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Thread: "Daddy I'm scared...I want out" What do you do AND NOT DO in the haunt

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  1. Default "Daddy I'm scared...I want out" What do you do AND NOT DO in the haunt 
    #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    598
    Another thread about childrens price of tickets prompted this thread. But I thought it should be seen by all so we never have to deal with bad issues. Every night we get kids "I'm too scared" after they get part way in. We actually recommend no one under age 12. (yeah I know I am cutting off potential customers...but I have a non haunted event as well) But back to main topic here, what to do when this happens.

    We tell people who do take kids through that they can not carry kids. "You do not want to fall when you are scared because you have a child in your arms". We sometimes have to remind them after little Susy gets scared and wants to be carried. NEVER have an actor carry a child out either. Unless you want to deal later with "He touched my bottom"; think of how carrying a child positions your arms and hands...NOT GOOD!!!! If I escort a scared child out I want an adult or at least a sibling who is at least middle school to come with me so there would never be later "My child was alone with them". Being outside; an actor who finds a child freaking out at about station 4 or 5 (we gradually tone up the intensity); can easily take the family off to the side and let other groups pass by until a security officer is radioed. Usually it is me who shows up. I explain that I am the owner and design this place. I can escort the scared child (and yes many times it is a college student freaking out) and someone else along the trail with a flashlight and my actors know that means "DO NOT ATTACK". I have time to explain to the child that everyone they see is just "in halloween masks like they use to go trick or treating" (Being outside away from narrow hallways and spread out over a 1/3 mile trail makes this easier than inside a haunt room where it would ruin the mood for groups coming behind...so I can take my time) And oh yes...I answer a LOT of questions during this time...how I make the trails where do I get the props. But that is OK. I am conversing with parents who just had the crap scared out of their child who are thinking they are bad parents for doing this to their child...NO JOKE. Wicked Farmer weaves his magic with the parents and the scared child. The family is told that SUSAN (use the childs name...it helps the child I believe) and Mommy will go on ahead in front of them and the trick or treat masks ahead will stay away from us (Dont say monsters..... but say trick or treat masks) Then use judgement as you go based on how child is responding as you pass actors...Let them know who is ahead.

    Have animatronics function, and even let them see other groups get scared or jump. This shows the child they have nothing to be ashamed of from being scared, everyone jumps. Last year I did this at the Distortions Shock Therapy (upside down Frankenstein that runs out at you) I chose that spot because EVERY group had someone flinch or jump back at that spot. Usually there is a spot at end of the trail where they can then "help scare Daddy and brothers". A free glow necklace or drink goes a long way. So 10 year old Susan was crying her eyes out wanting to go home. Mom felt bad for bringing her there and taking her through a scary place. Now they are happy. They got a lot of personal attention, learned about the haunt, got to pose for a quick pic with the werewolf, scare Daddy, high five the clown and got a glow necklace that cost you 30 cents. Mom and Dad are now telling their friends where to go for a great time. AND THEY DO tell others how you took care of Susan and how the owner is such a nice man.

    Wicked Farmer
     

  2. Default Right on Wicked 
    #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    377
    Good post Wicked. And great advice about actors carrying young ones out!Never never never! I tell my younger actors not to even touch them as they go through. We dont want any accusations of groping. Its bad enough we have to chaperone the teenage actors in the woods!

    We usually don't have young ones going through by themselves. They are always with an adult, but when it gets too hairy for them we have side exits they can get out through. We had one last year I honestly felt bad for, because the kid kept yelling at his Dad how terrible he was for making him go through the haunt. Poor Dad ..... he was pretty ashamed because the kid yelled at hime all the way to the parking lot!

    I had a young girl that did not want to go through, and her family finally talked her into it. It scared the day lights out of her, so when she came out I did the necklace thing ....... her trohpy for making it through braver than her siblings.

    I am not sure what to do with the teenage and college guys .... I mean come on guys. Man up already! LOL It seems we had more screaming guys going through than we did girls. A few we had to pick up off the floor!
    Travis "Big T" Russell
    President
    Big T Productions Inc

    Owner and Operator of "The Plague" and "Camp Nightmare"

    Customer Quote of the year: "Damn, I pissed myself"
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    215
    Here's my take on kids and haunts. I'm not there parents, haunts are scary and if you want to bring your 6 or 7yr old to my haunt and spend $30 to do it, have at it. I think your a dumb ass parent but i'm not going to tell you no, i'm just going to tell them what to except. Then it's up to them, and when they come out after 3 1/2 min's and they say this is to scary for my kid I say hummm really? Who would of guessed. Sorry no refunds
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Near Charlotte NC
    Posts
    1,019
    I am against traumatizing small children as they tend to grow up avoiding scary things and then never set foot in your haunted attraction when they reach the age of your target demographics. My youngest daughter was nearly at that point at HC a couple year ago while looking at a particular vendor booth's prop. I had to introduce her to the owner and they showed her exactly how the prop worked and what made it scary. Once she understood how it worked, she was OK.

    I teach actors various ways to handle this situation, personally, I reverse the tables and act scared of the children. Once they realize they are 'in control' they tend to ham it up and the fear leaves them. I've had many parents come up to me afterwards thanking me for what I do with their kids in helping them overcome their fears. This works very well in queues.

    But I still don't take my kids to haunts because I don't think they can handle it...yet.
     

  5. Default videos? 
    #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    31
    Does anyone offer behind the scenes videos on Youtube?

    I know that it's a thing now among some parents that, when your kid gets scared of something (like a movie or tv show), you look it up on Youtube and show them the behind the scenes of the actors and whatever. It helps the kids see that it's not real.

    I was just wondering if it would be worth it to post a behind the scenes video on Youtube and make it available to patrons? Maybe pass out the URL on business cards or post it to your facebook? Then, the scaredy cats who aren't sure they want to come but are being pressured by their friends can check it out and take the edge off their fear. And the people who are having nightmares over what they saw can check it out and sleep again.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Traverse City, Michigan
    Posts
    123
    the problem is I'm too nice...I can't bring myself to further scare a child who's already bawling their eyes out...

    However...nothings more fun than coming up beside the kid and whisper "wanna see daddy cry?" and find a way to traumatize the jerk out of his mind!

    (not to mention, then I don't have to give a refund!)
     

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