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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm new here and figured since many of the fellow members here obviously enjoy the wicked yet exciting holiday known as Halloween & other scary things that maybe someone could give me a few pointers or suggestions of some things. The 1st thing is that i really want to create & run my own haunted house. The problem is, is that I am the only person that I know around here that really loves Halloween & enjoys haunted houses & other scary things. So if i was to create & run my own haunted house I'm afraid my help doing so would be very limited. So I am wondering if anyone would have any suggestions on what i could do to possibly make this passion of mine happen. If there is nothing i can do would someone suggest that I just create a haunt in my front yard of my house? Any ideas would be appreciated. thanks.

wAkethedeAd
 

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Well, are you talking of making and running a for-profit haunted house?

First step in that would be getting ahold of the local authorities and seeing what kind of permits and liscences you need, then weighing whether or not you believe it to be profitable.

If you're going just your house, I'ld say build it for you. Others will talk, especially in a "small town". They'll either like it or hate it, but they'll talk, and that should get people looking.

Suggestions for going it alone.

I went it alone for a good 4 years, and only have my children (10 and 6) to "help" now. My best suggestion is to start slow, pick one idea/focus, and do it REALLY WELL.

Think LONG TERM. You're not going to get there this year. Maybe not next. Maybe not even the next... It took me a good 4 years to put our original plan fully together. This is our 6th year now. And next year we might be starting over, fully aware it'll take a year or two to get the second idea up and running.

Most important, HAVE FUN.
 

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Hauntless
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If you want to 'test the waters' so-to-speak, I would spend my time on one impressive scare and see how it goes. This video is an excellent example. He set it up that he turned off the porch light, waited a few seconds and then WHAM! hit his coffin prop. He was waiting out in the yard or in the box at the bottom of the steps for a second scare. Worked EVERY time! LOL!

YouTube - Scaring Kids on Halloween

Ooops, Unorthdox beat me to it. Sorry Unortho! :)
 

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Factorial!
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To many props when your just beginning is overwhelming. If you want to do a haunted house theme start with basic things like a fog machine(s), spider webs, black lights , basic necessary props and audio. Once those are down take it slow and start filling up space with your props. The online community is very very useful. If you have questions ask here and you'll have plenty of helpful tips ideas and fixes.

(just suggestions)
 

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Bringing the Dead to Life
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I would have to agree with Terra and MLuther. Almost every successful and well-known haunter on the web started out small, with either a few lights and spider webs or one successful and well-remembered prop. Then, your fame will slowly spread. Each year, plan to add a little more to the haunt. After this year or next, you should get what we call "Obsessive Haunters Syndrome." it's a dangerous thing. All you will ever think about is halloween, and making props. Then, you can start your own free-standing haunted house, and by that time, maybe a few people will realize how cool this holiday can be, and be willing to help out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
y
wAkethedeAd, define "Small Town, Kansas" if you wouldn't mind...I, too, am in Kansas, and I know a few other haunters in the area where I live just outside Kansas City...you may not be as alone as you think. :)

-EEric
Hey EEric,
i live in Iola, KS. small town in allen county about 1 hr & half from kansas city... where abouts are u from?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks

Well, are you talking of making and running a for-profit haunted house?

First step in that would be getting ahold of the local authorities and seeing what kind of permits and liscences you need, then weighing whether or not you believe it to be profitable.

If you're going just your house, I'ld say build it for you. Others will talk, especially in a "small town". They'll either like it or hate it, but they'll talk, and that should get people looking.

Suggestions for going it alone.

I went it alone for a good 4 years, and only have my children (10 and 6) to "help" now. My best suggestion is to start slow, pick one idea/focus, and do it REALLY WELL.

Think LONG TERM. You're not going to get there this year. Maybe not next. Maybe not even the next... It took me a good 4 years to put our original plan fully together. This is our 6th year now. And next year we might be starting over, fully aware it'll take a year or two to get the second idea up and running.

Most important, HAVE FUN.
Hey UnOrthodOx,
i'm thinking profitable sometime in the future. maybe start out as non-profitable for a couple years. I know i have a long road to get to where i want it to be, just trying to decide where to start is the hard thing. & i realize when i get started i need to start simple & easy. I really appreciate your time & ideas you've given me. Thanks alot.

wAkethedeAd
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks

Thanks alot to everyone for all of your advice on everything. All of it really helps me on getting an idea on getting started. I really appreciate it and any other useful tips or advice will as well be helpful and appreciated. again thanks.

wAkethedeAd
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Starting out, play to your strengths - if you're artistic, work on projects that use those skills like custom tombstones, paper maché or creepy facades. Electronics or mechanical whiz? Check out projects like grave poppers, flying crank ghosts or trashcan pop-ups...

Once you get the idea of how you want to proceed with your home haunt, you'll be able to see what works for you... and what works for your patrons.

Like the others said, if you build it, you'll probably find others that enjoy Halloween haunts and maybe get some volunteers...

Have fun and good luck.
:)
 

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Scared Silly
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I wouldn't even go for a haunted house your first year. Start with a yard haunt/lawn display to showcase a few well made props this year, see what works for you, and expand into a walkthrough in the future.
Take it one thing at a time-- I know people (myself included) who bit off more than they could chew and were disappointed in the end result.
Hunt around on the forums, hauntproject.com, and halloweenmonsterlist.info to find some (maybe 3-6) things you're interested in making, and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank You

I'd like to thank all of you who have taken the time to give me all the great advice, tips & tricks you have given me. I appreciate the knowledge you have all shared & I expect i'll hear more great advice & suggestions soon. I'll say this is a great site for people who really care & enjoy the spooky holiday. thanks again

wAkethedeAd
 

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wAkethedeAd, when you've finally gone through all of the pre work that everyone has already given you,the permits,ect. it'll be time to drum up the support, look to the young teens in you neighborhood, get them involved with the planning and building of the whole experience. They'll become very excited and spread the word around the rest of the town through thier friends at school. Believe in yourself and your dream, and you can do anything that you set you mind to, most of all come here and ask the questions that you may think are the dumb questions becuase we've all asked those dumb questions at one point or another. No-one here will judge you, just help.:D
 

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If I didn't have to worry about money, I would spend my days building a haunted house. But because I have a wife, child, and a mortgage I have settled for the next step down. At least for now!

Each year my haunt gets a little bigger, and beyond the few hours I get my wife to help in october it has been a solo project. This year I plan to create a walk through around the house, and have been building props since october. Because my work shop is filled with various stages of props I like to drag friends and family down to look at them. I also give them updates. Just by sharing this, I have gotten strong commitments from 3 friends to help me this year.

So in short, "Build it and they will come." I think the majority just don't get into the holiday as much as we do, but if you can show them what you have been up to, I think it can spark some interest!

Alternatively, if you want to go all out. I would probably suggest looking to your community. There are so many organizations that would love to hear about a haunted house fund raiser.
 

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If you want to 'test the waters' so-to-speak, I would spend my time on one impressive scare and see how it goes. This video is an excellent example. He set it up that he turned off the porch light, waited a few seconds and them WHAM! hit his coffin prop. He was waiting out in the yard or in the box at the bottom of the steps for a second scare. Worked EVERY time! LOL!

YouTube - Scaring Kids on Halloween

Ooops, Unorthdox beat me to it. Sorry Unortho! :)
OMG! I laughed so hard watching this! Thank you, Terra! You made my day!
 

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Don't Drink and Fly!!
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That video that Terra posted is a fabulous example. Even if you put some spooky decor on the porch with fog and creepy lighting, maybe a boombox with a sound effects CD or mood music, and then you dress as a witch, or monster, and sit in a chair with the bowl of candy on your lap, a sign that says "help yourself"and as the TOTers come up, move or talk...my husband did a variation on that one year and set up a display in front of the house, you know, your basic bales of hay, potted mums, pumpkins, scarecrow. But on Halloween night he got into the scarecrow clothes. The neighborhood kids were used to seeing it there, and walked right past it. On their way back down the sidewalk is when he would jump up. You could hear them screaming all over the block!!:D

Welcome to the forum, and have fun!!!
 

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Shadow box dancer
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That video that Terra posted is a fabulous example. Even if you put some spooky decor on the porch with fog and creepy lighting, maybe a boombox with a sound effects CD or mood music, and then you dress as a witch, or monster, and sit in a chair with the bowl of candy on your lap, a sign that says "help yourself"and as the TOTers come up, move or talk...my husband did a variation on that one year and set up a display in front of the house, you know, your basic bales of hay, potted mums, pumpkins, scarecrow. But on Halloween night he got into the scarecrow clothes. The neighborhood kids were used to seeing it there, and walked right past it. On their way back down the sidewalk is when he would jump up. You could hear them screaming all over the block!!:D

Welcome to the forum, and have fun!!!
I had a very similar set up to the hay bale the first year I haunted. That is cool. I had always been a "character" in our yard haunt so the TOT's knew to look out for something. The 5th or 6th year I did something so outrageous that not a single TOT or parent knew that I was one of the props. They would actually knock on the door and complain that there wasn't someone there to scare them that year. I got EVERY single person. TOTs and parents. Not a single person left there without at least being shocked. It was so effective that I won't ever use real actors again. One girl literally peed her pants and I couldn't live with myself knowing that might happen again. So you kind of have to be careful with what you do.
 

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When you have several life size props in your haunt, it's very easy for a character to blend into the surroundings. We've always been really big into creepy pumpkin creatures for our haunt. So I dressed as a scarecrow with a burlap costume and pumpkin mask. My avatar pic is actually a picture of me in costume. I would either lean up against a tree or stand very still in the cemetery and wait for the TOT's to come. Half the time I wouldn't even have to jump or scream at them. When I was standing I would just slowly turn my head and follow their movement and stare at them, never saying a word. They couldn't figure out if I was real or not. Then when they walked back, I would suddenly move toward them. They would scream and run every time. I would only do this for the older kids. If there were little ones, I wouldn't move. The "tough" preteen boys were the best to scare.
 
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