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    7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2007 8:11 PM by LUCKIEST

    Halloween, Next Year

    LUCKIEST Guide
      *I am looking into starting out in the haunted attraction
      industry. I have been researching this business and what to get my foot in the
      door of the haunting world. I love Halloween and have been a home haunter for
      about 6 years. Haunting is becoming a big passion of mine and I want it to grow even
      bigger. I know that a lot goes into an event such as this, but I am young and
      full of ambition.*
      • I have been advertising
      on MySpace.com for over a year now, getting the word out that there is a new
      haunt coming to town. My problem is I have little to no money to start a
      haunted house. I have researched grants, bank loans, and other means of funds.
      However I know for a fact that I will not be able to get a bank loan. I have no
      collateral to cover a haunt even as a smaller type haunt.*
      • Anyway, I was hoping that you could help me find my way into this business for
      the fall of next year.*
      • Thanks*
        • Re: Halloween, Next Year
          CorpCons08 Ranger
          Where are they located?
          Are they planning on purchasing an area to build this attraction?
          Why are the limiting it only to Halloween?
          How much money do they need?
          Are there any business partners?

          CorpCons08
          • Re: Halloween, Next Year
            Lighthouse24 Ranger
            LUCKIEST,

            "Do you have a business plan? Anyone who is considering a new business should first develop a Business and Marketing Plan. SCORE helps people in business FREE. SCORE will help you figure out what you need to succeed. You can visit SCORE online or in person."

             

            (If you're new to this forum, you won't get the joke.)
              • Re: Halloween, Next Year
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Lighthouse, You got both a "Helpful Answer and a Correct Answer". Fantastic
                And you prove that you also have a sense of humor.
                Thanks again, LUCKIEST
                  • Re: Halloween, Next Year
                    frazzle Wayfarer
                    Alright, this is right up my alley.
                    Haunted Houses are a make or break venture. I know handfuls of people who drive by a haunted house, see a line of people waiting outside and quickly do the following math equation...
                    If 500 people go through each night, and admission is $10, that's $5000.00 a night. And if it's open the month of October, that's 31 days which equals $155,000!!!
                    Yup, sounds great. Easy money, right? Lots of people think that, but in reality, there's a whole can of worms to consider.

                    Luckiest, I'm not trying to discourage you, in fact, I hope you do open one. I love haunted houses, but here are some things to consider when putting it together.

                    Employees (known in the haunt industry as Scareactors). You'll need to pay them, most likely. Most Scareactors love to scare people, but they love getting paid just as much.

                    Insurance, both for your employees and for the property. This can get pretty hefty as far as costs go.

                    Props: A good haunted house has a nice mix of live actors and animatronics. While you may not need to pay an animated prop a salary, the initial investment to buy it will be fair to considerable. Price range can be a few hundred dollars to thousands. You mentioned you're a home haunter, so you're probably aware of making your own props. There are quite a few websites to goto for DIY prop building, including www.hauntforum.com and the granddaddy www.halloweenmonsterlist.info. Building your own will help cut corners, so long as they're durable enough to work for 6+ hours a night for a month straight.

                    Many haunted houses open in September and run through Halloween, but most are only open select nights each week, such as Thur. to Sunday, so the 500 patrons a night x 31 days is misleading. And to expect 500 on weeknights may be a reach depending on where the haunted house is located, which leads me to the next point...

                    The golden rule of real estate: location, Location, LOCATION!!! Good parking is a big plus. People don't want to walk 5 blocks through a bad neighborhood to reach the haunted house. Have parking close.

                    Pick a theme and stick with it. Home haunts may get away with having pirates and serial killers side by side, but most accomplished haunts have a theme, either an insane asylum, evil carnival with killer clowns or something else, and the theme is throughout the haunt. If the theme is "Dracula's Curse", than vampires, coffins and graveyards will be the general expectation. Don't throw aliens in there somewhere just because you like aliens. It won't go with the theme and it'll leave your patrons scratching their heads.

                    Cross promote for extra cash: Have a special where the customer saves X-amount of money if they buy an admission ticket and a t-shirt together. Sure, they feel good about saving a buck or two, but you're making bucks too.

                    OH, and don't underestimate on-line ticketing. Getting people to buy their tickets on-line is great, because you get the money up front and it makes it convenient for the as well.

                    Check out http://www.hauntedattraction.com, it's geared to the dark amusement industry.

                    Man, I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. Like I said, I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just know there's a lot involved. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
                • Re: Halloween, Next Year
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  Seriously, two ideas to consider:

                   


                  Form (or partner with) a non-residential real estate management firm. I've seen this work twice. The firm provided free management services to a building owner in exchange for use of a large warehouse that was vacant. The neighborhood had several pieces of empty commercial property, so it was already pretty scary after dark. The other business tenants in the neighborhood welcomed the late night traffic of a haunted house, as it reduced vandalism and helped revitalize a declining area by bringing people to neighboring businesses (cafes, arcades, bars, etc.) that they would have never visited otherwise.

                   


                  Partner with a non-profit, ideally one connected to local law enforcement. The examples above also joined with the Crimestoppers and DARE programs, agreeing to donate a substantial share of the profits to the partner organization. That gave them access to establish channels for reaching kids, not to mention free media advertising. If also brought in volunteers (all police officers) to work the house and surrounding areas each night. In fact, these were so successful in their respective locations that two more sprang up in the same town a few years later. Both of those were also affiliated with non-profits -- the Boy Scouts and the local Blood Bank (and you can imagine how they worked THAT angle!)

                   


                  Now that I think about it, the Blood Bank sponsored house was held in an empty store inside a shopping mall (great location and use of the space was donated by the owner) -- so that's another idea. There is always empty store space in a mall somewhere, and again, more traffic means more shoppers -- so you get lots of cooperation!

                   

                  Okay, that was THREE ideas, but they still didn't cost you anything. Hope they helped.
                    • Re: Halloween, Next Year
                      CorpCons08 Ranger
                      I like your ideas, they were very well thought out.

                      I was curious if this guy planned on running this longer than just Halloween.
                      Like the haunted houses and places in locations such as Lake George, NY.
                      They run throughout the year and make money year long.
                      If this guy has a passion about this, he might think of doing something like that.
                    • Re: Halloween, Next Year
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      Thanks for all your answers