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Discussion Starter #1
So we are about to embark on a fundraising haunted house for our drill team. It will only be open one night and will be the only real haunt in our town. I have been thinking about
how to get the most bang for the buck. Thinkscary's post about non-gore haunts made me wonder if anyone has ever created a dual haunt for both frights and families. I was thinking that we could build more Disney-ish sets (graveyard, manor, pirate ship, carnival), then let our actors (the girls) go as gory as they want. When a family group goes through, the gory actors take a break. When it's typical teens/adults, the actors/chainsaws step back in. Thoughts?
 

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Chainsaw...that would be a tough one.

OTHERWISE, what I would do is employ the "magic item" format:

Have something nice an obvious. (I use glow bracelets, though most just keep them as a stick) Tell the smaller children the item is magic, and will scare away all the monsters and keep them safe. I add little provisos, telling them they have to hold it up REALLLY high, for instance, because nothing is more funny than a toddler nervously inching forward with a glow stick over his head, clinging to his parent's leg.

*YOUR ACTORS HAVE TO SELL THIS, THOUGH* Play with the kids, BE AFRAID.

I have lots of those youngens come back to fight the monsters again. And boy, most remember the next year "Can I have another weapon to fight the monsters?"

To make this work, big and loud might need to take a back seat. Chainsaws, banging, mindless screaming, etc. At the end of the day, THOSE aren't what people will remember about a haunt anyway. Yeah, you might have made someone jump by screaming in their face, they'll remember the creepy one that snuck up behind silently longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What about a haunt inside a haunt? The general Disney rooms around the outside with 4 scarier rooms in the center. Smaller kids could simply walk the outer circle while the older could wind from outer room to outer room through the inner rooms. Does that make sense?
 

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Be able to turn off the lights on gory displays when the little kids come passed them,along with any sound systems.
We have always had to be flexible in the regard of mixing groups (or parts of groups) so everyone may have a good time.
We have the talk before they even get their ticket:"If you start to get scared, let us know right away so we can turn on more lights. We keep our promises.
we also have several control buttons the kid(s) can push to make fun and funny things happen .
When the nervous child pushes a button and something happens that scares their own Family, you have just turned quite a "corner", because guess what? Kids love to scare Adults and Brothers and Sisters!
Of ALL the times we, or I have set this up only once did the Parent get mad because their child scared them, and he was a classmate of mine who is a strange guy already.(By anybody's standards)
You must also know this:Smaller kids do have a time limit, they get tired and cranky no matter what, eventually.. then the show must conclude.
 
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