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View Full Version : Wholesome Family Friendly Farm by day... Zombies and drunk college students by night?



mrfoos
03-28-2012, 10:59 PM
Hey guys,

I'm working with a farmer and his small country farm with pumpkin patch and corn maze during October. For other seasons he grows and sells other products. We have kid activities/events/areas as well and have schools, churches, and families visit year long. This is a very conservative Christian area. So right now, families visit the farm for the day and know it is a very "safe" place to bring their kids. And by "safe" I mean exposure to darker entertainment. A common compliment made by grown-up guests is "I'm so glad you don't do any of that scary stuff." They don't allow drinking and have sent home entire groups of college students who were obviously intoxicated (an entire bus one time) who had come for the night time corn maze.

Now most of the activities run during the day. The only thing open after dusk is the corn maze. And it's generally emptied by 9:30pm or 10pm. The farm is the only business for this farmer and his family.

We are very close to a large university and we (I and the farmer) know he is missing out on a whole other business. The "scare" business. That's me. That's my world. While there are no spooks in the corn maze he already gets the request from his younger crowd (college and high school).

The biggest problem seems to be how to integrate haunting into the overall family oriented farm. There is no doubt that were there to be zombies walking around near dusk some (maybe a lot) of the church crowd would be appalled. (I can see in my mind little kids who have been sheltered their whole life running for the lives when they see a zombie actor walking to his post.) I've played with safer ideas like zombies hidden inside scarecrows but some props would probably still be visible during the day. Signs that said something like "Haunted Trail this way -->" would be visible during the day.

But I think another concern is the college crowd that we'd draw in is nothing like the current conservative family crowd. The two crowds would not mix well. The Sun would be our ally though... most families go home by dusk and none of the haunted trail stuff could start until well after dusk.

The farmer is very worried of losing the core of his current (and profitable) business model on the new endeavor. Obviously... it's a risk.

Any comments? Anyone been through this dilemma? I want to tell him "dude it's going to be OK... we can keep the tone down a little on the visuals" but I've never tried this merge of worlds before. And it's not my livelyhood to lose.

Thanks in advance!
MrFoos

Terrorknight
03-29-2012, 11:25 AM
Most place run a daytime family show that's kid friendly from lets say 11:00 to 5:00 and a nighttime show from 7pm on. That gives you time to switch over and for your families to leave before the teen and college crowd comes in. And still trow them out if they have been drinking.

Robert

screamforadream
03-29-2012, 11:41 AM
I would designate specific times, make a public schedule, post it on a board or something, (he should probably have an events board), make everything obvious and drawn out on there, so the more religious and conservative can know when the family friendly time is up and the more scary adult time is.

I would recommend avoiding any anti-catholic/Christian scenes/scares, so no devil, no pentagrams, no goats, no crosses (that should be a given lol), no "hell".

This would be a GREAT opportunity to introduce a differ perception of haunted attractions in your area, instead of a stereotypical haunted corn maze, theme it to be something unique, and not something associated with hell or the devil. Some examples of this could be;

Scary swamp
An angry forest
A TWISTED Wizard of Oz

There's plenty of alternative themes that are not yet super popular, and if done right with good creativity, can really be scary as all hell (no pun intended Haha). Themes like this could help sooth the nerves of the people in your community who are very "anti" traditional Halloween/horror stereotypes.

Best of luck to you!! Maybe try talking to a member on here by the name of wickedfarmer,m(who isn't actually wicked, he's a church going fellow) he is a wealth of information. He runs one of, if not the, best haunted corn maze on his part of the country.

HauntedPaws
03-29-2012, 12:24 PM
Most place run a daytime family show that's kid friendly from lets say 11:00 to 5:00 and a nighttime show from 7pm on. That gives you time to switch over and for your families to leave before the teen and college crowd comes in. And still trow them out if they have been drinking.

Robert

What he said. As for losing family to this event type, you're only gonna lose the dumb parents else kids would never go to the movies because of the scary signage.

mrfoos
03-29-2012, 02:05 PM
What he said. As for losing family to this event type, you're only gonna lose the dumb parents else kids would never go to the movies because of the scary signage.

Very good comparison!

Also, Bobby, I agree 100% with avoiding pissing people off with the theme and icons. Also, we probably won't be using the corn maze at all. We'd make a seperate woodland trail.

Thanks for the feedback!
MrFoos

screamforadream
03-29-2012, 03:00 PM
So I like your idea and your concept, however I think it will be difficult to convey to your costumes, they just want to get scared, they don't want to know every detail. Your concept is really fun but it may just come off very weird for your customers.

What if you used the school as part of the haunt theme?? You can do zombies, and do something less gory. Since it will be in the woods, why not try and pull a forbidden forest? Similar to that in the Harry potter films, all those critters crawling all over and scary creatures, if it was a real setting, it would be very cool! You can have zombie students who failed courses in semesters past, creepy trees, spiders, snakes, etc, all very hot and new in the haunt industry right now, the start of a fairly new "trend" if I dare say that on here, please no "I did that 20 years ago!" replies lol.

mrfoos
03-29-2012, 04:38 PM
they just want to get scared, they don't want to know every detail

Interesting. It almost sounds like you are saying throw story out the window and grab their leg. Personally, all the haunts I've done... while very small and local... have always been heavy on storyline and lighter on "boo!". I've always tried for the psychological fear over the "boo" scare. I attempt to get in their heads. Now whether or not I'll be successful... I don't know for sure. But I feel like I've been able to pull it off in the past, based on comments from my visitors. But yes, it is more difficult to pull off and probably won't work for all.

This sounds like a seperate topic. Maybe I'll start it. What do ya think?

P.S. I know you weren't saying to grab them... more of a figure of speach.

hauntman666
03-30-2012, 12:01 AM
The other thing you can do is say that you are donating some of the profits to the local church then the people will be more open to it. Around here there is a haunt that is run by the local church and it is run very well and a very good haunt.

Kyle Guillette

screamforadream
03-30-2012, 09:08 AM
No no no!! Don't throw it out the window, just don't make it so detailed oriented.

You can have a long backstory, that is ALWAYS beneficial. But having it go from a doctor to goreless zombies to zombies behind scarecrows cause thesoctor thoughtthey should go there to robot zombies being secretly sold to people, can be confusing since there are so many different points you want to hit.

How about, in the 1930's the local university was devastated by an outbreak of an unknown disease. The school medical staff was baffled and embarrassed that they couldn't fix these kids, it was almost as if the kids were already dead but still moving.... in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the disease the school threw all the infected into the nearby woods. Since then one crazed doctor has been living in those woods, feeding upon the dead in a desparate attempt to save the unseasonable. Dare you enter these woods? Your mission is simple, just make it out...alive.

I got a little cheesy towards the end there, but I just wanted to demonstrate that you can make a long backstory to fit your haunt but there doesn't need to be so many direct details. Sometimes you just gotta dumb it down. This way if your robot zombie scarecrow doesn't show up or the piece breaks, it isn't THAT big of a deal. :)

mrfoos
03-30-2012, 01:12 PM
I hear ya, it makes sense, and I have to agree with you. Growing up my favorite pasttime was Dungeons and Dragons, and I was always the dungeon master... which means I had to make up and run the storyline. I was always frustrated with how little work the players would put into following the plotline... they just wanted to walk from fight scene to fight scene. This conversation reminds me of that.

screamforadream
03-30-2012, 06:15 PM
lol sorry!!! but yeah, i mean, you have to think of the people coming through, more than just you. you're providing a service to them, make it one that they can easily understand and hopefully relate to in some sort of twisted way. =)

Marr Branch
03-30-2012, 07:17 PM
Scarecrow Zombies with microchips implanted in them by a scientist? I am sorry but that sounds like the next Scooby Doo movie.

Jim Warfield
03-30-2012, 09:16 PM
Last year three people came to see my house and ask for suggestions because they work for The Museum of Science & Industry (Chicago) and they wanted to "Haunt" two old stand bys of the museum, the coal mine exhibit and the 1930's Zepher Train.
When they "Haunt" they only do it for 60 minutes, then everything returns to normal for the next 60 minutes, all day long!
Everyone's watches better be coordinated.
I wouldn't worry about offending many Church youth groups. It has always seemed to me that parents put their kids in those groups in a hope of straightening them out, they are already "troubled" youths (not all of them)
If you are trying to entice familys with small children in, look them in the eye and speak normally , not in make up or mask and promise them not to scare them. Promise them no chainsaws. Promise to turn on more lights if they cry. Reassure them there are exits available, then after you have said these things, ask the parents if you can now talk to their kids?
Keep those promises and make sure all employees do it too.= "Happy! Happy!
If your haunt full of Colege kids closes at 9:30 then you should be missing the worst of the lousey-drunks. Those you would have needed "Mr. Policeman" for.

Jim Warfield
03-30-2012, 09:57 PM
Not to mix those different types of groups, it should be doable, unlike a local small tavern whose one-time owner brought old customers to his new location which had the majority of it's income arrive via serving familues food and some beverage.
The miserable cussing drunks were only feet away from the families, the new owner chose to go with the families since they spend much more money .

N2SPOOKINU
04-06-2012, 11:47 PM
mrfoos,
You might take a look at my Zombie Safari Paintball Attractions. The corn maze folks have been going crazy over it and it has been a hot seller since premiering at Transworld. Its a daytime AND nightime interactive activity fun for all ages.
We have a facebook zombie safari paintball. Take a look at some of our threads here showing our trailers and let me know if I can help you in any way!

Greg
Zombie Safari Paintball Attractions
Zombie Protection Services L.L.C.

N2SPOOKINU
04-06-2012, 11:54 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ90t_hMA34
I hope this works, heres a youtube video of one of our attractions.
Greg