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Thread: how do you own a haunt legally?

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  1. Default how do you own a haunt legally? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    21
    Wouldn't it be a disturbance to the neighbourhood to host a home haunt? Is there any other insurrance that would have to be paid?

    ...Pretty much what are the things that needs to be covered before opening a home haunt to the public?
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,027
    So much depends on your town and your neighbors. Every single situation is different. If you will do a search on here, you will find some of the problems people have had over the years.

    Here is an extreme example: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/liv...ted.house.knxv

    I say extreme because these guys wanted to charge admission and hold it in in a gated community. That is about as big a no-no as you can get.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Waverly, Iowa
    Posts
    657
    We've been doing our home haunt for four years and have yet to get a complaint. But as Shawn said, it depends on your situation. We were just lucky enough to move into the right neighborhood.

    And as far as insurance, we slide under the radar as we are strictly a donations only haunt. We do not charge people to go through the haunted house. If we were to charge, that opens up a big can of worms dealing with fire codes, emergency lighting, insurance, etc.

    However, for 2009 we are going to go to the city and take the correct procedures so we can actually charge to go through the haunted house. I want everything safe and up to code so we don't get any surprises... Like the one in the story above.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4
    If you want a haunt that you want to profit off of then I'd rent out a center to host the event. My haunt is only through the front and back yard. When you do it at your home everything you own could be at stake and it's not worth it. I love halloween don't get me wrong but paying large fines aint worth it.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    11
    In general the issue isn't whether you charge or not or whether you accept donations. You are probably just flying below the radar.

    Most state laws provide that if someone comes to your haunt as a volunteer (they are volunteering to come and be scared) they are assuming some of the risk for their participation. However that doesn't get you off the hook for something that is inherrently dangerous.

    Posting signs may be useful.

    Our little town didn't have a haunted house ordinance or rule in 93 when we started but that didn't stop the fire department from decending upon us to inspect (the day we wanted to open no less).

    Since then the town has an ordinance and an information sheet and a contact number. We call the inspectors (we deal with two--fire and code enforcement) when we get ready to build. show them a sketch and walk them through the various scares.

    You may be able to go on line and search city ordinances and fire codes to see what is out there in advance.

    Haunted houses may not be listed as a separate event so look for things like community events to see if there are general rules.

    One thing that I learned was that if I read the rules in advance things go better. For example the rule may say that there cannot be any exposed live electrical wires. Does that mean that you have to pull all the old wiring out and hire an electrion or can you get away with shutting off the breaker to that particular room?

    Shutting off the breaker was my choice and the fire dept went along -- but they initially wanted me to hire an electrition.
     

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