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View Full Version : to do or not to do? that is the question



naberhoodhaunts
11-16-2010, 03:48 PM
Hello all here is my dilemma, I'm a home haunter that was approached by a pro haunt. They have gone through my home haunt and liked it. they have offered to let me set up a haunt in the same building as theirs. they have a 10,000 sq. ft. haunt. They would rent the space to me. i would put up my haunt i would expand on mine to the size of around 3500 sq. ft. i would have to get my own insurance, LLC and actors. basically run it as as a separate haunt from theirs. since it would be a small haunt and price would be small enough that people would want to pay for it after paying 15 to 17 bucks for the main haunt. Do you think this is doable and still make a small profit . They have mentioned 50 cents to a dollar per ticket for the rent. they would include my haunt in their advertising, that would be a bonus i guess. They got just over 8000 patrons this year. i was thinking of 3 to 5 bucks as an admission. Since all of you are pros and have many years of experience in the industry what do you think? I was also thinking of a charity haunt to help with the actors i could get volunteers from the charity so that cost would go down. Please what do you all think??

Thanks Joe

screamforadream
11-16-2010, 03:59 PM
Hey Joe,

That seems like a nice offer! How about just regular volunteers? You don't always need to pay people to act, go to the local high school and see if anyone needs community service hours. Also, consider suggesting to the professional haunt about doing a flat ticket rate at their ticket booth for $20 for both attractions, in exchange for free space and to fall under their insurance, and you would just receive say $1.50-2 for each ticket and have customers go through yours first as a warm up and to help space out the groups and almost have it as part of line entertainment. So in order to get to their haunt, yours would test their wit and see if they got what it takes to make it to the bigger attraction. If I was a customer, I think that'd be a ton of fun! So it'd still be one line, with your haunt in the middle, I think that'd be a great and unique way of entertaining people! :)

I don't know your specific circumstance, but it's just an idea and I wish you the best of luck!

unihaunter
11-16-2010, 05:01 PM
The very first thing do trust who your going into this with?Next thing to think about is if they have 10000ft and you use 3500 you should make a 1/3 of the profit you will have to do 1/3 of the work.But you should pay 1/3 of the insurance and a 1/3 of the advertising.Rent find out what rent would be else where and pay a fair rent for the space your using.The more you can settle up front the less things to argue about later.The customer base the other haunt has is worth alot so keep that in mind.One more thing will there be creative issues with what you want in your haunt they maybe don't like blood and gore but you do?Just make sure you know what you want out of it and what they want and get it in writing to save problems later.Sounds worth it if you can make it happen.

damon carson
11-16-2010, 05:25 PM
What do you know about this haunt? Have you ever been through it? Do you know the people who run it? It could be good and profitable then again may not work out. Personally I would say stay home haunting for a few more years. Save up and then go out on your on venture. Very few partnerships work. Espessically on a lower scale. If they like your haunt either one you got some good stuff. Or two they suck and think your stuff would make theirs better.? Too many possiblitys. Im with the prior post. I wouldnt think you would have to pay as much as they are saying.
Damon

Mr. Haunt
11-16-2010, 05:30 PM
I wish more haunts would offer this sort of thing. Us home haunters do have dreams of doing "The Big Show", but cant seem to get their feet planted because they have some walls that stand in our way. The biggest one would be getting a location, or this seems to be my biggest wall.


I say GO FOR IT!!! But get to know these other haunters well and make sure they have a good reputation. Just watch your back, and for you other comercial haunters out there, maybe you should consider the same. This would be a great way to learn from others first hand.......but then there are those who are POOPS and want nothing to do with other haunters!

I know if the shoes were on the other feet and I was the "pro haunter" I would be all for it! The more, bigger, better, spooky, funny, and fun we can make out of Halloween, the better the business would be. People love going to haunts big and small, I think this idea would be a possitive thing.....

Anyone think BIG????? Let me share this one idea.....Lets put together a MEGA HAUNT PARK!!! Bring together 2-5 haunters in one HUGE location, charge $8 dallors per haunt equal to $40 a ticket, and bring in maybe 8,000 paying customers equals $320,000 in profits, split 5 ways equals $64,000 per haunter. Then split all costs 5 ways???? And maybe be open all day, instead of dusk to 10pm??? Could be a lot of potential??????

Mr. Haunt

damon carson
11-16-2010, 05:32 PM
What do you know about this haunt? Have you ever been through it? Do you know the people who run it? It could be good and profitable then again may not work out. Personally I would say stay home haunting for a few more years. Save up and then go out on your on venture. Very few partnerships work. Espessically on a lower scale. If they like your haunt either one you got some good stuff. Or two they suck and think your stuff would make theirs better.? Too many possiblitys. Im with the prior post. I wouldnt think you would have to pay as much as they are saying.
Damon

naberhoodhaunts
11-16-2010, 06:36 PM
What do you know about this haunt? Have you ever been through it? Do you know the people who run it? It could be good and profitable then again may not work out. Personally I would say stay home haunting for a few more years. Save up and then go out on your on venture. Very few partnerships work. Espessically on a lower scale. If they like your haunt either one you got some good stuff. Or two they suck and think your stuff would make theirs better.? Too many possiblitys. Im with the prior post. I wouldnt think you would have to pay as much as they are saying.
Damon

I have worked for this haunt for three years, this past year i have gotten more into helping them put it up and take it down. working with them more behind the scene. they were home haunters years ago. I have been home haunting for ten years and i spend money every year to collect food for a local charity but i get nothing in return except for a lot of thank yous and a good feeling for helping out a local charity. Don't get me wrong i do it to help out the charity but i spend a lot of money every year and i think its time that i start to recoup some of those expenses. The details still have to be hammered out but i would like to hear from the haunters out there what they think. If they would do it or not.
Thanks for all your comments please keep them coming!!!

Jim Warfield
11-16-2010, 08:10 PM
Get it all in writing, maybe have a lawyer look it over, if any of this, your time, your creativity, your stuff(props costumes) are worth anything to you, that is...
I have heard So Many horror stories of promises not kept promises ignored, no pay day at all after months of dedicated workmanship...
Remember, this is a two-way street. They might be giving some opportunity to you but you are also providing them with possibly alot too.
When the JCs were extremely lax concerning cleaning up their haunt site (as the owner got madder and madder) I decided to not turn in the ticket money til everything was cleaned up. I trusted the one, wrong guy, he handed them the money. Guess who was picking up the entire haunt by himself that JANUARY!!?
Little me.
Of course maybe this was how I learned that I could do it all myself, by myself.
This was a valuable lesson which later served me well.

Mr. Haunt
11-16-2010, 09:11 PM
Well it sounds like you are heading down the right road??? You know these people, take the advice and seek legal help! You still need to cover your butt.

Jim has a good point with his story, however I do see a lot of good for you in the Halloweens to come.

BEST OF LUCK!!!

Mr. Haunt

naberhoodhaunts
11-17-2010, 02:21 PM
Get it all in writing, maybe have a lawyer look it over, if any of this, your time, your creativity, your stuff(props costumes) are worth anything to you, that is...
I have heard So Many horror stories of promises not kept promises ignored, no pay day at all after months of dedicated workmanship...
Remember, this is a two-way street. They might be giving some opportunity to you but you are also providing them with possibly alot too.
When the JCs were extremely lax concerning cleaning up their haunt site (as the owner got madder and madder) I decided to not turn in the ticket money til everything was cleaned up. I trusted the one, wrong guy, he handed them the money. Guess who was picking up the entire haunt by himself that JANUARY!!?
Little me.
Of course maybe this was how I learned that I could do it all myself, by myself.
This was a valuable lesson which later served me well.

Thanks for the advice Jim, I will definitely get it all in writing and looked at by a lawyer. A lot of talking to do between them and me. I just wish it was behind me i really would like to get started on all this. but i dont want to jump the gun.

Allen H
11-17-2010, 02:33 PM
Do it, but do it carefully. Also dont assume that you will capture 100% of their business. 20% is a more reasonable goal. So they did 8,000 figure you will do around 1,600 to 2,000. Budget for that. It seems to be a good deal to me. I have had satellite attractions for years in other peoples parks. I like the system. Do find out their insurance provider and let them know the situation, it may be cheaper to have both haunts under different policies with the same carrier.
I think you are falling into a win/ win for you and them if your attraction style is different from theirs.
Allen H

naberhoodhaunts
11-17-2010, 03:12 PM
Do it, but do it carefully. Also dont assume that you will capture 100% of their business. 20% is a more reasonable goal. So they did 8,000 figure you will do around 1,600 to 2,000. Budget for that. It seems to be a good deal to me. I have had satellite attractions for years in other peoples parks. I like the system. Do find out their insurance provider and let them know the situation, it may be cheaper to have both haunts under different policies with the same carrier.
I think you are falling into a win/ win for you and them if your attraction style is different from theirs.
Allen H

They have a haunted manor attraction, hence the library, study, kitchen bedroom, lab room etc. the basic manor things. Not the bloody gore stuff. they have two clown rooms and two mine rooms that they kinda took the idea from me. They have a little of everything. i know my attraction should be different. my home haunt that they saw was a mine theme. caves and such. the first part was the minors shack then an elevator trip down to the mine. I was thinking of Time warp.
starting out with a lab room with time machine next, laser vortex fog hallway then rooms starting with the caveman time on through to present day. all with a alien zombie theme. or just go to the extreme, blood, guts ,gore, high intense haunt. Have any ideas on that?

naberhoodhaunts
11-17-2010, 03:17 PM
So does everyone think a combo ticket price would be a good idea? that way everyone that came through i will get a cut. Do you think i would draw some people that would not pay the price of 15 to 17 for the main haunt but would just want to see the cheaper one?

naberhoodhaunts
11-17-2010, 03:23 PM
Hey Joe,

That seems like a nice offer! How about just regular volunteers? You don't always need to pay people to act, go to the local high school and see if anyone needs community service hours. Also, consider suggesting to the professional haunt about doing a flat ticket rate at their ticket booth for $20 for both attractions, in exchange for free space and to fall under their insurance, and you would just receive say $1.50-2 for each ticket and have customers go through yours first as a warm up and to help space out the groups and almost have it as part of line entertainment. So in order to get to their haunt, yours would test their wit and see if they got what it takes to make it to the bigger attraction. If I was a customer, I think that'd be a ton of fun! So it'd still be one line, with your haunt in the middle, I think that'd be a great and unique way of entertaining people! :)

I don't know your specific circumstance, but it's just an idea and I wish you the best of luck!

Hey bobby, glad to see we are both trying to take the next step. Are those foggers still working that i gave you? Best of luck to you in getting your haunt off the ground. i have a design for a 3200 sq. ft haunt if you want it. i drew it out a few years ago. hope i can still find it.

Allen H
11-17-2010, 03:58 PM
So does everyone think a combo ticket price would be a good idea? that way everyone that came through i will get a cut. Do you think i would draw some people that would not pay the price of 15 to 17 for the main haunt but would just want to see the cheaper one?
Yes, a combo ticket is a good idea, and very very few would come and only do the smaller show.

starting out with a lab room with time machine next, laser vortex fog hallway then rooms starting with the caveman time on through to present day. all with a alien zombie theme. or just go to the extreme, blood, guts ,gore, high intense haunt. Have any ideas on that?

I like haunts with a theme, My smaller show inside of the park is different from the bigger shows because It has more interaction with the actors. Less customers equals more time with each guest. My actors are great at improv and are pretty funny along with delivering scares.
Whatever you can do to set yourself apart the better, do things that make your show stick in their mind, design strong visual images.
Reread your themes description- are your guests going to get any of that? I think that would be hard to pull off in a two hour movie let alone in a 15 minute haunt. I would simplify a bit in order to get the strongest images out of your time with them. Just a time machine is great... Dino haunt!
Just aliens, great! Just zombies..better be really good but great!
Strong characters and actors are going to make you memorable also, very rarely does anyone come out of a haunt and say "that crown molding was awesome!" its the actors that get the scares and get stuck in their minds.
just my opinion,
Allen H

screamforadream
11-18-2010, 10:03 PM
1) YES! I think a combo ticket price would be great for both you and the other attraction.

2) Thanks! I appreciate it, I have something I'd like to email to you, but I lost your email. It's that same design you suggested for the Relay haunt last year, but in a professional 3-D rendering made for building inspectors and our fire marshal really appreciated it. One of them is, I had to try and get technical on some silly repairs here and there, I might be able to get the second one working again with some minor wiring but I fear it could be the pump, in which case I should probably just try and get a new one...? I'm extremely impressed with them, when they were both working they put out a ton of fog, the one remaining working one doesn't stop though. It goes until it can't go anymore. Which is totally fine, because we're outdoors. :) Did you see the Pitch Black post for this years Relay haunt? I can't WAIT! It's going to be bigger and better than next year, (assuming everything goes right!) I don't want to take this thread away from you though, so...reply on Facebook or PM?

3) I'm so jealous you got a location so easily. It's one of my biggest struggles right now. Going back to the combo ticket idea and Allen's point, if you do a combo ticket you are guaranteed their 8,000+ attendance, and can budget for it a little higher (but the less you spend the better obviously) and your actors will also be better and more motivated. If you were two separate events with two separate tickets, chances are your attendance would be significantly lower, making your actors feel like they aren't as great, and it could bring moral down, but if you guarantee a combo ticket price making it so everyone goes through both, the customers think they're getting a deal and your actors feel like they're as important (which they are) and as talented (which they most likely are) working at your haunt (which is great regardless of size knowing your imagination).

Greg Chrise
11-18-2010, 10:21 PM
I'm gonna do that, walk out of some haunt, gather a crowd and proclaim....Is that some serious freaking crown molding or what?

naberhoodhaunts
03-12-2011, 08:35 PM
well here is an update... i havent heard from them since the haunt closed for the season. at this point i dont think i have enough time to get everything i need together . I cant get them to talk about what was discussed. all i get is, they may not open next year, not sure if they can get the same location. well i guess it back to the drawing board. will start to design my own haunt. start looking for a location of my own.
I would like to thank everyone for the support that was given.
I will get this going someday!!!!!

Jim Warfield
03-13-2011, 12:21 AM
Since they seem to now to not be giving you the time of day. (True colors showing through?)
I was also very desperate to get my haunt going, so much so that I followed some else's advice and offered a partnership to a retired craftsman and his adult sons, thankfully the Mother had them decline my offer!
I am positive my successes here would never have happened like they did if I had to run every nuiance passed a commitee.
But then I am "me" and you are "You",and I am by most other's thinking a self-motivated, odd, artistic type with my own peculair concepts that I work tirelessly to accomplish. (Probably not a good working partnership/person for most anyone else.
But I do love what I do here 98% of the time. Most importantly though, I do have many people (paying customers) that like what I have done and what I do here.

screamforadream
03-13-2011, 08:49 PM
Well maybe it's a good thing, will allow you to grow on your own. If you let your customers (even the non-paying ones at your home haunt) decide your progress (when you can't fit everyone who shows up through!) than you know that it's a good time to just take the leap. You've been developing a following at your home haunt for years, and it's done nothing but grown. Hell, I'm here in CT and even I heard about you and will hopefully be stopping by this year if all goes as planned! I know it will happen eventually, your home haunt is only a whiny fire marshall away from being a full-blown haunt! lol :cool: