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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all!
Have you ever built/run/visited a blackout haunt? Not "Blackout" - the one where they simulate a kidnapping, but a haunt that is pitch black or nearly so?
What was the most effective thing about it? What were the best scares?
Pros and cons of such a haunt?
 

Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Been to one, not really my thing. Kind of boring since I like the visuals, and likely because I'm very familiar with basic haunted house tricks and such. Mostly just screaming or loud bangs/noises, and feeling things like webbing or the air ticklers at ankle level, and the did have a wonky walkway that was pretty funky to walk across (had handrails but still difficult to do in the dark). Oh, and there were some folks that kept getting out their phones and lighting up areas, so if you have anyone go through a total blackout, they'll likely just cheat with their phones anyway defeating the whole theme...

Low light situations are nice tho. They did have a few pockets of extremely weak light, which heightened the tension/expectation of a scare happening in the area.

Disadvantages I could see would be folks tripping/falling/bumping hard into things and either hurting themselves or damaging your props/scenes if they get disorientated or scared. So I'd worry about getting sued if this was a home haunt and allowing strangers to come through.
 

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I agree, I've been through a couple and they're not for me for all of the reasons listed above. They also come off as kind of cheap, like they didn't want to decorate and are taking the easy way out.
 

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Did one a good number of years ago. Was done in on a floor of an unfinished office building so was a flat level floor. They had the lights off, asked small groups to place hands on the shoulders of the one in front of them and then told to find the exit... of course this was at the time when cell phones were not very popular and did nothing but make calls, so no worrys on that cheat. They had a few "actors" dressed in black doing all the "scares" light touches with feathers I assume, noise and such. It was ok,

I agree the low foggy lighting is better. Did one a number several years ago while on a trip. They had a huge canopy (tent) with walls set up at the edge of the woods. Looked like they brought in branches to mimic trees, added moss and other plant life. Hard to tell what the flooring was dirt, grass? Had LOTS of fog being blown in and lighting to mimic low moonlight. Added a couple of actors walking thought out making woodland noise and those quick out of the corner of you eye movements. I thought that was cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting. I did not think of people ruining their own experience by using cell phones.
 

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For me it was scary when the room got shorter to the point you were crawling and didn't know what was going "to get you"
 

His name is Roger Clyne
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Interesting. I did not think of people ruining their own experience by using cell phones.
Don't get me wrong, I love having cell phones, but they ruin a LOT of things nowadays. Movies, driving, dinner conversation, concerts, etc.
 

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I find the blackout rather boring, but I like to SEE the props and whatnot myself.

That said, I did a VERY low light one years back (early 90s) that was little more than a giant black maze with little red or green pin spots at intersections. Unknown to the customers, the actors could move the walls and change any of the lights from red to green (with some telling people 'just follow the insert color here lights') so when you got to a dead end, you couldn't really retrace your steps.

The random nature was a mixed bag, with some getting out rather swiftly and some trapped for hours.
 

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I pay to go to a haunted house to see their displays and what their imagination has come up with. If I wanted to just stay in the dark I could do that at home for nothing. I find them totally boring and will skip them if possible.
 

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I agree with everyone else. I've been to one where the entire haunt was blackout themed. It didn't do much for me and people were ruining their own experience with cell phones. Its something different but overall not worth the tradeoff.

I do have a memory as a teenager of going to a haunted house where one hallway was pitch black between more traditional sections. I remember this section as being good since you weren't expecting it, and it didn't create the disappointment that a full blackout haunt might create, because the haunt also had other sections. That might be a more effective approach, but still tricky in this day and age with cell phones.
 

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I agree a complete haunt as a dark room wouldn't be interesting to me. But I have wanted to do one as part of our haunted trail as they went through a pole barn but the limited number of actors we have had involved kept it from happening. We keep small groups of 3 or 4 so I think it could be a nice effective trail section. We haven't had any issues with cell phones, we have the 'starter' that spaces out the groups and they make sure they are off when the groups start through.
 

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So my regular haunt that I go to has a "Blackout" area where it's just one part of the grand scheme, and while the consensus of those that I go with don't really like that part of the haunt, I kinda like it. The haunt puts it at the VERY end which I like because it's sort of like a nice pallet cleanser before exiting. The haunt actually places a black fabric bag over your head before going in. It's essentially a VERY tight maze but what makes it interesting is that if you touch the walls it'll randomly "shock" you in places. It's nothing major, just something like a static shock, but it really builds up tension because it's like you DON'T want to touch the walls but at the same time the space gets tighter and tighter and then it's also pitch black lol.

Like I said, I enjoy it but almost everyone that I've brought with me isn't a fan of the blackout.
 

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Our haunt did a blackout day last year for Friday the 13th, and it was very successful...so much so that they're bringing it back for our Halfway to Halloween party! People seemed to really love it! I didn't go through for a test run yet - I had to miss it last year due to work - but we sold out tickets last time, so they must have done something right! I do think it's a good way to give the public a small dose of haunting to hold them over until we open for business next October, though....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Maybe the reason some find the blackout haunts "boring" is because it was not built with the blind in mind? Maybe not enough attention was paid to sound, texture, and scent before turning off the lights. Maybe doing that, and using light to accentuate scares makes a better experience.
 
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