Halloween Forum banner

1 - 20 of 69 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, this is a serious question. I've been doing a Lot of thinking about where I want to be in 5, 10, 15, 30 years. What I want to be doing, my future home, my future job...blah blah blah. I have Such a passion for Halloween and wanting to Really DO something with it....I mean...can someone make it a living? I mean yeah you have your haunted attractions and obviously its seasonal but what IF someone put all their eggs in 1 basket, tightened their belt and just threw all their energy into making like a real life Halloweentown? Do it sorta the way Walt Disney did in the beginning...buy land and build....then grow it at a pace you can do. I mean, Disney world created its own world with movies, characters, stories. Why can't someone do that with Halloween? I could die a happy old man if I could create something like that. I know that 98% of you guys and gals are gonna gimme the whole "it would be nice" or "just wishful thining" speel which I'm almost to the point of refusing to accept. Its almost like someone saying "thats just the way it is"....I have decided thats not good enough for me and I'm tired of hearing it. Why can't Halloweentown or Spookytown or a Halloween (Disney) World happen?? Of course its gonna take $$$,$$$,$$. Of course its gonna take lots and lots of time. Is there anyone out there that feels the same way? I plan to build my own house down in SOMO (southern Missouri) somewhere in the next 2-4 years, Im looking at land already...1-2 acres to start, Why not start on my own future property? Why couldn't maybe 10-15 of US in this forum make a life changing decision, put our talents together and create something Huge?! I'm not asking, right now, if anyone would be willing to relocate but what if I created something in the near future....would you consider it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
You can. Anything is possible.

I’m sure someone thought it was crazy to have a chain of seasonal stores that only target Halloween.


It also depends on what is important to you:

Do you want make a lot of money or are you just content with “getting by?”

Are you ok with doing the same thing for the next 40+ years?

Looking ahead, if you are able to sustain for 10 years but then what happens if the bottom falls out or giants are made illegal - can your skills transfer to another field.

I’ve changed careers a couple times in life, did things I enjoyed and thought I’d make a living doing it, but then realized I couldn’t or didn’t want to. Sometimes when something becomes a job, the fun gets sucked out of it. Running a haunt is not just about being scary, but also dealing with finances, deadlines, the public, the governing bodies (permits) and staff. For every minute you spend thinking about or building props, you’ll probably have an equal time spent dealing with HR issues.

If you can make it a career and fun, more power to you. Be the next Distortions Unlimited or Spirit.

But the odds are really stacked against you anymore.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,067 Posts
The people who do this for a living usually have seminars at Transworld on the business side of things...May do you well to take some of those classes and talk to the industry guys while your there....Bottom line is if you can't make money, it won't succeed no matter how creative you are....Even Disney failed before succeeding....ZR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,575 Posts
Do it as a side hustle but keep your 9 to 5. It takes a ton of capital to start off in this business. You need casters, molders, welders, painters, ingenuity and that isn't even dealing with the business aspect. If you can tackle all those yourself then it is great but you will burn out fast and Halloween takes on a completely different meaning in your eyes. It's like the landscaper who has really bad curb appeal at his residence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,239 Posts
Focus on a 9 to 5 where the skills translate. If you have a knack for IT work, then that should help with building and programming animatronics. If you have building skills, then maybe take them to the next level by building houses, which would allow you buildout your own haunted house. Or find a job that you enjoy that pays really well with advancement, and then save up your money to fund a haunted house. Keep the dream, but get serious about the fundamental skills or job that will secure yourself and your family plus your dreams.
 

·
Registered
Prop Building
Joined
·
72 Posts
You always have the YouTube option as well, you can always build a platform there and once large enough branch out. Just make sure you have passion for it, because more than anything that passion will ensure it comes through in your end product.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
IowaGuy, I have that thought constantly. Enjoy my day job but really could see myself doing that for a living. A Halloween World would be a huge undertaking and definitely you need to start small. Watch and read as many Disney Imagineering resources as possible. I live in West TN and if you still need an investor/partner in a few years reach out to me. Can be in the boot hill of MO in 2 hours. Mainly, don't let anyone on this forum steal your dream. There are plenty of "Negative Nancys" roaming this site.
 
Joined
·
1,453 Posts
I'm sure someone out there makes a "living" from doing Halloween, year round. I'd hazard a guess not many. I'm from the PNW, have attended the West Coast Haunter's Convention and sat in on more then a few of Leonard Pickle's seminars. I know more then a handful of pro haunters and the the pat response is don't really expect to make money doing this. Maybe because I mostly know folks who set up haunted house amusements I'm not thinking outside the box enough.

Not trying to be the Negative Nancy but, almost all the pros I know, like non famous musicians have side gigs to pay the rent. Two have farms that keep them in the black when it's not Haunting Season. A third, until he left the business, did non Halloween builds and decor for business, the local fairs, special events and theaters. I've known way too many that ended up going into the hole trying to do Haunted House amusements. I spent the evening while in line for a haunted house speaking with a prop builder, he makes a living because he's based in LA and does a lot of TV, Film and other commerical builds. As someone already suggested when Haunt Conventions start up again go and speak with those already in the business. FIY West Coast Haunters Convention is doing their convention this spring Virtually and I do see that Leonard Pickle is scheduled to do some classes. Home

Good luck making your dream a reality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Do it as a side hustle but keep your 9 to 5. It takes a ton of capital to start off in this business. You need casters, molders, welders, painters, ingenuity and that isn't even dealing with the business aspect. If you can tackle all those yourself then it is great but you will burn out fast and Halloween takes on a completely different meaning in your eyes. It's like the landscaper who has really bad curb appeal at his residence.
Or a chef that hates cooking at home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
You always have the YouTube option as well, you can always build a platform there and once large enough branch out. Just make sure you have passion for it, because more than anything that passion will ensure it comes through in your end product.
I was going to say do it the way PUMPKIN ROT did, but he has disappeared without a trace almost 2 years ago. He probably just got burned-out and quit. Too bad, I really liked the way he did things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
I've had the same thought that you do, I would love to make a living off of Halloween somehow, but how can it be done? I have thought about a year-round haunted attraction, but it would take a monumental amount of time and money. There is a year-round Halloween store in the city of Burbank,CA. where I grew up called HALLOWEEN TOWN. They sell everything even slightly themed around Halloween. Check out their website HalloweenTownStore.com.
Maybe selling Halloween themed merch. on the side could get your feet in the door of the industry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
ok, i have thought about this way too much, but here is my minimum attraction list ( some items may require multiples) for what you have in mind (in no particular order of necessity):

Escape room
Paint ball
Laser tag
Game room
Putt-putt
hayrides
corn maze
outdoor trail haunt
18+ haunt
13+ haunt
kiddie haunt
restaurants
merchandise store
prop/mask build shop (sale your stuff)
prop/mask building classes
build a ghoul (bear) for the kiddies..is that process patented ?
outdoor theater (movies and plays)
pumpkin patch (pick your own)
nursery to sell fall type flowers and other fall decorations (mums, cornstalks, hay bales, etc...)
vegetable production to support on-site, summer\fall farmers market

With this you are lookng at employing 50 + people and more during Haunt season. You bring a sold
business plan to the table and some states/counties would help with tax incentives. Federal govt giving
away money these days too (SBA). Startup would require 3-5 MM in my estimation....and 200 acres.
So, if you got 20 people to invest 200K, you have your startup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
It's very hard to make living by doing Halloween. I have a family friend, his younger brother does this job but he also has a store of hooded blankets. That's where he earns living.
 

·
Prince of Arkham Asylum
Joined
·
2,614 Posts
ok, i have thought about this way too much, but here is my minimum attraction list ( some items may require multiples) for what you have in mind (in no particular order of necessity):

Escape room
Paint ball
Laser tag
Game room
Putt-putt
hayrides
corn maze
outdoor trail haunt
18+ haunt
13+ haunt
kiddie haunt
restaurants
merchandise store
prop/mask build shop (sale your stuff)
prop/mask building classes
build a ghoul (bear) for the kiddies..is that process patented ?
outdoor theater (movies and plays)
pumpkin patch (pick your own)
nursery to sell fall type flowers and other fall decorations (mums, cornstalks, hay bales, etc...)
vegetable production to support on-site, summer\fall farmers market

With this you are lookng at employing 50 + people and more during Haunt season. You bring a sold
business plan to the table and some states/counties would help with tax incentives. Federal govt giving
away money these days too (SBA). Startup would require 3-5 MM in my estimation....and 200 acres.
So, if you got 20 people to invest 200K, you have your startup.
Sincerely with all due respect, your list is that of massive endeavor years in the making. To start a place off, it could require a mere fraction of these attractions. If @IowaGuy wants to give this a try, you don't jump in at level that otherwise would be 10 years in the works. I'd say he could get to this level down the road, but trying to start at this level is like trying to eat the elephant in a single bite. If he's gonna try, start with 2 or 3 attractions of some kind, not even necessarily any of the above, and see if there is interest. If there is, then you grow. I'd say that half the items you've listed are never available together in any single setting. At most you see maybe 3 or 4 of those in the same place.

That said, I'm not going to say this is a pipe dream, but add me to the list of those who are saying that a passion can become a burden when you try to make it your life's work. Sure, there's excitement to do something you love or have a passion of, but when you're trying to do that AND make enough money to live off of it... yeah that's tough.

My best suggestion for you is to start with a professional style haunted house. It would probably take you years to build all the props for your first iteration, and then you have to change it up every year at least a little or it'll get stale. If you're successful at that and are drawing crowds, you can start to add on.

The best professional haunt I've ever seen was in business for 1 year for reasons unknown. It was an AWESOME haunted house with 3 different haunts, ice skating (because it was done in the parking lot of a hockey stadium), and then had a traveling carnival attached which was EXCELLENT! They had characters stalking the carnival that made it absolutely wicked. It will always be my favorite, but literally lasted 1 year, my guess because it couldn't sustain everything they were bringing. Just food for thought. I vote for an excellent haunt, and invite a carnival to set up next to you. 😁 If you can make that work, then start adding on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hearthfire

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
The Joker...please re-read the IowaGuy's original post and digest it, then read my orignal comment to his post..... it's about a dream starting with baby steps. IowaGuy stated: "I know that 98% of you guys and gals are gonna gimme the whole "it would be nice" or "just wishful thining" speel which I'm almost to the point of refusing to accept. Its almost like someone saying "thats just the way it is"....I have decided thats not good enough for me and I'm tired of hearing it. " He didn't have to wait long for 2 posters in this thread to prove himself right......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,575 Posts
The only reason that it is hard to maintain in because it is seasonal. You really don't see substantial profit until June/July and then it just gets absolutely crazy in terms of orders. Nov 1st comes and so does the orders, but it gives you more time to churn out new stuff for the following season but you are always chasing your tail. 6 months cash flow, 6 months drought and R&D expenditures for new designs. If you find a nitch you can become extremely profitable in those six months but be prepared to keep a buffer to get you though the ghost town half a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,067 Posts
He didn't have to wait long for 2 posters in this thread to prove himself right......
I gave solid advice about talking to those with experience in the industry...If your willing to take the chance after you have that knowledge under your belt, then the real work begins with a business plan....The first line in his post was "First off, this is a serious question.".....That was my serious answer....ZR
 
1 - 20 of 69 Posts
Top