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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

O.K. so here's the plans to my haunt the x's are for actors/props. The stack of lines just to the right of center is cell door. The diagonal lines are actual doors. The black dots inside the walls on the inside are where the secret passages are and the dotted line thing on the outside is part of a fence. The entrance was on the driveway side. Just as soon as I get it final I will show the image of this years plans. It will have some exterior add ons and a confusing twist. :D Can't wait.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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6,359 Posts
Wow! That's a lot of square footage to play with. I really like the winding maze-like path you have set up. Lots of hallways entering into some great scene rooms.

What fun!!
 

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Imperial Hybrid (7)
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706 Posts
Wow! CHM soooo many questions and what a wonderful floor plan. I love the twist and turns and the secret passages.
So, am I correct in saying that you set the floor plan up differently each year?
Do you theme is out every year differently or do you just have a standard that you
change up?
How many live actors do you have? Friends or family?
You said this is private . party, for neighborhood only, special invite?
Wow.....color me green like a envious frog.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Yes the flow of the haunt changes every year. The walls and halls are in 4 ft. sectrions so that I can remove a section from one place and add it somewhere else. I just have to make sure it makes since on the plan first. Then it changes the directions completely. It has never been the same way twice and right after we shift it even we get lost. The only people who have it memorized as it is is me, my husband, and my son. The actors never seemed to do to well at keeping up with where they are. Because when you turn the regular lights off and turn the haunt lighting strobes, blacklights, colored lights. etc it is very disorienting. In a few places the walls basically have to stay the same for support reasons but I just work around them.

It doesn't look very long but it takes at least 15 min. for people to get through it if there are no search and rescue missions. By that I mean sometimes they never come out and I have to lead them out, they will be huddled in a corner.

I do try to theme it mostly but it's usually 3 themes at once because it takes a lot of props to fill it. I make alot of my props myself and my husband bought me 9 rolls of some mat finish plastic that is 40 ft tall by 600 ft. long at a factory wholesale auction. I staple that onto the walls and paint it to look like whatever I want. I also can wallpaper it. Those rolls weigh almost 250 lbs. apiece so the only hard part is cutting off the size you need. But he bought them all for like 10 bucks cause no one could move them. He had them loaded onto a trailer with a fork lift then he backed into the garage and we rolled them off at the back. There they have stayed.

Last year I had 10 actors not including the door keeper. I am usually the door keeper but last year I decided to be an actor. But the lady I had to be the door keeper didn't do quite as well as I wanted so I will do that again. For the first couple of groups she didn't give the actors time to get back to there places. We only send 5 through at a time and unlike a pro haunt we wait till they completely go through before sending more. It is scarier that way because they cant hear anyone else. and No clogs. We spend the whole night doing it. But it goes by so fast. My actors are family and friends or friends of friends. I have been looking for a couple of children cause I think kids are scary in that setting but I tried a couple of years ago and they were scared to stay in their area alone.
 

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Sounds pretty good.

I'm the owner of a non-profit haunted maze. We configure it differently & do different things each year. With my haunt: we keep it as dark as possible, have lots of dead ends & hidden doors to other passages. We like to challenge our guests to figure things out & let them get lost, some have up to 30 - 40 minutes. Our space is in a Quanza metal domed machine shed that measures 37x82x25, with double doors on each end. Crowd control is always an issue but, so is the flow of patrons through it. We only allow groups of 2's, 3's, & 4's, to go through at a time. Keeping the numbers smaller adds to the scare factor & is safer for everyone. (less chance of tripping & getting hurt) Remember the old saying "Safety in numbers"? If you had a indicator at the half way mark to the door person, that would help with flow & patrons would still have the same experience. Doing this could potentially have more people enjoy your haunt & also raise more funds for it.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I don't charge and the halfway point thing wouldn't work in this one because halfway through they would probably be near each other the way it winds around. It works great the way it is. Plus with the secret passages the actors get to improvise alot which makes it much scarier and fun for us. This year it is going to be different with 2 alternate endings ...sorta. More than one group wouldn't work this year for sure. If I were doing this for money I'd go broke :)
 

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That's awsome. So basicly the building is an open floor plan except for the supporting walls? You mention about 4' walls. Are they only 4' high or are they in 4' for sections that you just stack to make 8' walls? My husband wants to build a 25' x 30' garage soon. I'm thinking of talking him into letting me use it as a haunt during halloween, with the removeable walls that you use I think it might just be possible.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The walls are 4 ft. wide and 8 ft. tall. The size of a standard sheet of plywood. It's just easier that way. 16 in centers still. They then can just be attached together and when you have that many attached together and then to the supported walls they are very sturdy. Basically like a big giant set of Legos. Like if I want a bookshelf it will be 4 x 8 and then replace a wall unit. One side bookcase other side wall. It works very well and people wonder how we change it so easily but if you look at the layout you see that if you add one here take one away there you can change everything. But I would recommend doing it on paper first.

What I did the first year was print a maze off the internet (a simple one) with even sections. Then we built the walls and I would point and click basically. I would tell my husband something like "o.k. 3 this way and then there will be one come out this way" And slowly it turned into a maze. We started in the middle so we could expand more in the following years.

We still have a little room but this year it's going out. I want some adjoining rooms that are uncovered (exterior) They will only be temporary. I don't care what anyone says nothing NOTHING scares teenagers like the chainsaw guy. I want him to have his own section but it has to be uncovered. Luckily my brother-in-law is the chainsaw guy he is very enthusiatic and is very cardiovascularly fit because he chases everyone all the way back to the house, in the woods, in the dark, wearing a mask, and with a chainsaw. He takes his role very seriously. :)
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
About a year for the most of it. We worked on it so much for the first year it was mostly just a wierd dark maze. But since then we have had time to add the good stuff.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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What are the outside dimensions of the space? It looks like maybe 52x52

Does it have floors,sit on concrete or do people walk on the ground?
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Very good yardhauntjunkie. It is 52 x 48. I wish it had concrete floors but it doesn't. It has the same floors a barn has. Dirt. We put temporary "floors" in some spaces but they don't stay. Everything was designed basically in 4 ft. sectons. So it's a no brainer to rearrange.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Well, it pretty much doesn't rain at all here Aug.-Oct. until the night before or the morning of my party. Drives me CRAZY. I am pretty much obsessed with watching the weather in Oct. Like it's gonna go me any good. But yea it's mostly very beautiful and the leaves are at their peak here about 2 weeks before Halloween. In the mountains of east TN it peaks a little earlier I think. Tennessee is one of those states that gets to experience all of the seasons fully and pretty much evenly. But fall is my favorite, the trees are so colorful and beautiful. The air smells so clean and fall like and the temperature is perfect.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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Discussion Starter #16
I don't have any pictures I only have video. And I couldn't get that to go the last time I tried. Well I think I could but I had stopped it and started it alot and it had made a bunch of different files or something and I wanted them all together but didn't know how to get them that way. Whatever something like that. I could try again. I usually am not a picture taker. My camera takes great pictures but every time I grab it to take some I find that my kids have stolen the rechargeable batteries. So i'm like screw it. But I just got a new phone that takes pretty decent pictures and I got a card for it. So, I should be able to post some pictures cause they never take my phone. Brats.
 

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Ok I had some ideas.

I think there is a notch at the beginning by the driveway that is not used. I would bring the wall in. I also would make it a secret passage ala emergency exit.

You want to have an exit every so many feet in the maze. I also would do something similar to the end of the maze.


I like to have a quick boo right in the beginning. Hence why I put in #1. #1 can be a real actor that does the first scare, then has a hidden passage to be the last scare too. Or alternatively, the box in area could be a drop down panel.


I was a bit confused on the cellar door, do they always go in?

Then a bit farther down you have the two doors, and the hidden emergency exit wall. I would get rid of all three. If I was to change it, maybe I would have the maze with two dead ends, and an actor that jumps out and scares. then the actor reveals the secret hidden door.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I think there is a notch at the beginning by the driveway that is not used. I would bring the wall in. I also would make it a secret passage ala emergency exit.
That notch isn't going to be there this year this was 08 plan. That area is going to actually be part of the exit/turn around area this year. I am going to have doors that are locked at certain times and then later unlock so they will get confused. My haunt is going to be outside as well this year and then come back in.

You want to have an exit every so many feet in the maze. I also would do something similar to the end of the maze.
No that isn't possible there are other exits that are not actually on this map but they are not seen by anything but actors.

I like to have a quick boo right in the beginning. Hence why I put in #1. #1 can be a real actor that does the first scare, then has a hidden passage to be the last scare too. Or alternatively, the box in area could be a drop down panel.
I don't like to have a boo at the very beginning. I like it to be pitch black down that hall with things hanging from the ceiling, sounds and such I like to make them anticipate it at that point. Sometimes fear of what is there, is scarier than what actually is.

I was a bit confused on the cellar door, do they always go in?
No they do not go in there. An actor is behind the cell door. And the wall behind it is actually part of the secret passage and we have had very good effect with that. Our patrons do not know about the secret passages.

Then a bit farther down you have the two doors, and the hidden emergency exit wall. I would get rid of all three. If I was to change it, maybe I would have the maze with two dead ends, and an actor that jumps out and scares. then the actor reveals the secret hidden door.
ok here's the deal with the doors and hidden entry. That room is painted harlequin pattern and has a giant clown head on the wall. Nothing scary. But the floor is filled with balloons (overfilled ready to burst). The exit door to that room stays locked, the entrance open. When the people go inside the entry door slams shut behind them and locks. They then realize the exit door is also locked. About that time pop goes the weisel starts playing in that room.

They can still see but right at the time of the pop in the song the lights go out. Complete darkness with the sound of an accelerating heartbeat. Now they start running around freaking out because they have no idea what is coming. They step on the balloons and pop them which scares them and then my actor and in this case a clown slips through the secret door. There is a technique we figured out with a flashlight that we figured out that makes it appear as if the clown jumps from one side of the room to the other. The clown can see them but they cannot really see him until he is pretty much right behind them.

Then he disappears. goes through the secret door runs through the secret passage and opens the exit door. This time they can fully see him (under srobe light of course). And they freak out. They cannot figure out how he got on the other side of the locked door.

It was VERY effective. The clown was me. I ran my butt off that night.
 

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You should consider a donation box, if you don't already have one.
It'll help offset building material costs, that raise every year. Although there are many things that can be had for a reduced cost, or free if you know where to look. We've had good success with our donations but, I'm not in it for the money. Screams & enjoyment of all are payment enough.
 

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Foolish Mortal
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772 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Yea I've thought about it. We do pretty good at getting deals though. We originally got 300 4 x 8 sheets of 5/8 in. OSB for 150.00. That's how we could afford to build all those interior walls. Plus we get wholesale on alot of building materials. My husband knows alot of vendors. They ship to the factory here locally and we buy it from them. We buy alot of stuff also because we remodel houses when we buy them. That's why there are so many doors in that thing we have to buy them like 10 at a time but it's still way cheaper.
 
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