I always mean to do this but somehow don't. Now, it will be on record:
1) The Misfortune Teller and Carnevil games really ramped up the energy. Whatever the theme next year, I will definitely incorporate the interactive element again.
2) Two of my favourite scenes this year were the Murdered Bride and The Casbah. Everybody loved them but because of where they are situated, we had to steer them over there or they'd be distracted by the other stuff. Next year I will redirect the traffic flow so those exhibits get their due.
3) This year, I started decorating the garage and backyard much earlier. I always wait until October 1 to start putting stuff out front but there's no reason not to start set up in the 'non-public' areas. Might seem obvious but this is the first year I did it. I usually keep those areas clear to work on props and use for storage. But there's no reason I can't do the lights, drapery, etc. earlier. It worked much better than last year when I was in the garage and workshop at 2:00 in the morning the night before clambering up and down the ladder!
4) This year we tried doing a fund raiser. Total bust. Several haunts in the city did the same thing and I don't know how it worked out for them but our haunt just isn't the right format. People were either turned off or didn't have change or weren't told about it....whatever the reason, I wouldn't do it again.
5) Start at 6:30 instead of 6:00. The other haunters are really strapped to make it here from work for 6:00 (I always take the day before, of and after off). It's not quite dark enough at 6:00 and I don't like to turn early birds away. That said, I don't want to 'open' until we're all systems go. People will still show up earlier but even 6:15 is better than 5:45.
6) Take the time to store away properly. Last year I was so ill after Halloween, it was all I could do to tear it down and throw it in the garage. Other years, I just wasn't as motivated to put it away as I was to set it up. But I think it would save at least a week of time to have everything neatly labelled and ready to go next year. I'm sure most of you do that already but that's one of my Haunter Resolutions.
I'm interested to read other people's feedback. This list will probably grow as I do.
The only thing that comes to mind right now is not to depend on Amazon Cloud Player for music! I had checked my playlist over and over and played it start to finish many times but of course last night it decided to be stubborn and load too slowly to keep the music going without stopping to buffer. Next year I will burn everything to a disk and play it the old fashioned way!
One new thing I did this year was to forget about a dark and spooky atmosphere and add lots of orange string lights: big success! Our yard was visible from the end of the street and it was much more kid friendly.