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Discussion Starter #1
I am 16 years old and I have been doing home haunts for quite a few years now. I want to make a public one now but I have a few questions. I don't have anywhere to do it and cannot do it at my house anymore. I was wondering if I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a place that someone would be willing to let me use? Would that be a good idea? I want to collect cans for a food drive and maybe have that as their entrance ticket? I'm not sure yet. Also since I am opening up to the public and accepting donations would I have to get a permit and get the maze inspected?
 

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First, its always great to hear a young person wanting to be an entrepreneur . I can only answer some generic questions. First, insurance may be required. Second, rules have gotten strict all over the country. It costs nothing to call you local city,town,county inspector and ask. They will be happy to answer and it will be much better that getting TAGGED and then not being able to do anything. My experience has been these guys ( gals) are little dictators and will go out of there way to HELP up front and make your life miserable if you do NOT follow the rules. Trust me I know ! You may want to ask another local business that would benefit from the traffic and could cover your insurance costs. There is a lot more and I am sure others will chime in. It is a good idea to sit down and develop a BUSINESS PLAN and some drawings or pictures of your ideas, anything you can do to impress a potential investor or location. There are lots of info on line as to how to do a business plan. As for the DONATION idea, BRAVO, but once again you need to deal with the who gets it and how they will get it and what you will and will not accept. Plus tracking any CASH donations so you do not get in trouble with you local TAX MAN. I know that's a lot to digest and there will be even more not including the HAUNT itself. Good Luck !
 

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Like Woodsy said go and talk with the local government people they will tell you up front what can and cannot be done. Also go around and look for empty store fronts that are up for rent and call and see if they will donate the space to you as long as you promise to return the site the same as or better than when you received it (that will help out for the next year). Or maybe they will rent it to you at a discount rate which will help you out. If you tell them you will be out at a given date, be out and not two months later. Good luck and have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice guys it's greatly appreciated. I was talking to some people tonight and they said depending on how big it's going to be and what county I'm in I might have to put in a sprinkler system. Has anyone ran into this? Is there anyway around this? If anyone that has had their haunt inspected that could give me any information on the requirements I have to meet or difficulties might face it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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When I was in the Jaycees our haunt house had to have a working sprinkler system and smoke detectors for the county to approve and there is no getting around the Fire Marshall. Look for store fronts or buildings with them to start with. We also had to had all electrical meet code as if it was new construction on a new home and everything (walls, props) had to be painted with fire proof paint ($60+ gallon at that time). So now you know why we stop having a haunted house because the cost to build it was way more than we could spend.
 

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Yes I was involved a couple of years ago with a start up and it was going to be a a major county fair site. More than 3/4 of the way into preparation they informed us the building had to have sprinklers even though it was used all the time for other things INCLUDING a county fair ! We had to drop the whole thing and walk away.
 
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