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The first question, 'how many of you thought, that because Halloween was going to be on Saturday they would have one of the best turnouts ever ? I did, without question, with the number of cars that came by while I was setting up, the number of questions I was ask by those who stopped by and watched as I set up, I thought, 'the turn out is going to be huge this year'. NOPE. I'm sure as many of you were getting ready for Halloween, people were watching, little kids too, right ? Several of my neighbors said, "I'm calling the local station to tell them they should get out here and check out your haunt, it's the best". I actually know that phone calls were made by my friends, and they told me, that they told these local stations, to come out and check the cemetery out. NOPE.
Four weeks of setting up, testing, check for problems, the anticipation grew. Everything worked great, we were ready. NOPE. Within the first hour my new cemetery creep died. My ground breaker stopped working. The wind began to blow, so fog machines were useless. We were hoping for 500, we got a little over 300. To many of you the number is big, to us, well under what we had last year. Depressed, "YES". All the work, the thought of a local station showing up so we could show off. 'NOPE'.
So again, I ask, are you bummed about the weekend, or just shrug it off and say lets move on. Maybe an overreaction but when you work through the entire year and want it to be the best, maybe I need to tone it back some and not expect a home run each year. Maybe I need to retire, because I have been doing this for over 20 years.
Let me know your thoughts, just curious but this is the first time I've posted since October 31st. I was actually burned out. Were your expectations dashed? DSC09564.jpg
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Well, I coulda told ya Saturdays are bad....actually I said that in lots of threads. They're bad from a ToT Count perspective, however, since it was on Saturday, I got more volunteers than usual and was able to expand the walkthru. So, ToT count down, but personal satisfaction with the haunt was pretty high. This was the worst year by far of work interfering with building props and setup and some stuff got left in boxes, like my big superfoggers...funny thing is I didn't miss any of it as I built a drop panel earlier in the day while watching the Huskers lose to Purdue....Purdue???? How the heck do you lose to Purdue? Anyway, drop panel was awesome success.

I was in the paper once...a neighbor called it in. However the reporter misrepresented what I said and the writeup created some family strife.....so I want none of that in the future. A couple of years ago, my daughter was working at a TV station and she was asked if I would want the weatherman to come do the forecast on Halloween at my house. Didn't think twice about it and immediately declined.
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you shouldn't expect a homerun every year. It just doesn't happen. There seemed to be a lot of discussion regarding the pros/cons of Halloween being on a Saturday. For us, the day of week never really seemed to matter much, however I think this year a Saturday Halloween worked to our advantage. We had high numbers (650 or so). We usually have news coverage before and on the day itself and this year was no exception. The weather was outstanding; best in four years. Everything worked and everyone had a fantastic time. Our crew of 18 all agreed it was the best Halloween ever. It will be tough to top it so we'll temper our expectations next year and hope for the best. It's always a crap shoot and you take what you get. I say shrug it off and forge ahead to next year. You obviously love it so don't retire. Maybe scale back a bit and make it more manageable, but above all it has to be fun for you as well as your guests. If it's not, then time to rethink things.
 
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Not to put too fine a point on it, but you sound like the kid who's surrounded by great presents and family Christmas morning but is pissed because he didn't get the GI Joe with the kung fu grip. :) You're more upset about the 200 you didn't get rather than being happy about the 300 you did get, and that's just having the wrong attitude about the event. I guess for me, Halloween is like sex... you get your enjoyment while you're doing it, not thinking about how good, or bad, it was afterwards.

We had several things go wrong this year as well. Someone bumped into our Mummy and broke the arm off, which required a last minute repair. Someone knocked over the werewolf and tore the skin off it's knee, and that was after my son broke one of the feet taking it outside. The poor Gremlin never made it outside and Pennywise's balloons had all popped from the heat and sun before the first ToT showed up. But not one of those things mattered a bit. No one said "hey, what happened to the werewolf's foot?" or "where's the gremlin?" Everyone had a great time and that's all that really mattered.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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I do it for me and my family's enjoyment as well as for the area kids. We had just over 100 kids visit this year I don't even count the adults accompanying them because what matters is that the kids have a great Halloween. Whether it's my 2 kids, or 100s of the neighborhood kids, as long as there are memories being made all is good. Don't focus on the numbers, rather on the smiling faces.
 

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Fridays and Saturdays are bad for Trick or Treat numbers. Probably because the teen crowd has more party options.

Personally, I'd love to go back to 300ish from the 500-600 we presently get. It's a little more intimate, and you start to lose a little something with less time per visitor when you start getting up over the 500 area in my experience.

News coverage is not all it's cracked up to be. One of the local channels come and filmed our yard one year. Sat across the street filming for 40 minutes, never once come and spoke to us. Whatever.

Now, weather sucks, but you just gotta roll with it.

Truly sorry your stuff broke. Every year I've tried anything animated something goes wrong with it as well. I'm on the verge of giving up on it all together.
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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Sorry to hear some props failed you, that is too bad, especially after trouble shooting and testing. We have never approached the media, and so many people have asked us if we are on the news or in paper, we say no and we are not interested in that either. We had record attendance this year (over 800 on big night), I totally was not expecting that, and it rained steady starting about 8:00. Word of mouth, social media played a big part in that number. I estimate 40% of the people through the haunt were adults without kids. So in reality we probably got the same number of ToTr's as previous year, our growth came from no kid group.
 

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Well I always expect low numbers because the fair is in town that week and most kids and adults probably go there instead of TOT'ing. But I've been fortunate enough that most years, we get around 300+. Don't give up, some years are tough & others are awesome. Just try and enjoy it all and not worry about the numbers. I personally just enjoy building things and Halloween lets me have an outlet for creativity. I think most of us always have some type of failures with what we try to pull off every year. I know every year something is going to break and something isn't going to work. The first thing I normally do after Halloween is figure out what, when, and how it went wrong and fix or redo the item or scenario.

I bet the ones who did stop by really enjoyed it.
 

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It is hard to tell why a Saturday did not result in a bigger turnout say than last year. For us we had one of the better years with at least
500 tots. Our street has a reputation for decorating and our street stays flooded for the 2 hours we have tot. Our Saturday was cloudy
and a little windy, temp was what we would expect for Halloween. Last year we got rained out but still got about 100 tots. Well with Halloween
being on a Monday this coming year it will be interesting to see what happens.
 

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Soccer and Lacrosse Dad
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I totally understand the frustration of having things fail on Halloween. My wife hates Halloween so to try and temperature her dislike for Halloween I do our set up no more than 48 hours in advance. This means no time for testing or repairing anything which doesnt work out of the box.
This year absolutely no music. I have a series of Minight Syndicate cds, and I discovered that my wife donated our cd player to a charity the week before Halloween. The jumping spider which had been a mainstay in the walkway no longer jumped. The ambient and startle scare on my controller wouldn't trigger or play even though all the pneumatics worked great. The neighbours we share our front lawn with didnt want their portion used, thus new set up with no lighting tests. Couldnt locate the chains for the garage facade. The facade had deteriorated terribly and it was a mad dash to repair with great stuff foam and repaint the repairs. No time to cut the shower curtain for the projection to size so I couldn't pull it tight or remove the wrinkles to maximize the image quality.
Numbers were average at around 200.
So much potential negativity to focus on.
Ah yes, lots to complain about but instead I had a great time and enjoyed how much I did accomplish in about 36 hours as a hectic one man crew. It was a great year....It was an opportunity for me to do something I love to do.

Smile....and be proud of what you did do.....do it for yourself....if you need the approval of others to feel successful, or have your efforts vindicated give it up and try something new which you can enjoy without the need for the approval of others.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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300? I haven't had 300 in the last 10 years combined!! More than a few of us have mentioned that, for the most part in a lot of places, weekend ToTing sucks, always has & always will.

Weather is something we have zero control over even though we complain about it all the time, ultimately we can't so much except change plans. Wind is the bane of my existence so I pretty much have given up on foggers & a graveyard. That sucks but it's not worth my time & effort (at least until I get around to building some better tombstones).

As far as animatronics not working, you can do a static haunt & still be effective. Just ask Pumpkinrot.

I think Bruzilla is right in that you need to look at all the good stuff, the stuff that worked, the stuff people loved.

I know sometimes it's hard not to see all the stuff we missed, stuff that's broken, the stuff that didn't work perfectly, we obsess over painting the back of something that WILL NEVER BE SEEN, but in the end none of that matters because the kids & even most adults don't care about that stuff. As long as they like what you've got people will be happy. Heck, I think sometimes most people are actually happy with less because it's easier to take it all in.

In fact, I bet if you cut back next year a lot of people won't notice it much. Now if you cut waaaay back they may notice but if you leave out some props, don't use the foggers, etc., etc., they most likely won't care because as long as you have something they'll be satisfied.
 

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I usually enjoy the rest of the year more than October.
This is a one-man show most of the rest of the year,which means I get to experience my patron's words,screams,fears to the Utmost!
In "season" I only get to do a shortened front room routine,maybe just 15 minutes,the rest of the year (I try to remember to ask first) If they are on a time consideration when they arrived at my door?
Most of the time I feel very happy giving everyone 90 minute long tours or my house, because you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
I impress,scare, weird them out with just my voice,looks,or make them uneasy showing them a home made video,they see many odd and funny things i have made here. This house has seven actual physical levels to it,two of the levels are totally under the ground.
I tell them some of the haunted history of this house ,so they laugh, scream,are impressed, and this goes on for 90 minutes.
The one most common thing I hear from patrons (and they don't know I am able to hear them) might be:"This just goes on and on!"
And some people do get physically abused during the tour. their face may begin hurting because I have made them laugh and smile so much!
 
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Sorry you felt disappointed by the turn out and some other stuff this year Deadview.

First question on weekend attendance, hubby thought it would be better than last year and I thought it wouldn't--he turned out to be correct. Seems everyone here was out with their kids enjoying the decent weather. The kids also had some really fantastic costumes too. We have no complaints about this year. It was fun for all including us.

Second question on what to think, while not this year we have had lower numbers in past years and while we take note of it, it's what it is. I always try to decide if it's due to weather, school activities (like football games), or day of the week, or something we did or didn't do. I tend to think that school nights are more rushed for kids personally and they can enjoy it more on the weekend. I'm happy that kids come. I love to do the planning and such so get a lot of pleasure doing so during the year in addition to the night of.

I always hope that I have enough candy for everyone who comes and hope that I don't have a lot to give to hubby for the office the day after.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Gee, Deadview. Sorry to hear your Halloween night was so disappointing. I remember the video of your haunt form last year, so I know what all those people were missing.
I, myself, would be ecstatic with 300. But I can see if you're expecting 500+ it could be a let-down. I really don't know what the rhyme or reason is to the number of TOTs on a given night. I would think a lot of parties were thrown, with Halloween being on a Saturday night. Or maybe church gatherings. I just don't know.

I understand about feeling burnt-out. Especially the way we all add new props every year, it only gets harder and harder to set up. Never easier.
And I think if the general public knew how much work and time was involved in setting up a decent yard display (especially one as massive as yours), maybe they would go out of their way to take the time to drop by. Especially on Halloween night.

It can definitely take the wind out of your sails, but I hope you don't give up on it. I'm sure those 300 that came enjoyed the hell out of it! :)
 

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Your haunt looks great Deadview and echoing what has been said I'm sure those who were there appreciated it. Just looking at your comments and noticing you hadn't posted since Halloween leads me to suggest maybe taking a year or two off. Scaling back works but sometimes it's nice to just not do anything. If you feel that itch as it becomes October put a couple favorite things out but I would suggest going cold turkey instead - maybe take in the sights and other haunts yourself. 20 years is a long time to keep doing all that effort.
 

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Valkyrie Of Halloween
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I've said all along that Fridays and Saturdays are a crap shoot. Last year we had a poor turnout for the way things had been progressing, but it was a home football game. I expected a low turnout this year as well, let's face it, non-school night means more chance for parties, but we ended up with a great turnout!
Just can't ever tell. Ever.
Take a year off and go around and look at your competition if you need to, but don't lose the Halloween spirit!
 
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