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Discussion Starter #1
I know the best thing for us Halloween nuts is word of mouth but I noticed a big decline this year. I know a lot was the weather and economy but when I do my ride around the neighborhoods there's tons of kids 3 blocks away that never come to my street. My "competition" ( even though i never told him in all the years im the guy down the street )is on a more traveled road and gets tons of kids. and we are about equal in our displays. i am more hand made hes more store bought but we both love what we do. He has a nice layout though double wide drive way and a big display at the top more like a stage , mine more of a walk through with struff to look at on both sides. we both have smoke lights sounds. So location is a bit of an issue.

Whats some of your scare tactics to get the big crowds.
 

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Three blocks seems to be a long way to walk for kids and such but you could try venting a lot of smoke higher in the sky and lighting it up with strobe lights, this should create some notification that there is something in your direction to come check out.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Light it up early....lots of orange lights a couple weeks before Halloween will attract folks. Full size candy bars. Lots of ToTs have cell phones, so there's a lot of texting going on about where good houses are.

Keep adding throughout the month, this encourages folks who driveby to keep coming back to see what you've added.

Get to know you competition and send folks his way and have him send folks your way.
 

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Interestingly, thats a problem where we live too. Seems like people just follow each other. Our street doesn't see too much, yet we are almost in the middle of a block between two really busy streets. Im thinking a giant neon sign.:D Something like "CANDY".. flashes off and on.. :D
 

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How few TOTers do you get now?

I live in a very rural area- and used to get 20-30 TOTers. Then, I combined a great display with super-good treats. The first year i did this, I lucked out and bought out (at 90% off!) a Big Lots toy dept. in a store that was remodeling.

Needless to say, word got OUT. The next few years, I gave out large carnival plush animals, King sized- candy bars, and dollar store toys.

Next thing I knew, hayrides were stopping at my house and the numbers climbed over 250.

Now I can't afford big treats for so many TOTers, but I still get lots of kids. They actually line up down the road at the start of TOT.

So I'd suggest- if you could afford it... and you don't have many TOTers... give away something that all the kids will be talking about at school the next day. Or maybe you could have a fish pond or similar game of chance and give away one or two really cool things.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I usually go through about 4 big bags of candy. i never counted really but it was a lite year like 2 bags worth.
 

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Get to know you competition and send folks his way and have him send folks your way.
That's an effective way- networking. Your not even competition at three blocks away and honestly, I'm not sure anyone really gets too wrapped up in a competition. I bet if you introduced yourself and got to talking you'd have a great time of it. And if they pointed their tots in your direction- home run. All of a sudden kids have good houses- action. I also put notes in my tot candy bags letting them know we're growing, spread the word, and come back next year! Networking and word of mouth. And good candy bags too. The hit this year by me- glow sticks! Cheap at Michaels. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No I only call him my competition. I really think he never saw any of my stuff we both set up and take down most stuff Halloween day. I love the stuff he does Im a fan of any Halloween decorations. I only call him that because that's how its presented to me from TOT saying "hey you see the competition you have down the street"
 

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Setting up on Halloween is your biggest problem. Nobody knows what you got until the day of, whereas your competition is on a busy street and more people see him setting up.
 

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I have to agree with Scatterbrains (oddly enough, I seem to do that frequently :eek:). Setting up in advance creates a greater network for word of mouth. The number of people that come by a couple of times a week to see how the haunt has progressed was a little shocking to me the first time I set up early. It also gave me a chance to fiddle with my display, test props, rearrange things, rearrange things some more, play with lighting, etc., etc. I got a lot of folks who would stop and talk and tell me they told their co-workers, friends, kids, etc. and that they were eager to come back and check it out.

I did notice that lighting is essential to drawing them in. Good lighting can be seen from a distance and creates a target for wandering TOTs. Music helps, as does fog. What you give away also makes a huge impact as well (as noted earlier in this thread - well done Boo Who?). I'm toying with the idea of talking to some of my neighbours at the top and bottom of my street to see if I could put a general "Halloween This Way -->" kind of sign on their lawns. Maybe a sandwich board sign on a static zombie with good lighting? Maybe a simple folding sign with small blinking lights? Still working on the details. Not only would increase the traffic to my house, but to the whole street. Every year I hear complaints about how the number of TOTs is decreasing, so this should help that situation.

As others have suggested, talk to your "competition" and share the wealth. The kids really seem to like it when you give them "insider tips" on the best houses. Their eyes seem to light up with the promise of more scares and of course more loot! :D

Good luck with next year's numbers!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I live on a corner and i have had things stolen several times now makes me nervous to set up. but i thing i will be making the pvc fence next year to help.
 

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The Duke of Spook
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Setting up early was likely what aided in our 164% increase over last year. Going big with the lights probably helped quite a bit, too. A lot of people talked about watching us set up as they drove by over the prior couple of weeks, and many, many people pulled over to take in the whole setting over that time too.

We left our lights on all night long and had zero theft/vandal problems. The year before we had a large amount of pumpkins stolen, but there were no lights outside to deter anyone.
 

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I have had to battle the decrease in TOT in recent years. My neighborhood used to have a ton of TOTs,but the fact of the matter is that there aren't as many kids in the area as there used to be. Also not as many people pass out candy and hardly anyone decorates anymore. I took a walk down the street after TOT was over and there weren't even that many jack-o-lanterns out. I have to put stuff out at the beginning of October to give people the idea that "hey you want to stop here". I usually get people that will drive crosstown to come to my house after they are done in their own areas. So being visible early in the season is good advertising. If people see a good display they will make a note of going there. I am on a busy street with a lot of traffic so I get good visibility. I have thought about putting up some signs on nearby corners and i have also thought about passing out a newsletter to all the houses in the neighborhood too. I still think people seeing you early on is best though.
 

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Another strategy I use is that I set up the signs I made last year


Then I leave a mess of pallets and other crap in the driveway so that folks think I'm building something. Like Halloween 78, I've thought of going down to the corner and asking the neighbors if they mind if I set them up in their yard. Wouldn't take much to paint an arrow on them
 

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I thought everyone knew that to get the really big crowds you get a scope rifle and climb up to a high place, wave the rifle around, point it at some... nevermind!
 

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..and don't fergit to wear your paper-pointy hat from the newspaper people either!
Show them your serious fold the obituary column outward.
 

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Wild Fandango
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The bus driver must be showing up earlier in the past 2 weeks because I used to get stuck by the bus all the time, then haven't seen it in several years. Now I wind up behind the bus... but instead of the normal 5 stops that it used to do back when I was in high school in my area, and even the last time I regularly got caught by the bus, there's only two stops, and they're a mile apart. And they only have about 3 kids per stop.

What's weird is that even though the community's average age seems to have gotten younger (25 years ago it was mostly seniors), the amount of kids has dropped. So... people here completely stopped doing the wild thing about 15 years ago?? I'm confused!
 

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I like Scatter's approach and do something similar. Do you have a website or blog that potential visitors can look at? I put a bluckly out last year for about a week after Halloween holding a sign that said something like 'Missed it? Photos and Videos up at www.nightmareonbayshore.com'. It's another way people can get pumped about your display, especially if you post about projects you are working on before the big night. I've heard of people that hand out flyers and the like but for me, word of mouth is plenty. It will eventually catch up to you and then you'll be figuring out how to get less ToTs.
 
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