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Lcox
11-12-2009, 02:25 PM
This was our first year. We had a hayride, a hangout area, and a corn walk. The 30th we had a pretty big crowd, 1600, and a couple of actors in the corn had some incidents. One female actor who was pretending to be a prop actually had to call it quits because she was punched, felt up, and had 2 pepole grab her mask and yell into her face. Another clown with a chainsaw at the end had a couple people take swings or kicks at him (kind of to be expected), and a couple other people were punched or slapped. Its a 20 min walk and our 3 head actors were walking it, we didnt catch any of the people.

Rules at the front always help. Apparently the entry person was not giving them because they thought we were to busy, I was furious.

I am thinking about next year having about 8 people with radios walking the trail backward scaring people and watching for trouble.

Having a couple real cameras showing reactions for a live feed to the hangout area. Also with signs saying the whole thing is under surveillance

Lastly in training talk about some strategies to get close to people without getting hit.

I am curious about what other haunts do to insure the safety of their actors and what everyone think of these ideas.

Badger
11-12-2009, 02:59 PM
How many security people you had working and is your haunt "no-touching"?

It's not that difficult to get a couple of off-duty police or sheriff's deputies to come by and make their presence known. If you have a marked police veicle near your entrance, and signs saying people who touch the actors WILL get thrown out, no exceptions, that will cut the number of jackasses who want to start trouble.

You will always have unruly, drunk, or malicious patrons, but with a few simple guidelines and some common sense, you can really cut those numbers down.

Make the security VERY visible. Uniformed police, bright yellow jackets with "SECURITY" on the back. People with radios walking backwards through the trail (as you mentioned, but without the scaring) all work rather well.

Pair up actors, especially females. It may be sexist, but guys will try to take advantage of lone females in mazes. Put a large guy in the same room and they can both watch out for each other.

Put in extra emergency exits and make sure our actors know where they are.

I like the camera idea, even if you don't install many, just the illusion may make someone think twice.

Post the rules in VERY visible places at the entrance and make sure there's a live person to go over them to everyone that walks in.

Don't be afraid to deny entry anyone that looks like they're under the influence of something. Tell them they can take it up with the uniformed man standing over my the police car.

I'm sure there are more but these are the ones I stress when I train actors and consult with haunts. Feel free to contact me if you need more information.

Good luck next year...

The Doctor
11-12-2009, 03:13 PM
Visible Security is the biggest help. We use off-duty police officers which helps but even then you will have some that have to go to jail to prove the point that stupid is as stupid does.

Let your actors know that its ok to step back and even break character if they feel threatened. If they are attacked or assaulted have them stop let the group pass break character slowly follow them to the exit and have the perpetrator arrested. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect, and it may be sexist but especially my female actresses.

Having raised 3 daughters I take great offense to any patron who would assault a female actress, and they should spend the night in jail and the money to defend themselves in court for being a douche.

mikeq91
11-12-2009, 03:25 PM
I got to check out Headless Horseman this year, and they have the most impressive security I've ever seen. After you get your tickets you wait in line to go through security, where they have a group of security people in all black "security" shirts that you would see if you were going to a concert or something. This presence alone is impressive and must prevent potential troublemakers from the start. When you get to the front of the line you empty all your pockets and the wand you down with a metal detector. Then throughout the attraction there were plenty of these security people as well as just headless horseman people. Now, obviously its not easy or cheap to go to these lengths, but I bet they don't have too many security issues, even with the amount of people they do every year.

BruiseMuse
11-12-2009, 05:35 PM
Definitely post rules stressing "no touching" and that hitting an actor can lead to jail time.

Have either police or sheriffs as well as security patrolling the area. As mentioned, just seeing a law enforcement officer tends to deter some trouble and the additional security can go through the attractions to watch for trouble.

Use radios to communicate between your actors. When I run production, I have actors assigned as "Zone Leaders" for specific areas that are given a radio. This way any problematic customers can be reported early on (such as drunken behavior in the que line) and we can either eject the customer or have him escorted (either by security or several actors).

Panic Buttons: While this may be hard to manage in a corn field, we have a panic button (a hidden button connected to our security system) located in each room. These come in handy when a customer tries to get "hands on" with an actor; they can hit the button and know that security will be in shortly.

Lcox
11-12-2009, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback. We had 3 uniformed police with 1 cruiser out front with the lights on. Our footprint is pretty big so they were spread out.

Our haunt is 95% no touch. We tell the actors not to touch anyone unless their role specifically called for it.

Our rules were supposed to be told to everyone as they went into the corn, and patrons were told they would be kicked out if they broke them but i think we need to have some better signage and whatnot.

Pairing up is a good idea Badger. We had a skeleton crew of actors, next year i hope to double or triple the number. They weren't ALL skeletons...

Those are some good pointers to add to our actor training next year, thanks Doctor.

Yeah, a panic button was our first idea. there must be a way to do it wireless, just need to figure out how.

Jim Warfield
11-13-2009, 02:36 AM
How about setting everyone's cell phone to auto-call with one number punched?
Security's cell would have caller I.D. to tell them who called.
The more customers you have in a room the more workers you must have to watch them. don't expect one worker to oversee more than 7 to a max. of 10 bodies who appear to be behaving from the start. Roudies get more supervision.
If you need to get in someone's face to scare them, you had better be teaching wearing a mask on your fist since a fist can take a punch better than teeth.
I feel that a fair percentage of roudy haunt customers enter looking for someone to punch, and it's always someone smaller than them. "Sorry, I am drunk, sorry they scared me!"
To this I say "B,S."
When I saw the same person coming back and punching another employee, I figured it out.
A few years ago a local 11 yr. old boy intentionally kicked every male employee here in the "goods" for no reason other than he "could" because he was just 11!
Do we punch or kick an 11 year old? Better not.

Lcox
11-13-2009, 04:01 PM
That is a great way to wire up a panic button in a corn field!

Boni
11-16-2009, 12:00 PM
Another key point is to design your sets with protecting your actor in mind.

A simple barrier built up about waist high that your actor is behind prevents kicking. Also keeps guests back a little.

Actors, don't lead with your face, very common mistake. I learned this at MHC last year. If you take one of your arms and put it up about chest height, you can lead with your elbow or forearm, your face can be right behind it for good effect. Your off hand can be held up to look like its attacking or whatever, but you have two hands now protecting your face and a barrier protecting below the waist.

Also, as you move toward your guest with one arm up, lead with one leg and pivot on the other so that your midsection is not exposed for a quick kick.

So you have your lead leg, lead arm, and off arm all ready to protect yourself.

HauntedMemphis
11-16-2009, 12:15 PM
Another key point is to design your sets with protecting your actor in mind.

A simple barrier built up about waist high that your actor is behind prevents kicking. Also keeps guests back a little.

Actors, don't lead with your face, very common mistake. I learned this at MHC last year. If you take one of your arms and put it up about chest height, you can lead with your elbow or forearm, your face can be right behind it for good effect. Your off hand can be held up to look like its attacking or whatever, but you have two hands now protecting your face and a barrier protecting below the waist.

Also, as you move toward your guest with one arm up, lead with one leg and pivot on the other so that your midsection is not exposed for a quick kick.

So you have your lead leg, lead arm, and off arm all ready to protect yourself.

Haunt Acting - America's newest martial art. Coming soon to a dojo near you.

SiouxFallsHaunt
11-16-2009, 03:33 PM
This year was my first year being officially in charge of our Haunte House. I had 4 actors besides myself working the front area all of whom were veteran scarers. The were all told that they were not only actors but also security. If at any time they were required to break character they were to notify myself unless the situation needed immediate attention. I started a no tolerance policy this year as well. If you harrass my staff I throw you out. If you don't leave I have the local sherif escort you to a jail cell for the night. We didn't have many issues after the first couple nights as word spread fast. I only had 2 people escorted off property, both of whom were drunk. I allow certain actors to carry cell phones and I wear a blue tooth at all times so I hear the phone ring no matter where I am. If there is a situation call me and I will be there with 2-4 experience gentleman to help out in a matter of minutes. I love the idea of a panic button! Just need to figure out for sure how to wire them up! Once again DO NOT be afraid to kick a customer out! I have it posted all over that no refunds will be given as well. That way they can't complain if they get kicked out for being stupid AFTER they paid!