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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Well it didn't take long after the new year for the Halloween bug to bite me this year... :)

I've started planning a haunt walk-through, using the carport at the side of my house.

I'm doing a creepy/haunted shack using the Evil Dead cabin, and yardhauntjunkie's facade here as inspiration.

The carport provides me with existing structure to attach the facade and interior walls etc to, and at 37 feet long it's a good size. The issue I have is it's quite narrow - only 8 feet wide.

The carport leads into our backyard, and there's no other way for people to exit except back through the carport.

So my question, to those who've done their own walk through or have seen plenty of them, is:

Do I need to create a dedicated "exit" lane? Or is it OK for people to have to walk back out the way they came through the haunt?


I can see a situation where people milling around inside will cause a traffic jam, so those wanting to leave, can't. And then of course with the congestion there is the potential for people to bump into each other, fall over and hurt themselves, or even worse break one of my props... ;)

This is my first attempt at really going "big" for Halloween so I'd appreciate any and all advice!

cheers,
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just to clarify since this probably seems like a pretty silly question to those of you in the northern hemisphere... I live in Australia and have never seen an actual walk-through haunt before - only on Youtube - so I'm unsure what the likely pitfalls are. :)

Given the narrow 8' space, splitting off 3' (0.8m) for an exit path means my actual haunt space will be very squeezy at just 5' (1.7m).

Halloween-Carport Walkthough 1.jpg
 

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Can you hang scary things from the ceiling in the middle of the divider wall?
You can make it seem larger if you had mirrors on some walls. I Always cover my mirrors with plexiglass,or Lexon (unbreakable)
My mirrors always scare me! "Who is that! some old Bum-psycho has broken into.. oh , it's just me!"
How much head-room is there in the area? hanging, flying displays could be hidden in darkness up high, then lit?
Hiding a scare behind a very bright light can also catch people off guard.
 

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EdgarWhelp,

I'm running into the the same limitations for my walk-thru haunt (also my first this year). Mine will be in my driveway, which is only 8-ft wide. Unfortunately, my neighbor's property line is right at the edge of my driveway -- they actually have a driveway adjacent to mine so there's no grass sward I can spill out onto. My house is on the opposite side of the drive so I'm limited to 8 ft as well.

My solution has been to make twists and turns so that it spans the full 8 ft, but I'm going to use a door at one juncture so that after people pass thru, the door will close behind them and when they loop around they actually go in a different direction though the hallway itself will be one they just walked thru. I plan on making that hallway fairly generic looking so it isn't so apparent they just walked through it.

In the second episode of my vlog, where I'm detailing my haunt build, I show my haunt plans. Not really sure how clear it is, but it shows that I'm also dealing with some narrow confines too.

 

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Yes, you must have a dedicated exit lane. As you mentioned, the congestion alone will complicate things. Also, depending on your level of 'scare', by the time people are leaving they are moving much faster coming out than going in.
Another reason for dedicated exit, safety, traffic really needs to move only one direction. Case in point, this year, as I walked through the entrance of my haunt going the direction of the traffic flow, a person running, full speed the wrong way, ran into me coming out of the dark tunnel. I was laid up for 3 days with a concussion. Thank goodness it was me that was injured, it could have been much worse. So, even with a dedicated traffic route, accidents happen, 1 lane for entrance, and 1 for exit will decrease accidents tremendously. Keep them moving forward, always. :)
I have several spaces in my haunt that are only 5 ft wide but as someone else mentioned go vertical, have scares above them and only along one wall at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you Gym, GhoulishCop and Grey Lady for the advice.

Gym, the roof is 2.2m high, so for all but the extremely tall there's room for stuff above their heads - thank you! I also hadn't considered mirrors but I think I've got a great place for one.

GhoulishCop, I watched a bunch of your videos earlier this week - they're good fun and have been very helpful. I did consider splitting the run into two equal sizes as you've done in your church plans but I'm reeeeeeally hoping to make the areas feel like "rooms" so I need as much space as possible - hence my desperate plea for someone here to talk me out of having an exit lane. :) The other issue with splitting evenly is it'll require extra walls, and timber/lumber in Australia is stupidly expensive and my budget is stupidly small.

Grey Lady, that sounds horrible!! Your haunt must be a lot more scary than I'm planning, to have someone run out like that. I've got to keep it pretty tame as Halloween is still relatively new to Australians and people don't really know what to expect. I don't want to cause any problems and end up getting complaints! But thank you for the advice - I have given up any crazy notions of not having an exit lane.

As a matter of interest, do any of you have issues with theft in your haunts and if so how do you deal with it? I'm from an IT background so my first instinct is to go for the technical solution to everything, but I'm trying to decide how far I can trust people with potentially expensive equipment?

cheers,
Ed
 

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Until this year I've always had a display, and though I live in a neighborhood that seemingly could (should?) have been subject to high rates of theft, I've never had a single incident yet. Others who live in far more domesticated suburban towns in my state have had props stolen however. Who knows?! The first year or so I put decorations out I was constantly checking because I expected hordes of kids to run off with my stuff. lol

For my walk-thru, though, virtually everything is going to be secured in some fashion, but that's more from a safety standpoint than a concern about theft. I wouldn't want something to fall and injure someone if they banged into it, particularly since I'll be operating in tight quarters like you.
 

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I'll be the first to say you MIGHT be able to get away without one.

IT DEPENDS ON HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU'RE THINKING WILL COME.

For me, the 'breaking point' was about 100 people/hour, where not having a separate exit became an issue. Before that, a simple 'out and back' walkthrough was enough to keep the people flowing and no problems. (I technically had 10' wide, not 8, but still.)

I would strongly recommend that if you decide against an exit to focus on ONE design , maybe 2 for the entire length (with a reward at the end) and really nail it rather than try to make multiple rooms. 4 rooms = 4 choke points, one door in the middle is only one. Less chance for congestion.
 

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i rebuilt your map -- this should be much more efficient

the exit can be part of the haunt

i would have Plexiglas mirrors too

also, let the peopleon one side interact with people on the other through some windows

maybe one side could scare the other with a scare station

hope this helps

Halloween-Carport Walkthough 2.jpg
 

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The long narrow exit lane could be terrifying in itself if done right.
A couple ideas......dot room......long narrow spider room with dental floss hanging rubbing against faces. Darkness with just LED candles to light the path past changing portraits.
 

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Our haunt is in our garage (22 X 24 ft). The haunt is "U" shaped, and we allow people to enter or exit from either side. At times there is a bit of congestion with people loitering in the haunt, but most move through at an appropriate pace. This year we are looking at adding 200 sq feet of temporary space for this years haunt. With the extra space, we will probably need a formal entrance and exit.
 

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Hats off for doing this!
Maybe you could more evenly divide the space between directions?
I sketched some ideas to your floor plan.
This would give more of a squeeze/release effect for the visitor as well
You would loose a little display space, but it might be more dynamic
ALSO - your middle wall would be more stable:


mAZE MOD.jpg

Just to clarify since this probably seems like a pretty silly question to those of you in the northern hemisphere... I live in Australia and have never seen an actual walk-through haunt before - only on Youtube - so I'm unsure what the likely pitfalls are. :)

Given the narrow 8' space, splitting off 3' (0.8m) for an exit path means my actual haunt space will be very squeezy at just 5' (1.7m).

View attachment 272085
 

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optionally instead of mirrors you might want to consider those mylar "space/emergency blankets" ... the reflection won't really be mirror like unless you glue them to a hard surface, but they're cheap ... they also might work as a scare with the noise they can make ... they're really easy to tear so that has to be taken into consideration

last halloween i purchased, i think it was 40 or 50 "space blankets" but didn't utilize them ... they were less than $1 each :)

btw i think that crinkling them up yields a kewl "reflection" effect ... this is kind of what i was thinking of doing and hanging them outside but i never did experiment doing that, so i'm uncertain how effective this might be ... with a slight breeze they do make an interesting/scary noise, but since they are easy to rip any substantial wind will probably tear them ... my "solution" to this would have been to bunch up one end and tie it together with fishing line or string/wire ... maybe i'll experiment with them next year

amk
 

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Have you considered moving your yard haunt to the yard where there may be more room? The 8 foot wide area is really small for the rooms and the walkway. I rearranged my yard haunt this year and my isles are 6 feet wide. My rooms are 6 feet deep and vary on width, most are 8 foot wide. The problem I had with the isles being only 3 foot was strollers, multiple people and safety. The 6 foot seems to work a lot better. I keep the props covered with lean-to structures and make them into a maze. The roof is a old billboard signs, heavy duty reinforced vinyl's screwed to a 2x4 frame. The are printed on one side and black on the other. The room sides are covered with black landscape fabric, some walls are foam panels and scene setters I can make some diagrams if you're interested. I currently have 9 rooms set up, three rows of three. I do have an entrance and traffic is one way, they exit down the sidewalk. This works for me as we get 2000+ people through the yard. The down side to my yard haunt; because of the amount of people who come to the neighborhood and my "structures" they want me to get a special event permit for Halloween next year.

If you want mirrors in your haunt have you considered carnival mirrors? http://carnivalmirror.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow thanks everyone for all the replies. I probably shouldn't reply to everyone individually here, but a couple of points:

UnOrthodOx - I'd be surprised if we see 100 people total all night! We had about 60 through last year, up from 40 the year before. I'm expecting an increase this year because of word of mouth, but more than 100 is unlikely.

Attic Hatch, I love the 'nook' with the drop panel and jump out door!! I hadn't considered it, but now the idea is in my head I'm looking at how I can add more of them! I just need to rope a few friends into helping out - my wife enjoys Halloween but I don't think it'd stretch to being an actor in the actual haunt. :)

jbaum, putting something structure-like in my front yard would get me shut down quickly. I'm actually a bit worried that the haunt I'm doing goes against council regulations but I don't want to ask for fear of tipping them off to my plans. ;)

Thank you all for your fantastic advice.

cheers,
Ed
 
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