to much money to operate, and honestly probably 85% of every haunted house in America doesn't make enough money to support a family, or any serious year around employees. Secondly many haunt owners are OLDER, been doing this for a long time they're getting tired of the grind. As prices of haunts rise, and they have fewer and fewer people are visiting more than one. Another issue is amusement parks have dived full nosed into Halloween they have many advantages. Universal gets all the press no matter what state you're in... that is just a fact.

    Haunt owners have learned there are easier ways to make money, from axe throwing, adventure parks, escape rooms, whatever.

    Two more haunts in my area closed within 12 months of each other. Attendance isn't growing, so we rely more and more on making more per person than ever. Haunts are learning they must look at other things than just scaring people to make money. Adding things like escape rooms, paintball, midways, food, etc. Digital marketing has many haunt owners confused on how to market their product this has hurt a lot.

    Lastly, we're dealing with a new generation of people who grow up on social media. There is more things to do now than ever from escape rooms, axe throwing, adult themed mini golf, indoor mega bowling centers, interactive theaters, trampoline parks, i mean you name and its out there.

    Vendors are feeling it because no haunt vendor can EVER SURVIVE on The Netherworlds of the World. They're one haunt and they don't buy no where near enough. Vendors need those middle class haunts to make it period!

    Very soon I think the haunt industry will come full circle when the overwhelming number of haunts will be charity ... where workers do it for free.

    Theme parks will own the space, with a few handful of haunts like Netherworld, etc.

    Its going to get harder not easier thats for sure!

    Larry
    Larry Kirchner
    President
    www.HalloweenProductions.com
    www.BlacklightAttractions.com
    www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
    www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

  • #2
    Here is a suggestion... you better stop goofing around on Facebook and get serious. You better start talking to other haunt owners like the old days and start learning how to raise revenue even if or when attendance stays flat or decreases.

    At Transworld stop going to SCARE seminars only REALLY DUMB people would attend those seminars. If you don't already know how to scare your customers just go out of business NOW!

    You better start thinking about how can you increase revenue, learn digital marketing secrets, etc.

    Your future is NOW!

    Larry Kirchner
    President
    www.HalloweenProductions.com
    www.BlacklightAttractions.com
    www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
    www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by drfrightner View Post
      Lastly, we're dealing with a new generation of people who grow up on social media. There is more things to do now than ever from escape rooms, axe throwing, adult themed mini golf, indoor mega bowling centers, interactive theaters, trampoline parks, i mean you name and its out there.

      Larry
      My coworkers tell me their kids stay home now on the weekends and play on their phones....It's hard to get them to even go out on a date....They'd rather sit around and talk over texts...So if you can't get them out of the house through out the year, don't think by some miracle they are all of a sudden going to change their pattern to go out to see a haunted house in Oct....ZR

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ZombieRaider View Post

        My coworkers tell me their kids stay home now on the weekends and play on their phones....It's hard to get them to even go out on a date....They'd rather sit around and talk over texts...So if you can't get them out of the house through out the year, don't think by some miracle they are all of a sudden going to change their pattern to go out to see a haunted house in Oct....ZR
        How old are they though? Is Larry talking about targeting couch potato tweeners, or is he talking about targeting twenty/thirty somethings with actual disposable income? I assume the later.

        Comment


        • #5
          Agreed 100%. The whole thing.

          And might I add- whomever is responsible for designing social media platform advertising interfaces- ARE ALL RETARDS! NOTHING MAKES A DAMN BIT OF SENSE! Does anyone even teach Technical Writing anymore? It's ALL just scatterbrained horseshit... If it wasn't for the fact that tech and social media is addictive to its users- these idiots would be unemployed. -End rant.

          Back on the subject, and as for the future of haunts- you might think I'm different from some "big names" out there, but I don't- not down at the core. To quote a cool movie- " This is the circus. Everybody's trying not to go home!" I think EVERY haunt owner can relate to that statement on some level. So consider the haunts (like me) and vendors that never planned to be around forever. I made a 5 year plan and commitment and next season will be our 10th. People keep coming, I make enough and I am still enjoying the ride. But I make no illusions here- all good things come to an end, or at least transform as time goes by.

          Most people are just going to have to live without a good quality "classic" haunted house experience. Soon. To bad for them, but they won't miss something they never knew anyway. They can just tell their children about the time they saw something political on their phone once and it triggered them and they shit themselves right there on grandmas basement couch- swear to god! Good times...

          It's just change, and like you said- if you can keep up, you can ride the change to the next thing. As long as I can raise a fist to the sky and scream "Bring it you fuckers!" I'll be riding along somewhere.

          As for the weak-ass vendors... well, lol. They all need to read up on Ray Kroc and take the man's advice. Seriously....

          Just because you can do something neat doesn't mean you can run a business for christ's sake...

          I think we have a good selection of quality vendors and their prices are pretty much right.

          I think I also don't buy much from them anymore because I'm that guy... that guy that built a freaking haunt and the building that its in from the ground up- by hand- while walking up hill- both ways... So yeah- I'm resourceful. Pretty much like most haunters I imagine... That's tough on vendors I know, but I do still buy stuff, just not as much. And I do love my vendors- no complaints guys, and thanks for making good shit- you know who you are.

          Jesus, look how big this post got... Shut up, Rob...
          How can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his gods.

          What you put into your mind- you put into your life.


          www.zombietoxin.com

          Comment


          • #6
            I am not closing but I am scaling back considerably, 90% of the reason being that i need to focus more on my day job.

            Originally posted by drfrightner View Post
            I can't confirm all of these but it appears that Oak Island, Pale NIght, Evilusions I heard they're closing, Scarefactory might not make it, I also heard about two more companies that either closed or talking about closing.

            I'm also seeing tons of middle class haunts closing, meaning haunts trying to do 5 to 15 thousand people. What gives?

            Well I think I can explain at least the haunts side of things... haunts are getting hammered due to high cost of operating them. Simply put they cost to much money to operate, and honestly probably 85% of every haunted house in America doesn't make enough money to support a family, or any serious year around employees. Secondly many haunt owners are OLDER, been doing this for a long time they're getting tired of the grind. As prices of haunts rise, and they have fewer and fewer people are visiting more than one. Another issue is amusement parks have dived full nosed into Halloween they have many advantages. Universal gets all the press no matter what state you're in... that is just a fact.

            Haunt owners have learned there are easier ways to make money, from axe throwing, adventure parks, escape rooms, whatever.

            Two more haunts in my area closed within 12 months of each other. Attendance isn't growing, so we rely more and more on making more per person than ever. Haunts are learning they must look at other things than just scaring people to make money. Adding things like escape rooms, paintball, midways, food, etc. Digital marketing has many haunt owners confused on how to market their product this has hurt a lot.

            Lastly, we're dealing with a new generation of people who grow up on social media. There is more things to do now than ever from escape rooms, axe throwing, adult themed mini golf, indoor mega bowling centers, interactive theaters, trampoline parks, i mean you name and its out there.

            Vendors are feeling it because no haunt vendor can EVER SURVIVE on The Netherworlds of the World. They're one haunt and they don't buy no where near enough. Vendors need those middle class haunts to make it period!

            Very soon I think the haunt industry will come full circle when the overwhelming number of haunts will be charity ... where workers do it for free.

            Theme parks will own the space, with a few handful of haunts like Netherworld, etc.

            Its going to get harder not easier thats for sure!

            Larry
            Iím
            Brian Warner
            Owner of Evilusions www.EVILUSIONS.com
            Technical Director of Forsaken Haunted House www.Forsakenhaunt.com
            Mechanical Designer (animatronics) at Gore Galore www.Gore-Galore.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not sure it's as glum as all that. I'm in Florida and our biggest competition is Universal 3.5 hours away. And this was our best year yet (out of 20). Many (if not most) of our customers also went to Universal, and they say we're scarier. (No better make-up, not better sets, but scarier! And that's what most people WANT in a haunt.) You need lots of actors to pull that off, a good layout, and running smaller groups instead of conga lines really helps (even though it reduces short term profits). Lavish some TIME and attention on the audience, and stop pushing them through like cattle the way they do at Universal. Our customers are getting much more value for their money and they know it.

              I generally hate on-line reviews, because people who enjoyed themselves rarely take the time to log on and type as much, but people who have a gripe can't wait to post something negative. That being said, the on-line reviews have been overwhelming good. But the handful of negative comments do sting-- even when they are back handed compliments. One of the few negative comments said, "You're better off going to Universal, if you have the money." I was soooo tempted to respond, "You mean, the EXTRA money, don't you? Like the EXTRA $65 they charge for general admission, and the EXTRA $50 to drive there and back, and the EXTRA $150 for the hotel. And don't forget the extra $25 for parking... which is more than what we charge for tickets (while our parking is free)!"

              But I digress. The point is, people want value for their money and if you give it to them, MOST of them will appreciate it and return, or tell someone else and influence them to come as well (or both). We spent far less on advertising this year, because the lines were so long we were afraid it might get out of control. (We'll have to add more dates next time and craft ways to spread out the audience load more.) We had the benefit of good weather and no rain-outs this year, but that wasn't the reason for the good season. The main reason is a positive word-of-mouth reputation. Keep asking yourself if YOU were a customer, would YOU think it was worthwhile and a "must see" event. I'm not saying I'm encouraging my kids to quit school to get into the haunt business, but I don't think haunts are a fad that is fading. They are evolving, and there is still room for growth.

              I think enhancing revenues with concessions and other spending options is always good advice, and we're going to focus on that next year as well. But not with $3 bottles of water, or other "soak them till it hurts" fees, because I don't want customers to feel ripped off. That never makes me want to return to a place or suggest someone else go, either. It's a special event and it won't be cheap, but it should be worthwhile... as should the rest of the experience.
              Last edited by monsterwax; 1 week ago.
              www.TerrorOfTallahassee.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Brian,

                Sorry about that... I was told you closed. I should have checked with you first. I guess when you posted or you told someone you were scaling back someone must have taken that as you're closing. I was told you closed.

                Someone was even saying to me you didn't have a booth last year... and I was like yes they did we bought something from them.

                So anyway sorry about that.

                Larry
                Larry Kirchner
                President
                www.HalloweenProductions.com
                www.BlacklightAttractions.com
                www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
                www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  For $90 I can go to HHN every night in they are open in September. For $200 I can go every single night they are open. They incentivize you to go multiple nights so they can sell you merch and food. Maybe we should start thinking about selling full event run passes instead of just nightly tickets.
                  Jared Layman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    On top of that Universal updates and teases their event the entire year leading up to opening night. How many haunts across the country are doing that? Maybe a few. They have a rabid fan base. You are correct in that you can't compete with the theme parks in terms of money but how many places out there are at least trying to use some of the same techniques?

                    Jared Layman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Skeleton Store just told me they're closing that site and moving out of the Halloween business. Their new focus will be on medical training. You won't be seeing them at Transworld anymore either.
                      Larry Kirchner
                      President
                      www.HalloweenProductions.com
                      www.BlacklightAttractions.com
                      www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
                      www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

                      Comment

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