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View Full Version : Is Christmas the Next Halloween???



drfrightner
12-13-2007, 12:25 PM
Seems like everytime I turn around some haunted house owner is doing a Christmas event.

I know Bates Motel does one now, Shocktoberfest does one, Kevin McCurdy, and the list just goes on and on.

Now I see Headless Horseman does a Christmas event... check it out.

www.FrostyFest.com

NightMareManor
12-13-2007, 01:11 PM
heres the link to kevin's christmas event as well.

http://www.holidayspiritfestival.com

ClusterOne
12-13-2007, 01:35 PM
If and when I ever get a year-round location, I would seriously think about it. Fairly easy way to fund the real season of the year!

-Joel-

campdoc
12-14-2007, 07:28 AM
I think having Christmas Events, are good!
for your local community.. a win - win "for a haunter"
It's a good way to meet local people who may not like Halloween.
Once people know it's a business,they may be more likely to understand and
attend your Haunt. more open-mined . and a good way to attract local sponsors !

Jolly Pumpkin
12-14-2007, 02:57 PM
I think it's great that haunts are having Christmas events during the off season. It's a great way to make extra income and easier in many ways. You don't have to worry about hiring actors and since the majority of Christmas type events take place out doors, there is a lesser risk of injury and less to worry about when it comes to insurance. Plus it's much easier getting Sponsors when your event is associated with Christmas since it's much more family friendly and people have more time to go to these events because they are on vacation.

damon carson
12-14-2007, 04:43 PM
No offense but the background looks rather green than frosty. I think its cool that haunts do this but then again? I think it makes your attraction less scary because people say oh well they do Santa Friggin land here too! I dont know if you cant beat them join them. But you definately need an outdoor area for some of this stuff!
Damon

kennyny
12-16-2007, 12:50 AM
Hi Everyone,

We just started our Christmas event this year (www.northpolewonderland.com). Been talking about it for about 6 years and decided this year was the year to take the leap. We're located in the Hudson Valley region of New York and have been doing a Halloween event for the past 13 years. The Hudson Valley has a lot of events to offer residents with a high concentration of Halloween events and now Christmas events. Horseman is about 40 minutes from us, McCurdy is about 20 minutes away, plus two other large Halloween events and now three Christmas events total.

From what we've learned so far, Christmas is definitely a lot different then Halloween in many ways:

Pros:

It's a happier time of the year translating to more positive customers. For some reason as soon as you turn on the Christmas music and lights adults become children.

Different audience. Instead of dealing with rowdy teens and drunken adults you get to deal with nice calm families. Even the teens have been very calm.

Christmas has a much larger audience by far then Halloween. People of all ages enjoy Christmas as opposed to Halloween.

You can sign better contracts when doing both events. We've saved quite a bit in advertising by signing larger advertising contracts and splitting between both events. The same has worked for our insurance.

Higher retail potential then Halloween.

If you have a permanent location you're putting better use to the space on the off season.

Very little staffing needs.

We do a free flow with our Christmas attractions which has pretty much restricted capacity only to parking.

Less stress and liability overall.

Cons:

-There's an incredible strain on your first year to convert from Halloween to Christmas so quickly. We actually started painting and building the sets in our workshop in June for placement in November. In October we were stringing lights in places where our Halloween customers wouldn't notice just to get a jump start.

-WEATHER: You have to deal with snow, ice, rain, freezing rain, and the ground freezing. Your staff will not be used to the cold. Oh, and fake trees and lights do not like the wind.

-With Christmas you cannot get away with the same things that you can with Halloween. You can get oops paint with Halloween, a broken down chair from a yard sale, and it looks great. With Christmas it has to be bright, colorful, clean and nice.

-Ticket pricing is a lot different then Halloween is a well. In a sense you have to sell 1.5 to 2 to even 3 times the Christmas tickets to equal one Halloween ticket, but on the other hand you don't have the overhead that Halloween does. You have to remember that families are usually on a budget this time of the year with Christmas around the corner and do not have the disposable income Halloween does. BUT they will buy gifts for other people from you. So keep retail in mind.

-Now you have to have a place to store all of the Christmas stuff.

-You have to have high endurance and multitask even more. After Halloween you get to normally relax and start thinking about the next season. This past summer half the day you're listening to Rob Zombie and the other half you're listening to Jingle Bells. Most of the time I thought I was losing my mind.


I can go on and on, but overall Christmas has been a welcomed change from Halloween. Reaction from the local community has been positive. I also think that Christmas is more local and Halloween is more regional. We are located in the Hudson Valley NY region and attract guests from about a 100 mile radius for Halloween and have been attracting customers from a 20 mile radius for Christmas. I think that it's due to the winter time and families not wanting to drive far with the kids as well as ice and snow.

When building for Halloween this year we built for Christmas as well so everything that was built had to be converted easily and quickly. All buildings were painted neutral colors that fit both the Halloween and Christmas.

If you are considering Christmas for next year the time to start buying is NOW! All of the large box stores will start their clearances soon. Over the past two years we have been stockpiling trees and lights and it does save you quite a bit. We have over 43,000 lights just in one of our attractions alone.

I wish anyone luck in starting their own Christmas event. If anyone has any questions please don't hesitate to email me and I'll help in any way that I can.

Happy Holidays,
Ken Darrigo
Northpole Wonderland www.northpolewonderland.com
TerrorDome Haunted Scream Park www.terrordome.com
halloworks@aol.com

Jim Warfield
12-16-2007, 01:18 AM
Christmas event bringing in just local people from mostly 20 miles away?
This is why it wouldn't work here, no population to speak of within 20 miles and the weather is too nasty to even expect people to travel much more than that.
I have been putting a new message on my answering machine everyday telling people to really check the weather before planning to be here.

"Seeing familys instead of roudy teens and drunks"..This is the way my house operates almost every night of the year.
We really work at elimiating the drunks before they get a ticket and after they show us they are unpredictably nasty they are also out of the house.
If I don't get rid of them I usually get complaints from the rest of my patrons.
I use alot of humor in my presentation but I also scare a fair number of people too, I try to balance it out, making it a fun time for all. I have often had people screaming, laughing, then screaming again all in short order, I have had some people begin laughing when I sell them their ticket and never stop laughing all the way through the house, even begging me to stop making them laugh because they can't breathe and their stomach hurts from it all!
I have no bloody murder scenes/crime scenes, nobody aggressively coming at anyone.
I do different types of tours for the different types of groups coming through here though. I do a more adult-humor tour when some people specifically request it, alot of my adult tour goes right over the head of most kids but I don't push it, if you know what I mean. I am constantly weighing and watching the reactions to the things I say and do and am prepared to back off and not do or say certain things .
"One size does not fit all."

Greg Chrise
12-16-2007, 01:23 AM
These Christmas events are usually an outdoor drive through with the possible option of hay wagon ride. They are $10 a car and the end of the tour is at the gift shop which is pretty easy to go past while driving. They have outdoor speakers everywhere with Christmas music and some of the sections are syncronized light shows to the music (which I hate)

The amount of lights they can put over a landscape and probably a mile of winding course is amazing, even stupifying. But, then that one little scene where there is a cheesy Santa and Mrs. Claus and an elf in a little shed/cottage.....

And OMG! Mrs Claus is a deformed dwarf! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! AAAHHHHHH! The stumps she calls legs are all dirty like she's been crawling around doing some ankel biting! AAAAAHHHH!

You don't want me being your Christmas driver and tour guide! It still turns into Halloween somehow. I've been forced to listen to Jingle Bells over and over for 50 years now and I'm probably gonna snap pretty soon.

I also like seeing electrical transformers about every 200 feet, very festive.

There seems to be an entire industry of making wire and steel structures and shapes of sleighs, reindeer, trees and arch ways with a gazzillion lights on them being fashioned all year long and selling for $600 a pop. Then them getting paid to restring those same items damaged moving to and from storage.

FutureHauntings83
12-16-2007, 10:32 AM
the only complaints i can say about doing a holiday event is the short time you have to change over. i run the tech operations for mccurdy's christmas event and once the haunted mansion's done we only have 3 weeks to change over.and we use the whole property for christmas too. it gets stressful. that and the huge change of cold when your out there for 4-6 hours! and it is a little hard trying to be happy and cheerful for custumers after being disgustingly scary only a few weeks prior.

steve o.

bodybagging
12-17-2007, 04:43 AM
Great displays everyone, BodyBag Entertainment plans on doing a Christmas theme at our place as well......... Looks like alot of extra work BUT the payoff in community relations will be well worth the time........

campdoc
01-04-2008, 01:55 PM
Looks like Spookywood's has been making plans for next year..too
I bet it' will be something to see..

twohlgemuth
01-05-2008, 02:55 PM
I think doing Christmas makes good sense if you have a large outdoor location like we do. We have been asked by customers for years, "When are you going to do something for Christmas?".

We have a large base of customers coming to our farm starting in September for our family events, so adding December to the mix makes sense. Sponsorships will be much easier to sell and for us we will not use the same area the haunt does, so it will be more of building two shows at once instead of a transfer from haunt to light show.

You can add Spookywoods to the list of large haunts going Green and Red in 2008. We will create a unquie Tram Train Ride as part of our light show events.

Using our Timed Ticketing Solution we developed for our haunt using bar code printers and online ticketing will be key to controlling the crowds for our Christmas Show.

drfrightner
01-05-2008, 03:46 PM
Tony,

You seem to have the perfect location for a Christmas event. Why don't you do one? You have built up an incredible relationship with kids and families in your area. I would think if anyone should jump on this bandwagon it would be you!

Larry

twohlgemuth
01-05-2008, 04:17 PM
Larry,

We are well underway planning to do this in 2008. I have just hired Nate Mitchell to design our entire farm into a CAD drawing. He already started working with surveying the farm this week. He also will have our complete show animated in a computer simulation so we can see what the various light shows look like before we build the sets. I will focus marketing a timed ticketing event to control the crowds using our own program we wrote for the haunt tickets.

I'm using the same vendor as Headless Horseman and Bates Hotel to supply our large displays.

www.KerseyValleyChristmas.com (http://www.KerseyValleyChristmas.com) will be our new site that will be heavily cross promoted from our daytime events and haunt.

With our focus on families during the month of Sept and Oct with our daytime events, I feel we have a great opportunity to open in Dec with a good chance of success.

Who knows, maybe there will be another article for HauntWorld coming soon about this trend spreading the country from my experience with this trend.

Raycliff Manor
01-05-2008, 05:41 PM
Hey Tony, that girl and zombie on your Myspace video have some kickin moves! Keep us posted on your Christmas event progress. You're an inspiration my friend!

Kel

icandrawem2
01-05-2008, 10:40 PM
I know its gonna be alot of work this year to change over from halloween to Christmas in less than a month, but I really think this is gonna be a success for us. Im just glad Tony finally gave in to the demand and decided to do a Christmas event, because I know im gonna have alot of fun with it. But hopefully we will have the website launched in a few months after we get our minds together. But we'll keep yall posted!

campdoc
01-07-2008, 07:29 AM
With 78 Million Baby Boomer's starting to retire!
Thats a lot of grandparent's ,who want to have fun!
"this is a new market" That's a lot of pumpkins & Candy cane's to Sell"
haunter's need to jump in..gear up...

Phil Miller
01-14-2008, 09:37 AM
Yeah, you can add Frightland to the list, We are doing Christmas this year too. We have been preparing for it the past year are so, adding 1- 1/2 mile stoned roads and adding 3 additional underground electrical services.
We figure we're paying Workmen's Comp all year, setting up the payroll company, building sets and hiring 150 people for 1 month anyway, what's another 60 days? This will give me something to do the rest of the year. Phil Miller

drfrightner
01-19-2008, 02:04 AM
WOW... I can't believe all the haunts that are doing Christmas now.

When you go to TW you should try and talk to the Headless Horseman or the Bates people because they've been doing Christmas for the last couple of years.

I think Patrick from Shocktoberfest is selling Christmas lights.

I've been thinking of doing one for years but I'd want to do a total blow out deal and the cost of doing it would be staggering.

Larry