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Thread: Estimitated cost of a 3600sf haunt?

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  1. Default Estimitated cost of a 3600sf haunt? 
    #1
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    Sep 2007
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    Estimated cost of a 3600sf haunt?

    For about five years I have debated on starting a haunt and it looks like I am getting closer. I have been researching a lot over the years but wanted some advice from the pros. We are starting our business plan and need some help.

    I was lucky enough to acquire two 3600sf tents free of charge to use from a friend in the furniture business.
    I was going to use one for the haunt and the other for queue line and ticket area. He has one a little smaller we can use also. We are planning on setting up in a parking lot of a large shopping center or mall. I am trying to setup a meeting with the FM to make sure we can avoid the sprinkler system.

    My general question is what would be a estimate for this size attraction. I know that all depends on what goes in the haunt itself. We are looking to charge around the $10.00 to $15.00 range so with that what would we need to spend to justify that charge? Keep in mind that this is a brand new start up haunt and we are building from the ground up. We are thinking around 15 to 20 rooms/scenes of nice quality show.


    We are not going to do an outside fašade other than some banners and such the first year. We are going the “Hollywood Horror” or “Circus, Carnival” theme to keep from doing a fašade. Might consider doing a fašade next year if we think it is justified. We have bought the domain www.thehollywoodhorrorshow.com

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     

  2. Default  
    #2
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    Aug 2003
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    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
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    Do you have anything to fill the tent with? Have you and your partner been making walls, props?
    Your posts makes it seem as if you don't have anything ready yet to occupy the inside ?
    Most common advice is to plan and build for a couple of years, work in another established haunt to learn more basics. Maybe you have already done these things or maybe you don't feel that you need to, you might be correct?
    When I was trying to get started many locals had tons of advice for me but no phone numbers of any experts that I could call.
    Running a large haunt calls for organizational skills, people handling experience.
    With just a black Magic marker you can give yourself a very cheap "Hitler" moustache so everyone realizes that you are the boss, after that everything falls into place, the Seudanten land, Poland, France...
     

  3. Default Couple of things... 
    #3
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    Feb 2008
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    1. You dont seem to have anything yet as far as props,walls,decorations actors, even a set theam ect.
    2. You already have a price in mind of 10 to 15 bucks.
    Let me give you my two cents. First check out local fire codes building codes ect that may make your mind up real fast. Now if that dont scare you and you still want to do this then you need to sit down and come up with a theam. Then you need to get on HauntWorld, ebay, Haunted Attractions any sight where you can pick up props and ideas as you seem to be on limited budget. If you have some extra funds go straight to Unit70, Distortions, Oak Island, Gore Galore, ScareFactory and many many more they will be willing to work with you always the more you buy the more you can save. However be ready to pay a deposit and the remainder before shipping. So know how much you can spend. Myself I am not a big fan of Haunt Tents but hey you got to start somewhere and the idea of tent and circus just seems to fit the mood. Dont skimp on your outside a tent and banner may only look like a car or furniture store or swap meet sale to some. Let them know your a haunted attraction make the outside look as good as the inside!!!!! With that in mind dont forget the net,radio,tv,posters or any other additional forum of advertizement. You got to get the word out and the tent alone is not gonna do it. Now if you got the place, theam, decore,advertizment in place what about actors? You know they are needed. You may want to try a charity that will work for a donation if you cant pay actors this is very important to start looking now not after you open.. This may be the best way to go your first year. Finally after all this then make a decision on price. You may need to drop it. I mean you might get 10 or 15 bucks but rip them once and they wont be back. Give them a cheaper price and they will give you another chance next year. Basically if you got 100,000 to spend then you might can get the 15.00 if you have 15,000 to budget then you might look at the 5 to 7 dollar range. I have over 350,000 in mine and change 13.50. Well hope this helpes you some.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Thanks for all the responses. Let me clarify a few things that have been asked. No we do not have anything at all like a wall system or any props. My partner and I both are handy and can build stuff on our own. We are in the construction business and have access to people to do things we cant, like electrical work. Years ago I used to work in a semi/pro type haunt a Church group put on. I am a pretty sharp guy and have done my research about the haunt industry. I have talked with a FM last year all the way up to the State level about things. I have been gathering info for about five years now. I don’t jump into a business head first and then fail. If I do something I want to do it right and be successful at it. We are both business people and have managment,organizational, and people skills.

    I never said I had a budget…But everyone has a budget to some degree. I want to design a nice haunt but keep the cost down. That is general business sense. Lower the cost the more profitable you are. We live in a small area and want a good reputation from the start. I want to be able to have a solid haunt the first year out and be able to expand the following year.

    I was told last year by an haunt industry insider "expert" to look at spending around $25.00 a sf for everything including props and construction. This seemed cheap to me but I am not sure. I know props can get expensive but I know based on my research you can save by buying used. I plan on using more actors than trying to use animatronics and such.

    Any more help would be great and thanks for the info so far. “Dang newbies” LOL
    Last edited by RJT; 04-06-2008 at 10:50 AM.
     

  5. Default Lots of variables here 
    #5
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    The price per square foot will depend on a lot of things. Do you plan on having a lot of actors or a lot of animatronics? The actors work cheaper, but that depends on how long you will be open. Are you looking at the whole month of October, or just Halloween weekend? Back to the actor/animatronic thing, do you want to be mostly scary or mostly entertaining? Someone jumping out of a dark corner is scary a few times and a cheap way to go, but then you need to fill the rest of the haunt and that's where you need to get creative and start spending some money.

    I think your downplaying of the facade could turn out to be a big mistake. Some people do judge a book by its cover, and you want to set the mood before your customers ever get inside. A convincing facade might be your biggest bang for the buck in the whole deal.

    I think a theme is very important and something you should decide on as soon as possible. The circus seems like a natural and would explain the tents. Read this month's HauntWorld magazine for some thoughts by those who set up portable haunts. One of the points made was that setting up inside a mall or tent makes it harder to convince those attending that they are in a conventional haunted house, but by working everything right it can be even more successful than a regular old house.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
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    Nov 2007
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    $25sqft!!, $90k for props and construction alone?!? That figure sound very, very, high for an outdoor tent attraction, even for an indoor attraction that sounds pretty high.

    Like Shawn said, there are lots of other things to consider. The type of market you are in is huge. There is only one other pro-haunt in my area, and I'm going to try to get away with spending around $50,000 to start an indoor attraction. I know that sounds low. But the other haunt in my area was in their first year and they made money with what I thought was a not so great haunt. They spent practically nothing on marketing, one newspaper add.

    So, theres lots of other variables, but I would definetly say you could deliver a quality event for much less than 90k.
     

  7. Default  
    #7
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    Sep 2007
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    Thanks for the response... I am learning more and more everyday. As far as the facade I was planning on doing some black banners and some other things (props) on the outside of the white tent. I may reconsider doing more of a facade but not sure as of yet.

    I was wanting to go with a Hollywood theme and also thought that would help get past the tent thing. My idea is to do the whole Hollywood theme (Freddy,Jason,Scream, etc.) I know I will have to be very careful with intellectual property rights but think we can pull it off legally ok. I think the whole Hollywood thing is a great marketing theme that will bring customers in. It will look kind of like a BIG Hollywood production come to town thing. That is why I bought the domain www.thehollywoodhorrorshow.com

    The Circus theme is not totally out but am leaning towards the Hollywood theme mostly.

    I am wanting to use actors mostly with only a few animatronics. It is more cost effective and I am not a big fan of animatronics. In my opinion the haunt industry as become to dependent on them and take away from the haunt experience if used to much in a haunt. They look neat but are not really scary IMHO.

    Room designs would be something like this but not in this order.


    Room 1: Elm Street Freddie
    Room 2: Friday 13th Jason
    Room 3: Frankenstein
    Room 4: Dracula
    Room 5: Werewolf
    Room 6: Psycho
    Room 7: Exorcist
    Room 8: Halloween Michael Myers
    Room 9: Tombstone
    Room 10: Dawn of the Dead Zombie
    Room 11: Fear of Clowns
    Room 12: Deadly Spawn
    Room 13: Chucky
    Room 14: Shining
    Room 15: Children of the Corn
    Room 16: Texas Chain Saw Massacre
    Room 17:Poultergiets
    Room 18: Scream
    Room 19: Amityville
    Room 20: The Boogeyman
    Room 21: Silence of the Lambs
    Room 22: Hellraiser
     

  8. Default  
    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan24 View Post
    $25sqft!!, $90k for props and construction alone?!? That figure sound very, very, high for an outdoor tent attraction, even for an indoor attraction that sounds pretty high.

    Like Shawn said, there are lots of other things to consider. The type of market you are in is huge. There is only one other pro-haunt in my area, and I'm going to try to get away with spending around $50,000 to start an indoor attraction. I know that sounds low. But the other haunt in my area was in their first year and they made money with what I thought was a not so great haunt. They spent practically nothing on marketing, one newspaper add.

    So, theres lots of other variables, but I would definetly say you could deliver a quality event for much less than 90k.
    Jordon I thought the same thing. I thought that was a little high but I was talking to a "consultant" that I am sure was padding the cost to cover his fees if we hired him to do it. I was thinking between 50k and 75k. I am going to do TV, road signs, discount cupons at all the surronding middle and high schools, (maybe radio.) I was going to offer each school a special night with a discount. Like Monday would be for Central High and middle School with $2.00 off Tuesday would be East High and middle School, etc. Just drop them off at the local office and let the Home room teachers hand them out. Partner up with local resturants to hand out discount cupons and hang a sign also etc. My idea is to charge around $12 to $14 but hand out a bunch of $2.00 off cupons. Thought about even doing a "free drink and popcorn" with a VIP pass on a off night like Mondays that would get you faster through the line.
     

  9. Default  
    #9
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    I don't mean to criticize but I think you might be selling yourself short by sticking to iconic characters and hollywood theming.
    I think you can do so much more and NO you will not be able to get away with STEALING licensed characters. It is very difficult for Haunted Houses to stay under the radar these days. Especially if you are properly marketing your event.
    Plus I find that these type of events keep your ideas limited.
    Nor allow you to develop creative, evolving, and involving attractions.

    I feel the best events come from a developed storyline and EVERY room stems from that theme.
    It is more involving for your patrons and more believeable so it can be seriously scary for your customers.

    Furthermore, most people who come into this industry for the first time shoot for this same type of design. And don't last long because of it.
    You want to make your customers think it could be real. And that type of planning always pays off.

    I wish you luck and the more questions you ask the more information you will receive.
     

  10. Default Relevant thread 
    #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    1,034
    I just came across this thread while looking for something else that might help you:

    http://hauntworld.com/haunted_house_...ghlight=pirate

    Your theme idea does sound like a good one. Do you know anyone who could design some original looking movie posters, either on computer or simpler ones that are painted? These would look great hanging up as people are walking in and could be part of the facade itself.

    You have also come up with some good ideas for promotion, which can be even more important than an effective haunt (or at least equal). You wouldn't want to build the scariest, most entertaining attraction ever and then have no one show up. But I have heard of lots of people in that same boat. I have also hraed about many who didn't put on the best show but had lines of people all month.
     

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