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Frightfactory UK
07-11-2006, 05:43 PM
Hi,

Have any of you experience in the past voilence aimed towards your actors from people, or people that just want to go in and screw about, ie wreck some props or anything like that?

Im a little concerned about this in the UK to a level where im considering hiring doormen.

Any info would be appreciated!

Regards

Mark

Barry
07-11-2006, 06:57 PM
Yes, we have and I would think that all haunts have. Usually it is from people who have been drinking liquid courage. We keep our problems to a minimum with a heave police presence and by trying to intercept potential problem people in the queue line and letting them know thye are being watched. This seems to reduce our "problem children".

Jim Warfield
07-11-2006, 07:35 PM
Some of the bad deportment seen within a haunted house is inspired by the haunt experience itself but the worst of it does come from booze-a-holics.
If you have an in-their-face, aggressive type of a show then some customers will respond "in-kind".
Some people merely are reactive to being startled, swinging fists or even kicking, only to apologise , sometimes profusely, almost immeadiately.
Some people pretend to be reactive and are just looking for someone to be their punching bag. Usually these people are found always punching women haunters or small children (if you allow them to work for you, a good reason not to)
I always tell my helpers to never get within arm's length of anyone they are scaring AND be prepared to quickly step backward if they become aggressive. If they continue meanacing my helper I instruct them to shine their flashlight in the person's face, then retreat to safety and call for help.
Rubber masks with small mis-alinded eyeholes set someone up to get punched .

Jast223
07-11-2006, 09:35 PM
Yes I actually was a victim of violance. I was wearing a full face clown prostetic (sorry for the spelling) attached with spirit gum. Guy walked up and pulled off the face piece (ouch) :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: and also pulled off my jesters hat. Needless to say that pissed me off. I ended up having to push the guy away from me in order to get away and to call security. Im pretty sure that if I had not done that that I would of most likely would of gotten hurt.


Ask Jason for the picture of me wearing the mask.
Or Jason can you post with the pic???

Frightfactory UK
07-12-2006, 02:20 AM
Yeah i figured this happened.

May have to get some doormen in masks lol.

To be honest it bloody annoys me, its making my insurance costs rocket at the moment!

Oh well, what doesnt kill you makes you stronger eh!


Cheers

Jim Warfield
07-12-2006, 07:08 AM
Here is a partial answer to what might be your next logical question.
"How Do you Cut Down The Amount Of B.S. In Your Haunt?"
(Violence, vandalism)
Have surveilence cameras.
Let your customers know that you have them, be obvious about it.
Hire professional Policemen who know how to legally handle troublemakers.
Keep the drunks out.
Don't get greedy, don't cram way too many customers into your place during prime time. This ruins any "show" that you may have had for them, makes them feel "Ripped Off", which inspires vandalism inside your haunt("Payback" mentality)
The cramming of too many bodies through the door also makes it harder or impossible to actually know who the troublemaker might be, or might have been.
People in smaller groups always behave much better, so avoid creating the mob-mentality, as in "Lynch Mob"!
I stated this is all just a partial answer because sometimes in some situations you can have everything right and still things go wrong.
People can be very unpredictable. It can just be something within their nature, you know.

frightking
07-12-2006, 10:28 AM
We have had issues also at our Spokane haunt, however seem to be able to keep most of it under control with a moderate security staff. If an actor is touched or we notice someone messing with props, they are immediately escorted out the exit. The worst thing we have expierienced is someone pulling a gun in the qeue line the cops showed up within minutes. I believe the best way to handle this is by training your security staff or hiring off duty coppers.

Ken Spriggs
07-12-2006, 04:01 PM
Doormen????

We hire fully armed off duty cops!

Violence in a haunt.....sure mix booze and the dark and you get an instant Ahole (not me the customers).

On some nights we have 7-8 cops EVERYWHERE

SomeThingInTheIce
07-12-2006, 05:51 PM
All I have is a home haunt, it's in its second year and we are hiring one off duty sheriff. I don't need any fights and don't want my props to walk off. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal has a holding cell and a bus that takes large numbers of people to the jail. One year they had a guy get back stage and go through a roof hatch on one of their sound stages, he could not get back in once the hatch closed and had to call out for help.lol. What a dumb a$$.

Jim Warfield
07-12-2006, 11:48 PM
Talladaga race track also had a holding cell for drunkies. I was told some of them are "sleeping" face down on the concrete floor til the race is over, then they are taken to the county jail.

Frightfactory UK
07-13-2006, 03:33 AM
Well, im in a rutt now.

A. Our Police dont have firearms - only at airports etc

B. You cant hire a off duty officer in UK.

So, im gonna have to use Doormen. Luckily they are allowed to give the odd jab and left hook if anyone tries it.

Man, this could be my worst nightmare - why cant people just have F@ckin fun nowadays rather than trying to mess up peoples hard work.

Ok, im calm lol

Accipiter
07-13-2006, 11:44 AM
Just hire a couple of really big responsible guys. All they have to do is make sure no violence happens in your haunt. If they leave and do stuff elsewhere thatís not your problem. We do have a uniformed officer at ours but the only arrest heís ever made was for drugs not violence. Drunken/belligerent patrons are just handled by the staff. The key is identifying the danger. Most people (90%) are just jerks who what to see what you or your staff will do if they start something. Tell them if they donít calm down they will have to leave. This usually calms down most of them.

If they still donít back down, get your guys in. Also, always make sure you have two or more of your staff confronting the worst ones. People will do strange things one on one but will usually yield if there are multiple people in front of them. Having multiple people on your side in a situation also reduces the potential danger to your employees.

The key is controlling the drunks and getting the violent people out of your haunt. Once they are escorted out the door they are no longer your responsibility.

gadget-evilusions
07-13-2006, 11:56 AM
we have a security staff of 20, and 3-4 sherrifs at all times. If any one gets violent or hostile, our security calls the sherrif and they get to go to jail.

Jim Warfield
07-13-2006, 06:54 PM
I knew about guns in England but do they allow tear gas in aerosol dispensers? Do they allow any kind of personal protection devices at all?

Frightfactory UK
07-14-2006, 01:14 AM
We have CS gas containers, and trunchons (Hard steel sticks) that they are armed with.

But these would only be used in extreme circumstances, ie they police was being attacked themselves and would then use them in defense!

ScarlettP
07-14-2006, 06:59 AM
There used to be a group of folks that went to all the haunts in our area. It would be 3 or 4 guys and at least one blonde woman who appeared to be drunk. The woman would keep hitting the monsters until one of them responded, then the entire group would demand a refund. That's how they saw every haunt in the area for free... until one of the owners refused to give a refund and the 'werewolf' who got punched in the face came out and agreed to file assault and battery charges. The owner called the cops while the group stammered and complained. They left before the cops could arrive - without getting thier money back.

And then there are times when the poor, innocent maze door worker steps between the 'She-drunk' and her cub. :roll: Sorry, Ken.

gridbug
07-14-2006, 11:29 AM
And then there are times when the poor, innocent maze door worker steps between the 'She-drunk' and her cub

Haunters don't count my dear

CyanideSolutions
07-22-2006, 06:42 AM
Does anyone use short walls to seperate patron from actor? Does this take away from the show?

Jim Warfield
07-22-2006, 12:35 PM
It wouldn't take away from the show if you advertised it as "Come See Our New Shorter Walls", then everyone there would be anticipating them!
some huge, hideous beast on the other side of the short wall would be making alot of the patrons wish for taller walls!
If you are concerned about distracting people from a set because the wall visually blocks part of it, use ropes and stanchons or steel pipe railings, these things don't visually take over nearly as much, unless you have the ropes burning or the pipes are triple chromed?
I once built webbing out of steel cable fed through vynl hose, it was strong, yet pretty cheap.

pdsnoz
07-22-2006, 12:44 PM
Hi,
Im a little concerned about this in the UK to a level where im considering hiring doormen.


With having half of my family from the UK, I have had the privilege of experiencing English "Doormen". Especially with this Texan accent, and a higher alcohol level over there. I think that you are definately going to need doormen to spot out the intoxicants, and maintain a "security" presence. In particular, because of the fact that the drinking age in the UK is 18. As someone else said here, if we spot a potential problem, we alert the guests that they are being followed/watched, and remind them that everyone is attending the event to have a "good time", and by acting fools they "spoil it for everybody". In some cases, we have all had to "tail" groups.

My two cents.

CyanideSolutions
07-23-2006, 10:44 AM
What I mean was scenic walls to keep actors away from customer's reach, like a wall of tombstones knee high in a graveyard scene... etc

Jim Warfield
07-23-2006, 11:41 AM
Just don't make it a "Chicken Wire Palace", this always looks really bad and of course removes any fears a customer may have of getting touched at all, of course second-hand chicken wire could be scary if you consider poultry dieseases.

Frightfactory UK
07-23-2006, 01:01 PM
pdsoz

You said earlier...................With having half of my family from the UK, I have had the privilege of experiencing English "Doormen". Especially with this Texan accent, and a higher alcohol level over there.

Good experience or bad experience??

Think i probably know the answer already lol

Cheers

Mark

Nicole
07-23-2006, 10:19 PM
We have several sheriffs' police that are stationed in the parking lot, at the entrance, walking through the haunt and at the exit... one of them gets VERY into it and makes his own foam latex appliances - he dresses up and acts too - once he was assaulted... he pulled out the badge - took him our front and gave him a citation... and the patron couldn't believe that our monster was a cop. :)

Duke of Darkness
07-26-2006, 03:26 PM
Sorry, I am coming late to this discussion, but I have been very busy and not on the boards for a bit. Haunt security is an area near and dear to my heart.

Not only have I been a haunt owner/manager, but a police officer, security officer, and security consultant. Now as a lawyer, I look at the liability issues more closely. So, here are a few tips I have picked up along the way...

** If you can get off duty police officers, do so! They are a huge deterrent, and even off duty can make an arrest if they need to.

** Put your security people in some sort of uniform, even if it is simply a T-shirt that says "Security" on it. Patrons need to be aware that there is dedicated security on premises. This is a good deterrent to potential trouble makers.

** Make sure that your security personnel are well trained. If you use volunteers who are not professional security people, bring in a pro to train them. Ideally they should have recent training in First Aid and CPR.

** Train your managers and ticket takers to spot potential trouble makers. Have security or a manager follow these people through the haunt.

** Ensure that there is good communication between the actors and managers/security. Having at least one actor in each area with a radio is ideal. If that is not possible, have a rover who constantly walks the haunt and can contact security. Frequent walkthroughs by the manager are also helpful.

** Train you actors to alert security at the first sign of trouble. Most troublemakers start off slowly -- touching props, touching actors, etc. -- then progress to vandalism or assault as they go through the haunt. Actors should know to come out of character and give a warning at first minor offense. No second offenses or the offender is escorted out by security.
Many actors will be hesitant to report minor infractions. Make sure that they understand that this is important for the safety of all actors.

** Any time there is a serious incident, accident, or someone is escorted from the property, an incident report should be filled out describing the facts of the incident, the parties involved, and any witnesses. I know we don't like to think about it, but there is always the possibility of being sued, and this type of document can be a lot of help.

The bottom line is that you don't need a huge security staff if you have good training for all off your staff and have good communications. It is sad that we have to put such emphasis on this area, but it is a fact of life in our business. Best of luck,

Dave

Frightfactory UK
07-26-2006, 04:00 PM
Dave,

The information above that you have given me is fantastic.

Thanks for all your help, its much appreciated.

All the best

Mark

Chris
07-26-2006, 10:13 PM
Sorry, I am coming late to this discussion, but I have been very busy and not on the boards for a bit. Haunt security is an area near and dear to my heart.

Not only have I been a haunt owner/manager, but a police officer, security officer, and security consultant. Now as a lawyer, I look at the liability issues more closely. So, here are a few tips I have picked up along the way...

** If you can get off duty police officers, do so! They are a huge deterrent, and even off duty can make an arrest if they need to.

** Put your security people in some sort of uniform, even if it is simply a T-shirt that says "Security" on it. Patrons need to be aware that there is dedicated security on premises. This is a good deterrent to potential trouble makers.

** Make sure that your security personnel are well trained. If you use volunteers who are not professional security people, bring in a pro to train them. Ideally they should have recent training in First Aid and CPR.

** Train your managers and ticket takers to spot potential trouble makers. Have security or a manager follow these people through the haunt.

** Ensure that there is good communication between the actors and managers/security. Having at least one actor in each area with a radio is ideal. If that is not possible, have a rover who constantly walks the haunt and can contact security. Frequent walkthroughs by the manager are also helpful.

** Train you actors to alert security at the first sign of trouble. Most troublemakers start off slowly -- touching props, touching actors, etc. -- then progress to vandalism or assault as they go through the haunt. Actors should know to come out of character and give a warning at first minor offense. No second offenses or the offender is escorted out by security.
Many actors will be hesitant to report minor infractions. Make sure that they understand that this is important for the safety of all actors.

** Any time there is a serious incident, accident, or someone is escorted from the property, an incident report should be filled out describing the facts of the incident, the parties involved, and any witnesses. I know we don't like to think about it, but there is always the possibility of being sued, and this type of document can be a lot of help.

The bottom line is that you don't need a huge security staff if you have good training for all off your staff and have good communications. It is sad that we have to put such emphasis on this area, but it is a fact of life in our business. Best of luck,

Dave

Fantastic advice!

cdufrene
08-07-2006, 10:49 AM
Yep, we use infrared cameras to record acts of violence in case of disputes and/or needs for litigation...we station private security throughout the haunt clearly identified as SECURITY GUARDS so there is no confusion; the security guards escort any potential troublemaker out through "quick doors" into the open area outside of the haunt where they are intercepted by police. There, depending on what type of problems they cause, will either be taked to jail, or forced to sit in a police car until the night is over.

Xeverity
08-24-2006, 08:58 AM
Hi Mark

A good door person is what works for us. We have been running our Halloween events and haunt in the UK for over 8 years now. The rest of the guys in the UK seem to be doing ok as well. Most of the bigger amusement parks do have security and cameras. I have cameras installed in my haunt which are monitored.

Most of it is families and it helps that we are in a good area. Large groups are broken up. We don't let gangs in and insist people go in 5 or less at a time.

It isn't as bad as you would think. We certainly don't use a heavy handed approach. Also a lot of our actors are male and ex-rugby playing types. Confronting a 6 foot 4 heavyset man with a chain saw in the dark is not something most people would do.

Even tamer places like the London Dungeon which gets massive crowds around Halloween doesn't get problems.

PumpkinHead
08-24-2006, 10:33 AM
I was wearing a full face clown prostetic (sorry for the spelling) attached with spirit gum. Guy walked up and pulled off the face piece (ouch)

Gah! same thing happened to me a few years ago! Except I was a roaming character ( still a clown ) and some girl ripped the nose off the prosthetic. I don't know which was worse the pain or the fact i lost a great mask. I would consider that more of vandalism than violence though.

PH

Jim Warfield
08-24-2006, 11:44 AM
The late comedian Ernie Kovaks did an act wearing a monkey mask while playing the drums frantically. During the drumming he would get one hand free for just a split-second, reach up and rip off the monkey mask only to show another monkey mask on under the first one!
As the wild drumming continued he kept pulling off his masks until he got back to the same looking , original monkey mask!
I have never figured out how he could have done this in the early 1950's?

"Go ahead, punk, make my night, yank off my face!"
Then a much more hideous one waits underneath..........

Xeverity
08-24-2006, 11:53 AM
Pumpkin head - ouch!!

Still a problem - she shouldn't have been touching anything. Because space is tight in a couple areas props are within easy reach we glue or nail them down. Did have one guy with sticky fingers but he was caught and we used him as part of an impromtu show and mocked him in front of all his friends before ejecting him.

PumpkinHead
08-24-2006, 02:32 PM
Pumpkin head - ouch!!
we glue or nail them down.
It was glued down , to my face! YEOW!
PH

Jim Warfield
08-24-2006, 04:05 PM
I tried to discourage some people from trying to pull a mask from a manniquin by coating the back edge of the mask with white grease, they wouldn't keep pulling on the mask, ( I Won!") But then they would instantly wipe the grease on the closest wall (I lost)
Of course it is often absloutely impossible to anticipate every stupid or crazy thing that any human is capable of doing.
20 years here, I'm still learning.

Fright Yard
09-11-2006, 12:13 PM
ok heres my 2 cents,
As a police officer for the past ten years I need to say as owners you must PROSECUTE!!! there is nothing more irritating than responding to a call, be it an assault or a larceny and once the owner gets his stuff back they go "oh i got my property back, i just dont want them to come back, thats it". Most of us are like then why in the heck did you call us!
I must say if one of your workers is assaulted or if something is taken then please, please, please prosecute, take out the warrant (if in NC) and follow up on it. This sends the message that you don't tolerate anything and will help cut down on future events. Kids pass the words fast and it will be passed. Everyone will know if so and so got arrested in the local haunted house for not acting right.
I also urge you to hire LOCAL law enforcement, a lot of the time we can spot the trouble makers as they are coming in since most of us deal with them day after day and can warn you to watch this person on camera or to deny them entry. Remember its a private business you can refuse anyone you wish. Once you ask them to leave and they dont its trespassing.
I know you dont want to lose business but this does happen a lot with soem people for some reason thinking that they can assault people in haunted houses, why I dont know, maybe because they think that they are not being watched?
I also suggest you keep a ban list, if you tell someone to get lost, if you can jot donw the name, date and time and who ejected them, Im sure you know these guys will try to come back the next night. This will give you ground to have him removed by the police since he was already warned and you have it documented.
Anyway thats my rant, got to go back to work!

dr0zombie
09-11-2006, 05:42 PM
Jim, strange that you mention that an Ernie Kovaks skit with monkeys. His skit with the tree monkeys with the one conducting used to scare the hell out of me as a kid.... that damn music still terrorizes me.... not sure about the rest of ya here.....



On topic.... Its a good thing this thread popped back up... the advice from Dave back in 05 was fantastic! We do some of that but there are a few things on there we don't and should. Thanks!!!

ClusterOne
09-14-2006, 04:51 PM
I once had one of my female actors felt up by some old guy in one of our darker rooms...she was not sure if it was an accident or not, but she took the rest of the night off. Things like that are tough to police, unless you have night vision cameras set up....

Jim Warfield
09-14-2006, 05:53 PM
I have placed female workers in positions that obligated them the least possibility of being groped and such , only to find later as the night went on, they were putting themselves into extremely risky places , so one does need the help of the people involved to make things like that not happen. We just can't "think' for everyone.