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I've always noticed that most home haunters will do a food drive for a local organization in front of their haunt. It's a great way to help out a local cause and draw a bit of attention to your haunt!
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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Based on my experience many of the people that attend our haunt are not coming by because it is a charity event. They come for the haunt. We have been collecting food bank donations for "admission" for the last 5 years (although donations are not mandatory as we would never turn anyone away). The weight of food collected has increased steadily each year. There are likely numerous reasons for this, some is repeat attendance and word of mouth as more people are planning ahead and bringing food item with them. When we started the donation box, many people went through and came back later with food items. We have also "advertised" more we knew we needed to get the word out there. You may already do these things, but I would suggest flyers near or in schools/rec centers, grocery stores and other high traffic stores near your community. Also try your local community FB page or web page (if yours has one??). Actually last year one of our neighbors posted our haunt on our community FB page Halloween night and we got quite a bit of traffic from that post. This season I will start posting in early October. Make signs and stake them throughout your neighborhood, also try flyers at work if they will let you do that?
 

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I Really want to expand my haunt and make it a charity event. and have it the saturday before halloween as well as halloween. so what I'm asking is, what are the best ways to get people to show up? I'm worried i will build it and none will come. Would it be okay to ask for a food shelf donation (not necessary but suggested)?

Thanks!
Be advised taking donations can change the way insurance and city look at your haunt. Check with local authorities and your homeowners insurance.
 

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Jubbag10,

The question I have is what is your GOAL number, for it to be successful?
There are members here 1000+ to those a good night is 25 TOTers.
Be aware, success and can also bring the haunt to an end, parking issues, traffic control, neighbors, town officials, etc.....
There are MANY EX-haunters, due to their success, things got out of hand. If a bus pulled up in front of your house, how would your or your neighbors deal with it? Didn't happen to me, but have read about it happening to someone on a forum, I've gone from 2-5 to over 350, no flyers, no face book, only word of mouth.

Jerseyscare
 

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I've noticed too in recent years I've been getting dwindling numbers. Maybe some kind of charity will help if you try it. But yes, the definetly don't come because you build it. Last year I'm pretty sure I had fewer people than my first year.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I think last year suffered because it was on a Friday....I think this years numbers will be down too. Weekends are full of opportunities and conflicting schedules that get in the way of trickortreating.
 

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Do you have any local facebook pages? my town has a neighborhood watch page, a freebies page, numerous selling pages, school parents groups etc. Check out what you have and ask if you could promote it on there. You say you want 300 people to attend, have you worked out if that would be possible? how long does it takes to go through what you have planned? can you form a queue? you need to consider these things too. If you are unsure about insurance, then pick up the phone and call your insurance company. Dont be deterred by the negatives, just bear them in mind so you have a plan in place.
 

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Last year was our second year doing a garage haunt, and we wanted better attendance. Our street is a couple blocks away from a very active trick or treating area, but is usually somewhat dead compared to that, so last year we made signs out of cardboard boxes (like you would for a yard sale) and placed them strategically in the heavier foot traffic areas. It worked like a charm.

If there are any neighborhoods within a mile if you that you know get a lot of ToT'ers, try the signs. Remembering when I was a kid, home haunts were the holy grail. They'll go out of their way to get to one.

One last thing: The strobe light is the international beacon of haunted houses. Get the biggest one you can and aim it so you can see the flashing from down the street. Like moths to flame...
 

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Do you really think so? I would have thought the opposite. There isnt school the next day and parents wont be burned out from work all day.
 

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Hello! I can't speak to what the insurance ramifications are, but I wanted to add some thoughts about attracting attention to your haunt, and maybe solving the charity thing too. You could check your area to see if any local Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops do food drives, and if they do, you could volunteer to be a "collection site" for THEIR charity drive. That may or may not have an affect on your insurance issues, I don't know, but it could potentially bring more attention to your haunt if the troop publicizes it too. I know around here, a big local radio station does a food drive that's really popular, and people collect for that at their workplaces & such. I don't know if any haunts collect for it, but every donation counts, right?

Plus, if you get a pre-existing group of kids like a troop or sports team involved, that group of kids might tell their friends about it or make plans to attend with others, thereby increasing your attendance too.

I also think you should put a count-down sign advertising your haunt in your yard at least 3 weeks in advance of your opening. Anyone who drives or walks by will see it repetitively, and that will help them remember to mention it to others or make plans to attend. Consider even buying a banner from a graphics place that you could put up each year & just change the dates on.

One thing that catches our eye in my neighborhood - someone does a driveway maze and posts signs on all the STOP signs in the community about the address. They call it "haunt on rose street" or whatever and then just put their street address underneath & then dates. Putting a sign like that near local schools would put the word out too, but again, I think the best time to do it is in advance so people have time to notice it.

If you are on FB, create a page for your haunt with the details, and send out reminders to your friends & family, asking them to re-post or forward it. Then have a sign up at your haunt saying "Friend Us on FB" with the name and hopefully more people will keep joining on as fans, creating a larger base to advertise with.

Lots of luck!
 
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