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Ran the neighborhood haunt last night and got majorly screwed over again. :( Not only did we have complete no-shows of volunteer actors, but 3 of the teens we had knew eachother and spent the majority of time in one spot chatting with their masks OFF. 3 rooms had no props/scares as people went through!!!! Then one of the teen's moms came in and said we're leaving, let's go - despite 3 check ins with the parents that they would stay the entire hour. Leaving another spot without anything. I had my 8 yr old fill in but didn't quite grasp what he was supposed to do. I was livid at how many of our volunteers treat this as a joke. It's only 1 hour, once a year, for the neighborhood at the neighborhood park. Seriously!

So my thought was next year, advertise at the local high school's drama departments to see if anyone wanted to earn an easy $20 to work that night. We are funded by our HOA so we can budget for the cost. My only concern is that since we are a low-key neighborhood haunt, aka free admission, would this put us into a different category if we hired actors? Has anyone done this, any pitfalls or tips?

Stacy
 

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Just a thought...if you are funded by your HOA, let them hire the actors. That way the HOA can worry about insurance, city-imposed employee taxes and all the other annoying details that go along with having paid help along for the ride. I mean, you can actually do the interviewing, hiring and supervision. But your actors will technically be part time or seasonal employees of the HOA.
 

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You can hire them as independent contractors, and just draw up a one-page contract that states they are responsible for payment of all taxes due, liability, etc. If they are contractors and not employees, then you don't have to worry about all the administrative crap.

Great idea on the drama club. Those kids are more into acting than the run of the mill crowd and will give you a better show. Just give them the freedom to breathe life into their characters and they should be good to go.
 

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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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Been here, done that.
call up your local High School Football Coach. Offer to contribute something for the teams wrap up banquet in November. We did that one year, and the response was awesome. Not just players (big guys, Samoans) but cheerleaders too. We ran two nights that year, nobody laid a hand on any props, nobody got unruly. But, man, after hours, can those guys devour pizza!
 

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I set my haunt as actor free because I have been burned even by family so my haunt is set up to be creepy without actors and if they do show up there are those hiddy spots for them. Just a thought.
 

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What Hump?
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High school students and "pizza party payment" puts you right back into the realm of volunteers again, doesn't it?
I think, though, that if you go with drama students, as someone else said, they're probably more motivated for a task like this. The pizza at the end of the night is kind of a "carrot on the stick" approach to keeping them motivated throughout the night.
 

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We had our outside annual haunt this year (Sat. the 26th) with 8 volunteers (instead of 10 lined up) and I have to say everyone had a great time. We always feed our actors just before the haunt (and before the guests too). We have drinks on hand for our actors & even put coolers by their station so they won't need to vacate their post. The haunt is self-sustaining but live actors make all the difference.( for some reason I simply can't make my chainsaws start & run themselves) This year like always, we built on the premise of "no actors" just in case of no-shows then add the actors last minute as they arrive. I guess it's a catch as catch can but we have repeat performers every year & all but 3 are teens.
 
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