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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I am new here so forgive me if I am posting this in the wrong section.
Anyway, this year is our third annual haunted hayride and we are coming up short for ideas of new props. So far we have done indians, clowns, cemeteries, blair witch, hangman, giant spider with victim, angel of death, chainsaw guy, pirates, and probably a few others I have forgotten. We are just starting to brainstorm ideas for this years hayride and we need some good ideas for building our own cheaply made props. We dont want to spend an outrageous price on anything as the props are pretty much only used for one year unless we need something to fill a spot for the next year. We do our hayride on a trail through the woods so lighting is an issue as there is no power source out there. Last year we used those touch lights on certain things, and we also strung light sticks on trees along the trail. We dont want to use open flames as we are in the woods with dried leaves and lots of fire hazzards around us. Any ideas for creating good lighting effects without electricity? We made use of the lights on the tractor last year also, the only time the lights were on were when the tractor came to something that needed to be seen. The only problem with that was it gave away what was going to happen so there was really no element of surprise. We always have great results with the chainsaw maniac who creeps out of nowhere and runs his chainsaw across the sides of the wagon, but that was pretty much the only thing we got real screams from last year. We are really in need of some great ideas to step it up this year. Any ideas are welcome! We need the help! Thanks in advance.
 

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How about filling barrels w/dead guys/props or nuclear waste/sludge? How about building a cheap alter where some sacrificing was going on? Can you hang ghosties, hanged men/props from trees? How about scattered dead carcassas of people animals? How about build some nice gauze ghosties. I want to add more home made ones to my haunt. They could be dancing around a fake fire.
As for lites you could use solar lites then put them behind an object you want to backlite so you dont see them. You can move them out to collect the sun if the area is in the shade during the day, then put them back behind prop at nite. How about using some camping lanterns. They charge up w/elect./batteries, but they last a long time. You can hide those behind props too for a scary shadowy effect.
Do you use real actors? How about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great ideas, thank you! I never thought about the solar lights! We had a couple zip lines last year. One we were able to get an actor to go across but the other wasnt working well. We built a hangman stage and had a guilateen (sorry bout the spelling) as well. We started building so late last year that nothing we wanted done actually got finished. We lacked a lot of scare last year which was a dissapointment to most. We have a large area to cover along the trail and it was so sparce and spaced out that this year we are hoping to solve that with lots of props. I found a cool idea for making huge fake tree stumps with carved out faces, so the solar lighting is a plus for shining light on those. Thanks so much for the input!!
 

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Wow - it's pretty close to crunch time to just be in the brain storming stage. I would be in a full blown panic by now!

I think the most effective techniques for a good haunt are misdirection and startle. Static props just aren't that scary. You really need to take people by surprise and make them jump.
Do you have enough live actors at your disposal? All you really need are scenes set up to get their attention and then have the actors come at them from the opposite direction for the startle effect. You just have to change it up at every scene so they don't know where it's going to come from.

I would start with a story. Then have a good story teller on the wagon to set the mood, several detailed staged scenes that go with your story line, and lots of "zombies" (or whatever you like; I like zombies) for the startle effect. And don't forget the fog! It adds creepiness, sets the mood, and fills space all at the same time.

Hope this helps some...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input! We do have a bunch of actors every year but it never seems to be enough. We usually have people from the beginning of the trail running through to the end to fill in empty spots. Our first year we did awesome and we did have a story and a teller on the wagon. It really did help with the atmosphere. Last year however, we decided to try without and as I said before, it just wasnt all that scary. There was more laughter throughout the ride than there were screams. I had tried to get people to do an element of surprise last year but we just didnt have enough people volunteering to do it. Something was way off and it seemed nothing worked right. I love the idea of having something on one side of the trail to keep their attention, and having the actors come at the wagon from the other side. Besides the chainsaw maniac, one of our other good ones that got a lot of screams was the angel of death. Our first year we had our actor suspended in the trees, well covered with thick branches, and all in black except her white face. When the wagon got just below her, she swung herself out and screamed. At the end of our ride we have a large cemetery that the wagon passes, and the first year we stopped the wagon so the story teller could read the headstones to the crowd. While that was being done we had the grim reaper come from the shadows on the other side and scare the customers. We are pretty good at getting things done and ready on time, as we usually have a bunch of volunteers to help design and build what we need.
 

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the barrels with waste in them would work get water and then dry ice for fog in htem and then paint them highlighted colors and have like clear plastic with glow in the dark paint or higlighter colors on it and then have ppl in different ones or stuff like that
 

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i say an insane asylum would be cool. have props in straight jackets twitching and screaming, but also have it like they escaped, and they are killing the doctors and such, so put dead doctor bodies places and insane asylum people wielding knives axes chainsaws etc
 

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I think the ideas here are great. I have been on many Halloween hayrides (love them) and have been to some not so good ones. My fav was the scary guys dressed in dark blue coveralls. You could barely see them bc of the dark, running around screaming/jumping up on the wagon scaring the heck out of everyone. It was fun to watch the younger girls scream in terror while everyone laughted.
You also had to go thru this dark outbuilding at the very end. Their were 2 guys in there that tried to scare you. You could barely see thru the building and you knew they were in there. Added to the fun. They also had the fake chain saws that were soooo loud, but really scared the heck out of you. I could barely get my sis out of there. She froze and the guys just kept circling her. It was funny at the time.

I went on a bad hayride once too. They had a woman sit in a chair at the head of each wagon. Instead of anouncing what to do/not. They started yelling at everyone right away, to make sure they sit down, no touching,cursing etc. It was done so negatively. This went on for a good 5 min. It ruined the whole 'spirit' of the thing. They could have announced it short/sweet.

The woman sat at the front of the wagon the whole ride. She yelled at people the entire hayride! The kids werent doing anything bad really. Some kids moved/tried to crawl to the middle of the wagon when one of the guys went to scare them. They got yelled at ruined the whole hayride. I guess someone ruined one of the hayrides so they had to add monitors to each ride. I think I heard 1 curseword which the person was startled/scared/appol. for it immed.

They were even yelling at the kids to sit down when the actors went to scare them. It was the worst hay ride ever. I wanted to get out right in the middle of the thing. It was horrible.
I also went thru a long maze that looked like it would be awesome. There wasnt 1 actor or anything in there. They sent over 70 people thru it too. What a rip off.

The best is the startle suprise/being in the dark and those darn chain saws. And having a great story line too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, a few of the crew have come up with an idea for a section of the ride. We had an actual ghost hunting team come to our property a few months ago after there were some people talking about hearing kids laughing in the woods. One event of hearing this was during the set up of last years hayride. So I threw out the idea of playing off of that. We have several kids that help us and are our actors so I suggested dressing them as ghost children, having the tractor mysteriously stall on the trail. Someone at this point will start playing a cd of children laughing or screaming and will cue the kids to come creaping out of the trees towards the riders. We are going to play around with it a bit to make a more scary element of surprise out of it, but its something. We are going to have one of the members on the waggon again this year to tell a story to get people in the mood before entering the trail. We did it the first year and it really did the trick. With so many reports of crazy unexplained things going on here, we are going to try and intertwine everything to make a great story and play off of everything. For our first two years, we had some actors that really left their mark on the customers so they will of course be back again this year. We had one person last year that was wearing all black with a mask that the eyes glowed red. He walked out of no where towards the waggon and it was a very cool effect not seeing anything but the eyes. People did really scream over that. I was thinking something to the effect of also having some dummies leaning against trees here and there but throwing a few live actors in to the mix to give a random scare between scenes. I was actually one of the actors last year but cut it short after injuring myself while jumping out of the tree line. I ended up taking the next night off and riding on the waggon with some of my friends kids the whole night. It really gave me a great chance to see what types of things really effected the crowd. I had to laugh at a few girls who got so scared they litterally threw themselves across the waggon in fear. It was great! I agree that there shouldnt be yelling at the customers. We are sure that before the tractor leaves with a load that we do quickly go through the rules of safety, and making sure that all children under the age of 10 are with an adult.
 
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