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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice how to handle the situation with I have a large number of people that want to go through my tiny one-car garage haunt. I had about 200 visitors and maybe half of them wanted to walk through... When the groups were small, I asked them to walk through slowly and enjoy. It's kind of a safety thing not to let too many people in and running people may fall... But I had some real troublemakers. There were Four kinds of people/groups:

(#1) I had people just walk past me and ignore what I was saying (I think they had earbuds in). It was like I didn't exist!
(#2) There was people with flashlights ruining the effects, again they walked past me and when inside they turned on their flashlight.
(#3) I had a few mobs of 20+ people assembled in my driveway all wanting to go through at the same time and I had no control over the rate that they ran through. They all bum-rushed in and the props didn't have time to reset... so the experience was missed by many that walked through -- I also worried that someone might get hurt because of the number of people in my garage at the same time.
(#4) I had a really rambunctious group (teenagers w/o parents) that ran through multiple times in and out and running around they were screaming and pushing people in my haunt bumping into my props. I through in about 10 seconds my haunt was going to be totally destroyed and there was nothing I could do but standby and watch! Luckily it wasn't destroyed. But that rattled me!

I don't think I want to (or need) to make a queue or put in a gate to the entrance -- but I'm open to ideas... so is there anything people do to address these situations?

To help understand what I'm asking advice about I think this short video will help -- I posted the video link in another thread, but I think it is necessary to help show the layout of haunt location.

 

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First off, you put a lot of work into it and it looks great! Second, Safety, Safety, Safety First!!! That means you can't let kids run inside there for both their sake and the sake of your insurance premiums! To help combat that, I suggest that you make a nice BIG "Rules for the Haunt" sign on a sheet of plywood so everyone can see it and make sure it lets the parents/guardians know that THEY are responsible for making little Bobby and Suzie behave in a reasonable manner. State the maximum number of people allowed in at a time to maximize the amount of fun each group has. Thank everyone for understanding the wait time but that it's to ensure they each get the best experience possible. You may want to add additional rules like children must hold an adults hand the entire time to make sure the adult doesn't get overwhelmed (basically so the kid doesn't run, climb the walls, props, etc.) along with your other standard rules like no smoking, profanity, whatever else you don't want to deal with the hazards of. I know you don't want to put up a gate, but a velvet cord of some type is the only way to get some peoples attention these days and it adds a little class and makes the event feel that much more special. I know as a child I knew that if a place had a hostess and a please wait to be seated sign, I had better be on my best behavior in my parents eyes. There's nothing wrong with a little theatrics, especially on Halloween. It's supposed to be a special night.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I totally agree, this is a logical step. I hope to see others add their ideas as well... BTW: This year it seemed worse than other years through, making it an issue.
 

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I agree that physical barriers are the best way to control the traffic. The times that I have done it, I always put the door or gate on a pneumatic cylinder and I have a key chain remote to trigger it. You can have a sign or two, but a whole list of rules won't help that much, as people usually don't read all of them. I believe it is more for insurance purposes, but if you don't have a commercial policy that requires it, then the standard rules apply for a homeowners policy. If I have a room or garage that I am not physically in, I make sure that I at least have a peep hole so I can monitor it at all times. It its really big or many paths that you can't monitor, install surveillance cameras and monitor the screen. You can get reasonably priced cameras and it really is a drop in the bucket compared to the time and expense of the haunt. Lighting is important. LED's are cheap nowadays and you can create a well lit area and at the same time keep the mood; my 2¢.
 

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Honestly, for people who refuse to behave, remove them from your property. You owe them nothing. Back when I had to deal with this, I had a strict "one and done" policy. They got one warning and then they were ejected. They're on private property. You can get rid of them, by calling the police if necessary. Don't mess around with stupid people.
 

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First, your haunt looks cool. Good job!

From the video, it looks like you have the people walk through a specific path. If so, you need to use physical barriers to keep people on the path and unable to diverge from it. I'd be thinking fence, not ropes.

Also, I think I'd make it so people cannot just walk into it, except from a specific point, like a gate or channel. Disney and other attractions use these techniques for crowd and traffic control and can probably learn from that.

Haunt Rules would be nice, but as mentioned above, those likely to cause trouble probably won't read them anyway.

When we have people come through our home haunt, I use a green laser to single out the person I'm talking to. For example, when I see someone touching something they shouldn't be, I shine the laser on what they're doing and loudly ask them to not touch the props. People don't like to be highlighted when they do something wrong and I find this to work pretty well.

For those people with flashlights, perhaps make an announcement or sign for no flashlights. Then, wire up a set of really bright strobes on a remote and when you see people using flashlights, turn on the strobes and loudly ask them to turn them off.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I agree with you, but the visit to my haunt takes less than 30 seconds and they're gone. However, when this situation was escalating, nothing what I said was heard -- I had no control for about 30~45 seconds, which seemed like an eternity as I feared the destruction of my haunt... Then once the raucous was over so were the kids that caused the problem. They never came back THANKFULLY.
 

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One other thing you could do (I haven't had a need for it yet) is set up a master switch and some white lights. If it gets out of control, turn off the switch which will shut down all animations, animatronics and sound; and at the same time the switch would turn on all the white lights. It should bring some shock to them and give you a chance to get them the heck out of there.
 

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I agree with you, but the visit to my haunt takes less than 30 seconds and they're gone. However, when this situation was escalating, nothing what I said was heard -- I had no control for about 30~45 seconds, which seemed like an eternity as I feared the destruction of my haunt... Then once the raucous was over so were the kids that caused the problem. They never came back THANKFULLY.
Hand-held airhorns work wonders. https://www.amazon.com/Shoreline-Ma..._1?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=EJG56MY8Q7X2WZKNKA88
 

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Discussion Starter #15
One other thing you could do (I haven't had a need for it yet) is set up a master switch and some white lights. If it gets out of control, turn off the switch which will shut down all animations, animatronics and sound; and at the same time the switch would turn on all the white lights. It should bring some shock to them and give you a chance to get them the heck out of there.
Yes! I was thinking of a master "Kill" switch for the haunt and have "house lights" that came on in an emergency -- It's been on my "TO DO list" for a number of seasons so I should implement this feature and use it next year -- Especially if I also use an air horn or other loud alarm -- that will fix those hooligans!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Honestly, for people who refuse to behave, remove them from your property. You owe them nothing. Back when I had to deal with this, I had a strict "one and done" policy. They got one warning and then they were ejected. They're on private property. You can get rid of them, by calling the police if necessary. Don't mess around with stupid people.
I agree, it is as you say! And believe me, if it persisted a little longer, I would have had to do something like call the police... But they never come in time. Again, the chaos lasted around 45~60 seconds and then they all ran away; presumably to ruin someone else's Halloween. My haunt is so tiny I thought "what can go wrong?". I only had one other person, I wish I had some helpers, also, I kind of wish I had a bigger space to make a real haunt like I did back in the 80's when I "managed" (organized and directed) a haunted house for a few years... then again sometimes I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My gated entrance works, I stand there and control the flow, break up large groups, pace things as needed. Sometimes there's a line past the neighbor's house.
But I don't have a gate in my front yard (wish I did),but any ideas what could I do instead? I'm thinking I need to make some kind of gate for my haunt, I'd also have to guard the exit so I don't have people going in the exit. This is crazy to have to work so hard at this, it's hard enough to get my haunt together -- and now THIS!
 

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The entrance and exit should be relatively close to each other, if not the same. When I set mine up, I had crowd control using rope and wood/ pipe up to the entrance. The crowd control should be at 10 feet long with a sign that says "Enter Here" or something to that effect. The crowd control stopped about 6 feet in front of the entrance, so anyone who entered was able to leave through the entrance without disruption. Anyone who came walking up past the crowd control I would ask if they wanted to see the attraction. If they said yes I would tell them to get into the line unless it was just a few people and no one else was in line. I would have over 300 people come through without any problems. When you get a rowdy group, best thing to do is simply shut it down, wait for them to leave, and reopen it. Biggest thing is supervision. If people know they are being watched, they will respect the equipment more than if they know they aren't being watched, so get some friends to help you.
 
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