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tchaunt
12-23-2008, 09:31 PM
I am wanting to start up my own haunted house. I realize that, with me being 13, it will be incredibly difficult. Here's a few questions I've got:
-What are some good ways of lighting your scenes? Ex:Mini-barrel LED spotlights, stage lights, etc.
-What are some of your favorite scare tactics?
-Should the use of illusions be used in first year haunts?
-Please tell me anything I need to buy (besides wood for wall panels), should consider buying, and need to plan on buying in the future.
-What do you do with the floors in your haunt?
Do you just leave them as is, or do you try to have them match the theme of the room? If you theme the floors, how do you do it?
-Have you ever bought any FX Lens from Vampfangs? If you have, please tell me how the process was and about the quality of the lens.
-Also, if anyone has anything they don't need anymore that can be used in a haunt, please either PM me or e-mail me (tchaunt@yahoo.com) and I can give you more info.
-What are some things I could do the first year to leave a good impression on the customers, but still save money?
-Is it a good idea to start a business with one of your closest friends? My friend is really into haunts and loves everything about them. But I'm not sure it would be that smart of an idea to run a business with a friend. Anyone have any tips?
-Also, where do you get most of your make-up? Dollar tree, or, on the other side of the price spectrum, hollywood studios?
-What brands of make-up last through heavy sweating? I am wanting to scare act at least some nights in my haunt, but I sweat like a pig...and a horse, and a cow...all in one. I'm wondering what I should do. Any advice will be appreciated.
-What do you do for your finale? Like, what do you do for the very last room in your haunt?

I will gladly accept any advice. I realize I probably won't be able to have a haunt up and running by next season, but I do want to start planning for when I do have the opportunity to create it.

N2SPOOKINU
12-23-2008, 11:02 PM
Well TC I think you need to start by volunteering in a haunt close to where you live. Because of your age most haunts CANT hire you. Contact your nearby haunts and ask them if there is any way for you to be an apprentice. If they say yes learn all you can from these generous guys. Pay close attention to the way they do things and learn from their sucesses and their mistakes. Starting a haunt is a huge undertaking so in my opinion work with the haunts around you and learn all the things first hand that you are wanting to know the answers to. Thats where I would start. Good luck young man you are the future of our industry! Greg

tchaunt
12-23-2008, 11:14 PM
Well TC I think you need to start by volunteering in a haunt close to where you live. Because of your age most haunts CANT hire you. Contact your nearby haunts and ask them if there is any way for you to be an apprentice. If they say yes learn all you can from these generous guys. Pay close attention to the way they do things and learn from their sucesses and their mistakes. Starting a haunt is a huge undertaking so in my opinion work with the haunts around you and learn all the things first hand that you are wanting to know the answers to. Thats where I would start. Good luck young man you are the future of our industry! Greg

That's the problem. Most sites say "work at local haunts to gain experience." Sadly, here in my part of Kentucky, there are no haunts (at least none that I know of). And I'm pretty sure my parents won't take me to Lexington each night to scare act. :D

Edit: I have managed to learn about a few haunts in my area....none of them are places I would want to be affiliated with.

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 12:02 AM
Start of small dont even try to get a premises for your first season. Start small and get progressively bigger, start out as a home haunt. Thats how the pirate of emmerson started out i believe...and look where they are now! Great haunted House im a huge fan! I mean By the time your 18 if you got steadily bigger you should have a pretty decent sized and decent haunted house. As to finding actors look on forums like this one...the internet will probably end up being your greatest tool. What with myspace, yourspace and what nots all the spaces floating around the web these days. Make a website! Get news of your small home haunt out there, make going to your haunt a tradition. I would drive out there and help you out (Im in san diego) But thats not in the budget right now. But hey if your still in the business in 5 years im planning a road trip where im intending to act in haunted houses around the world. I will probably swing by you...if your still in business in 5 years. Hahaha But if you are give me an email at DementedEntertainment@yahoo.com and it would be an honour to scare for you!

Jim Warfield
12-24-2008, 04:50 AM
Save your money. Figure out how much actual time you can devote to this , over the next several YEARS. (How does time feel to you as it is passing?)
If you wish to sort of figure out what this business/project will be like, think of it as you are setting out to build a house yourself but you have no experience or tools and you will have to be figuring it all out as you go.
Now, the first thing you buy if you don't have one is a piece of wet string.
I can sell you a piece, professionally wetted by the best in the business, only $14.95 per/inch, I presently have a special interductory offer, pay for a mile, I'll give you an inch!!!

Monster-Tronics
12-24-2008, 07:30 AM
Looks like some good advice for the other posts already. Sounds like you have a lot of ambition which is great! What you will probably find as you go through life, is most of the time you either have one or the other, time or money, so make good use of the time you have and do what you can.

One thing that is just as important as the scare side of haunting is the business side. You might want to get Kelly Allenís book talked about in this thread below. His book is easy to understand and would always be a good future reference for you.

http://hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=6723

Good luck in your endeavors!

Regards,
Jeff Londos
Monster-Tronics
Innovators in Haunt Technologies
www.Monster-Tronics.com
See us in St. Louis at TransWorldís National Haunt & Attractions
Show, booth 714, March 27th -29th 2009
Proud Member of the Halloween and Haunt Vendor Association
www.halloweenhauntvendors.com
www.youtube.com/MonsterTronics

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 08:25 AM
Monster-Tronics:
I was actually looking into buying that book. From the looks of it, it will be useful.

Jim:
Um.......what exactly did you wet the string with? Hopefully someone's (or something's) body fluid. :)

Dr. Giggles:
5 years from now would be perfect for me to start a pro. haunt because I'll finally be out of school. It would be an honor for you to come and scare act for me.

stonegate
12-24-2008, 08:29 AM
Some ideas for funds:

1. Get a couple friends together and host a car wash this spring and summer. You may need a permit from your city, but you can check local codes. Try a local business and see if theyíll let you use their water spigotóprobably for a small fee. Assuming you attend, your local church may allow you to use theirs for free.

2. Do a door-to-do fundraiser selling gourmet or specialty chocolate bars. If you have a local Samís Club, you can buy in bulk and sell individual bars at a slight profit, or find an on-line chocolate importer to buy from.

3. Start an on-line fundraiser site---check out http://www.snowzilla.org ---this guy has raised some money from across the country for something so silly. Your biggest challenge will be to get the word out, but thatís what MySpace and Craigslist are for.

4. eBay, eBay, eBay---what stuff do you have laying around that you or your family no longer need? Same applies for flea markets.

Your best selling point is that youíre a 13 yr old entrepreneur--- use that to your advantage and explain your goals and intentions if you use any of these suggestions.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 09:10 AM
Some ideas for funds:

1. Get a couple friends together and host a car wash this spring and summer. You may need a permit from your city, but you can check local codes. Try a local business and see if theyíll let you use their water spigotóprobably for a small fee. Assuming you attend, your local church may allow you to use theirs for free.

2. Do a door-to-do fundraiser selling gourmet or specialty chocolate bars. If you have a local Samís Club, you can buy in bulk and sell individual bars at a slight profit, or find an on-line chocolate importer to buy from.

3. Start an on-line fundraiser site---check out http://www.snowzilla.org ---this guy has raised some money from across the country for something so silly. Your biggest challenge will be to get the word out, but thatís what MySpace and Craigslist are for.

4. eBay, eBay, eBay---what stuff do you have laying around that you or your family no longer need? Same applies for flea markets.

Your best selling point is that youíre a 13 yr old entrepreneur--- use that to your advantage and explain your goals and intentions if you use any of these suggestions.

Great suggestions! I was so caught up on fundraiser packages that you buy online that I forgot completely about the simple things. Thanks so much.

Jim Warfield
12-24-2008, 12:11 PM
Ask Grandma for the money.
Don't just take it out of her purse!

I had to ask people I really didn't know and I was not related to.
(I left their purses alone)
They did "know" me , somewhat, they had know my Father for many years and maybe they even had known my Grandfather?
We had done work for them and they knew I was ambitious and honest.
The one man loaned me money to save this house from being bulldozed down.
His Grandfather had a history with this house back in the 1880's when it was "Mother Nohe's Tavern", a location offering food, drink, a bed, stables for your horses and a wild party atmosphere...I guess?

(My Ex and myself did hear their echos a couple of times coming from the other side of the wall at 2am, sounded like a whole room full of people talking, singing, laughing...of course when I got there the room was quiet and empty...it's a haunted house.)

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 12:47 PM
Ask Grandma for the money.
Don't just take it out of her purse!

I had to ask people I really didn't know and I was not related to.
(I left their purses alone)
They did "know" me , somewhat, they had know my Father for many years and maybe they even had known my Grandfather?
We had done work for them and they knew I was ambitious and honest.
The one man loaned me money to save this house from being bulldozed down.
His Grandfather had a history with this house back in the 1880's when it was "Mother Nohe's Tavern", a location offering food, drink, a bed, stables for your horses and a wild party atmosphere...I guess?

(My Ex and myself did hear their echos a couple of times coming from the other side of the wall at 2am, sounded like a whole room full of people talking, singing, laughing...of course when I got there the room was quiet and empty...it's a haunted house.)

Heh. I wish. Though my grandma and grandpa are multi-millionaires, I probably won't get a cent of it for a haunt. They both want to save as much money as possible. I mean, they may give in, but they probably won't.
I decided to attempt some personal fund raisers with my friends who want to help start the haunt. It will be hard raising money with fund raisers because I am in band (in school). They fundraise the crap out of us. In such a rural area, there are only so many times the same people will buy stuff from you.

________
What better place to set up a haunted tour than a haunted house?!? I mean, the atmosphere would be there without you having to do much of anything. My house is slightly haunted. We always thought it was just high emf's in the basement making us feel.......not-so-alone. Almost 7 years ago (when I was 6), we had a family reunion. We took tons of pictures in the basement (where everyone was eating at). In a corner where most anyone couldn't fit, a boy (who we had never seen before), appeared in this picture. It was clear enough to tell he had on a UK Wildcat sweatshirt and had a 70's hair cut. Whats odd about it is that the boy is slightly hazy.
In the scene, my sister and cousin were fighting about food. The boy was looking right at them in a caring face (like he knew them personally) laughing. It was odd, but comforting knowing whatever is in the basement (not necessarily a ghost) was friendly to a certain extent. We believe he is an intelligent apparition.

I also managed to have a set of haunted antique beds. The energy attached to them was much more negative. The apparition was shadowy and almost demonic in stature. I tore my bed apart and put it in the garage. My sister kept her's. The weird thing is, I'm not the only one to notice the negative energy. My sister's cat used to look in my room and just hiss. She would never come into my room. As soon as I took the bed out, she stayed in my room all the time and wouldn't spend time in my sister's room. I personally can't even go into my sister's room by myself because the energy is so intensely negative. I think this apparition is an intelligent apparition who has its energy attached to the beds.

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Sell stuff on ebay...that was very good advice. Thats how i afforded my corpse skin from spookywoodsfx.com and my custom clown costume! Its great. I mean if you sell random funny stuff on ebay people WILL buy it. My mate once sold a Q-tip for roughly 25 bucks! Isnt that ridiculous? People will think its funny and bid on it...so go out and buy yourself a bag of q tips! Go on!

Front Yard Fright
12-24-2008, 01:16 PM
I agree with the start small statement. I have been doing my home haunt for four years and we grow more and more each year. I too, would like to go pro sooner or later, but we'll see how things turn out. I'd love to help you out, I'm always here for my fellow haunters! Check out my site and read my "About Us" page to see how we got our start. Good luck!
:D.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 01:17 PM
I once saw someone buy a Q-tip for 80-some bucks. It amazed me. I may actually try to sell random stuff to get the money. :)

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 01:19 PM
See? Sell other things in you rroom that your sick of/dont want/ dont really care for anymore and the mony will start rolling in. I mean i used to have roughly 10,000 books and now i only have 8,000 but the ones i sold made me about 6,000. So as much as i am depressed to give up my literature it had to be done...for the good of the haunt!

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 01:22 PM
I agree with the start small statement. I have been doing my home haunt for four years and we grow more and more each year. I too, would like to go pro sooner or later, but we'll see how things turn out. I'd love to help you out, I'm always here for my fellow haunters! Check out my site and read my "About Us" page to see how we got our start. Good luck!
:D.

The sad thing is, I can't really do a home haunt either. My house is a poorly-planned tri-level from Hell. I really wouldn't mind if it went back to Hell as long as I wasn't in it. :D
Anyway, the house wouldn't be very good for even a cruddy-haunt. :( I've got a 2 1/2 car garage. I asked my parents if I could use it for the haunt, but they said they didn't want to get stuck in a law suit. In other words, life hates me. ;)

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 01:24 PM
See? Sell other things in you rroom that your sick of/dont want/ dont really care for anymore and the mony will start rolling in. I mean i used to have roughly 10,000 books and now i only have 8,000 but the ones i sold made me about 6,000. So as much as i am depressed to give up my literature it had to be done...for the good of the haunt!

S***! I just gave most of my books away to Goodwill. I should march up to their doors and demand my books back. XD Oh well. I'll settle for a box o' q-tips.

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 01:26 PM
You could always be a charity haunt. I mean you get to make people cry AND you are doing it for a good cause. You could get sponsors this way.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 01:29 PM
You could always be a charity haunt. I mean you get to make people cry AND you are doing it for a good cause. You could get sponsors this way.

So.....how do I go about doing that? Do I just say "Cyco Psyrcus (made up a name off the top of my head): Proud sponsor of TC Drama Club"? Do I still have to pay actors minimum wage if I decide to do a charity haunt?

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 01:31 PM
Ok well i suppose this depends on your actors and how dedicated they are. As charity haunts is non profit all the money goes towards some charity of a sort, so i would imagine the actors would be volunteers, but hey if they are passionate about it they wouldnt mind! But yeah you declare yourself a charity organization and ask maybe a lumber yard if they could sponsor you and what not for wood. And maybe ask someone with a lot of land if you could use it. But please be sure to give your sponsors attention remember this is a business, atLEAST send them a thank you card hahahahaah.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 01:38 PM
Ok well i suppose this depends on your actors and how dedicated they are. As charity haunts is non profit all the money goes towards some charity of a sort, so i would imagine the actors would be volunteers, but hey if they are passionate about it they wouldnt mind! But yeah you declare yourself a charity organization and ask maybe a lumber yard if they could sponsor you and what not for wood. And maybe ask someone with a lot of land if you could use it. But please be sure to give your sponsors attention remember this is a business, atLEAST send them a thank you card hahahahaah.

So, basically, it's the same as doing a pro haunt.....just easier to get donations?
How do you decide how much to give the charity since you have to save at least $5K for the next season? From what I've heard, haunts are lucky to break even the first year.

If the charity haunt really takes off and gets popular, can I just convert to a pro haunt between 2 seasons?

Thanks for answering all these questions.

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 01:54 PM
In theory...Yes you can switch to pro haunt once you get some experience under your belt but it would be pretty difficult because you would have to change your business listing and licenses and all that. Then you would have to start paying taxes and your employee's and it would all start getting crazy. So i would suggest starting out as one or the other, and sticking with it.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 02:00 PM
In theory...Yes you can switch to pro haunt once you get some experience under your belt but it would be pretty difficult because you would have to change your business listing and licenses and all that. Then you would have to start paying taxes and your employee's and it would all start getting crazy. So i would suggest starting out as one or the other, and sticking with it.

Okay. That does make sense.

Going back to my previous post, how do you decide how much money to give the group you are working for?

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 02:30 PM
Mmm i think that depends on the arrangement you have with each charity. Also i think depending on how much you give the selected charity(s) will determine who wants to sponsor you and who will sponsor you. Also when looking to get sponsored dont just limit yourself to hauntedhouse production companies. Like the Haunted Trails of Balboa park where i acted last year, they are sponsored by radio stations and carls jr. and all these other things. Like for example in exchange for getting sponsored by 93.3 they will give the whole radio station free tickets to go inside. And this will get them radioa commercials and broadcasts froom said haunt. Now i dont know if thats how they worked it out but thats something you could do.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 02:47 PM
Mmm i think that depends on the arrangement you have with each charity. Also i think depending on how much you give the selected charity(s) will determine who wants to sponsor you and who will sponsor you. Also when looking to get sponsored dont just limit yourself to hauntedhouse production companies. Like the Haunted Trails of Balboa park where i acted last year, they are sponsored by radio stations and carls jr. and all these other things. Like for example in exchange for getting sponsored by 93.3 they will give the whole radio station free tickets to go inside. And this will get them radioa commercials and broadcasts froom said haunt. Now i dont know if thats how they worked it out but thats something you could do.

Generally, Q104 (the local top 40 music station) will provide free commercials for non-profit events. I could get plenty of advertising from them. When you acquire a sponsor, is it just a verbal agreement, or do you need to get a contract (I.e.: Do you need to get a contract proving sponsorship between the person supplying all of your wall materials).

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 02:58 PM
I would form an contract. Just for safety reasons, i dont know how but you might end up getting screwed. Like they will say they will sponsor you and you will spend money you wouldnt have and then they would be like "What? We didnt say that" yeah its not a great feeling. But yes i would form a contract.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 03:18 PM
I would form an contract. Just for safety reasons, i dont know how but you might end up getting screwed. Like they will say they will sponsor you and you will spend money you wouldnt have and then they would be like "What? We didnt say that" yeah its not a great feeling. But yes i would form a contract.

Yet again, thanks for answering all these questions.
Just one last question, if I do go pro, can I run solely on volunteer scare actors? Or do all scare actors probably need to be paid?

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 03:46 PM
Once again it depends, if you make it known from the beginning that you are looking for VOLUNTEERS then no you dont have to. But if you dont pay your actors hold a BBQ at the end of the season or something, dont just have them scare for you then have em shove off because then they wont want to come back.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 03:57 PM
Once again it depends, if you make it known from the beginning that you are looking for VOLUNTEERS then no you dont have to. But if you dont pay your actors hold a BBQ at the end of the season or something, dont just have them scare for you then have em shove off because then they wont want to come back.

I was actually thinking something like that. I was actually thinking about having a meeting each January. Invite all make-up artists, scare actors, etc., that helped me last season or are going to help me in the upcoming season. I would have free food (something cheap like pizza) and drinks and lotsa' seats. After an hour or two of social time, the "meeting" would start. Everyone will get to talk about what they did and didn't like last season. They also get the opportunity to mention ideas for rooms and themes for the next season. You know, let everyone feel involved in the haunt.

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 04:46 PM
I actually really like that idea! One thing you can do is you can buy these haunt awards...like little statuets and you can award one to the best actor of the season. But yeah i would suggest doing that gathering thing like 3-4 weeks after the haunt closes for the season not so much as 2-3 months later. Hahaha

Jim Warfield
12-24-2008, 04:57 PM
The common advice has been to work and build up your haunt over a period of years, start small, work and build displays, walls, everything that you can do towards your final goal...I agree with this and have often advised people to do this...then I was realising ...I did do just this same thing but I knew that this business was going to be eventually all that I would have for an income..it HAD to succeed...did I want to try to go really big-time public/advertising, major-market with a house that would be SO Much better just a year or six months later?
Would I want to waste the efforts of advertising by having a lessor offering to a virginal audience who might not ever return because it was a lessor experience?
This first big time audience would also be made up of people serious enough about seeing the house to drive 100 or more miles to be here.
Would they invest this effort a second time if the first time was nil?
I didn't think so.
I also did not want to advertise- boast bigger and promise tons more than I could deliver.
I had the advantage that I knew this was going to be my only and perminent location.

tchaunt
12-24-2008, 07:04 PM
I actually really like that idea! One thing you can do is you can buy these haunt awards...like little statuets and you can award one to the best actor of the season. But yeah i would suggest doing that gathering thing like 3-4 weeks after the haunt closes for the season not so much as 2-3 months later. Hahaha

It would actually turn out to be a really fun event (in my opinion); especially with the awards.
I do see what you mean about the time. After a few months, people would probably mix events up and forget/accidentally change things in their heads.


The common advice has been to work and build up............I had the advantage that I knew this was going to be my only and perminent location.

Wow. That's definitely what I call dedication.
Just wondering (and you don't have to tell me if you don't want to), how long have you been involved in the haunt industry?

Dr. Giggles
12-24-2008, 07:39 PM
Is that question posed for me or Jim?

Jim Warfield
12-24-2008, 11:38 PM
Older haunters, our resumes read the same: "As a small kid I had a haunted house set up in my parent's basement."
Of course Timmy McVeigh did too, according to an article I have framed on the wall here from a Chicago newspaper.
Then came the costume contest competitions, then the JC haunted house, designing, building, cleaning up afterwards(although I sometimes got to do this all by myself)
Then buying my Ravens Grin Inn 21 years ago and working on it and in it almost every day and night since.
Don't get me wrong, I sure don't know everything about this business but I have successfully made a living doing what I do here and it remains heavilly influenced by my own concepts and vision, I actually try hard Not to copy others.
I have always felt this makes it unique enough to inspire more business from repeat customers.
See : hauntedravensgrin.com

theeverydayguy
12-25-2008, 10:46 AM
i started off small with only a little walkway to my front door when i was only ten and now imam 16 and have 5,000(uncles barn ) feet of area to let my mind wonder and come up with some great stuff and my 3RD year some kid broke his wrist so make it as safe as possible

tchaunt
12-25-2008, 12:07 PM
Is that question posed for me or Jim?
Actually, I was asking both of you. :)


Older haunters, our resumes read the same: "As a small kid I had a haunted house set up in my parent's basement."
Of course Timmy McVeigh did too, according to an article I have framed on the wall here from a Chicago newspaper.
Then came the costume contest competitions, then the JC haunted house, designing, building, cleaning up afterwards(although I sometimes got to do this all by myself)
Then buying my Ravens Grin Inn 21 years ago and working on it and in it almost every day and night since.
Don't get me wrong, I sure don't know everything about this business but I have successfully made a living doing what I do here and it remains heavilly influenced by my own concepts and vision, I actually try hard Not to copy others.
I have always felt this makes it unique enough to inspire more business from repeat customers.
See : hauntedravensgrin.com
Like I said, that is pure dedication.

I haven't been into haunting for too long, but in the 7 months I have been, all I see for room ideas/room templates are dot rooms and clown rooms. I realize they are effective, but they all seem the same. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard to make a room with the dot room's concept......but with a creative twist. I don't like how all haunts (that aren't very educated in how to haunt correctly) have a clown room, dot room, "black out" room, etc. I can count numerous rooms used in way too many low-quality haunts. To me, it is annoying. I personally feel like the people "copying" the room ideas are basically saying, "I'm in this for the money and don't care about satisfying the customers."


i started off small with only a little walkway to my front door when i was only ten and now imam 16 and have 5,000(uncles barn ) feet of area to let my mind wonder and come up with some great stuff and my 3RD year some kid broke his wrist so make it as safe as possible
Wow. I wish I could manage to find a 5000 sq. ft. building for next to free!

I look into a lot of safety articles about haunted houses. From day one, I will try to use only flame-retardant materials and try to invest in quality wall panels. I.e.: Not buy the cheap, black plastic used in many garage haunts to make walls. Even though I'll take all of the precautions, I'm sure something will happen that will be out of my control.

Jim Warfield
12-25-2008, 12:48 PM
I have never had a dot room here but I have had some different ideas on a dot room if I ever did have one but I haven't found a realistic dead Dalmation Dog as of yet.
But then I might have a dot room here, I guess. It's pretty different and it's not here all the time but when it is here people are very impressed.
It's the wine cellar below the basement. Sometimes we see balls of different colored light floating around down there.
PIctures have been taken of them with various types of cameras.
We see them first then take their pictures.
Maybe they are ghosts maybe it's a natural phenomina as of yet not quite fully understood?

tchaunt
12-25-2008, 12:57 PM
I have never had a dot room here but I have had some different ideas on a dot room if I ever did have one but I haven't found a realistic dead Dalmation Dog as of yet.
But then I might have a dot room here, I guess. It's pretty different and it's not here all the time but when it is here people are very impressed.
It's the wine cellar below the basement. Sometimes we see balls of different colored light floating around down there.
PIctures have been taken of them with various types of cameras.
We see them first then take their pictures.
Maybe they are ghosts maybe it's a natural phenomina as of yet not quite fully understood?

"Daddy, I see dot people." :)
It must be nice having a haunted house set up inside a truly haunted house.

________________
Here's a question to anyone who can answer it.

What is the best system to use to play background music in a room? For instance, in a child's nursery, I want to play the Jack-in-the-box song with distorted tones along with echo-ish/ghostly crying baby. What system would I need to use for good quality? Also, how do I set it up?

Jim Warfield
12-25-2008, 01:07 PM
Blasphemer that I am, I don't have any music playing here or any backround music, I tried it for a few years and it only distracted the customers and made them uneasy.
What I did back then I was using yard sale sound systems I played music continoiusly but stopped and started the music by interupting the signal to a speaker with a relay activated by motion switches .
The relays were off of furnace AC installations and have normally "Off" and normally "ON" places for the wires to hook to. These also needed a low-voltage transformer to activate the relay.

monsterwax
12-25-2008, 01:49 PM
You can pick up a copy of Philip Morris book, "How to operate a financially successful haunted house" for pretty cheap (around $12 used). See AddAll used (http://used.addall.com/SuperRare/submitRare.cgi?author=Philip+Morris&title=how+to+operate+a+&keyword=&isbn=&order=TITLE&ordering=ASC&dispCurr=USD&binding=Any+Binding&min=&max=&timeout=20&match=Y&store=Abebooks&store=AbebooksDE&store=AbebooksFR&store=AbebooksUK&store=Alibris&store=Amazon&store=AmazonCA&store=AmazonUK&store=AmazonDE&store=AmazonFR&store=Antiqbook&store=Biblio&store=Biblion&store=Bibliophile&store=Bibliopoly&store=Booksandcollectibles&store=Half&store=ILAB&store=LivreRareBook&store=Powells&store=Strandbooks&store=ZVAB)books. That has a lot of inexpensive but fun scenes you provide your haunt. These aren't "scare the hell out of them" type things, but eerie illusions and such. I suggest getting several different types of books and this is one older but classic ones. I used it for one of my first home haunts and found it to be quite useful.

Dr. Giggles
12-25-2008, 04:02 PM
Iv acted in haunted houses for six years and co owned one for about 2. But yeah scare acting is my passion, i dont really enjoy the managerial aspect of it...but i still find time to slip in to my Corpse skin from spookywoodsfx.com and scare the bajeesus out of people!

tchaunt
12-25-2008, 08:49 PM
Iv acted in haunted houses for six years and co owned one for about 2. But yeah scare acting is my passion, i dont really enjoy the managerial aspect of it...but i still find time to slip in to my Corpse skin from spookywoodsfx.com and scare the bajeesus out of people!

I love scare acting and planning things. Honestly, I got a sensation that feels almost like a high when I scare people. The feeling is incredibly addicting for me. If it can be planned, I've planned it. About the only thing I haven't planned was a murder. :D


Blasphemer that I am, I don't have any music playing here or any backround music, I tried it for a few years and it only distracted the customers and made them uneasy.
What I did back then I was using yard sale sound systems I played music continoiusly but stopped and started the music by interupting the signal to a speaker with a relay activated by motion switches .
The relays were off of furnace AC installations and have normally "Off" and normally "ON" places for the wires to hook to. These also needed a low-voltage transformer to activate the relay.

So basically, only use music when I want to build suspense? Or does that just apply to haunts mainly based on telling a story?


You can pick up a copy of Philip Morris book, "How to operate a financially successful haunted house" for pretty cheap (around $12 used). See AddAll used (http://used.addall.com/SuperRare/submitRare.cgi?author=Philip+Morris&title=how+to+operate+a+&keyword=&isbn=&order=TITLE&ordering=ASC&dispCurr=USD&binding=Any+Binding&min=&max=&timeout=20&match=Y&store=Abebooks&store=AbebooksDE&store=AbebooksFR&store=AbebooksUK&store=Alibris&store=Amazon&store=AmazonCA&store=AmazonUK&store=AmazonDE&store=AmazonFR&store=Antiqbook&store=Biblio&store=Biblion&store=Bibliophile&store=Bibliopoly&store=Booksandcollectibles&store=Half&store=ILAB&store=LivreRareBook&store=Powells&store=Strandbooks&store=ZVAB)books. That has a lot of inexpensive but fun scenes you provide your haunt. These aren't "scare the hell out of them" type things, but eerie illusions and such. I suggest getting several different types of books and this is one older but classic ones. I used it for one of my first home haunts and found it to be quite useful.

Well, I ordered Kelly's book on Christmas Eve (I am excited for it to arrive). I'll wait to buy any more books until I read the book and let all of the info soak in. And then I'll read it again. And Again. Then I'll start swearing by the book...........after I read it again. Or maybe I'll just start swearing by it now. ;)

Jim Warfield
12-25-2008, 10:35 PM
A few times I have scared people in a situation that seemed to multiply the thrill of it quite noticably.
At least it sure increased it for me! (How about that?)
Maybe there was an actual physical/electrical force at work?
Here's the set up: Big thick plexiglass window
the customer's curiosity makes them want to see what is behind it.
As they put their face and hand up against the plexi the lights go off, I step up from a hiding place putting my face opposite to theirs
When the light came back on maybe just 2 seconds later we were eye-ball to eye-ball and I honestly seemed to feel an electrical charge pass between us via the retinas through the plexiglass!!!!!!!!
WOW!!!

tchaunt
12-26-2008, 10:20 AM
A few times I have scared people in a situation that seemed to multiply the thrill of it quite noticably.
At least it sure increased it for me! (How about that?)
Maybe there was an actual physical/electrical force at work?
Here's the set up: Big thick plexiglass window the customer's curiosity makes them want to see what is behind it.
As they put their face and hand up against the plexi the lights go off, I step up from a hiding place putting my face opposite to theirs
When the light came back on maybe just 2 seconds later we were eye-ball to eye-ball and I honestly seemed to feel an electrical charge pass between us via the retinas through the plexiglass!!!!!!!!
WOW!!!

Dang! If I was the visitor, that would scare everything out of me! I would love to be able to do the scare though! Hearing all of these stories from everyone is getting me even more psyched about working at a haunt, if not owning a haunt, in the future.

monsterwax
12-27-2008, 01:35 PM
You will probably find it hard to get cast people to show up on a regular basis just because you gave them party at the front end or conclusion of the haunt. If you are open for many nights, they will start to flake out on you unless there is some money reason why they HAVE to go. Perhaps you can tell whatever the charity that they must provide X amount of people or their % drops, so that their peers are applying pressure to get the cast there.

I'm always amazed how many people volunteer early on and how few actually show up. Homework, chores, errands, flat tires, angry girl friends, sickness, laziness and a million other excuses all come up. The more nights you are open, the bigger the problem. Plan for this and always overstaff, especially as the season drags on.

Jim Warfield
12-27-2008, 03:49 PM
This season was the worst fore this.
Even though people carp about having not enough money, I had several normal seeming adults ask me to work here for those monetary reasons, then never even show up!??
$10.oo an hr. isn't enough?
Most of the work tasks here are not awfully demanding in my opinion but then I am the nut that did all this hard work and as I was doing it had people tell me I would be dropping dead from the work.
Nope.

tchaunt
12-27-2008, 06:32 PM
You will probably find it hard to get cast people to show up on a regular basis just because you gave them party at the front end or conclusion of the haunt. If you are open for many nights, they will start to flake out on you unless there is some money reason why they HAVE to go. Perhaps you can tell whatever the charity that they must provide X amount of people or their % drops, so that their peers are applying pressure to get the cast there.

I'm always amazed how many people volunteer early on and how few actually show up. Homework, chores, errands, flat tires, angry girl friends, sickness, laziness and a million other excuses all come up. The more nights you are open, the bigger the problem. Plan for this and always overstaff, especially as the season drags on.

I kinda' expected some people would do that. Even just talking to three of my friends, I got a good example. The first kid basically said, "I would like to help you with a haunt." But on the first day, he was giving me great room ideas, but these ideas would cost hundreds of dollars to build.
The second kid seemed excited at first, but later on, she lost that fuel. She was in it for an hour, and then dropped.
The third person, who I thought would be most valuable to add to my team, said she wanted to help, but she never helped me with anything. She jsut sat there talking about Doctor Who and Torchwood.
I figured these three friends were a perfect example of what to expect later on in life when I do get a haunt started.

If I do a charity haunt (I still haven't decided which way I want to go), I will require a minimum of people to fill in that night. For every two slots not filled, the charity's percent will drop by 5%. But at the same time, that could turn out bad. They could end up giving me people to work with who had no experience, just to keep their money. I'm not sure how I'd do that. It could be difficult training people in jsut an hour on how to scare and teaching them the rules of scaring (I.e.: No touching visitors; No aggressive actions toward customers, even if hit/kicked by customers; Never stay within arm distance of a person any more than 5 seconds, preferably shorter; etc.).


This season was the worst fore this.
Even though people carp about having not enough money, I had several normal seeming adults ask me to work here for those monetary reasons, then never even show up!??
$10.oo an hr. isn't enough?
Most of the work tasks here are not awfully demanding in my opinion but then I am the nut that did all this hard work and as I was doing it had people tell me I would be dropping dead from the work.
Nope.

Heck, I would work at any haunt for that. I love haunts (even though I've never been to one). Getting money along with getting to scare people would be a bonus. :)

Jim Warfield
12-27-2008, 10:49 PM
Room ideas will cost several hundreds of dollars to make happen, unless all you do is turn out the lights.
This could work if you leave it dark and are a comanding storyteller, and if you can see in the dark, and if you are nimble footed and can seem to be in three places at once and if you don't tire easily, getting clumbsy falling on people and then getting chitt beat out of you by a granny.
Heck, sounds like you would only really need one room!

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 07:44 AM
Room ideas will cost several hundreds of dollars to make happen, unless all you do is turn out the lights.
This could work if you leave it dark and are a comanding storyteller, and if you can see in the dark, and if you are nimble footed and can seem to be in three places at once and if you don't tire easily, getting clumbsy falling on people and then getting chitt beat out of you by a granny.
Heck, sounds like you would only really need one room!

I'll be lucky if I can do a home haunt this year. This kid was giving great ideas, but they would be far too expensive for the first few years. I saved his ideas, because they will be great to add when I have enough money. But here's one basic concept he was talking about, but the idea was never fully finished:
Build a structure that looks like a portion of roller-coaster tracks. Paint all walls, the floor, and ceiling pure black. There will be a section of black tracks (that will be virtually invisible in low-light conditions), and the regular tracks that from a 'Y' shape. The train (roller-coaster car) will 'fly off the rails' onto the black tracks. As the car approaches the wall, two fog machines go off. When the car triggers the motion sensor inside the hidden compartment, some explosion effect goes off. The car then gets pulled (by chain-lift) back to the hidden compartment at the start of the tracks.
The explosion is supposed to take place fairly close to the guests.

Honestly, a good actor/story teller could have an entire $12 haunted house set up in one room. It would be harder to please a lot of customers (low through-put) but it could really work out.

Jim Warfield
12-28-2008, 09:23 AM
Mud is pretty common, diamonds are much more rare.
250 people well entertained and impressed versus 600 people of which 25 were entertained and 575 forget that they were ever there.
"Yah! But I got their money!"
Will they be back next time?
Hollywood actors and other entertainers will be hailed and thought of as "An Overnight Success!", then read about the last 15 years they spent practising their craft. 15 years makes a long "night" by most people's life-expectantcys.
Very few jump right into anything and become or see a huge success.
When it comes to big successes most are built from a series of small ones, all put together over time.
As you struggle to figure things out it might be better to have smaller audiences to better mask those early novice attempts.
Most of us only really learn important things by "Doing", get "doing", it makes the successful future happen, someday.
When I began leading people through my house 21 years ago, I didn't have a clue......of course I sort of made this work in my favor.
HAHAHAHA!

Mike Goff
12-28-2008, 10:03 AM
To some degree, the quality of your show, and the amount of customers you can send through are inversely proprotional. To increase one, you must sacrifice the other. The better your show is, the more people will come and the more you will have to remove bottlenecks and long dramatic scenes. It can be a vicious cycle, and some haunters become a victim of thier own success. If you get a sudden increase in traffic, more than your show can handle, the whole machine can fall apart. When a show is pushed to it's limit, it doesn't take much to tumble the house of cards.
Imagine the buisiest night of your haunting career, you have so many people that your actors are exausted, and dropping like flies. Your scenes are cluttered with customers walking heal to toe. Your customers get aggitated for waiting in such a long line, only to get a second rate show, because the group in front of them triggered all the scares before they got there.
There are ways to combat this, raising your ticket price can slow down traffic to a managable rate. When you get to this point maintaining your show quality can get very tricky, and very expensive. You will push your creativity to it's limit.
For now, I would advise you to build the best show that you possibly can for the amount of traffic that you expect. Big crowds will come when you are ready for them.

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 12:37 PM
Mud is pretty common, diamonds are much more rare.
250 people well entertained and impressed versus 600 people of which 25 were entertained and 575 forget that they were ever there.
"Yah! But I got their money!"
Will they be back next time?
Hollywood actors and other entertainers will be hailed and thought of as "An Overnight Success!", then read about the last 15 years they spent practising their craft. 15 years makes a long "night" by most people's life-expectantcys.
Very few jump right into anything and become or see a huge success.
When it comes to big successes most are built from a series of small ones, all put together over time.
As you struggle to figure things out it might be better to have smaller audiences to better mask those early novice attempts.
Most of us only really learn important things by "Doing", get "doing", it makes the successful future happen, someday.
When I began leading people through my house 21 years ago, I didn't have a clue......of course I sort of made this work in my favor.
HAHAHAHA!

I assume the first example was in response to the one-room-haunt thing and me saying the through-put would be low. I do see what you mean. But honestly, if the show/story was good, people would tell people about your haunt, who would then go and tell more people about it. If it was truly like a treasure, then the lines could end up being pretty massive. Instead of being a ticket-for-entry style haunt, it would have to be more of a reserve-tickets kind of haunt.......if that makes any sense.

I realized (much to my dismay) that you have to start out with a severed head being your main prop with a few black-lights being the most expensive special effects. But before I even start that, I want to know what to expect when I do try to go "pro" (for charity or for money). That way, I won't by 5,000 sq. ft. of thin black material for walls. I'll start by maybe using it the first year and then the next, I'd start to buy/make wall panels out of treated plywood.


To some degree, the quality of your show, and the amount of customers you can send through are inversely proprotional. To increase one, you must sacrifice the other. The better your show is, the more people will come and the more you will have to remove bottlenecks and long dramatic scenes. It can be a vicious cycle, and some haunters become a victim of thier own success. If you get a sudden increase in traffic, more than your show can handle, the whole machine can fall apart. When a show is pushed to it's limit, it doesn't take much to tumble the house of cards.
Imagine the buisiest night of your haunting career, you have so many people that your actors are exausted, and dropping like flies. Your scenes are cluttered with customers walking heal to toe. Your customers get aggitated for waiting in such a long line, only to get a second rate show, because the group in front of them triggered all the scares before they got there.
There are ways to combat this, raising your ticket price can slow down traffic to a managable rate. When you get to this point maintaining your show quality can get very tricky, and very expensive. You will push your creativity to it's limit.
For now, I would advise you to build the best show that you possibly can for the amount of traffic that you expect. Big crowds will come when you are ready for them.

I do see what you're saying, and it makes sense. But for me, I don't have to worry about through-puts for a while. I don't even have a home haunt yet. I'm jsut trying to get my toes wet before I dive in to the whole haunt industry. (Refer to reply to Jim's message)

Mike Goff
12-28-2008, 01:33 PM
It is very refreshing to see a 13 year old appreciate the importance of knowing an industry, before venturing into a buisiness or hobby. This alone demonstrates that you will probably go very far, no matter what you do. It is also important to know your market, and know your customer.

Your market is the area that you will be operating. Some markets are quite tolerant of varied degreas of Halloween celebration, others are not. Some markets will not blink an eye at a $10-$20 ticket price, while others would be offended by anything over $5.

Pick an age group of customer and know them. I've seen haunts that attract 8 and 9 year olds, 40 year olds, and everything in between. What is cool to a 40 year old, probably won't be for an 18 year old. Know this and understand it. The 40 year old will probably tell you diffferent, but as long as you know, there is no harm done.

BTW I've seen some first and second year home haunts line them up around the block, don't sell yourself short. Be realistic about your goals, but NEVER impose limits on the possibilites. I think that the biggest and best attractions in the country are ran by people who know no limits to possibilities.

Jim Warfield
12-28-2008, 02:10 PM
Walls, floorspace, displays, but then what about showmanship?
A very difficult thing to accurately define or teach. Figuring out the things that people will be entertained by before even you know what those items are because you are going with the flow of stimulation emitted by the customers?
Sure it happens all the time, once you overcome any sort of mind-locking stage fright.
A performance is like an anthletic performance like throwing then catching a ball. If you are throwing but there is no one there to catch, then you will have more difficulty figuring this all out .
Responding to overwhelming positive responses can be as debillitating as a very negative responses.
We all have gotten such things in varying degrees.
As far a having to have a severed head as your first prop?
Steven King wrote something like terror is more that dark at the top of the stairs, rather than seeing something that we can then degrade and diminish once we see it and define it and explore it's weaknesses.
Have the severed head on a poster, mention it , become obsessed with showing to everyone like you are on a nutcase mission to do just that, get them all worked up, then the lights go out for 5 seconds screams are heard but the head is never shown....they will be looking for it for the next time they come back.
Keeping the mystery can keep them remembering it and returning.

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 05:11 PM
It is very refreshing to see a 13 year old appreciate the importance of knowing an industry, before venturing into a buisiness or hobby. This alone demonstrates that you will probably go very far, no matter what you do. It is also important to know your market, and know your customer.

Your market is the area that you will be operating. Some markets are quite tolerant of varied degreas of Halloween celebration, others are not. Some markets will not blink an eye at a $10-$20 ticket price, while others would be offended by anything over $5.

Pick an age group of customer and know them. I've seen haunts that attract 8 and 9 year olds, 40 year olds, and everything in between. What is cool to a 40 year old, probably won't be for an 18 year old. Know this and understand it. The 40 year old will probably tell you diffferent, but as long as you know, there is no harm done.

BTW I've seen some first and second year home haunts line them up around the block, don't sell yourself short. Be realistic about your goals, but NEVER impose limits on the possibilites. I think that the biggest and best attractions in the country are ran by people who know no limits to possibilities.

Thanks for the compliment. :)
Honestly, right now, I probably couldn't pull off even a small home haunt. I am still rampaging through sites and free e-books all across the internet. I have the basic knowledge it takes to be an okay-scare actor. I could easily make all the rules for the haunt. As far as building the haunt, I'm not ready yet. I don't want to dive in yet, because I really don't know all-that-much about the specifics of haunting. For instance, I don't know:
-What system is best for playing ambiance music.
-How to trigger props/lighting to come on.
-How to use a control board to do this, that, and the other.
-Where to get an affordable fog machine that doesn't overheat in 20 seconds (like the crappy one I got from Kroger's does)
-What to make wall panels out of.
Those are just a few of my questions. Hopefully, I will get Kelly's book tomorrow. I ordered it on Christmas Eve, so I figured Monday would be the earliest I'd get it. I pray that the book has some of those answers in it. If not, it's going to be a long 3-months of questions. :D

I'm not even 100% sure (probably about 85% right now) on how to set up rooms to maximize the opportunities for enhanced scares. I have never went to a haunt in my life. I didn't go to any when I was little because I got scared easily. I don't go to any local haunts now, because they should've been shut down a LONG time ago. They do all sorts of flat of stupid stuff around my area. There is one haunt where you crawl through a small tunnel that's maybe 3 feet wide and really short. I think you can already see what's wrong with this. The sad thing is, that's just one thing I've heard about local haunts that I would never do.


Walls, floorspace, displays, but then what about showmanship?
A very difficult thing to accurately define or teach. Figuring out the things that people will be entertained by before even you know what those items are because you are going with the flow of stimulation emitted by the customers?
Sure it happens all the time, once you overcome any sort of mind-locking stage fright.
A performance is like an anthletic performance like throwing then catching a ball. If you are throwing but there is no one there to catch, then you will have more difficulty figuring this all out .
Responding to overwhelming positive responses can be as debillitating as a very negative responses.
We all have gotten such things in varying degrees.
As far a having to have a severed head as your first prop?
Steven King wrote something like terror is more that dark at the top of the stairs, rather than seeing something that we can then degrade and diminish once we see it and define it and explore it's weaknesses.
Have the severed head on a poster, mention it , become obsessed with showing to everyone like you are on a nutcase mission to do just that, get them all worked up, then the lights go out for 5 seconds screams are heard but the head is never shown....they will be looking for it for the next time they come back.
Keeping the mystery can keep them remembering it and returning.

I just mentioned, for my first year, the most expensive prop I could afford would be a $12 severed head (probably from Big Lots). I just worded it weird when I said it first. To be honest, for my first year, I will probably just have a few of my friends scare act (after I teach them the rules, of course) in some scenes. I will also attempt to build a few illusion scares......I've been trying to figure out 'Spinal Tap' from the Headless Horseman Haunted Hayride's 'o6 season (the one where the theme was The Black Spider Shideshow--the one featured on Travel Channel's show Halloween's Most Extreme or something like that). I recorded the episode the second time I saw it. I then did frame-by-frame on my tv as I dug my nose into the screen trying to see how it was built. I have figured out most of it, I just can't figure out how to put mirrors in there (because the dude said something about mirrors).

I don't know if you remember our chat about the 'Dot Room' earlier this week, but I had a dream about a way to adapt it (yes.....I dream about haunted houses). Here's what I came up with:
Paint all the walls, the floor, and the ceiling white. Have the actors dress in black out suits. Have actors wear the blank, white masks. The lighting should be really low (just enough to notice the masks). When guests walk back, the actor should dart across the room.
Just a basic idea I came up with last night (I take credit for it even though I didn't directly make it [I dreamt it, so I did and didn't think of it]).

Greg Chrise
12-28-2008, 05:32 PM
After walls, coffins, showmanship comes who will come to the party and how will they know when and where?

Even at age 13 you can be a millionare, if you indeed find a sponsor of proper age. Obviously the problem is raising funds, getting people intrested and having it all come together years down the road. Even for those of age, there are many years that go by before anything comes together so you just have a head start. Perhaps even a few resources others don't have like unregulated person to person inviting to an event on school grounds. There must be a proper way to invite people and not get into trouble you may need to investigate like the bill board if they have one or following to surrounding areas where other kids hang out.

Keep you blog going no matter how mundane you might think it is, lots of people are very interested in your opinion and progress. Have a MySpace page for the haunt and perhaps use this to get each and every school kid on your friends list as well as anyone invoved in the haunts Myspace pages. When the time is right you can put out a bulletin that "It is on"

Make a schedual to spend only so many hours a week on these dysfunctional things and don't requote everything on the forums to respond to to save time for yourself and everyone else reading. Only school teachers do that kind of stuff.

To raise some funds, sign up for some affiliate programs for selling costumes or props for Halloween home decor and have that on your blog for people to possibly buy and you get a small percentage of the sale. I know of a 14 year old with a blog that got noticed as being enterprising by a news paper and a bunch of pro bloggers made his liks go everywhere to inform everyone about it. He got so many hits he made well over $2,000 in one weekend while his original goal was to make that in a year at $6 a day. Then he screwed up and quit having reached his goal.

Focus on doing things in a manner that don't take money like creating your displays from dumpster finds and what has been put out for trash combined with ingenuity and Used or dollar store paint. Walk into anywhere that sells paint and ask for the mistakes. Learn how to mix the colors together to come up with something scary looking.

Figure out where to store you stuff that you have made. Maybe it is a small club of people that must somehow raise $10 each to pay rent on a storage unit that costs $30 to $50 per month. Figure out how to haul serious quantities of crap around by bicycle and wagon. Take bicycle dumpster alley cruises wih everyone involved and make stuff out of nothing. Don't eat anything out of there. You'll have plenty of time later in life for that. (just kidding)

Become a bargain shopper. Many of the stores that sell Halloween stuff have rooms in the back that they keep hidden for the next year and if approached might sell things at 50% off just like the day after Halloween. Every day is Halloween.

Walking around and riding bicycles is how you find stuff everyone else whizzing by in cars never sees and never gets to ask about. For every member in your group is another area to find things some might consider junk but, are in fact the raw materials you need.

Not being of legal age, think the other way around. You are going to have a Halloween gathering that happens to include a small haunted house and lots of decorations. Lots of older folk don't know what a haunted house is or why you would want to act out psychotic behavior like that. It has fun mid way type games for $1 and general hanging out. All a place people can come that is anti drug, anti alchohol and anti meet all the neighborhood preditors hoping the candy isn't poisoned.

Join forces with other unofficial clubs of your age group. It might be 5 guys that screw around with bicycles or 10 people that all get together and listen to music. Each of them has their own little network and resources to bring to the party. Everyone must know be personally invited to help or attend and be updated electronically. Secret text messages?

Thinking a little big, it might be an event in an open field type city park that is in and out in 3 hours. With proper permission of course but, very low fees to reserve an awning covered picnic area. Think like Teenaged Mutant Ninja Gypsy haunters. Everything gets set up in hours, there is a gathering with things to experience and then everything disappears. Not really walls and 2400 SF, more like a bicycle rodeo and props on shoping carts.

Perhaps other events can be used to draw people like the spectical of soap box derby coffin races? Then VIP's are determined as they actually have $2 in their pocket and this lets them get a map to the secret haunted house the authorities don't know about. They get to study the map, they don't get to keep it, so it doesn't fall into the hands of the enemy or the authorities. A bicycle limosine might take them there.

Maybe it is all based off of a bicycle event, a competition to decorate your bike for Halloween, a judged event. Everyone entering for a trophy must put up and entry fee.

Raise funds by having a car wash expecting a $5 donation per car. You might be able to buy a fall guy who is over 18 for $100. Until then the game is to spend the next 5 years gathering as many potential customers that also will magically get jobs and have money by the time you go legit and build as much crap as possible. Every year all fresh new decor that the combined 5 years of built props and collected costumes WILL outfit a 2400 SF haunt.

There you go with some ideas. Try not to get busted where you are forced to do with out a telephone or internet connection until you are 21 or have your parents fined somehow.

I will disavow any knowledge of you or your Mission Impossible team. This forum post will self destruct in 5 minutes.

Dr. Giggles
12-28-2008, 05:45 PM
I have something to say i noticed you said you almost had the knowledge to be an OK scare actor. Why do your limmit yourself? This is what i want to know, this is what limit possible greats to be mediocre actors. I have been acting in haunted houses for about 8 years but i had 6+ years of drama under my belt before that so getting into a chracter and showing the patrons what really makes me gnash my teeth almost came as second nature to me but no knowledge anyone can tell you or you will read will prepare you for what will happen or will teach you what to do when you don your first costume, make your first grown man cry and so on. I know im kind of rambling but yes experience you will learn how to scare people with a look, a stance, a well placed garbled growl, you will learn how to get under their skin make them WANT to physically be somewhere else. You will get punched and you will keep going and possible bleed on the fellow that punched you for a scare. This is the life of the haunted actor and i love it, all of it, so when you say you know enoiugh to be an OK scare actor it gets to me because judging by what iv read and all this you seem really passionate about it and thats all you need. I know once again im rambling so yeah
*Steps down from soap box*
Haha

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 06:29 PM
@ Greg:
Uh........just wondering, what would get me busted so bad that I couldn't the internet? I'll ask you that way I don't have to figure out. ;)

Also, about the quote thing, I just usually do that to help people know who I'm replying to (in case multiple people have posted since I was last on).

I will do my best to keep my blog going. For me, nothing is more annoying than any website where the last update was made four years ago. In my opinion, a website like that should be took off the web. Sadly, I will have to stick to anything beside Myspace (my mom is the in-school suspension [AKA A-room] teacher so she hears the worst of the worst cases on myspace. Basically, my mom doesn't hear the good things about Myspace, so she has banned me from it). I'm just wondering, do you think it would work if I made my own social networking website just for my haunt?

Could you mention a few of those affiliate programs? I haven't heard of that type of program before (just for costumes) and I would be more than happy to try it out.

I live in a small city (Campbellsville, KY), so we don't have many building projects that go on. I'd be lucky to find a opossum hide in the garbage. Actually, on second thought, that would make a pretty realistic prop! :)

I do have one thing to my advantage.......my parents own a 2 1/2 car garage.........and they never use the 2nd car or the 1/2 car (I guess that would be a motorbike or something). That translates into, I have plenty of space until it's time for college.

I did manage to get a $125 fog machine for $25 one time. Sadly, it overheats pretty quick. It can output fog for 2 minutes for every 5 minutes of downtime. I works for parties, but probably won't be too good for a haunt.

It would be nice to have a party like that, but most kids my age are going through the 'My $#!t is better than you, so I'll rub it in your face' stage where they think they are even better everyone. I don't think they would be able to handle a party very well. I'd probably have to do something like, form a secret society that meets in my garage once a month or something. I would watch people closely to see if they could handle working with a haunt. If they aren't arrogant, rude, and trouble makers who seem to love scaring people, I'd probably invite them to sit in on a meeting. If they seem interested, I could invite them to join the club. Then, after I get quite a few members, we may start promoting ourselves.

What in the world is 2400 SF?

To build local buzz about our haunt, maybe we could write an article for the newspaper that can also be posted on our blog like the following:
'Nearly everyone in our small, rural town celebrates Halloween. It provides a time where we can express our dark side without being scolded by our parents. But our town lacks something that many towns have...a haunted house. Within the next year, we are planning to open a haunted house. Due to the costs, the haunt will start small and work its way up to being the thing everyone knows Campbellsville for. But we need your help to get started. Let us work our way into your minds. Let us corrupt the last drop of hope left in your dark, twisted mind. Let us scare you into believing that death may be more enjoyable than the mockery of life. Let us rip the nightmares from your restless nights and inflict the horror upon the world. Design a room based on your fears. Clowns, spiders, not being in control...anything will work. We ask that with your entry, you provide a small donation of $5. Though it is not required, your donation could help build the winning room. Your room. The most creative and original room will receive a free ticket to the haunt. But it won't be an ordinary ticket, it will be a VIP Party pass! That's right, you and two of your friends will get to be the FIRST people to go through the fresh, new haunt. If we manage to get over $150 in donations, the winning room may even be featured in the haunt. So enter your design today for your chances to win!'
I could provide a website where they could upload the picture/text document. Do you think that would help promote the haunt?

And just wondering, do you think that selling crap on ebay (like q-tips and air guitars) will help raise money? Or have they banned that by now?

Thanks for all the ideas!

@Everyone:
I just realized that this thread is longer than all the other threads I've seen in this forum. So I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me so far! I hope this thread will continue to grow.

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 07:01 PM
@Dr. Giggles:
I say I have what it takes to be an ok scare actor because I haven't got to act yet. I'll go into my first night with the mindset of being a perfect actor and when I come out of it, I can then say whether I am a good/amazing actor. I will critique myself and improve. From what I've read from a few articles, the best way to learn how to scare is to just do it. So I don't want to sound arrogant and start ranting about my skills that I don't even know if I have yet.
(Wow. I was replying to the first or second sentence when I typed the above. I didn't even read the whole thing and it sounded like you were backing up my opinion! :) )

Also, I would like to say thanks for handling that like an adult. I have been a member of some forums/communities where, if someone has a different opinion than you, they will start cussing you out and acting like a stupid little middle-school student. And yes, I do realize I'm in middle school, but I am probably the most mature kid in my school. Honestly, I hate how so many people think that they are better than you and that they can stomp around.
When I start my haunt, I'm sure the preps who have mocked me for so long will come as long as they don't know who owns the haunt. But as soon as I see them, I'll go into overdrive. If I have to, I'll cut myself to scare the crap out of them. If I'm lucky, they'll be the first customers and get me in the mood! :D

The funny thing is, a year ago, I told one of my friends about wanting to start a haunt. He then told one of his friends (who is a snobby prep) about it. The prep was saying harsh comments like, 'My god! He's stupid! He couldn't do that if he wanted to!'. When that one kid walks through, I'll sneak up behind him and quietly hiss 'I did it. Now I'm no longer your victim of bitter attack. You're in my house, and I'm going to make it your Hell!' I'm getting that high feeling right now just thinking about it!
And I just realized that one thing reminded me of something else, which reminded me of something else. So I kinda' ranted on and on. :)

@Everyone:
Thank you everyone for helping me achieve my dream!! I wish there was something I could do for all members of Haunt World for being so nice to me and helping me!

Greg Chrise
12-28-2008, 07:25 PM
Just do a google search on "Halloween Affiliate Programs"

SF stands for Square Feet, Square Foot or San Fransisco.

I'm not sure what gets people caught and busted these days? Having 20 computers in your closet all emailing people about your Halloween intentions? Each one asking for $1 contribution adding up to a gazzilion hits per second?
Or selling things that don't exist or that you don't own on Ebay?

The 1/2 garage would be for either a golf cart or a riding lawn mower. It sounds upscale to me.

There are freind like functions for your existing blog like MyBlogLog or Linked in, Grouply etc. You will have to look at blogs like yours to see what is being used normally. Myspace would be similar only a more widely used service. Generally kids your age aren't into making money on line social widgets so you would have to cultivate each one personally like a guest book or an email invite.

This would be better actually as it doesn't expose everyone to all the strange adults on Myspace.

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 08:02 PM
@Greg:
Thanks for the tip!

Wow. I can't believe I didn't catch the SF thing. It goes to show what staying up till 3 o' clock and waking up at 8 each day will do to your mind.

So basically, be realistic and don't hack and I'll be fine.

It's actually not. Like the rest of my house, it was poorly planned. There are two full-sized spots set side by side. The 1/2 spot is put in the back, between the two full-sized spots and the work-bench. To get anything in/out of it, you have to pull the van out and twist around....or use the stairs. Yes, I said stairs. The quickest way to get to the 1/2 spot (which we use for our trailer) is to use a set of poorly laid concrete stairs. Obviously, stairs aren't the best way for moving trailers or anything else. The guy that built the house built it for his son and slopped it together.

I can have one up and running in a few minutes. It will have almost all the features of MySpace combined with a wiki (a website based on user contributions--I.e.:Wikipedia, WikiSource, etc.). I think it could actually work. It may even help increase buzz about the event. I'll post when I get it made (and some stuff added).

tchaunt
12-28-2008, 08:42 PM
Hey guys! If you want to check it out, I've made a social networking website for the haunt (or soon to be haunt). So come by and check it out! (http://tchaunt.wetpaint.com)

robos99
12-29-2008, 12:54 PM
I don't know:
-What system is best for playing ambiance music.
-How to trigger props/lighting to come on.
-How to use a control board to do this, that, and the other.
-Where to get an affordable fog machine that doesn't overheat in 20 seconds (like the crappy one I got from Kroger's does)
-What to make wall panels out of.

First off, Kelly's book isn't going to really tell you how to build your haunt, so much as it is going to tell you how to manage your haunt. Still though, it's a great book and comes highly recommended by just about everyone here.

I don't know if it's been mentioned yet but the JB Corn books helped me quite a bit with figuring out some construction stuff and wall panels and the like. Do a search and you should be able to find the link somewhere. It's free...I just don't remember where it is. Or just PM me and I'll email it to ya (though I'd rather you looked here for it first).

The problem with your fogger is not with the fogger itself, just the design. Cheap foggers have a duty cycle. They can only be on for a certain amount of time before they need to heat back up. This is not overheating, it's supposed to do this....as much of a pain it might be. Look for higher end foggers that say that can run continuously. But these are more expensive. My personal favorite is the Jem ZR24/7 Hazer/fogger. It's really just a fogger with a fan, but I absolutely love it. Pretty pricey though. If a $12 severed head is the top of your budget, I doubt you'd want the $800 hazer (don't forget the juice to go with it at $25 a gallon). Better to get a couple really cheap foggers (they can be had for $30), and use them wisely. Maybe have a fan to spread the fog out. In a small enclosed space, you wouldn't really need the firepower that some of the higher end foggers have.

All your other questions can easily be answered here, you just need to ask. I'm sure you've figured out by now that you're dealing with some of the best and brightest in the industry around here. If you have any questions pertaining to sound, feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post, but really you might as well post it and get everyone's opinions, and also help answer questions for the lurkers who may be wondering the exact same thing.

tchaunt
12-29-2008, 05:51 PM
@robos:
Yeah. I sorta' figured that out today. But so far, it does look like it will be useful.

Someone sent me a private message with the links. Sadly, the books are 110 mb in size. I have dial-up, so that would take 11 hours and 37 minutes to download. Netzero is a worthless piece of trash and automatically disconnects if you don't click something within ten minutes. Pretty much, I can't get them.

Right now, I'm really pi$$ed off. I did an "inventory" of all of my equipment to see what would and wouldn't work. I missed Halloween this year because of f'n marching band, so I didn't pull any of that stuff out. It turns out, the large angel of death prop I made (nearly 14') two years ago somehow got wet and is mildewed. The fog machine I did have is broke and won't work. I think a spider has got down into the input tube and clogged it up. So far, I only have a strobe light (that doesn't have any films), a zen mister-fogger thing ($20 dollars. I think it was actually called 'Liquid Incense' or something), a $10 porcelain skull from Michael's, and a.......uh........kind of a black-out mask. That's about it.
I probably won't actually have a severed head my first season. Most of what I have will be illusions and scare actors with a few scenes.

When I first saw this board, I was like 'HOLY $#!T! I've actually heard about these people before!' I realized on the first day that this forum had the best of the best of the best. I attempted three times to join. I got rejected the first time because I used gmail. The second time, I used ymail (secondary version of yahoo). The third time, I finally got accepted. After I finish eating supper, I'll ask a boat loaad of qestions.

robos99
12-29-2008, 08:29 PM
Yeah those books are quite a large file, but well worth it in my opinion.

Don't let your lack of equipment get you down. My first haunt was done with just a few latex masks, some ancient audio equipment that I pieced together, and strobe lights. Of course, it wasn't a very good haunt......haha. But point is, you buy what you can, and make the rest. Being so young you've probably got more time than you do cash...hopefully your parents let you use the power tools. haha.

tchaunt
12-29-2008, 09:59 PM
@robos:
I do realize a haunt can be done with just about anything. And even with what I've got, I could provide much better scares than a lot of the haunts around the Taylor County area. Most places here start up, go for one season, get closed. Most of it is the mind set of 'Haunts are cheap and easy to run and they'll get me more money to buy tobacco with!' They really don't care. That's why I'm trying to learn so much before I get started. I don't want to be a haunt in Taylor County. I want to be the haunt in Taylor County.

I have anything but time.....sadly. I made the mistake of joining marching band. I got stuck with having to do quite a few other things with the High School band. Now, I've got pep band on a lot of Fridays, Jazz band every Tuesday, Photography class each Wednesday, and a few more random things that pop up. That's what I call my break. During the marching season, we have sectionals on Monday, full band practice on Tuesdays, visual rehearsal on Wednesdays, full band practice on Thursday, full band practice and a half-time performance on Friday, and a full band practice along with a contest on Saturday that we usually get home from at 2 o' clock......on Sunday morning. I missed Halloween this year because of marching band. I didn't even decorate! Check out my blog (http://tchaunt.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/the-ramblings-of-a-lunatic/) post for more details. And more info about how confused I am right now.
I do get to use power tools though. *Laughs maniacally*

screamline studios
12-29-2008, 11:48 PM
Hey tchaunt,

There are way to many things that would take forever to talk about in a post if you would like give me a call, I have no problem giving anyone a helping hand (440)205-0111 Home or (440)392-2666 Shop

Jason Blaszczak

http://screamlinestudios.com

tchaunt
12-30-2008, 02:45 PM
Hey tchaunt,

There are way to many things that would take forever to talk about in a post if you would like give me a call, I have no problem giving anyone a helping hand (440)205-0111 Home or (440)392-2666 Shop

Jason Blaszczak

http://screamlinestudios.com

I would love to call you, but as weird as this sounds, I hate phones. Mainly, I hate my normal voice. People say I don't, but I think I have a speech impairment to a certain extent that makes me sound........awful.......on the phone. THe phone only emphasizes the hick-accent-thing.

screamline studios
12-30-2008, 05:54 PM
What the hell do i care how you sound on the phone?? I just care about this indusrty and people like you in it.

Jason Blaszczak

tchaunt
12-30-2008, 06:20 PM
What the hell do i care how you sound on the phone?? I just care about this indusrty and people like you in it.

Jason Blaszczak

:) I think that's a compliment.
It's just something I try to avoid. I don't mind talking to people, I just hate my accent (I consider it a speech impairment). XD
Oh well. I may call you sometime over the weekend...when my phone service offers free long distance. I'm not going to make a promise though. I will try to call you eventually though.

tchaunt
12-30-2008, 07:10 PM
Yet again, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been helping me get started. I have already learned so much from you all.

I just finished Kelly's book 'So You Want to be a Haunt Entrepreneur'. I learned even more from that book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is serious about getting started in the haunt industry. This book is a steal for just $19.99 (w/o shipping)!

Plus, I've created a new website. Here's the link (http://tchaunt.wetpaint.com).

tchaunt
01-01-2009, 12:07 PM
Hey guys! I've been looking into getting a haunt and I found what looks to be a great website/company. You can get a 3,200 sq. ft. haunt built for you including all of the special effects, costumes, etc. for just $85,000. The company that builds the complete haunt is called Halloween Productions Inc. I was wondering if anyone on here has done any work with them. I figured that the best way for me to get started would be using this offer to learn. My partner and I have already started a few fundraisers. We already have a few basic budget plans. If you want to see them, they are somewhere in my newest post on my blog (link in signature).
Please tell me what you think of this company. With me being a new haunter, I don't want to get suckered into losing hard-earned money.

robos99
01-03-2009, 11:25 AM
So you're saying you can come up with 85k? Shit, introduce me to your friend, I could use some cash. Haha. Seriously though, unless you happen to have this money already, or know of a family member or close friend willing to invest, the odds are very very slim that you'll get that kind of cash simply through fundraisers and seeking sponsors. For a first year haunter with no experience you can pretty much count out major sponsors.

To give you some comparison as to what sponsors will really bring in, the 4th of july event my city produces which attracts 250,000 people over 4 days and has major name entertainment booked, sells the grand sponsorship with naming rights for only 75k. So to come up with 85k in sponsorships, you'd need to sell a lot of little sponsorships. You keep mentioning you're from a small town...are there even enough businesses in your town to support this?

Second, 85k is just the price of constructing the haunt. You still need the land, insurance, utilities, any permits necessary, advertising (and you'd be shooting yourself in the foot to spend 85k on a haunt and skimp on advertising), contingency funds...the list goes on. Work on that business plan, specifically the income/expense statements, and you'll see just how much all this adds up.

I'm not going to tell you you can't do it, because I don't know you. But I think the odds of someone your age coming up with over 85k from fundraising only and then running a successfull haunt are slim. I read your blog, I've seen some of your plans for fundraising. Think about how many cars you need to wash to make 85k. And remember, you can't claim that all these fundraisers are for charity unless your haunt is a 501(c)(3). You might be able to connect with a local charity, but you need to make that clear.

Really, the home haunt, or working with someone else to run an existing haunt, is probably the more realistic way to go. You're not even 18, you can't sign a contract. Unless you come up with the money in cash this haunt builder might not even want to work with you, since you can't be held to a contract. Of course, if you have some rich friends/family....go for it.

tchaunt
01-03-2009, 02:44 PM
So you're saying you can come up with 85k? Shit, introduce me to your friend, I could use some cash. Haha. Seriously though, unless you happen to have this money already, or know of a family member or close friend willing to invest, the odds are very very slim that you'll get that kind of cash simply through fundraisers and seeking sponsors. For a first year haunter with no experience you can pretty much count out major sponsors.

To give you some comparison as to what sponsors will really bring in, the 4th of july event my city produces which attracts 250,000 people over 4 days and has major name entertainment booked, sells the grand sponsorship with naming rights for only 75k. So to come up with 85k in sponsorships, you'd need to sell a lot of little sponsorships. You keep mentioning you're from a small town...are there even enough businesses in your town to support this?

Second, 85k is just the price of constructing the haunt. You still need the land, insurance, utilities, any permits necessary, advertising (and you'd be shooting yourself in the foot to spend 85k on a haunt and skimp on advertising), contingency funds...the list goes on. Work on that business plan, specifically the income/expense statements, and you'll see just how much all this adds up.

I'm not going to tell you you can't do it, because I don't know you. But I think the odds of someone your age coming up with over 85k from fundraising only and then running a successfull haunt are slim. I read your blog, I've seen some of your plans for fundraising. Think about how many cars you need to wash to make 85k. And remember, you can't claim that all these fundraisers are for charity unless your haunt is a 501(c)(3). You might be able to connect with a local charity, but you need to make that clear.

Really, the home haunt, or working with someone else to run an existing haunt, is probably the more realistic way to go. You're not even 18, you can't sign a contract. Unless you come up with the money in cash this haunt builder might not even want to work with you, since you can't be held to a contract. Of course, if you have some rich friends/family....go for it.

Believe me, I know this won't be very likely for my first year as a home haunt. But I think it would be a good goal for when I do start getting my name built up. I know that I'll have to pay heating/cooling bills, electric bills, purchase property, etc. for the haunt. But this is definitely my goal. It may not be easy to reach, but whats the point of a goal that you don't have to work for?
On the fundraiser note: I don't think I claimed that they are for a charity did I? If I did, I didn't mean to.

I have done a lot of thinking about how I can get sponsors without being 18. Honestly, I figured I couldn't get the usual type of sponsors that people think of. I consider a sponsor to be anyone who helps you financially. Even someone who donates $30 will be considered a sponsor to me. I don't want to make people feel like they have to donate $20,000. I would rather have 20 people donate $2 than 1 person donate $40.
I'm not planning on getting all of the money within a few weeks. I'm just going to work for it. If I have to, I'll fund-raise for five years just to get enough money to start a quality haunt.

MidnightEvil
01-06-2009, 04:48 AM
You need to get Tim Harkleroad's (KroneDaddy) new book
"Make Your House Everything You've Ever Haunted"

If you want to start your first haunted attraction you need this book.
This is a No nonsense, to the point, tell it like it is, kind of book.
If you want to go pro, this is a must have Book for your collection,

Here is the link --- http://www.kronehouse.net/booksales.html

tchaunt
01-06-2009, 06:06 AM
@Midnight:
I already have Kelly's book. It gives a lot of information on the financial side of the business. What does the content of Tim's book talk about? If it's also financial stuff, I probably won't get it. But if it is like actually planning the floor-plan of a haunt, setting up a theme, etc., then I'll get it.

JamBam
01-06-2009, 08:45 AM
This thread is opening your eyes hopefully. There are many things you can do in the next several years. Research, business plan, build.

The internet is great. A young man like yourself can get tons of exposure and advice like this thread and site. Research also means going to the Haunts in your area. Any within an hour or two, which would include Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville and all in between. Contact the owners before going and introduce yourself. They probably will give you tickets, advice, and access to their haunts. I know I would, and so would many of the others on this site. Pay for the rest. Experience as many as you can.

Other research would be into the area you live in. I did a few minutes of research about your little town and found a couple of things that would be of interest. Your town on wiki was described as follows:
The city was founded in 1817 and laid out by Andrew Campbell ... owned a gristmill, tavern, and began selling lots in Campbellsville in 1814. It became a county seat when Taylor County was separated from Green County in 1848, and the city agreed to sell the public square to the county for one dollar, so a courthouse could be built there. The first courthouse was burned by Confederates in 1864, with the replacement built on the same site. ...portion of the old courthouse still stands near the current (3rd) courthouse....Campbellsville became a regional center of industry in the 20th century....large Fruit of the Loom plant closed in 1998... remains home to an Amazon.com regional fulfillment center.

From that you could come up with a great story to base your haunt. Use what is there, check your local library, use creative bits to enhance what are gray areas.

That old mill could be a source of part of your storyline..... Talk to oldtimers (70's 80's and older) they will help. Maybe that old mill could be used in a bunch of years if you haven't moved to a bigger market.

Create a business plan and revisit it every few months to update it. This can be simple to start and include a budget of expenses and income estimates.

Stop limiting yourself to your parents garage. There is a picture of your town on wiki that I am attaching. There are many buildings in your town as most of America, that the owners do not use, been into, or have any plans to use, the second floor. That is where our haunt is as we do not have a sprinkler rule, just smoke alarms wired together. There was a new metal landing and stairway we had to add to get a second exit. We leave the haunt up all year long and originally just worked the couple of months prior to opening, but now we are up there year round. We pay a moderate rent that started with ten percent of the gate and is now a flat reasonable fee. Obviously if you don't open for three to five years, the option you want to try for is a set amount per year if free isn't avail. Your key points to the owner is that they are not using it anyway, but future rental by you is probable. Get an agreement in writing. The key here is that there are options there. Look for two exits, one at each end. Biggest initial investment will be a new electrical panel and circuits as you do NOT want to rely on the old existing wiring and the landlord may allow you to tap into his since it won't cost much. We do not heat or air condition this space. Fans are used occasionally.

You have a college in town, there will be customers, volunteers, and actors even if it is Baptist and conservative. 2,600 students will be a start for many things.

Paying $ 85,000 to HPI would be a solution, but build it yourself. Larry will understand. lol.

Your county has 23,731 residents. The counties directly surrounding yours, Green, Adair, Casey, Marion, Nelson, and Larue also have 11,641 + 17,650 + 16,326 + 18979, + 42,102 + 13,791 respectively adding up to 144,220 people within approx 20-35 miles from you. When you saturate your market and want to move to the bigger cities, you will be ready. http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/CO-EST2007-01.html is a great source.

Building will be easier than you think. You can make many props with help from this site as well as Mark Butlers Monster list. (google it) There are many items that you can grab from rummage sales, cuty wide clean ups, and friends that think of you when they have stuff, all of which will be very inexpensive. You will amaze yourself with your talents and remember it is dark when it is viewed, so it doesn't have to be new or perfect.

Continue to develop your web stuff. Show your mother the myspace sites of many of the people on this site. Make a deal with her to only use it for the haunt and with her if need be. Give her the password and show it to her often, or ask her to sit with you and work it. Would be good quality time with her as well.

Good luck and remember to be patient,

Greg Chrise
01-06-2009, 11:42 AM
A haunted underwear factory? The ghost of inspector 12 is still there. People have seen a skeleton roaming the grounds with her distinctive bee hive hair doo and reading glasses on a chain around her neck. She could be inspecting YOUR underwear! Beware.

tchaunt
01-06-2009, 03:42 PM
@JamBam:
Thank you so much for that post. It was very good for me.
I didn't even know my town was on Wiki! I'm very glad you posted that little bit! I've already started getting a story formed in my head...and I'm not even trying to yet!
About the business plan, what would be the benefits of having one? I can think of a few like it will help me stay in a budget; with me being 13, I will appear serious about what I'm doing; I will have goals to achieve. Are there any other benefits? Also, are there any parts I should leave out do to me, by law, not being an adult?
Yet again, thanks for the post. It was very useful.
BTW, the picture you attached is under 20 ft. away from my soon-to-be treasure trove. A new courthouse is being built just a few feet behind where the photographer was. People in my town aren't very conservative; they will throw anything away. I was thinking the dumps from the site could be very useful to me for getting a few supplies.


@Greg Chrise:
O_o Um.......okay. That could be just a wee bit awkward. The ghost that plays with underwear. Can you imagine how many people would pay to have invisible hands stuck down their boxers? On second thought.............*shivers*

Greg Chrise
01-06-2009, 05:54 PM
On these forums, so many have put out what is to be their business plan and it looks more like a things to do list or a shopping list than describe how you are going to make money, how many would you expect to come and so on.

The fundamentals are easy. Find junk. Fashion it into something. Charge people to see it. Store the junk. Repeat.

Once you get to the money part, collecting it, you can buy a few new items such as walls, lights, electric runs and masks or pay for a storage unit. Then you are out of money and continue to find more junk.

Supposedly a business plan will impress friends and neighbors and bankers. None of which will give you free money. What you offer as a show is kind of relative to what kind of junk you can find. With a little work this could be a boiler scene or this could be a jail cell window or this here could be an evil kid on a tricycle and so on. Sometimes you have to return junk as unusable for anything to the junk gods and say a prayer.

Eventually with out any more than knowing the tools the moves and the rules, no business plan, then you have so much junk that it is an impressive amount of work. Possibly even an asset or a resource I should hang onto, my pile of junk has been described as.

The business plan comes into play when you have money being invested by others as a guide for what practices will insure the return of their investment. It happens AFTER you have someone wanting to invest in you, for better or worse to make you go big time. It is not a tool to go solicit money. Just proving you have really thought this out means nothing.

In fact focusing on a business plan may prove to you that as far as you can reasonably guess it will all be for no real good what so ever and may be less than a minimum wage job. In reality it could be much much more than that and the only way to know it to do it. Then the business plan shows here is how things went over the last 5 years and this is the model of how it does work right here right now. If we got some money it would help is this exact way. It might help you out or even be an exercise that could be used as some school report at some point and give you good grades for showing your brain works and you have some ambition.

Even though you may live another 90 years, time and how you spend it is still very important. Do you later in life want to be known as resourceful, creative, clever and able to entertain which hauls in the cash because he has the skills or do you want to be known as some dweeb that spends all his time writting business plans?

It is just my personal opinion that keeping everything neatly in boxes qualifies you for a minimum wage or low paying salary that makes sure everyone is following the rules. It is counter productive to loking at something and not only envisioning what it could be but successfully making it into something near that vision. Putting things all into the right box takes away valuable time and we do need people with those skills but, making money is not what they do, those people cost money and charge fees to keep the T's crossed and the I's dotted.

Entertainment is setting your unicycle on fire and getting a hat filled with $20 in one dollar bills from total strangers. (*see disclaimer at bottom of this post*) The total plan there is make sure your pants are really soaked wet with water. If your wrote that down, you would realize I don't want my unicycle to get melted because it cost $125 and I don't like that wet pants feeling and it might be cold and windy. The result? you never made $20 and you have to go sharpen your pencil. How does that help the world? What would you write down? Get the fire marshal to inspect my pants? Make a video for Whacked out Sports? Or enter the $100,000 funniest home video competition? You could write it down but, somehow that might cost $20 to buy a video cartridge and mail it in, so you better wet your pants.

If you are only going to make $20 are you going to buy a $1200 insurance policy and write down all the contact info? Do you know what the fines could be if the police show up to stop your unlicensed public display of fire? How fast can you run carrying a unicycle with wet pants on?

The real love in haunting is the sketching, planning the scares and seeing what works, learning what works and what doesn't. All indicated by recieving $20 in admiration or not. Several years in a row. An increase in customers means they like it. A decrease in attendance means it sucks and you have to come up with something better. Even if you are always trying to make it better it may have to be WAY better. What do people not like? Was that in the business plan? Or did they really like what everyone thought was not very well done? You have to do it to know.

In fact, People love to see creativity, they love mispelled hand painted signs. It is funny and enjoyable. A business plan kind of logically would state you are getting signs from some pro graphics shop for $500 you don't yet have. If someone loaned you $500 you couldn't pay them pack because the sign is not entertaining and you will find it even harder to make $20.

People that are starting out with $100,000 that they don't want to lose and those developing a skill with no money start out with a different frame of mind and different limitations. The business plan angle is a job which may or may not be satisfying if what you wrote on paper checks and balances. One of the things on the business plan it to sell someone a book for $20. That hasn't really entertained anyone yet. It didn't realy have a big positive cash flow and it took a bunch of everyones time pontificating stuff. Someone somewhere had to do something they may or might not like to earn that $20. It could have been from making 20 people laugh for even a minute or to wonder what was up with that?

*Disclaimer #1: Do not set anything on fire or wet your pants and see if fire can burn you. Don't set anyone else on fire. These illustrations have been used as an example only to illustrate a point. Fire is bad. You have been warned.

*Disclaimer #2: My advice cost you only a minute of your time but, you could send $20 if you wanted to.

Greg Chrise
01-06-2009, 05:59 PM
If you got the $500 sign right away, you would never know people really like signs that are kind of crudely made. Something hand made is worth $20. Something mass produced in good for the 99cent store.

I haven't read any of these books but, I'm sure it must say that in there somewhere.

tchaunt
01-06-2009, 06:07 PM
@Greg:
Wow. That's a long post. But I managed to read it all. Basically, I don't need to worry about an imaginary business plan just yet is what I got from it. If I'm wrong, please correct me.
I do understand what you're saying and it makes 100% of sense. Thanks for the post.

Jim Warfield
01-06-2009, 08:04 PM
He always aims higher than 100%, allows for drift, mosquitos per/square inch, pulls the trigger!

"Dam! 125% AGAIN!"

robos99
01-06-2009, 10:36 PM
I do believe Greg's point was that a business plan is not so important...and Greg I agree with most of what you said, but I think at least doing the income/expense projections can be very beneficial. Even if you don't show them to anyone, it's good to see the big picture, and see where all your money is really going. When I was writing a business plan for a nightclub, as I got deeper into the income/expense projections I started to realize all the little things that will eat away at your profit. This theoretically could help you do better business. Of course, it's all a projection anyways and your actual results could vary drastically (hopefully to the positive side). But you might realize that you're not accounting for everything, or that you're not making as much as you thought, or that you just might not be able to pay yourself for a while. But there's no rule that says your actual results need to fit this. It's just a guess. And once you open, you could practically throw it away. It's like my approach to lighting design for bands....I start out with a very detailed plan of exactly what I'm going to do...and then at the start of the show I throw it all away.

The rest of the business plan is not really going to be of any benefit to you, unless you just want to show how focused you are. I'm not saying you won't EVER need a business plan, but for this stage, you'll probably be better off doing something else, which I think is the point Greg was making (correct me if I'm wrong Greg).

Tchaunt, PM me, if you want I can send those income/expense projections that I did for the nightclub. It won't really apply to this industry too well, but it'll give you a rough idea of all the various expenses.

JamBam
01-07-2009, 07:53 AM
If you have been reading Larry's posts on other threads lately about the lack of business experience of vendors, you can relate this to haunts as well. If you don't care about money, keep it in your front yard. If you want to make it a fundraiser or income producer: PLAN.

The Jaycees have a simple business plan form they have used for years. Before a member can run a project, the plan is supposed to be presented to the Board of Directors for approval. This plan includes a mission statement, goals, budget of income and expenses, what ifs, counter measures, and review. A plan from previous years would help avoid pitfalls and problems encountered by previous attempts.

The Niles Scream Park in Niles, Michigan started out as a Jaycee project. Other types of projects around the country are the Greater Greensboro Open (PGA event), Greater Hartford Open (PGA event), Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas.

I used one to apply for a loan to expand my tanning salon once. The banker was impressed, but unfortunately I didn't get the loan. Banks don't understand specialty businesses like tanning salons and haunted houses. I did learn that at least. My expansion was funded privately, paid off early, and exceeded my conservative estimates on the budget.

A fine year plan is also great to use to set goals. A yearly review will keep it dynamic.

Greg Chrise
01-07-2009, 11:15 AM
I'm not saying not to have wish lists or things to do lists. Even notes on speculation. Respectfully Jam Bam's business plan training was a learning lesson with an organization that had a history and this tool forced him to understand spending and actions of the past.

Then taking this to a loan officer at a local bank it made no sense because loan officers are just someone's pal that needed a job, not a fully trained business genius. Perhaps if he was trained in business he would have gone to the back for a moment and laughed his ass off.

You are only reporting to yourself and what ever means it takes for you to feel you have covered the information is sufficient.

In running a real business you modify that little business plan in your head every day here and there. It it pointless to fashion one hard and cold in a 100 page document. Things change every day and you must think on your feet. What is the point of making an outline, forming a business plan, hoping to impress people with your dorkyness and then doing a project totally free style?

There are so many businesses operating these days that amounts to one person, a few helpers and a cell phone number. Just because it would be nice to have one, the ability to pay an office manager in today's income isn't gong to happen.

You are the doer, the manager, the foreman or baby sitter, the caterer, the contracts manager the accountant, the collector and the safety official. I would have to add that if you intend to make money with organizations by all means become profitient in business plans and get a business administrations degree with a masters in business law. Spending all the time achieving all of that should totally quell any ideas of having a stupid haunted house where idiots jump up and down with masks on among a bunch of black plywood.

You don't want to be beholding to any organization. You want to be a haunt owner that makes money. Do you really like school? Do you want to grow up and be a yes man or scratch your way to middle management or do you want your own business? Do you want to deal with cycles of unemployment and standing in lines or do you want to be your own boss. I wish I had from day one understood that difference and not lived the life my parents and grand parents thought would work. When it came right down to it, they didn't know and when trying their own businesses failed misserably.

At a young age I took over the family businesses and with no rules brought them back from millions in debt and old them. No business plan. I saved everyone's home from being auctioned off from the sherriffs and the IRS. Everythinghas a value and they didn't fail for lack of education or not having a plan, they failed because they weren't out doing things, they were all sitting around planning and hoping. They were sitting around chatting with attorneys trying to figure out what they could get away with and how to incorpoate instead of going and getting 1.5 million dollar contracts. I took way all of their dysfunctional behavior and the money came up. I took away their secretaries and brought in a computer station. No more spending 3 days on an hour and a half letter.

If there is an arguement or missunderstanding here, here is a link to business plan software. Can you fill in all the blanks? And frankly if you can fill in all the blanks who is going to read it after you purchase this software? Somebody you are going to impress and rip off?

http://www.bplans.com/retail_bicycle_shop_business_plan/executive_summary_fc.cfm

Greg Chrise
01-07-2009, 11:50 AM
The plan is simple: Do something, get the money.
If you have to bend the laws of physics or fill out a bunch of forms it is going to cost the customer a whole lot more.

That doing something might be an hour, a week, two weeks or a year. Then get the money. If you don't have the money there is no planning what to do with the money.

If you never get the money then you are making how to get out of debt plans or how to pay the rent plans. Or how to move all your stuff really fast and where plans.

That little section seems to be missing in this business plan software.

Greg Chrise
01-07-2009, 11:54 AM
It's almost noon and the weather has cleared. I guess I will go to work now. What time did some one tell you to be at work?

JamBam
01-07-2009, 01:02 PM
So, planning is not good, huh?

The training came mostly from doing things, but with a plan approved by the organization whose money was being used. No forcing involved. We paid dues to get the chance to do it, too.

The banker did evaluate my plan, visit my business, go over my financials, and then prceeded to say that basically if I had money, he could lend me money. Will agree with you about bankers not knowing business, even the president of the bank won the street that I know personally. He is third generation owner/president and got it the old fashioned way, he inherited it.

Of course if one has the money, most people would think they wouldn't need to borrow money. Wrong! Those with money use other peoples money and keep their own $$ protected.

Now, to your business success Greg. You own your business because you also acquired it the old fashioned way, you inherited it! While the rosey picture you paint since your take over, it is hard to imagine that you did it with your own money. Nor that whoever you got money from to run the business did not demand something close to a plan of some kind.

Can you just imagine how much more successful your family's business would be if you had a real PLAN!

Got to go back to work. Being on both sides of the fence does give a great perspective with no narrow mindset.

Jim Warfield
01-07-2009, 01:16 PM
Some bank employees are the kids of the bank owners. One loan officer looked pretty foolish when the farmer didn't pay the loan he got to put the crop in the ground, he went looking for the corn in a two car garage, the only building on the place.
500 acres of corn will not be fitting into a 2 car garage.
I guess the loan officer giving out farm loans didn't know corn.
They had probably not been properly introduced.

tchaunt
01-07-2009, 04:27 PM
Um........wow. I wasn't expecting to come home to that many replies. I'll try and sum up my replies short and sweet.
I understand that you can't be successful by only planning, but you also can't be successful by doing without any planning. You have to find the happy medium. I think that's what most of the replies were about (thought more disagreements were involved :) ).

On a different note:
What are some good companies to purchase high-quality costumes from? I would appreciate any links to their sites so I can check them out. I would like to invest in at least one high-quality costume for the first year. Don't worry about the storyline. I may actually get inspiration from the costume for the storyline.

Dr. Giggles
01-07-2009, 06:22 PM
There you go! Welcome to the haunt industry :) Hope you enjoy it hahahahah
And by all means feel free to call me if you have any questions And im not saying that Jason isnt a great scource because i really like what he does. And speaking of which i think your site is down? I cant get to it for some reason Jason. My number is 760-613-7232 and my email is DementedEntertainment@yahoo.com So feel free to give me a scream if you have any questions about scare acting.

Greg Chrise
01-07-2009, 09:26 PM
In summation, where did the money come from? The money comes from the customers. Even is this means doing a $50 service to get gas to do a $1000 or a $1,000,000 job. If something is horribly in debt, it means there is no money. It was squandered or like in todays terms all these companies have been putting on a front on wild amounts of credit and over spending on gotten from customers, investors and credit.

I know my family promised I would get lots of money for myself by fixing all of this but it never happened. In fact their selfesh needs went far beyond normal borrowing even after this was cleared up. No one ever came to me for $30 for groceries it was always $1000. But if you went their home it sure looked like there was some new furniture, new carpet and a nice car.

I left town and only got one visit 1200 miles away from a grandfather who was a victim of money mooching.

After driving all over the country with a buddy who drives a semi, I decided on Texas and started all over loading tires for $50 a semi load. A year and half later I took over that company as they quit due to never paying employee taxes and were to be shut down.

None of this had to do with how or why Haunted houses appealed to me. Sure they can make money but, it is more the skills involved. My back ground made anything from set design to sculpting to animatronics something I already knew. And I saw people that made a living at this with rather large attractions that started out with that one goal in mind from an early age.

I can't say all of my exeriences had no value but, it can be a terrible shame to be old when you find what you really like. All that family business, even being an engineer tech and operating so many businesses even having jobs I thought might teach me something have all been a diversion from just doing what I enjoy doing, that does make money.

Over all there is one point I would like to make here. The teachings of America have been that you establish credit, get a good education and get a good job. No where does it teach to be independent. That is too scary or supposedly only works for that special 5% of the people. All of those ways it is supposed to be will never be told to you to be the wrong way because you are talking to people that are perpetual employees whether they are working at Home Depot in the paint department or the Superintendent of a Nuclear Power plant. They are employees. They only under stand the word job. They aren't going to advise any differently.

I see so many people in desperate situations that happen over night because they did everything in their life the way you are supposed to. Even though I blab on and on for years on this forum you have no idea how much I have been able to make my current company an outstanding service. And then it wraps back around because that is where I get the money to increase the haunts capabilities ever so slightly every year.

I mean I had to look at things while driving today. If you are a person with a job or a career, you probably are working toward having a home and that is what you end up with as an asset. If you build up a business on your own with no partners to fall out or take money and no creditors, you have your business as an asset.

If you walk into a bank with a Corporation certificate they treat you entirely different than trying to open a small business checking account. I have done it both ways.

I actually would rather have a business that has no accounts, no tax liability, no freebees that will in one way or another cost you down the line. And there is nothing that says you can't become familiar with what is bullshit and what are made up limitations in the business world from age 13 and not be dragged down your whole independent life. Why are there all of these forms to fill out and limitations? So you can't be the boss and someone else's competition at the same time. It protects them at least in words but in the real world most business owners are doing everything totally outlaw but at the same time telling you all the things you should have if you want to be like them. An insurmountable pile of shit. You can be a dumbass colecting money just like them with out all the red tape! They never jumped through hoops, why should you?

If any of us had inherited money we wouldn't be on a haunted house forum. We wouldn't be on here passionately trying to figure out every possible aspect of this business and comparing it to every other ind of business on the planet to see if any of those scenarios would make it better.

A long time ago I read this book that described giving a millionair $100 and dropping him off with absolutely nothing in any town he was unfamiliar with and see if he can build a business. Case study after case study of using that $100 to buy some clothes a cheap hotel room and finding some off the wall oportunity where someone had something they were too lazy to market and someone else that needed that something. It didn't matter if it was over stock or wrong shipment that otherwise was a big money loss. They could make lots of money in a week with nothing. No long drawn out plan, no decades of research. Just hit the ground walking and a week later have $2500 which in 1970 was a lot of money.

My first actual haunted house cost $475 for a shit load of used walls and made a charity $8,000. The next year it increased twice in customers. Now I won't say it was effecient. If I had actually had to pay for anything beyond the walls and a coffin and some props over the years it would have cost $30,000 in other people's resources to make that $8,000 and return me that $475.

Other people's warehouse donated, with full liability insurance, actors and management from a charity and later a full staff from a local resort bringing bands and food courts. As a wonderful communtiy event it works even with no advertising.

Mind you I have a reputation from that to work on for rather large events and it only cost $475. If I had know it would work I would have built it out of free stuff accumulated over time but, that can be lots of uncompensated for work. I didn't hav lots of time away from other business to spend on it either. And they waited intill like Spetember 3RD the first year to ell me they wanted to do this 3,000 SF haunt. It was put together by volunteers and communtiy service people and opened fully decorated in 19 days.

The business plan? In my head.

Now adays I have this little list of about 10 very realistic locations and existing events that need something they have been unable to fashion for themselves. Or because they followed the wrong consultants have spun their wheels for years. These are opportunities I may or may not do. Who knows I could be doing my last two commercial jobs right now. What would I do if that were the case? Make an opportunity.

Would I look for a job? Absolutely not. I would look for an opportunity. For the past year I have had one company we subcontract for want to hire me. I don't think they understand. They can hire me to do anything as a company but, I wll never arrive reporting for work as an employee.

Even though I have haunts I'm starting all over with the next one looking for junk instead of trying to figure out where to get $85,000 from. I know where the next scream park is going to be in my region and I'm also inmy head building things for that.

For my regular business, I know where there are 20 places that need thousands of dollars worth of work when the economy recovers and people are positive about spending. In the reality of the world that doesn't mean I'm rich money wise. I might only have $12 by the end of the week but, I know who owes me money from work already done and deposits I have not taken.

If you have someone else's money, are on a salary, have a paycheck, then they can by writes tell you where to be, when and what you should be doing. You created nothing in that scenario. How cold that ever be a happy condition. Especially when you are told it is over or they no longer can afford you or have no more work right now.

I remember being 14 and trying to figure out how the world woks with not so good advice from any elders. Now 36 years later I know for a fact that everyone I met was either not willing to give me an opportunity because I would just do what they are doing and eat their income or they had no clue and were just spouting some society created propaganda.

I know I come off sounding crazy, flippant, irresponcible, possily insulting but, the real story is there are no rules. You make your own very ethical rules that provide some benefit for people and you do it. People are entertained by the fact that you are possibly completely insane but, as far as they know you have never actually hurt anyone and they don't get it.

Somehow what ever you do is of the utmost quality at a reasonable price and shows no overcharging. There are so many other economies in the world that are over looked. Working in trade for something, helping someone out of a jam totally for free, bartering, etc.

Greg Chrise
01-07-2009, 09:27 PM
If I need welding, I go to a shop I have done a lot for and use their $2,000 welder. If I need a muffler I go to the guy across the street that I put a skull on his car and he gives me a stainless steel dual exhaust with resonators from a corvette.

If I need a ride I call someone that owes me money but has a new cadillac to arrive in. If I want junk I ask if I can have it. I will even pay for it. The people either need money or they don't and having it removed is like free labor to them.

If you base everything you will ever do on the extra income you "might" be able to save from a job. It will never happen. Or to think you will have so much time to do something will never happen unless you are in the position to call your own shots to some extent.

You need to become so valuable as an independent that you can tell people to take their daily planner and shove it, yet still get called regularly for them to give you paying opportunities. You must be careful. Some businesses are nothing more than buying a JOB! At least with a sasonal haunted house you are really only on the clock one month per year and the clock doesn't start ticking untill it is almost dark out.

I'm not nut case. There is a whole community of people out there in your town who think the same way but, won't tell you how they have it going on. There are just some little phrases that let that community know you aren't a member. You inadvertently say things that identify you are one of the rats in the rat race and not the guy who knows how to build mazes. For money. For cans of dog food. For bicycle parts. For gem stones. For services I might need later. For a job only if I really have no other choice. For a loan you know I'm good for in 60 to 90 days. For something you already owe me. For something I already paid for.

The only, absolutely only form I'm filling out is with the IRS and State related tax authorities. If I hear board of directors I'm not wasting my time. I don't have 4 years of my life to justify anything to anyone. Cerainly it is helpful knowing how to deal with someone that has to do that for you. If you want to be bigger than the maintenance man you don't be the maintenance man unless you are doing some in house spying on a company you will own in a few months. Who do they think they are? Really? I'm not spending money for someone else even as a training exercise. I'm not going to learn the limitations of the world absolutely to the letter. I will spend my own money. If it fails I will go make more money. I will only spend money I have somehow earned. Even if I need a loan, chances are it will be from someone I taught how to make money. Not a bank.

Banks are for cashing checks. They just say they will loan money so you will open an account there. Open an account in every bank in town. I'm going to go on free toaster day. When you appy for a loan have a portfolio of 40 bank accounts that have been cycling for more than 5 years. As people pay you by check, deposit it to the bank it is drawn on so the bank doesn't keep your mone from you for a week saying it is from somewhere else.

My dog says I have to stop typing now.

Just be the best you can be with out joining the army.

tchaunt
01-08-2009, 05:58 AM
@Dr. Giggles:
Crap! That just reminded me that I was supposed to call him! I'll have to find his phone number again for this weekend. I'll probably call some time this weekend.
Which one is down? The one I've linked to in my signature shouldn't be working.
The tchaunt.frih.org one should be working. Or is it the blog that's messing up?

@Greg:
Everything you're saying makes perfect sense.
I will definitely try to remember all of it.
I really appreciate how you give me all of the negative stuff. MOst of the things I've heard have been optimistic to an extent, but you give me more down-to-earth things about the hardships of financial success.

tchaunt
01-08-2009, 04:18 PM
I was working on a report about the career I want to do when I get older in vocational ed. Obviously, I wrote about being in the haunted house industry. And then, I formed a storyline for my haunt. Here's what I got:


Back in 1864, our first courthouse was burned down by the confederates. No one took this as a disaster. They figured another court house could be built. But our little town of Campbellsville had dark secrets, just like it does today. Inside the courthouse were hidden rooms. They were hid behind book-shelves, beneath rugs, and behind large paintings. These rooms housed Campbellsville's less-than-satisfactory citizens: the deformed, the insane, and the possessed. All of the hidden citizens were burned alive during the fire. Now, their souls are trapped in an old building. The evil within the walls of the building called out to their tormented souls. We have just recently discovered the building. Now, the victims want you to suffer just like they did. They want you to join them in Hell.


So, what do you think about it? Please tell me any ideas to help build on the story, provide links to costumes/props that could fit the theme, or provide any other information. I'll probably use sinister scent's burnt wood scent to make it seem like a fire just occurred. Any ideas/help will be appreciated.

Jim Warfield
01-08-2009, 08:48 PM
How about:"When word of the approaching Union Army reached town, everyone paniced!
"Where can we go? They are on horseback and we have almost no horses at all!"
Hide in those passageways under the courthouse, it's a substantial structure it will survive the soldiers comig through town"
Someone left the Cofederate flag flying in the courthouse square and it drew the ire of the Yankees like a bullseyeed target, then they were ordered to destroy the courthouse.
150 years ago or more many countys let bids to the general public to provide housing and meals for the insane and retarded people. Basements became money making warehouses with scimpy rations. Jane Addams crusaded to change such practises.
A little film short they showed us every year in school illustrated this with the punchline being:"Loonies don't feel the cold!"
"But this man is shivering!" Heating the basement was optional, I guess?

I heard that when the US Army was about to invade Manilla that they flew over the city first and the Japanese soldiers decided to hide in the Manilla zoo since the main building was sturdy concrete.
Once they were all inside, thinking they were safe, our planes flew over and dropped their bombs on the zoo!
This was actually planned to work like this.
If the Japanese uniform tailors could have taken in the uniforms quick enough..the zoo's monkeys could have escaped!

JamBam
01-10-2009, 08:29 AM
TCHAUNT

Your storyline has a graat start. Don't be afraid to have someone local go over it with you. Be careful how you word things so you intigue the audience, but don't offend them.

For an example, go to our website www.hauntedhuntington.com and check out the stroy that begins on the main page after the into video. Then read down and click on the link "Want to read the whole story? CLICK HERE" for the big version of the story.

One thing we have to keep in mind with our story line is that we have set ourselves in 1904. That eliminates the classic chain saws and some other things, yet enhances other things we can do. Like Teddy Roosevelt (coming) and a hunter like the elephant hunter in Jumanji. (coming in cgi to our trophy room)

robos99
01-10-2009, 09:56 AM
Tchaunt, that storyline is great. I'm interested already. But as Brett stated, be careful how you word things. Obviously this is just a start and is not the final storyline. Personally, I beleive a good backstory is beneficial to you as a designer, since it acts as a guide to what you're doing and the story you're trying to tell. But remember that the audience doesn't necessarily have to know the entire backstory. You could just keep this as a design tool. A little snippet of it is great for advertising, much like you have written already. But don't feel that you must show them the entire backstory, unless you really want to.

You asked for some ideas, so here goes.....

Since you said they were hidden rooms and such you could have a lot of fun disorienting guests. Have the path go through what seems to be hidden walls and things, things that should not be doors. As old as the drop panel trick is, I think it would work well here. Having paintings drop.

Since the story assumed you're touring this post-fire, maybe you could use pepper's ghost to make the fire seem almost fantasy like. Maybe incorporate this "ghost" fire with some of the characters in your story. Don't be afraid to flesh out your story a little bit more, for your use. You've got the basics of who would be there, the deranged, demented, possessed. Now create some characters to fit this. Once you have an idea of what yours characters would be, what they'd look like, how they'd act...then you can start figuring out how to turn fantasy into reality. Rather than just merely looking for costumes that might fit this idea, figure out what you want first, and then find out how to build it.

Of course I always take inspiration from other people's work. I have a collection of pictures from various haunts and theme parks, just to give me inspiration. Maybe browsing a costume catalog could give you some ideas. You're in the brainstorming phase right now...the sky's the limit. Don't get too concerned about nailing down exactly what you're going to do and how you're going to do it.


Brett.....could Teddy Roosevelt come out sporting a chainsaw and wearing a hockey mask? Maybe Teddy was a big hockey fan. And needed an easy way to cut wood. If only Washington had a chainsaw, imagine how many cherry trees he could have cut down.

tchaunt
01-10-2009, 05:37 PM
Guys, I'll go ahead an worn you that I'm very pi$$ed off right now because band is such an f'n biased thing. I know this will sound arrogant, but I deserved first chair in All District and the judges GAVE 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd chair to kids unfairly. So if I say anything that sounds rude, I'm sorry. I almost broke both my hands I was so mad (from slamming them onto the cinder block walls of the school).

@robos:
Thanks. Just wondering, what were a few of the wording issues. I had a really good version that I wrote at school, but I lost the paper so I sorta' improvised as I went. I'd say one of the worst things was the "But no one saw disaster in the burning" part.

Actually, I was planning on designing with that idea in mind. I was thinking, instead of walking through a door into the next room, have the guests discover the "hidden" entrance. Ex: Walk through paintings, closets, bookshelves, etc.
I'd say the drop panel would fit in really well with the story.

That's a really great idea. I hadn't even thought of that. Would it be best for me to use one of those fan set-ups with the colored fabrics and the lights to create a fire illusion to use for the PG illusion?

About the costumes/characters, I already have my main character in mind, along with a few minor characters. I just haven't developed them yet.


@JamBam:
Thank you for checking out the post.
How exactly could I word it better?
Also, on your website, the short version of the story has a mistake.
"A place know as...
The Thirteenth Floor " I think it's supposed to say known.

I would love to visit your haunt. I freakin' love things that look/are old. The only thing I like more is steampunk (which is still a modern antique).

VAN PELT! I don't know how I remembered that. The hunter's name (the bounty hunter) was Van Pelt. He never liked the one man who was trapped in Jumanji because he didn't "fight like a man".

Anyway, thanks for the help.

JamBam
01-11-2009, 11:11 AM
Robos99,
Teddy may be hunting a bull moosein the future in our story, but not with a mask or chainsaw because of our time restriction. Funny idea though. We have one of the best Teddy Roosevelt impressionists in our town and he is my insurance agent. I am going to ask him to do some video for some sort of theatre scene or cgi, but somewhere down the road.

Tchaunt,
Yes, I caught the missing "n" and the webmaster has promised to n me, I mean the site. There was also a rewording of our storyline I have requested he do. This is an example of what I talked about in a previous post.

Here is my request: Please change the story page ... Things turned sour for the Warwicks when charges of animal mutilations and sexual abuse in the secret rites of the Circle caused them to summarily disband in May of 1892.

Please change it to -- Things turned sour for the Warwicks when charges of sexual misconduct, and of using animal parts, in the secret rites of the Circle caused them to summarily disband in May of 1892.


As far as band, life is full of politics and your band may be vicitm as well.

tchaunt
01-11-2009, 11:48 AM
@JamBam:
So basically, your webmaster is a wee bit lazy. :D

So I need to just fix a few sending confusing. Okay. I can do that (after I finish my English Lit. homework).

I know. I hate stupid politics. To me, it's just childish. But hey, it's life, it's meant to suck. :) And we (the haunt industry) are here to make it suck in a fun way. *Laughs maniacally*

tchaunt
01-11-2009, 04:06 PM
Hey guys! Here's yet another question. For my first year, should I do a haunt or a dark "maze"? I figured it would be cheaper to do the "maze" but do you think it would draw enough crowds?

Dr. Giggles
01-11-2009, 04:24 PM
Dont freak out about crowds your first year. OK? Make going to your haunt a tradition for the smaller crowds. Focus on your people and your show. If you have a great show and care for your customers they will come. I suggest making it the best show you can with the money you have and then you will start getting customers. Like its been said before this is a very buil up process dont expect to start out with people beating down your door. I would suggest just printing out about 200 flyers at kinkos or some printer place or off you computer with the name of your haunt, admission, hours, and location. Just go around and put it in peoples doors and mailboxes. This will get you quiet good exposure while not hurting you wallet badly. But yeah i would focus more on the show and the fear factor then the advertising and getting people factor. Because if you do inevitably word will spread of "The most freaking amazing haunted house iv ever been to!" and the people will come. But yeah start out with a maze :P They are always a blast...for actors AND patrons hahah. Its stimulating for the brain and can be scary.

tchaunt
01-11-2009, 04:28 PM
@Dr. Giggles:
So, I'm assuming you mean I should focus on higher intensity for lower money. Meaning a black "maze" would actually be a good way to start?

Jim Warfield
01-12-2009, 07:00 PM
Customers pull out their bic lighters and cell phones to kill your" black" that is when you have a couple of dozen black head sacks with draw strings made up and ready to slip on them.
Have a wild-eyed helper putting them on them with a shirt that plainly sats :"Sacks Maniac" across it.

tchaunt
01-13-2009, 06:02 AM
This thread is now the longest thread on this part of the Haunt World Forums. I've learned quite a bit, but still need to learn a lot more.

Anyway, Jim, would it work to have a "fake visitor" go through the "maze"? Basically, have a security guard walk through with the guests but not have the person do any of the tour-guide stuff. And just have it to where, in the rules, I state that "Use of any of prohibited items will result in said item being held from you until you leave the grounds of the haunted attractions."
Like I've said before, I'm not sure how efficient this will be since I've never opened a haunt.
_______________
I think I'm kinda' learning more about the basics of haunting, so now, I'm going to move my questions up a level:
Does it matter what type of sound system you use to play music for each scene?
What is the best material(s) to make the wall panels out of?
How can you set up wall panels and secure without messing them up?
What are some good ways of lighting? Ex:Mini-barrel LED spotlights, stage lights, etc.
What are some of your favorite scare tactics?
Should the use of illusions be used in first year haunts?
Should I focus more on actors or props the first couple of years (I'm leaning toward actors right now)?
Should I worry about a facade my first year?
(I'll be asking more questions eventually)

Jim Warfield
01-13-2009, 07:21 AM
Can you still see yourself ever having any time for the fun of Halloween?
If it is all about your fun, then maybe you had better just do a small yard haunt or work in someone else's place so you will not have to think about ALL of these things, thereby spending your time and energy worrying about it all.
I feel you might be a person who is not so much into just the personal fun of it though, what with the questions you have asked...are you really only 13?
My advice in the past for others so motivated and full of so many questions hinges on the previous question concerning the fun-factor followed closely by the opinion I have that building anything requires some real-world experience using power tools and rational thinking which many haunt enthusiasts sometimes have not yet had in life no matter how old they are.
The average 13 year old will find it tricky wrestling finished projects like wall panels that will not only be heavy but will also have leverage over him as he attempts to wrestle them into position, fasten them together, ex cetra. You will be handling and wrestling these items many times before you have a completed project so hope for non-windy days, get my "drift"?
I began thinking and using tools when I was an actual infant, around 3 yrs. old. I was given real tools and proceeded to take the screw from the doorstops and hinges in mt parent's house.
A 3yr.old picking at the wood screw in a hardwood floor looked "Cute" will the door began to waiver and grind as it was opened. Sort of like water droplets wearing away a stone?
Cuts, bruises, bumps can be a dailey price paid for getting something done. The longer that day becomes the more injurys will find you.
At this point of my life most of my work projects happen slowly and carefully eliminating the distractions of time and stresses that seem to make the abuse always happen.
Trying to accomplish so much you will not have this luxury, the rest of us pretty much know this, I think?

imax
01-13-2009, 10:05 AM
Here's my opinions:

- Does it matter what type of sound system you use to play music for each scene?
No. Especially starting out. Find anything you can for FREE (or near free). Get creative, yard sales, old boom boxes, all that. Old PC's can be reworked to play mp3 files, and people GIVE PC's away, just to get rid of them.

-What is the best material(s) to make the wall panels out of?
This will likely be the most costly part of your startup. Again, do what you can with scrap... things people give away. Sometimes you can get a lot of material if you volunteer to do some dirty work.. like tearing down an old barn or garage for someone who's doing a remodel. If you can't find stuff for free, you will likely have to buy. BUT, if you are starting as a home haunt as suggested above, you don't necessarily have to make a lot of wall panels. Spend your time on scenic stuff instead, create a few hiding places, and find some fun volunteers.

-How can you set up wall panels and secure without messing them up?
Screws and scrap lumber to brace the tops works well for us!

-What are some good ways of lighting? Ex:Mini-barrel LED spotlights, stage lights, etc.
98% of our entire show is done with LED lights we build by hand. $30 on ebay goes a long way with LED's...

-What are some of your favorite scare tactics?
Oh gawd, this is far too much to talk about here, but wet string in a dark maze really is suprisingly effective!

-Should the use of illusions be used in first year haunts?
Depends what you are talking about. Give a peppers ghost a shot, they are fun, and create a lot of buzz... and pretty cheep to put together.

-Should I focus more on actors or props the first couple of years (I'm leaning toward actors right now)?
ACTORS ACTORS ACTORS. Do yourself a favor and find people who like to build things with thier hands and are creative at solving problems. Find people who want to help you because they love halloween and love scaring people. Find people with the passion, and you won't have to worry about the props... those will come from the people. Trust me on this one ;-)

-Should I worry about a facade my first year?
Yes... and no. Seriously, start with a home/yard haunt. The house is the best facade you can have, and your rents will help you - because they don't want you destroying thier house. Start like the rest of us, building PVC cemetery fences, columns, foam tombstones, and everything else.

Good luck!

-- I

PS - I bought some of that string from Jim -- *EXCELLENT* quality, although the pre-wetness smelled a little stinky. Works great, worth the price!

tchaunt
01-13-2009, 03:08 PM
@Jim:
I see lots of fun in my future when it comes to Halloween. But I realize that for every minute of fun I have, I'll have to spend numerous hours sweating and bleeding, and possibly yelling a few four-letter words.
I really don't care about having fun-and pretty much know it won't happen-the first few years. I am rather mature for my age and I accept that. Let kids call me a geek, but when they're in the one building where MY mind is being shown, their little preppy butts are going to have piss running down them. >:)
Yes, I am just thirteen, but I am a down-to-earth kind of person who doesn't want to sugar-coat dog crap. If it sucks, then let it suck. I can deal with it. I would rather people be upfront with me than try to make me happy.
I haven't worked with a lot of power tools, but I can learn. I don't really mind having to sit down and read a manual before I work on something. I would rather make my brains bleed from boredom than have a missing hand.
:) Nice pun. I'm sure I can get volunteers to help set up the walls if I can't do it.
When I was 5, my aunt gave me her computer because it was deleting files by itself. Well, I took a screw driver and messed around with a few of the chips inside the PC. Well, I ended up restoring about 25 mb worth of documents with my aunt's tax records, bank account balance, personal information (social security numbers and things like that), etc.

@Imax:
So basically, any system that will loop continuously will be fine.

Um, you didn't exactly answer the second question. Should I try to collect plywood, drywall (probably not too good of an idea in a haunt), or what?

Do you leave the LEDs on all night at the same rate or do you fade them/turn them off? Also, can you use LEDs to create a strobe light?

I don't want to try the string thing. I have heard quite a few people say that if these things hit your eyelid, it can deal some pain.

If I stick to my storyline, I'll use quite a few small PGIs. But I was actually talking about bigger illusions--ones that involve scare actors. One that I already have developed blue prints for is a pretty common one:
The actor climbs into the back of a podium-shaped prop. The actor's arms and head are the only things that can be seen of the scare actor. The person's body is replaced by a skeletal torso. Since I know how to make this illusion, I could design/build plenty more using the same design concept.

XD

imax
01-14-2009, 11:45 AM
> So basically, any system that will loop continuously will be fine.
More or less. We use a wide variety of equpiment at our show to accomplish audio. All of it is cheep, some of it was free. Easy to replace when it fails, all of it can be found locally in a pinch, which is crucial when it's 2 hours before you open and you lost an amp.

> Um, you didn't exactly answer the second question. Should I try to collect plywood, drywall > (probably not too good of an idea in a haunt), or what?
No, I didn't. Your fire marshall will LOVE you if you use drywall. Drywall provides a burn barrier that plywood does not offer (something like 15 minutes of burn for 1/2"). If you are outdoors or in a wet environment, drywall is a horrible idea. It will fall apart. Quickly. Use plywood/osb in wet or outdoor environments. Paint all of it with a latex outdoor house paint, and if you can set your walls on green treated 2x4's or bigger (or even brick/cinder blocks if you don't mind the gaps at the bottom of the walls), your panels will last years... trust me on that. We have panels made of 1/2" OSB with a slice of green treated 2x4 on the bottom that have been exposed to the elements for 5 years, and they still look great. Keeping the bottom off the ground and preventing the wood from absorbing water is the trick.

We originally started our show by building panels out of pallets and sheeting them with black plastic. I hate black plastic, and you cannot use it indoors, but for a show just starting... it's a route to go.

> Do you leave the LEDs on all night at the same rate or do you fade them/turn them off?
Like I said, nearly all of our show lighting is done with LED's. They all wire to a 12VDC battery system (car batteries), and the batteries are charged by a car battery charger to keep them topped off. Even if we lose electricty at our show, the LED's stay on, and our inspectors love that. There is a master switch which can turn on/off all the lights in the show at once.

SOME of our LED light runs actually go to a microcontroller(s) to do fading/flashing/strobing effects, or to control props.... and some LED's stay on solid all the time. Depends what we are trying to do.

> Also, can you use LEDs to create a strobe light?
Yup. You need bright ones and a microcontroller, but you can do it! We do it quite successfully.


>I don't want to try the string thing. I have heard quite a few people say that if these things hit your eyelid, it can deal some pain.

Well, anything at eye level can be dangerous. Make sure your strings are long enough, and make sure they are far enough apart to not get tangled on each other.


> If I stick to my storyline, I'll use quite a few small PGIs. But I was actually talking about bigger illusions--ones that involve scare actors. One that I already have developed blue prints for is a pretty common one:
The actor climbs into the back of a podium-shaped prop. The actor's arms and head are the only things that can be seen of the scare actor. The person's body is replaced by a skeletal torso. Since I know how to make this illusion, I could design/build plenty more using the same design concept.

I say go for as many illusions as you can! People are suckers for them when they are executed well ;-)

tchaunt
01-14-2009, 05:24 PM
@Imax:
Thank you so much for all of the information. :)

robos99
01-14-2009, 05:45 PM
TC, the key point in dealing with the sound in your first haunt is CHEAP. Just as Imax has been hammering home, cheap is the way to go...unless of course you actually have the budget for a high end setup. But I'm assuming you don't. Don't worry so much about a system that can continuously loop. A simple CD player set on repeat will work fine. There's going to be a second or two of a gap, but who's really going to notice that? If you had the money, there are much better ways to go, and a centralized system makes things easier (although possibly more expensive). But for a home haunt, or something very low budget, just make do with whatever you can find. Try ebay and garage sales. I used to use stereo receivers as a power amp. Just make sure they can accept an auxiliary input and it's all good.

asanve
01-14-2009, 11:28 PM
@Imax:
Thank you so much for all of the information. :)

Just an idea for walls--I check out craigslist several times a day under the "free" section. Over the last 3 weeks I have picked up over 40 cubicle walls that people were giving away for free. They range in size from 5' to 8' tall panel sections. We plan on getting some sort of black fire-retardant material to recover the panels. When put together they are free-standing and very sturdy. We also found a warehouse that was just giving away all sorts of free stuff--we got 10 queen size sheets, a huge armoire (damaged on the top) that we will gut and build something in, and 2 huge mirrors. We also got a drum riser platform--2' high by 6' by 7' which we will be building our "temple" on. I make sure to check craigslist at least every 30 minutes or so, so that when something is listed I am one of the first people to contact them and have a good chance of getting whatever it is. Also, check out your local Lowes or Home Depot. They make piles of what they call "cull" lumber (basically old wood, maybe warped a little) and sell it for real cheap. I picked up 20 1x4's, a closet dowel rod 8' long, 3 oak shelves (maybe 2-1/2 feet long), a 4"x 4" 8' and some other miscellaneous wood all for $14! Also found heavy duty cardboard barrels (about 4' tall) for $3 each (using them for a toxic waste scene). Lots of things can be acquired for next to nothing. Good luck with your venture!

tchaunt
01-15-2009, 03:16 PM
@robos:
Okay. Are there any special things I need to do to prep the music for play--like edit them in Audacity, etc.?

@asanve:
That would be great getting something like that for free. But what height are the cubicle walls? (If you don't mind me asking) Dang, either you're really talented at finding free stuff, or life actually likes you. To my dismay, life loathes me to an infinite amount.

asanve
01-16-2009, 12:44 PM
@robos:
Okay. Are there any special things I need to do to prep the music for play--like edit them in Audacity, etc.?

@asanve:
That would be great getting something like that for free. But what height are the cubicle walls? (If you don't mind me asking) Dang, either you're really talented at finding free stuff, or life actually likes you. To my dismay, life loathes me to an infinite amount.

The walls range in height--I have some that are 5', 6' and 8'. Some have metal casing around the outside with carpet or material panels. The latest ones I got are older and solid oak casing with material panels. We plan on just covering them with some sort of flame-retardant, water proof material so they can be used outside and not get ruined. Like I said, I check craigslist about every 30 minutes so I can catch the newly listed items and be first to send an email or contact them and get first dibs on them. Persistence is the key to anything you do--the squeaky wheel gets the oil!

robos99
01-16-2009, 02:28 PM
@robos:
Okay. Are there any special things I need to do to prep the music for play--like edit them in Audacity, etc.?

That's really up to you and depends on your preferences and how picky you are..and also your selection of music. In general you'd want a lower dynamic range than most typical music, but depending on what you're using this might have been mixed that way. A haunt can be a high noise environment, so music with lots of quiet little details might get lost. So you may want to compress the music, which I think is something you can do in Audacity. You might also want to trim up the start and end so it loops more seamless. But again, that's your call. I'm sure there's a lot of people here who don't do any of that. One thing you could do though is use Audacity to loop your music several times, so the point that the CD player will stop and replay the disc is even longer. It's still not seamless, but it can lower the frequency of that tiny gap where the music ends.

twohlgemuth
01-16-2009, 02:49 PM
TC,

I just spent over 2 hours reading this thread! Your passion reminds me of myself at the age of 15 when I started Spookywoods in 1985. My haunt started as just 5 of my friends in a small farm house at $2.00 per ticket. I have run my haunt for 24 years in a row and now it takes up most the 55 acre farm with 150 on staff and tickets start at $22.00 to $35.00 per ticket.

My advice is dream big and with the drive in reseaching haunting as you have displayed here tells me your a force to watch!

You are more than welcome to come to our farm and get hands on experience at what it takes to thrive in this crazy business. We have several seasonal events and a costume shop you can learn about. Our events are the following: www.Spookywoods.com , www.maizeadventure.com , www.kerseyvalleychirstmas.com and the two creature suit sites are www.spookywoodsfx.com and www.blendedscares.com.

You might enjoy the making of our facade that was featured on the cover of HauntWorld Magazine in 2007. Www.Spookywoods.com\castle.htm

This time of year I'm traveling out of the country so getting a reply may be delayed from me. It is very obvious that you have made some great contacts on this forum and you can add me to that growing list!

tchaunt
01-16-2009, 02:55 PM
@asanve:
I've been checking in on Craigslist since your post. So far, I haven't found anything (that's still open).
It would have been nice to run into one of the deals you found, let alone ALL of them.

@robos99:
Okay. Well, it shouldn't be too hard for me to do. Thanks for the tips.

tchaunt
01-16-2009, 03:10 PM
TC,

I just spent over 2 hours reading this thread! Your passion reminds me of myself at the age of 15 when I started Spookywoods in 1985. My haunt started as just 5 of my friends in a small farm house at $2.00 per ticket. I have run my haunt for 24 years in a row and now it takes up most the 55 acre farm with 150 on staff and tickets start at $22.00 to $35.00 per ticket.

My advice is dream big and with the drive in reseaching haunting as you have displayed here tells me your a force to watch!

You are more than welcome to come to our farm and get hands on experience at what it takes to thrive in this crazy business. We have several seasonal events and a costume shop you can learn about. Our events are the following: www.Spookywoods.com , www.maizeadventure.com , www.kerseyvalleychirstmas.com and the two creature suit sites are www.spookywoodsfx.com and www.blendedscares.com.

You might enjoy the making of our facade that was featured on the cover of HauntWorld Magazine in 2007. Www.Spookywoods.com\castle.htm

This time of year I'm traveling out of the country so getting a reply may be delayed from me. It is very obvious that you have made some great contacts on this forum and you can add me to that growing list!

Holy s#!t! You have no idea of how honored I am to even have you post! (I realize that you're just another amazing haunter on here, but I really love both costumes [the corpses and ivy] I've seen!) If there was any way I could do it, I would love to visit....but I can't because of the location. Even though it's a lot closer than some offers I've gotten, it's still too far. :(
The funny thing is, the only website you linked to that I haven't visited at least once (I've visited blended scares like 28,000 times to watch the videos of the ivy creature which I hope to have in my haunt some day in the near future) is the Christmas one. I'll probably check it out.

I knew this thread was the longest on this section of Haunt World, but I didn't know it was that long. XD

asanve
01-16-2009, 03:59 PM
[QUOTE=tchaunt;55604]@asanve:
I've been checking in on Craigslist since your post. So far, I haven't found anything (that's still open).
It would have been nice to run into one of the deals you found, let alone ALL of them.



It kind of came all at once. I had been looking for quite a while then all of sudden there was a ton of stuff all at once. Within three weeks I had acquired all of the stuff. I haven't found anything worthwhile in the last 6 days. Just keep looking--stuff will come along. Just before Halloween I found straw bales on craigslist and picked up 14 of them for free, but then I didn't start finding things again until late December.
Let me bore you for a moment with a story. My passion for Halloween stems from my childhood--my mom used to decorate our house every year. She got empty cardboard refrigerator boxes and opened them up and cut out a haunted house from it. She made a witch from an old string mop (used for hair), pinned a pair of pants to an old blouse and stuffed it with newspaper to make the body, then covered it with an old raincoat, put on a pair of old high-heeled shoes and put on a witches mask and a broom in her hand. She made a giant monster out of my dads shirt and pants--she cut the legs off of one pair of pants and sewed them onto the bottom of the other pair of pants to make it really tall and then sewed the shirt to the pants and stuffed it with newspaper for the body and put a devil mask on it. She then hung it between the gates into our yard and people had to walk underneath it to enter. She also stuffed a sheet to make a ghost and put it on a pulley. She hung one end of the pulley from the telephone pole outside our yard and pulled the ghost up to the telephone pole and when people would enter the yard she'd let it go and it would fly down in front of them and scare the s**t out of them. We had some other stuff too, but you get the idea. This started when I was about 5 years old--in 2 weeks I will be 55! It was great fun and it cost practically nothing back then. There's a lot of stuff that can be done inexpensively to start out, and each year you just add and get bigger and better. Halloween is my passion, but like most other people I hold down a regular job (60+ hours a week)! I've always decorated for Halloween but in the last 6 years we have had a home haunt and hope within the next few years we can go pro. Over the years I have probably invested over $20,000 in Halloween. That's not really that much but it's a hell of a home haunt right now and we're growing bigger each year. Don't get discouraged--start out small and grow. You have a lot of years ahead of you to make your dreams come true. Whatever money you make from it put back into it and eventually you will have your dream!

BruiseMuse
01-16-2009, 05:48 PM
Do you have a Freecycle program near you? That had been a good souce of materials as well.

But similar to Craigslist, sometimes you find a bunch of amazing items, and other times its a dry spell.

tchaunt
01-17-2009, 08:55 AM
@asnave:
Wow. See, I never I have that kind of luck. I was expecting to find something yesterday since I saw 13 at least 8 times. But, nothing ever came up.
I never decorated much for halloween until a two years ago. That I had a Halloween party set up somewhat like a haunted house in my garage.I experienced my first scream from that night (even if it was a basic scare). But I couldn't decorate last year because I was an idiot and joined marching band. Finals was the weekend after halloween. So, the entire week of halloween and the week after it, we were practicing. The only day we didn't practice was Sunday. Need I say I didn't have enough time or energy to decorate.

Thanks for all the support.

@BruiseMuse:
I did a search and found a chapter in Campbellsville. It has nearly 5,000 members.
I'm going try to join the group. Thanks for the tip.

@Everyone:
This question is sort of random, but I was wondering, what is you favorite way to set up a haunt, 90 degree setup or 60 degree setup, and why?

tchaunt
01-17-2009, 08:56 AM
Nevermind, the freecycle group only has 86 members. I read it too fast. XD

robos99
01-17-2009, 10:03 AM
TC, there is already a discussion about 60 vs 90 here: http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=7029

tchaunt
01-17-2009, 10:25 AM
@robos99:
Oh, sorry. If I had noticed that thread, I wouldn't have posted. Thanks for the link.

oscodatownship
01-18-2009, 10:46 AM
I may be new to the forum, but not to haunted houses. I have run our Haunted House for six or seven years now, and along the way found some ideas that may help you. I'm not sure if I need to, but I start by saying: Any information written below is strictly that, "information". What anyone does with it is THEIR responsibility and I will not be responsibile for anyones actions arising from anything read here.
I have found that the best sound system for us is hand-me-downs. Old stereos, Tuners, and anything else with Auxillery Audio inputs. Radioshack carries cables to hook just about anything audio to anything else. Things that work great with "Auxillery" inputs are portable cd players and MP3 players. The cheap MP3 players work just as good as the expensive ones, and very easy to work with. Hand-me-down speakers work great at low levels (even the cheap ones), and if you break one, its no big deal.
We designed a wall panel that is fairly cheap, durable, easily repairable, paintable, and is very user friendly. I would ask for an ADULTS help with this one. To build you will need: 3-8' 2"x4"s, 1-8'x4' sheet of O.S.B.,7/16" thick, and some 3" drywall screws. As far as tools go, a circular and radial arm saw, drill, and a table saw with a dado blade. Cut one 2x4 in half (48"),this will be the top and bottom. The other 2x4's will need 3" cut off of each. After the 2x4's are cut to length, adjust your dado blade to cut a slot 1/2" wide and 1/2" deep on the table saw. Cut a groove lengthwise on ONE side of each of the 2x4's. Next, the O.S.B. will need to be cut down to a finished size of 94" by 46". To finish, the 2x4's will fit around the O.S.B. to form a "frame." The side 2x4's should go on first, followed by the top and bottem. Once all are in place, use two screws on each corner to hold together. I also use two 1 1/2" drywall screws midway on each side, screwed into the O.S.B. to keep the sides in place. To join panels together, just use a few of the 3" screws to screw them side by side. If this panel is used in an "L" or "C" shape, it generaly supports its own weight, however Ask an Adult for their opinion. These can get VERY heavy if you attach them side by side in a strait line! Most of all, use common sense here.
Our favorite form of lighting is plain old incandesent bulbs. Just remember- you dont always need a ton of light! Also, you can get great effects by shining through and bouncing light off of the floor and walls. These bulbs also get very hot, so watch for potential fire hazards!
My favorite scare tactics are misdirectional ones. When you get the crowd's attention in one direction and then scare them from another. I think you should use whatever scares you can no matter how long you have been running you haunt, my only advice is that whatever you do, don't leave the crowd asking questions like "What was that thing supposed to be"?, unless that's what your going for.
I personally think that thier will never be anything better than a real, live actor. Just do what you can do, and nothing more. Focus on creating a good quality Haunt, instead of throwing stuff up just to make it big.
Hopefully their are some things hear that will help you on your journy through all things haunted! Stay Safe and have your parents help as much as possible!

tchaunt
01-18-2009, 11:44 AM
@oscoda:
Thank you for all of that information. About how much does each wall panel cost using your system? Have you tried using JB Corn's wall panel? If so, are your measurements cheaper/sturdier than his?

Most of the work that I'll do that uses the serious power tools will have to be done in someone else's garage. Again, thanks for the info.

@Everyone:
Does anyone know of a good free website where you can set up surveys with multiple question types (like where answers can be typed in, chose from a drop-down menu, selected from a list using a radio, checking all boxes that apply, etc.)?

oscodatownship
01-18-2009, 12:14 PM
Your quite welcome. The cost per panel will vary depending on lumber prices, so look for deals throughout the year. A good price for O.S.B. is around $6.50 a sheet and about $2.00 per 2x4, so about $12.50 all together, excluding screws. Unfortuatly, I'm not sure where to find JB Corn's wall panel info, but I can say that these are Extremely durable, I've put mine up and taken them down each year for at least five years, and even moved them more sometimes, and they are still doing fine. In my opinion, they would be a great investment, say maybe a few each year, and build up your stash. If one is damaged somehow, it's very cheap and easy to fix! The only con would be that you have to have a place to store them out of the weather.

tchaunt
01-18-2009, 01:00 PM
@Oscoda:
If you want, I can give you the link to the books.

Okay. Thanks. I'll probably use your plans then. JB Corn's are about $20 a wall panel.
BTW, check your thread about the rooms.

Greg Chrise
01-18-2009, 01:30 PM
The way suggested sounds very professional and strong. However, the JB Corn way requires very little sawing, selecting studs already to lenght and the boards layed flat so the storage off season takes up literally half of the space.

If you put a 2/4 in any kind of stress mode it can take 4200 pounds verticle on edge 2100 pounds and layng flat 400 pounds. What you are constructing is a non load bearing wall.

Plus, working with wood walls is intended to have some bend to put the whole system together instead of the entire thing being machined out of billet aluminum. Even single side panels may seem a little floppy, but once all affixed together as a system are quite strong. In fact you have at each joint 2 2x4s right next to each other.

Typically a good JB Corn Panel, the top 2x4 is over top of the verticle lumber, the bottom 2x4 is inside the other two cut at around 42 inches? So this brings us back to new or used?

You can take old 2x4 s that you can cut the 42 inch and 4 foot piece out of and all the rest is new stud. So, you have only used a saw to make two cuts per panel. Spend more time on what decor will be in that room than become a cabinet maker.

However, do paint all the pieces prior screwing it all together so it lasts 25 years. I actually have some of Castle Dragon in my haunt that is now 30 years old. That's what I'm talking about. How much do you think wood cost 30 years ago? versus replacing it ever 5 years?

The comparison of going cheap and scrounging around vs buying used and including junk?

My first 1000 SF of the haunt cost $475, the second 1000 SF of the haunt cost $2500 the third 1000 SF of the haunt cost $3500. This trend illustrates having more money than time and being ripped off by helpers not really doing the work. An entire 3,000 SF haunt could be built from used panels with new paint, some torn down buildings and some construction take off for as low as $1500 if you try. Or you could order an $85,000 turn key attraction.

If you steal all the spare change off your dad's dresser at about $3.75 per week, you could have your own pro attraction in only 400 weeks! Thats only 7.7 years!

tchaunt
01-18-2009, 01:44 PM
Okay. Never mind. I'll just build JB Corn's walls that way I can save space.
@Greg:
Are you saying you were ripped off on the $475 haunt or the $3000 haunt?

tchaunt
01-19-2009, 09:29 AM
I am incredibly mad at myself right now. The one day I forgot to check Cragislist, an ad about cubicle walls went up. Simply put, I want to scream (yes, I do have random impulses to scare-act).

On a different note, what would be the best way to use a motion sensor on a custom prop. Would it be best to hook up a PIR sensor to a prop-1 controller, etc? Also, how could you do that? (Sorry. I am trying to get into the more technical side of haunts) Any help would be appreciated.

Also, does anyone know of any good free websites where you can set up a survey?

Another question: Do you have any ideas for something I can do online to raise funds? I was thinking I could do something like a logo/logotype design business, but I'm pretty sure that won't get me too much money.

Any answers will be appreciated!

robos99
01-19-2009, 11:02 AM
TC, I've always found farms to be a good source for junk, and as long as you're willing to haul it away they'll probably let you have it for free. You might also want to try scavenging on garbage days. In my area there's a truck that always comes around the neighborhood looking for good stuff. It's a win-win situation, since we leave out stuff that they the garbage men would not normally take, but the scavengers will grab it right away. If you can get someone to drive a truck around with you, you might be able to find some goodies. Granted you won't find any cubicle walls, but you may find furniture and carpet, possibly scrap lumber. Construction sites are a great source for scrap lumber. Just don't take the GOOD lumber, or you might find yourself in some trouble.

As for the motion sensor...well I'm not really an experienced haunt/prop builder, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I do know electronics and control systems pretty well. I think it would depend on exactly what you're building and how you're controlling it. A motion sensor will give out a closed-contact response when activated, so this itself might be enough to trigger your prop. If your prop was intended to be controlled simply by flipping the power switch, you'd either need to use a relay on this, or you could buy one of those motion sensor light switches from the hardware store. Either way, you're working with high voltage, and that can kill ya, so make sure you know what you're doing. Don't cut any corners when it comes to electricity, the risks are too high. If you don't know exactly what you're doing, have someone help you.

I don't know of any websites where you can setup a survey, but I'd bet that if they exist, they're not very good. If you only plan on having a handfull of responses then it might be acceptable to do a basic form that will email you the result, and you can compile the responses. But anything serious and you're going to want to store it in a database and write a program that can compile all this data for you. There probably already exist programs or at least bits of code that can do all this for you, but I'm not sure where those would be. It might be worthwhile to learn PHP, which I've found to be rather easy. Then you only need a website that supports PHP and a database, and I think there are some free ones out there offering this. If not, the bare bones ones aren't too expensive.

Raising money can be rather difficult if you haven't established your business, and you don't really have any marketable skills right now. You may just have to start off very very small. You'll need to put your own money into haunting your yard/garage for a while. Of course, you could always try to convince a local organization to do a charity haunt themselves, and allow you to be involved in the project. It likely wouldn't make YOU any money, but it's a great way to gain some experience. You've mentioned that you do marching band...when I was your age the school did a "haunted bandroom" for the first time ever, and it was a hit. Of course it was also my first taste of scaring people, and got me hooked. Maybe you can convince your school to do something similar. In the meantime, you might want to just find ways to make yourself more money. Do odd jobs for people, mow lawns, shovel driveways, babysit...anything to make a few bucks.

tchaunt
01-19-2009, 11:29 AM
TC, I've always found farms to be a good source for junk, and as long as you're willing to haul it away they'll probably let you have it for free. .....to drive a truck around with you, you might be able to find some goodies. Granted you won't find any cubicle walls, but you may find furniture and carpet, possibly scrap lumber. Construction sites are a great source for scrap lumber. Just don't take the GOOD lumber, or you might find yourself in some trouble.
My community only has days like this.....about once a year I think.



I don't know of any websites where you can setup a survey, but I'd bet that if they exist, they're not very good. If you only plan on having a handfull of responses then it might be acceptable to do a basic form that will email you the result, and you can compile the responses. But anything serious and you're going to want to store it in a database and write a program that can compile all this data for you. There probably already exist programs or at least bits of code that can do all this for you, but I'm not sure where those would be. It might be worthwhile to learn PHP, which I've found to be rather easy. Then you only need a website that supports PHP and a database, and I think there are some free ones out there offering this. If not, the bare bones ones aren't too expensive.

I used to work with PHP, but I haven't worked with it for a really long time. In other words, I've forgotten pretty much everything. But I do have a website that allows for unlimited databases.


Raising money can be rather difficult if you haven't established your business, and you don't really have any marketable skills right now. You may just have to ...a hit. Of course it was also my first taste of scaring people, and got me hooked. Maybe you can convince your school to do something similar. In the meantime, you might want to just find ways to make yourself more money. Do odd jobs for people, mow lawns, shovel driveways, babysit...anything to make a few bucks.
I have a few fundraisers planned already, but I am wanting to get as much money as I can before this season. I at least want enough money to build most of the wall panels this year. Right now, I could build one. XD I only have like $28 right now. Without any fundraising, I'll have enough money to start a haunt in 5 years (doing chores and getting good grades). Actually, I just remembered something. I have a little over $300 in my bank account that I may be able to use if I have to.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-19-2009, 03:01 PM
Dr. Giggles: demented entertainment@yahoo.com 760-613-7232

Starting off small would be smart to grow throughout the next 5 years
Selling stuff on eBay is a good cheap source of revenue for raising funds
Being a charity haunt might be a good way to get sponsors
After some experience you could switch to a pro haunt but that includes some timely changes and new costs. Bottom line start as one and stick to it.
When making deals of any kind stick to making a contract for safety reasons
If you use volunteers reward them some how to boost morale and promote for next season
He likes long walks on the beach and a good scare in his corpse skin from spookywoodsfx.com everyone once in a while cause its his passion
Donít down yourself on your acting abilities, if you have passion for it give it your all and you will be great
Donít concentrate on your first year turn out focus your people and your show
Care for your show and care for your customers and they will come
Printing out flyers( maybe 200) at kinkos or something would be a good cheap way to spread the word



Jim Warfiled

Save your money and figure how much time you can devote to this realistically over the next SEVERAL YEARS
I had to ask people I really didnít know and I was not related to for money
Work and build up your haunt over time and get as much done as possible before the final goal
Donít boast and promise more than you can deliver
I have never had a dot room but Iím not opposed to it
Blasphemer that I am, I donít have any music playing here or any back rough music, It only distracted the customers and made them uneasy
Room ideas will cost several hundreds of dollars to make happen, unless all you do is turn out the lights
250 people well entertained and impressed versus 600 people of which 25 were entertained and 575 forget that they were ever thereÖ.. Think about it
Walls, floor space, displays, but then what about showmanship?
Steven Kind wrote something like terror is more that dark at the top of the stairs, rather then seeing something that we can then degrade and diminish once we see it and define it and explore itís weaknesses
Keeping the mystery can keep them remembering it and returning
Customers pull out their bic lighters and cell phones to kill your ďblackĒ
Hope for non windy days as a 13 year old setting up wall panels


N2SPOOKINU

Youíre too young to actually be hired by a haunt near you so start by volunteering so you can learn all the things first hand that you are wanting to know

Front Yard Fright

I agree with the start small statement


Mike Goff

The quality of your show, and the amount of customers you can send through are inversely proportional
To increase on, you must sacrifice the other
I would advise you to build the best show that you possibly can for the amount of traffic that you expect
Big crowds will come when you are ready for them
It is important to know your market, and know your customer
Donít sell yourself short, be realistic about your goals but NEVER impose limits on the possibilities

Greg Chrise

Obviously the problem is raising funds, getting people interested and having it all come together years down the road
Keep your blog going no matter how mundane you might think it is
To raise funds, sign up for some affiliate programs
Focus on doing things in a manner that donít take money like creating your displays from dumpster finds
Become a bargain shopper
Raise funds by having a car was and expecting a $5 donation per car
Until then the game is to spend the next 5 years gathering as many potent ional customers
I donít like business plans but donít leave one out find the happy medium as tc says


Robos99

Kellyís book isnít really going to tell you how to build your haunt as to how to manage your haunt
JB Corn books helped me with the construction stuff quite a bit
Donít let your lack of equipment get you down
For a first year haunter with no experience you can pretty much count out major sponsors
You canít claim all these fundraisers are for charity unless your haunt is a 501(c)(3)
Business plan is not so important but donít leave it out
The key point in dealing with the sound in your first haunt is CHEAP
In general youíd want a lower dynamic range than most typical music, a haunt can be a high noice environment so music with lots of quiet little details might get lost
60 vs. 90 walls http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_ho...ead.php?t=7029



Screamline studios: 440-205-0111 home or 440-392-2666 shop

MidnightEvil

You need to get Tim Harkleroadís Krone Daddy new book ďMake Your House Everything Youíve Ever HauntedĒ http://www.kronehouse.net/booksales.html


JamBam

Research also means going to the haunts in your area
Other research would be into the are you live in
Create a business plan and revisit it every few months to update it
http://www.census.gov/popest/countie...ST2007-01.html is a great source to research your market size
Mark Butlers Monster List google it
He who fails to plan, plans to fail
Be careful how you word things so you intrigue the audience, but donít offend them

Imax

Find anything you can for free or near free
The wall panels will likely be the most costly part of your startup
Screws and scrap lumber to brace the tops works well to secure the wall panels without messing them up
98% of our entire show is done with LED lights we build by hand
ACTORS ACTORS ACTORS
Basically any system that will loop continuously will be fine more or less
Anything at eye level can be dangerous
I say go for as many illusions as you can! People are suckers for them when they are executed well

Asvane

Check out Craig list several times a day under the free section for any supplies towards anything

tchaunt
01-19-2009, 03:04 PM
Thanks for posting the summary. :) I appreciate it.

And don't worry guys, he asked permission to post it and I thought it was a great idea.

Also, check your email. I sent you a message.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-19-2009, 05:53 PM
Oh yea thats something i wanted to apologize for in advance. I hope it was ok for everyone that i put all the contact info I saw in the summary. If that was bad I apologize. I will ask first in the future.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-19-2009, 06:03 PM
Get the point?

Selling to fewer people, making the same amount of money but having less headaces sounds better to me but could also increase your businss in the long run because of your rock solid rep for long lasting products.

Think about it! This goes to haunt owners as well. Its the best advice I've ever heard from anyone in all my years! Another piece of advice that goes right along with that is this...

Its not about the quanity of people you put through your haunt, or how many zombies you sell, its about the profit margin you make. You can do 40,000 people and make no money, you can sell 200 zombies and lose money, its not about how many you sell its about how much profit you make each time you sell one. Think about it.

Larry

tchaunt
01-19-2009, 06:17 PM
I do agree that that is some of the highest quality advice I have ever heard.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-19-2009, 06:38 PM
We need to get an insurance policy especially for Haunters. This thread gets it for us.
http://hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=7217

JamBam
01-19-2009, 08:38 PM
I found a FREE survey website with two conditions. The survey is limited to 10 questions and 100 respondants. It is very easy to set up.

They also offer a paid survey for a fee of $ 19.95 per month (1000 responses limit) or $ 200 per year gets more functions and questions.

We have bought one month for a haunt survey before and it worked fine. Set up a free memebrship and it saves previous surveys so you can copy it rather than start over if you want.


www.surveymonkey.com

Good for all budgets.

tchaunt
01-19-2009, 08:42 PM
@JamBam:
Oh man. I can't believe that. I just gave in a day too early. Today, I made I own survey. I had to re-learn PHP. But I got most of it finished. I just have to put the final tweaks on it.

@Everyone:
Please check out this thread that oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR made:
http://hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=7237
I will gladly accept any donations. PM me or email me at tchaunt@yahoo.com if you need anymore information.

tchaunt
01-22-2009, 03:35 PM
How much money do you usually spend per square foot?
If you rent a space, please tell me what city and state and the price per sq. ft.
Then, please provide about how much you spend per sq. ft. on props, special effects, lighting, music, etc.
Also, if you have any ideas for fundraisers over the internet, then please tell me. I really need to get quite a bit of money if I want to start up this year.

On the plus side, I don't have too much of a dilemma when it comes to the band problems now (whether I should stay in or not). I pretty much hate my band class now because we do nothing. We play whatever we want for 15 minutes while our band director sits in his office. He comes out, tells us stuff, and then we get another 5 minutes of random playing. Then, he comes out and has us warm-up for 20 minutes. We work on music for 15 minutes. And most of that is spent trying to get the low brass to learn how to tongue...and they've been playing for three years now. In other words, band class is boring, I learn nothing, and I do nothing. If it doesn't improve within the next few weeks, I won't join next year.

Also, if anyone has anything they don't need anymore that can be used in a haunt, please either PM me or e-mail me (tchaunt@yahoo.com) and I can give you more info.

tchaunt
01-24-2009, 03:32 PM
Please post the information that I asked for in the above post. I am wanting to make sure I don't spend too much. I am already starting to get money for the haunt, and I don't want to invest it in the wrong things.
Please tell me anything I need to buy (besides wood for wall panels), should consider buying, and need to plan on buying in the future.
Any feedback will be appreciated.

tchaunt
01-25-2009, 11:58 AM
Here's another question:

What do you do with the floors in your haunt?
Do you just leave them as is, or do you try to have them match the theme of the room? Is you theme the floors, how do you do it?

Have you ever bought any FX Lens from Vampfangs? If you have, please tell me how the process was and about the quality of the lens.

Also, what do you do to enhance the realism of the haunt?

Here's questions from before that haven't been answered:
Please tell me anything I need to buy (besides wood for wall panels), should consider buying, and need to plan on buying in the future.

How much money do you usually spend per square foot?
If you rent a space, please tell me what city and state and the price per sq. ft.
Then, please provide about how much you spend per sq. ft. on props, special effects, lighting, music, etc. (in a total)

Also, if you have any ideas for fundraisers over the internet, then please tell me. I really need to get quite a bit of money if I want to start up this year.

Also, if anyone has anything they don't need anymore that can be used in a haunt, please either PM me or e-mail me (tchaunt@yahoo.com) and I can give you more info.
_____
Please help me by answering these questions. I am wanting to start purchasing things for my "haunt", but I want to have at least a basic budget.

Jim Warfield
01-25-2009, 10:17 PM
Most long term haunters furnish their haunt this very inexpensive way.
Of course you will need someone with a truck to haul all the stuff you find and buy, you will need storage and maybe a different place where you can work on things.
Ideally if you could find the right property large enough to be able to keep everything close by on that same place would save alot ot time, money and needless expense.
I think the square foot thing is over rated. If half of those feet are unusable for some reason the landlord really won't care if you can make use of it or not.
Thinking in square footage means you are playing the owner's "Game"and the multiplier tends to distract and potentially hide the more important aspects of the whole deal.
It takes a tremendous amount of money, time and plain old work to fill a space adequately to suficiently show a haunt that will be judged by the majority of your customers to be a value and not over priced.
Unhappy customers don't come back, they don't say nice, supportive things about their experience in your place,which would then be providing free , valuable advertising that is beyond any actual price you may try to place on it.
A smaller show that is well done and entertaining is much better than wide open, empty spaces where nothing happens.
If you feel the need to provide a show time of a certain amount of minutes, this can be adjusted too with employees doing or not doing certain things, like acting , telling a story versus just screaming or growling and chasing.
So many choices and decisions, maybe too many?
Money and time and your own personal energy level will make some of those choices for you, they always do.

tchaunt
01-31-2009, 10:57 AM
@Jim:
Well, I've actually started dumpster-diving. I haven't got too much. So far, I have like 20 some tobacco sticks that I can use to make an ugly fence out of, I have a few pieces of scrap 2x4's, possibly some 1x4's, and an average sized piece of plywood.
The funny thing is, I got most of the stuff a few days ago. I live in Kentucky, so we're coated in snow and ice. I just got the sleds out, loaded the stuff onto them, and dragged it away. XD I'm sure I looked stupid, but who cares. I'm that much closer to a haunt.
The problem is, I'd have to have all of the money in cash to buy a property. I don't even know if that would work though.
I guess that is true about the square foot thing. I'm just wanting the basic idea of how much to not spend. Basically, I don't want to go over the price per sq. ft. that a big-wig haunter pays in a small charity haunt.
Do you have any ideas I could use to make my wallet stretch more my first year? AKA, Do you have any ideas that would be cheap, but still get good "reviews"?
Most likely, for my first year, I will try to use a lot of story telling on the slow nights and mild story telling on the busy nights. It's not like I'll have to have a high through-put my first year.
Honestly though, I'll do whatever I have to to get started on my haunt. I don't care if I have to break my leg to get started, I'll do it if I have to...well, maybe not. But you get the point.

I'm sorry about taking so long to reply to your post Jim.

@Everyone:
What are some things I could do the first year to leave a good impression on the customers, but still save money?
What are some good ways to get ideas for rooms? Do you just...think them up or do you stare at that odd shaped shadow on the sidewalk as you drive by to get an idea?
Is it a good idea to start a business with one of your closest friends? My friend is really into haunts and loves everything about them. But I'm not sure it would be that smart of an idea to run a business with a friend. Anyone have any tips?
Also, where do you get most of your make-up? Dollar tree, or, on the other side of the price spectrum, hollywood studios?
What brands of make-up last through heavy sweating? I am wanting to scare act at least some nights in my haunt, but I sweat like a pig...and a horse, and a cow...all in one. I'm wondering what I should do. Any advice will be appreciated.

robos99
02-01-2009, 12:18 PM
My process for brainstorming for new ideas usually starts with the backstory. I don't always start with a backstory, sometimes I come up with a scene first and create a backstory around that. But at some point, I create the theme to tie everything all together. Then I start thinking up things that could go along with that theme. For example, if your theme is a haunted hospital or an insane asylum or something, think of what things you might typically find in one, and think of what might be scary about those things. Of course, you can always stray from that, you don't need to follow the backstory exactly. Once I get some ideas I'll choose the best ones and try to flesh those out a little more, and as your ideas take shape it can become clear what works and what doesn't.

I'll also turn to movies, trade magazines, and pictures of other attractions for inspiration. Sometimes real life events can provide some inspiration.

tchaunt
02-01-2009, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the reply robos. Okay guys, I have yet another question to add to the list.
What do you do for your finale?

tchaunt
02-15-2009, 05:34 PM
Hey guys. It's been a while since I've posted in this thread. Here's quite a few questions I have:
-What are some good ways of lighting your scenes? Ex:Mini-barrel LED spotlights, stage lights, etc.
-What are some of your favorite scare tactics?
-Should the use of illusions be used in first year haunts?
-Please tell me anything I need to buy (besides wood for wall panels), should consider buying, and need to plan on buying in the future.
-What do you do with the floors in your haunt?
Do you just leave them as is, or do you try to have them match the theme of the room? If you theme the floors, how do you do it?
-Have you ever bought any FX Lens from Vampfangs? If you have, please tell me how the process was and about the quality of the lens.
-Also, if anyone has anything they don't need anymore that can be used in a haunt, please either PM me or e-mail me (tchaunt@yahoo.com) and I can give you more info.
-What are some things I could do the first year to leave a good impression on the customers, but still save money?
-Is it a good idea to start a business with one of your closest friends? My friend is really into haunts and loves everything about them. But I'm not sure it would be that smart of an idea to run a business with a friend. Anyone have any tips?
-Also, where do you get most of your make-up? Dollar tree, or, on the other side of the price spectrum, hollywood studios?
-What brands of make-up last through heavy sweating? I am wanting to scare act at least some nights in my haunt, but I sweat like a pig...and a horse, and a cow...all in one. I'm wondering what I should do. Any advice will be appreciated.
-What do you do for your finale? Like, what do you do for the very last room in your haunt?

As you can see, I'm still packed full of questions.

Floor8Horror
02-16-2009, 03:40 PM
Just throwing this advice out there even though it has nothing to do with your last question but here is a great site. I have used some of the ideas found here but I usually use it to get some ideas running in my brain. I'll browse this page for an hour or so and then I try to get some ideas. I can come up with some great ideas after doing this brain "stimulus". Here is the site:

http://www.halloweenmonsterlist.info/

tchaunt
02-16-2009, 04:23 PM
I'll browse this page for an hour or so and then I try to get some ideas. I can come up with some great ideas after doing this brain "stimulus". Here is the site:

http://www.halloweenmonsterlist.info/
XD I posted that somewhere else mentioning that I get inspiration for rooms from that website. Or at least I used to. Now, ideas just pop into my head by themselves. I nearly get in trouble at school all the time because I'll be writing down the idea instead of doing the work. Oh well. I've never actually got in trouble, the teachers just give me that 'Go to he** you little ba*****' look and then the fake smile.

Floor8Horror
02-16-2009, 04:43 PM
Oh, teachers. They never truly appreciate the creative brain. The tell us to be creative but if are creative while they are talking it is suddenly a crime. Haha, I do the same thing in school.

tchaunt
02-16-2009, 04:56 PM
I know. It's so funny how they work. I like teacher's aids because they really don't care what you do, as long as you're not doing something bad. Teachers..........yeah.

Edit: Come on guys. I know you all see this thread with all of the questions that you know the answer to. Please just answer some of them. You don't have to answer them all (if you could, it would be appreciated).

Dr. Giggles
02-16-2009, 05:57 PM
On your lighting question, depends on the scene. What works best, for good visibility so the patrons dont trip but you dont lose that creepy/wierd aspect. Blacklights, lights that are dimmed/flickering tend to work good. And scare tactics wise? Well your probably going to get a varying answers on that one. Just because of the different scare actors. There are ones who go by scripts written by haunt owners, who will probably tell you that theater scares, and drawn out scenes work best. Then you might get the jump out and scare actor who says that works best. But then there are the improve actors who said depending on the group either or could work. From my personal stand point i love improv, and wise cracking the patrons and freaking them out. Roughly every group i get one to cry. But once again this varies on the group. As for things to buy, a lot of first time haunt owners over look the makeup and costume /makeup artist aspects of it. I mean as good as your actors are if they have garbage costume / makeup it ruins your overall effect. So i would advise to keep that in mind while making your budget. I buy all my FX lenses from Vampfangs, i like them alot. Um ben nye works good for makeup. From my personal stand point as i do my own makeup. But buy sealants, and powders. They seal all makeups pretty well. Honestly starting a business with friends is a good idea but if you have someone with more experience id start it with them. They will be more beneficial. But you can still include your friends, just my advice. Heed it at your will. Last room in all haunts are traditionally chainsaws. The quick almost guranteed scare. I suggest echoes, or sthil's. Light, easy start chain, and pretty durable. Get a big guy for this, these get very heavy by the end of the night. Good impressions on customers is a good show, get good actors. Train them if you can/have to. Show them what you think would be best, then ask for their input. Keep involved with them, make sure they show up and are doing well. If they arent scaring well, dont fire them, move them around see where they excell. For example a guy who is garbage as a clown might be an amazing zombie. Illusions can be used. But be careful if you start out amazing and high budget and all this i mean theres only one way to go, its hard to improve and a good show. So i suggest staying away from those for your first year, keep somethings in reserve. But yeah i answered some of your questions sorry for typo's.

tchaunt
02-16-2009, 06:19 PM
Thanks for replying. :) I appreciate it.

Do you like using only one type of lighting per room (like activated by a pressure pad) or do you like having something like a pale blue spotlight on a grave, then the light goes off and a strobe comes on?

Since I'm new, I was jsut asking about actors' favorite tactics jsut so I can learn about a lot of different types.
XD I would love to make people cry in my haunt. If I ever see anyone come through and I know their name, it's going to be he** for them.

I figured the costumes and make-up were pretty important. I was watching a clip about some haunt on a JB Corn DVD. The maks were ones form Dollar Tree the were just slapped on and you could easily see the seam between the mask and the actor's skin. I kept thinking, that looks like crap. It wouldn't scare anyone.

I wasn't sure how good of an idea it would be if the business didn't work out and there were bills left over.

I'll probably only use a chain saw room if I have to. I'll use something with a high impact for sure to leave the guests storming out of the exit.

I hear about training actors all the time, and I was wondering, does that generally mean the haunt owner teaching the actors, or having someone come in and teach?

I think for my first year, I'm going to use a prop I designed based off of "Voodoo Revenge" (some prop I've seen on one of the hundreds of prop sites I've looked at). Basically, the actor's body is "replaced" with a very gory skeletal torso. The actor can still use his/her hands, arms, and head to get in a scare. Most likely, I'll just use it as a diversion for a bigger scare.

Dr. Giggles
02-16-2009, 06:30 PM
Well personally im not advising the chainsaw scare, but that is tradition. To be chased out with the roaring of saws. Customers seem to love it, good climax. I mean what i would do is hide behind the "exit" sign paint on the gate...then BAM they take of. And i bolt after them. Usually they trip and i get in their face. This is just from my few nights as a chainsaw. Usually i be a clown/rover. But yeah you can use multiple lights depending on the scene. Our graveyard scene hard black lights, purple lights, pink lights, fog machines every thing. It really set the mood. And you dont need to know someoens name to make them cry. Only about a quarter of the people i make cry i know there names. Its all in yoru demeanor. My and my acting brother. Both in no shoes stand 6'2 and 6'3 so add boots we are pretty tall. About 6'5. Then add clown costumes, and he has a saw (Which half the time he doesnt even have to start) we just stand there meancingly we and a quarter of the people just refuse to enter. Its all in your body and voice, and facial. Learn a stance that intimidates, one that makes people wary of approaching you. Also varying your voice making it really high pitched then low, creeps people out. Lurch, crawl, creep. Never walk. Never Run. Create a character and apply nuances to it. Make it your character. Clubs the Clown and Gurggles the Clown ( me and my acting brother ) But yeah nuance help a lot. And usually its the haunt owners choice. They can teach if they feel secure. Or they can hire, if i had the money i would gladly fly out and act/ help train. But if your still around in a few years id be glad to. Those are my tactics. Personally, but it really does vary greatly per groups.

tchaunt
02-16-2009, 06:41 PM
Thanks for yet another good reply.
What stances usually work for you?
I'm thinking about having my main character as being either a puppet or a puppet master. I've actually got an idea for the room my character could be in. It seems to me like it would be pretty awesome. I have practiced movement for that character. Because of marching band, I can almost twist my body 180 degrees (Face in one direction, feet in the other). I've practiced that character so much already.

I know that you don't need to know people's names, but my friends (and a lot of people in my town) really hate strangers. I think that stalker quality could really freak them out.

I can get my voice to go incredibly deep. I can get somewhat high. I can sing over 3 1/2 octaves without bending the pitch. I'm sure I could work it into my act somehow.

Most likely, I'll just have someone teach since I don't have ny formal training in acting.

Like I've said before, I'd be more than happy to have you act for me.

Jim Warfield
02-16-2009, 10:09 PM
Extremely cheap, obvious masks can be wildly scary!
How? Why?
Because it looks so stupid, what normal person would ever wear one?
Which means inversely, the person wearing this mask must really be crazy!
RUN!

I sweat like a hog in heat too, during high school basketball when I stood in the same spot for a rebound from a foul shot the second time I would be standing in my own Jim-Made pond! (No urine needed!)
So I quit trying to use any make up at all many years ago. Yes! I inflict my own face upon these victims!
Makeup really doesn't suit the type of a performance that I am trying to effect either. A reality based storyline of actual hauntings here. I use my creative talents to tell the stories well not to make up any stories because I don't dwell in fictional realms.
Would you beleive a car salesman's deal if he was wearing makeup (not clown makeup)?
Wouldn't some part of your mind be thinking "This guy is a nutcase or some inter-dimensional alien."
I do my own style of a chainsaw ballet in the first room, played for the utmost comedy.
I really try not to copy anything that others do and I have found a clientel who frequent my place who like that sort of thing, and many of them hate the chainsaws chasing them .
How do I know this? They tell me without my asking!
But whatever works for you..."Works!"
Do a style of show that you are comfortable doing.
I would not be comfortable doing a murder house crime scene and I probably would not be as financially comfortable having half as many customers either.

tchaunt
02-17-2009, 07:57 PM
:/ For you, it was basketball. For me, marching band. I would give anything to wear shorts, but no, we have to use the stupid uniforms...that are only washed once a year. XP I hate them so badly. What's better is the fact that everyone is like "Oh my G**! You look like you just took a shower!" or "Holy crap! You smell like sweat!" It gets so annoying. Even new marchers were doing it. Even at the end of the season, they were saying things like that.

Your haunt sounds so original. Every time I hear about another secret behind the place or an effect used or a type of room, it just amazes me. I really like the concept behind your haunt. You let the real ghosts haunt, and you publicize it and make it fun!

Thanks for the advice.

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 09:52 AM
Stances, Stances, Stances? Depends on you my friend. Use your body size to your advantage, one haunt i worked had a midget, we called her Ant and she was the scariest person ever...and she could run a 6'8 fellow down and reduce him to tears. If your small be flexible be creepy. If your big be llumbering be intimidating. Just think menace and try to emenate that. Half the battle is when people see you, if people see you right off and arent intimidated/creeped out or even a little scared then its not likely you are very able to scare them. Unless your Jim Warfield...who is just cool like that.

tchaunt
02-18-2009, 03:57 PM
Of course, everyone loves Jim! He's like Haunt World's mascot. I have yet to find a thread where he hasn't posted at least once.

I'm about 5' 5-7 1/2" (don't know exactly 'cause I haven't been measured in a while). Since I don't have very much--scratch that--any scare acting experience, what would you think I could do pose wise? In other words, what could make me creepy and horrifying through most people's eyes?


Does anyone on here offer actor trainging for haunted houses?

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 04:01 PM
I do. But your far from me my friend and i cant afford a flight out. Anyway, are you thin? Or kind of heavy set, i dont ask to invade your privacy this will make it easier to determine what you can be. Because your not short, but your not tall. Your pretty average. Myself, i am about 6'5 and 190 pounds so i work the long and creepy but also intimidating. Just making my self look bigger and putting of an air of menace. It works trust me. So yeah tell me your body type and im sure i could suggest a few poses that work. Are you flexible?

tchaunt
02-18-2009, 04:10 PM
Would you be willing to record a video about acting and ship it to me for a fee? If so, how much would you want for the video?

Well, if twisting your body around 180 degrees counts, then I'm flexible. I can have my feet facing one direction, and my upper chest and head facing the other direction.

I am lighter compared to most people. Most likely, I'll appear thin-ish in costumes.

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 04:16 PM
Hmmmm video would work. But if you want video http://halloweentheatre.com/ buy from these guys. Im more of a hands on teacher and a lot of my exercises i need to be there to make sure its goin down right. These guys are excellent though. They teach some fundamentals that will help. But yeah considering your flexibility. Be a lurcher, hunch your back. Contortion yourself. Limp towards people. Drag one of your legs when you walk. Grunt, snore, growl. While walking. Then when limping burst into a sudden skip, then a run. And just be crazy. However thats what i would do. Muttering while you walk creeps people out a lot as well.

tchaunt
02-18-2009, 04:26 PM
And I think your suggestion would actually be perfect for the character I'm working on right now. I really think that would be fun.
Do you have any tips to get your vocal chords into shape to withstand the endless hours of torture? Also, do you have any tips to help you save your vocal chords: like drinking warm drinks?

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 04:32 PM
Dont drink dairy if you can help it. It tightens the vocal chords. I scream for about 10 minutes straight as long as i can hold it every night for about a month before the season starts to train. I suggest warm water to warm them up, then just normal water when your in the haunt should work. If your working in cold environtment then the warm water is a must. If not, then not so much. But once again i would stay away from the dairy.

tchaunt
02-18-2009, 04:42 PM
I've learned the hard way that dairy is not active person friendly. One time, in band camp (yes, a lot of my stories start that way), I had cereal and milk. Well, later that day, I had conditioning ( basically just working out all day preparing for the marching season). I ended up getting horribly sick. I realize it is for different reasons, but the tip reminded me of that story. XD

Anyway, thanks for the tips. I really appreciate all the help you've provided.

Dr. Giggles
02-18-2009, 04:44 PM
Yeah sure, Im here to help. Also dont talk the next day if you can help it. Just rest your voice. If you manage not to talk for a whole day after screaming your lungs out you probably will be able to do it again.

tchaunt
02-18-2009, 04:49 PM
Oh crap. I was planning on Scare acting on Saturday and then going to church the next day. Then again, I may get kicked out of church if I start a haunt. Oh well. I don't see anything wrong with haunts so I won't worry about it. At the same time, I won't be that busy most of the ime, so I may just run on Friday nights for my first year.

Haunting Copy
03-09-2009, 06:02 AM
And you dont need to know someoens name to make them cry. . . Its all in yoru demeanor. My and my acting brother. Both in no shoes stand 6'2 and 6'3 so add boots we are pretty tall. About 6'5. Then add clown costumes, and he has a saw (Which half the time he doesnt even have to start) we just stand there meancingly we and a quarter of the people just refuse to enter. Its all in your body and voice, and facial. Learn a stance that intimidates, one that makes people wary of approaching you.

I can *so* vouch for this. When I went to House of Torment in Austin, one of the most memorable moments for me was entering a room (an "abandoned" butcher shop) and finding a guy standing directly in front of the door - the door through which I needed to exit!

I remember thinking, "Heh. WTF am I going to do?" I looked around at my friend, hoping for an answer, and all she did was shrink farther behind me. (Gee, thanks!)

What made it great, too, was that the guy did not move. Not for several seconds, anyway. It was disturbing!!

Those few seconds were so memorable to me, I think, because it was "me against him." It was like he was daring me. "So whatcha gonna do 'bout it?" And honestly, I had no clue!

I'll never forget that room, or the short time I spent in it. That's saying a lot, considering what an amazing haunt House of Torments is.

Sarah

mbudenske
03-16-2009, 09:41 PM
Combine fund raising with getting stuff for the haunt. Have a huge garage sale (or two) in the summer. Get free advertising in the local papers. Put in notices about collecting stuff for sale and then put in ads for the sale.

You need a place to store your stuff while you collect it for the sale. (back yard with some tarps would work). When people call, have them deliver their stuff to you.

My experience is that the people giving away their garage sale left overs don't care why you are collecting. They are just grateful that someone will take the stuff.

Don't worry that you will get only junk.

In our small town there can be as many as 80 garage sales in one weekend. Lots of those guys don't get much traffic. Some are way too overpriced and have a lot of left overs. Some people won't even bother wtih a sale. When they figure out how much work it is they will just gie it to you.

Lots of info on how to have a profitable sale on line.

The nice side benefit is that you will get things that can be used as props in your haunt. Old tables, lamps, pictures. Lots of stuff you can "age" and "decorate."

NightstalkerEntertainment
04-11-2009, 06:44 PM
Designing/Building/Opening a haunt takes alot of time and money..Alot of both but more so, time. You must truly be able to dedicate yourself to making it happen, and it will. I would suggest going for a haunted trail to begin with as oppose to the haunted house. A trail is a good way to start off in the industry if your money/time/work consumed.

tchaunt
04-12-2009, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the reply Night. Now that I know even more about this industry, I have realized I'll be lucky to even have a one-room haunt my first year with all of the codes that you have to follow. One thing that I think would be hard to do would be getting everything set-up and put back into storage each night. I was thinking maybe I can completely empty out my garage and set-up a "donation" haunt in it. In other words, tell people that it's free, but say that donations are more than welcome. I don't know what the "proper" name would be, but I think what I said makes sense.

Which leads me to another question:
When setting up a "haunt" in the style I just described, do you think it would be worth paying for advertising? Or would it be better to just stick to having fliers and word-of-mouth?

FablesStudios
04-28-2009, 01:08 PM
I was in NY a ocuple months ago and there was a comedy group walking around in santa outifts handing out fliers for the show. People were drawn to these people and they made it on the news that day. I plan on doing somthing like that for the haunt but with people in costumes. (Cost fliers)

Advertise on myspace/facebook. (free)
Schools. Have an art class design a room. (free)

You can have a school weekend. Where a % of the ticket sales would go to the art class at the school. Around here there are lots of schools and lots of kids. Schools will hand out fliers for you. Its a "WIN WIN" for everyone.

Keep up your haunt.

Peter
FS

www.myspace.com/fablesstudiosllc
www.FablesStudios.com