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View Full Version : HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE HAUNT



07-17-2006, 04:22 PM
Hey, I need some help on building my first house haunt. Please give me some tips, thanks. :D

Haunt enthusiast
07-17-2006, 07:03 PM
You missed one...marketing. Sure you need the things listed above in the haunted house but as I have read "what use is having the best scare in the world if no one sees it." Another one that probably is more important than marketing is having a good business plan. A haunt is a business after all. "if you fail to plan then you plan to fail" is another quote I've read. Sure I don't own a haunt or work in one but this is just the stuff that I have learned from all the haunt proffessionals on this website and I'm sure they'd tell you the same thing.

gadget-evilusions
07-18-2006, 02:36 PM
marketing and a business plan arent as important if your doing a home haunt. I will assume your starting a home haunt since your posting in the home haunting 101 section Skops???

07-18-2006, 02:52 PM
Yea. I wanna make a house haunt but I dont have any props. All i have is 2 strobes, 2 fogs, and a blacklight. :(

gadget-evilusions
07-18-2006, 03:04 PM
http://www.halloweenmonsterlist.info/

is one of the largest prop how-to sites, you should be able to get a lot of prop ideas from there.

Also you should check out http://www.minionsweb.com/links.htm , it hasnt been update recently but most of the links still work, and there is alot of good ones on there.

SomeThingInTheIce
07-18-2006, 03:41 PM
I picked actors from the list because they are the lifes blood of the house. You could have the best of eveything in your haunt but a bad actor can kill all of that. On the other hand maybe the props are not the best and the sound could be better and the lighting needs to be adjusted, a great actor is what they will remember. Don't get me wrong you want to make everything the best you can and you should but sometimes it's not in the cards (read money into that) always go with the great actor.

Haunt enthusiast
07-18-2006, 06:11 PM
marketing and a business plan arent as important if your doing a home haunt. I will assume your starting a home haunt since your posting in the home haunting 101 section Skops???

Oops. :oops: I kinda forgot that this was a home haunting section. www.theskeletonscloset.com is also a good website for everything you're looking for except actors. :wink:

AcoreMANNER
07-20-2006, 12:45 AM
actors ussually suck, and theyre cocky



Awww man that sounds beautiful! no props....2 strobes, 2 fogs, and a blacklight - i love it. Sounds like me a few years ago. I wsh I could go back in time to where a blacklight made me happy,,, to where a bloody hand on the ground was my main prop.

Hey Mr. Guest you have a fun adventure of learning ahead of you....if your grabbed already, this journey will never end. I feel like your being born right now :twisted: Hah your probly like "uhh actually I just wanna put up a few decorations for halloween this year buddy, calm down"....no but YA your being born :twisted:

aww your gonna have way too much fun, is this your first year trying to haunt on this kind of level? not even fair dude

Are you doing a yard display or a structured haunted house?

Mr. Chips
07-23-2006, 06:12 PM
OK. This is a scene I thought up for my haunted house this year: The people walk into this room where its pitch black and the door closes behind them. Next a strobe light goes on and a guy in an electric chair starts thrashing around and foaming at the mouth. Then the strobe goes off and red lights go on. Then Leatherface chases them from behind while their exit is fogged up. The people will be chased into a graveyard scene.
Does anyone know how to build a good electric chair? :D

Mr. Chips
07-23-2006, 06:21 PM
This is my first year too. I have no idea what Im doing. This is what i have: 3 fogs, 2 strobes, Halloween soundtrack, 2 actors, blacklight. Im trying to build this thing in my garage. Im gonna buy a leatherface costume with chainsaw, some red lights, and possibly a pizza face. The pizza face would be my main prop besides the electric chair. Its 45$ plus shipping. www.brutalimages.net/store.htm check it out :D

Pumkin jack
07-28-2006, 04:39 AM
im new to the whole house Haunt but i have got an old spooky house no electricity and abt 5 acres what can i do with this please help :oops: :oops:

MidnightEvil
07-28-2006, 11:51 AM
Hey Pumkin Jack

There are so many things I could do with
an old house and 5 acres.
Wow where to start?

I sent you a PM

Nightmaretony
07-28-2006, 09:58 PM
Pumpkin Jack: got the book. Lisa Cantrell, "Torments".

A book about a walk through charity haunted house :)

slash
08-02-2006, 04:02 PM
Well, although props and scenery look good, you need lighting first, and enough of it since the guests have to see where they're walking. You can create many cool effects w/ strobes and lighting alone. Stuff some dummies w/ newspaper (old clothes) and light them eerie, use a boombox w/ some eerie sound fx. If u can afford $30, there's a good scare called a drop panel that u can build, I suggest u join Hauntworld, instead of using guest, much more features. Send me a PM w/ any specific questions when you do, I'd love to help.

slash
08-02-2006, 04:05 PM
AcorMAnner is right, you are going to have so much fun, my first haunt was an electric chair scene and a butcher. The electric chair was a dinner table chair w/ a strobe light, lol. My butcher scene was a table w/ blood on it, and my costume was a $20 mask (the most expenisve thing I bought), a bloody apron, and a plastic meat cleaver, and everyone came back next year, now I have absoloutly no breaks, they just keep coming.

haunter112
08-15-2006, 09:01 PM
Hey Pumkin Jack!

Nice picture... THE MANSE was a cool book.

Jim Warfield
08-15-2006, 11:19 PM
"Actor", is the automatically designated "fixer" of anything and everything that may not be quite up to speed or up to the customer's expectations.
Quick wit, something to say, a story to tell, the style to tell it convincingly . The confidence to command everyone's attention with just a slight unusual sound or mannerism or posture.
Some pro haunters were actually upset or scared the first time they came to see my house, it may have had something to do with convincing them that they were now locked in a house with a crazyman?
Any "Threats" were totally implied , subtley, or were they actually threats?
Good acting, huh? Or was it "acting?"
For the first few years I had this house open I had almost nothing except some of my artwork hanging on the wall and I would then talk about it. Then I would walk people through my house telling them what I was going to do to certain rooms in the future, this was about it!
It was a "Someday" tour/show...but those words of mine were not to be empty blabberings of a typical idiot, NO I was a special breed of idiot!
After all these years one tape recorder still says:"This hallway is haunted...haunted by a $17.oo tape recorder, made in China! Chi-na!"
You think I'm just kidding or something?
I have my suspicions that the $17 Chinese tape recorder may be responsible for three untimely deaths!
The front of the machine popped open and tape wound around a neck, strangling them in record time! (Which is hard for a tape to do since it's a tape and not a record!)

Lostsheep
08-21-2006, 06:29 AM
If u can afford $30, there's a good scare called a drop panel that u can build I would love to hear. :D

Lostsheep
08-24-2006, 09:56 AM
How big did some of you guys get your home haunts before you moved them? I would love to have a stand alone yearly attraction, but I dont wanna get the cart before the horse. :D

OgeXam
09-20-2006, 11:45 AM
Another important thing is Warmers.

These are oft overlooked by haunted houses.

A warmer are people who go up and scare the people waiting in line. Even at a home haunt you will have a line.

A creepy clown, and scary costumed guy, a dude with a chain saw. Just something to scare the people in line with from time to time.

Why have warmers? To increase the fear level. If someone goes into a haunted house without being warmed up they will not be scared by the little things.

A properly warmed up person will be scared by their own foot falls, and then their expereince in your haunt is magnified!

slash
01-22-2007, 07:45 AM
If u can afford $30, there's a good scare called a drop panel that u can build I would love to hear. :D

It is basically a sheet of plywood, painted to look like whatever your theme is (a dungeon window, painting on wallapaper, etc) and you cut a window out at the actors eye level. Then, you take a slightly larger piece of wood on the back of that window and put a picture or something on it. Then, you take stapping ro 2x4 and overlap them on the back, each side of the window, so you make runners for the panel.Put a 2x4 on the bottom of the runners. When the people walk by, they think it's just a painting on the wall. The acor drops the panel, making a loud bang, scares them, and slides it back up. I'm sure there's plans online.

Jim Warfield
01-22-2007, 09:31 AM
Though if you have a whole lot of drop panels, the customer should see it coming and there might be a fist sandwich waiting for the haunter on the darker side of the wall.
That whole revenge factor as expressed by some weak minded customers has always really baffled me?
"Sure I punched the clown, Officer, he scared me!"
"Didn't you go through the house last night too?"
"Yes."
"Pre- meditated revengefull punching, the cuffs go on this one."

slash
01-22-2007, 01:30 PM
Yes, I see the revenge factor alot. Last year I didn't have time to reset and a group was coming through so I just hid in a corner, scared the kid, and then the little punk pushed me. So, I put him in one of my police arm locks and in a matter of seconds he was on the floor :twisted: I love how they think they're so tough. I guess it has alot to do with their body's reaction to being so scared.

deathtrail91
01-23-2007, 08:04 PM
It sounds like you have a good start with the lighting.

For our first haunt last year we had a pretty small budget. For that we stopped by Dollar General and picked up some pretty basic masks and doctored them up a bit. The position of your actors is also key. Make sure to do several run throughs with the actors in their positions.

For props you can make alot of it yourself. Tombstones are simply styrofoam and grey latex pain(NEVER use spray paint as base as it will disolve the styrofoam). You can do a very light dusting of black spray paint after the latex paint has dried.

A good place for deals right now is www.frightcatalog.com
Ebay is also good!

slash
01-24-2007, 09:24 AM
Don't use FrightCatalog unless they have a good sale, like now until the 26th I think if you spend $50, they'll take $20 off. For any other time, use Morris Costumes, much better selection and better prices. All the prices are available to anybody in the business with a professional discount 40% off retail prices. If you have a business / tax ID number they'll give you a wholesale account, which are the same prices FrightCatalog get's them for. E-mail morris@morriscostumes.com and request a catalog. It's $10, and everytime you order something, they send you a supplement for all the products they aquired since the master catalog (600 pages) printing.

Hope this helps :D

Dr Morbius
06-22-2007, 01:44 PM
I picked sound. People can close thier eyes or turn and miss something..but they can't escape the sounds!

brianmm111
04-05-2008, 09:50 AM
It is basically a sheet of plywood, painted to look like whatever your theme is (a dungeon window, painting on wallapaper, etc) and you cut a window out at the actors eye level. Then, you take a slightly larger piece of wood on the back of that window and put a picture or something on it. Then, you take stapping ro 2x4 and overlap them on the back, each side of the window, so you make runners for the panel.Put a 2x4 on the bottom of the runners. When the people walk by, they think it's just a painting on the wall. The acor drops the panel, making a loud bang, scares them, and slides it back up. I'm sure there's plans online.

I am still fairly new to the haunted house business, this being only my 2nd year, but, i must say that the drop panels are an EXTREMLY effective. most of my screams came from my one drop panel.

i put mine inside of a narrow hallway, where on the opposite side was an open doorway in witch it was impossible to what was inside of it (a small bedroom with a flickering orange light) until you were at it. everyone expected the scare to come from that room, and would give all their attention to that room, but little did they know that it would come from the wall behind them.... muhahaha

but i must choose actors, because a drop panel is no good unless there is an actor to work it.

Jim Warfield
04-05-2008, 02:24 PM
Before they pass the drop panel you should have other walls with pictures that look like drop panels to lull them.

chaoticcreations
05-08-2008, 10:40 AM
Yeah I agree we all start some where and I pretty well did the same thing. With the graveyard and butcher.I started out with like 50 dollars in supplys from walgreens and from talking to people have started building alot In the long run it is cheaper to build then to buy alot of the time from my experiences I have found.Also tends to be alot more realistic and scary then the store bought stuff.

Epperson
05-18-2008, 03:17 PM
I would think a theme would be the highest priotity, once you have your theme you would think everything else would start falling in place.

howierd3866
05-18-2008, 06:05 PM
We had a guy or 2 who thought they were big and bad...last year was our first haunt maze app 200 ft total dark only see 2 ft in front of you. we have 3 actor station inside people walk right by not seeing the actors who would move or say something...I was outside at the end of the inclose maze stand still these guys wanted to be tough wanting to try me I would not move that made them mad then they go to punch me in the face and just be the hit I jump to them never seen them anymore but heard them screaming and run thought the rest of haunt. one of funnies prop was made with my 4wheeler after they go thought the dark maze then past me they go around another corner still looking at me to see if I'm real.and my 4wheeler fires up with the spot on them and plain to see no one on it.

Front Yard Fright
11-07-2008, 12:24 AM
I believe actors are the key element. You can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on props, lighting, sound, hell even smells... But in the end it's the actors that are the key part in each haunted house.
:).

Stephan (screamwalk
01-09-2009, 02:11 PM
hey, im building a haunt, and so far all i have is this:
some wood, a trail in my woods, 4 self made manikins, a black light, and four actors counting me. what should i do?
PS: i dont want any animatronics in my haunt.

Front Yard Fright
01-09-2009, 02:26 PM
hey, im building a haunt, and so far all i have is this:
some wood, a trail in my woods, 4 self made manikins, a black light, and four actors counting me. what should i do?
PS: i dont want any animatronics in my haunt.

Shoot me an e-mail at frontyardfright@msn.com

Stephan (screamwalk
01-11-2009, 06:58 PM
alright, i sent you an email.

Pumpkin King
06-15-2010, 11:35 AM
I'm with FYF. A haunt can be great or horrible- it all depends on the actors.

DrDoom71
07-23-2010, 05:14 AM
Don't worry. Ideas will come to you.almost like being possessed. Your plans sound good so far. You really don't need much for home haunting. Actors are important. They don't have to be skilled or experienced, just into halloween like you. More people are willing than you might think. If you have kids, especially teenage ones, they will be a HUGE help guiding your haunt plans. They have no problem telling you what's 'lame' and what's 'cool' or better yet 'epic'. I've been doing a garage haunt for 5 years and in the beginning I made the mistake of relying on props too much. Most of the time they don't scare people, plus in home haunting people aren't standing around looking at stuff.
Just remember once you get started, there's no turning back. Your haunt will keep growing, getting bigger and scarier each year like zombies coming out of the grave!

OgeXam
11-02-2010, 10:22 AM
...Your haunt will keep growing, getting bigger and scarier each year like zombies coming out of the grave!

This is too true, I now have a 10x14 shed almost full of nothing but Halloween stuff.
I have enough costuming to run a pro haunt probably. hahahaha

Mr. Haunt
11-03-2010, 12:16 PM
I have got 10 years under my belt as a home haunter. I must say that I have built a few things, but 90 precent of what I have, was baught at a retail store. This was also my first year that I baught something at a Hallween store, which was just a mask.

I have 30 tombstones that I purchased from, Menards, Walgreens, Target, and the Dollar Store that get me by each year. Yes it would be cool to build these myslelf, but right now my biggest thing to improve on is special effects.

My newest item this year that I baught, was 2 500watt shop lights that I used as lightning. I also purchased a thunder box so that the lights would flicker. I put the lights behind the house and pointed them up into the trees. Problem with all this, I don't thing anyone saw what I did.

The CD I got with the thunder box was LESS then sub-par. So I baught a rain and thunder CD from Target in their "Sound Scapes" section wich was very realistic. My issue with this was, I did not have a stereo that was loud enough, the speakers were crap, and about 7:30pm the stereo quit working all together.

I also had to replace 2 foggers, so this also kept me from doing more. This problem you will always have, things just don't last forever.

Mr. Haunt

Darkmaster
05-19-2012, 11:41 PM
For the poll, all of the choices are necessary.For a home haunt, I believe the people like the scenery and settings. The majority of the comments were about the props and room settings, in relation to being realistic.

The majority of our haunt is indoors and last year a good scene was outside. It rained and we could not use that area. It had to be bypassed.

Dreamreaper
01-07-2013, 10:32 PM
How big did some of you guys get your home haunts before you moved them? I would love to have a stand alone yearly attraction, but I don't wanna get the cart before the horse. :D

Ours was about 15 min. involved garage, driveway,front yard and side of the house with around 13 to 16 actors and we ran the home haunt for 14 years we are now on our 21st year haunting. We are now a pro haunt and are half hour to 45 min and runs best with about 25 actors min. We are making a second one this year.

ElephantLFC
03-13-2014, 10:45 PM
Hello, everyone! I want to build a haunted house, kind of. Actually, we own a spooky military bombshell. The bombshell is about 1200 square meters (0,3 acres), it is fireproof, clean and safe. Safety is our number one priority. I want to build a bunch of decorations in Silent Hill theme, Texas Chainsaw Massacre theme, etc (a lot of ideas, actually). And, of course, we plan to use the actors.

But, the main question is - have you ever been sued because of the reason like "they scared me SO MUCH that i peed myself, some other guests laughed at me and now i feel unconfident and uncomfortable"? Yes, i do realise that scary things supposed to scare people and guests pay to get scared, but... what if? Do you have problems with that issue? How do you solve it?

P.S. I'm sorry for my english, english language is not my native.

Best regards, Dmitry.