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Discussion Starter #1
So I have done my own small yard haunts the last 5 or so years. I basically just made do with some scary music and a few people in costumes to scare the TOTs. But this year I went out and spent some money on props, lighting and fog.

We live on a side road that doesn't get a lot of attention from TOTs but we put up signs this year to attract more people and we got around 50-60 people. I was satisfied with that but it would have been nice to have more. We put up signs to get the ones we had. I live in Texas and somehow I think that Halloween might be bigger on the North East Coast.

I absolutely love scaring the kids on Halloween and putting on a show that even the adults can enjoy. Someone on here said that it was addicting and that is certainly true.

My ultimate goal would be to create a walk through once I have enough stuff to do it. That's definitely several years down the road but I had a couple of questions about it.

What do you do about legal issues? Like if someone gets hurt on your property? What steps do you take to protect yourself?

Do you have a problem with people refusing to go into your haunt? Like I see a lot of people using their backyards and I wonder if some people have problems with that.

About how many TOTs do you need to have to make the walkthrough worth it?

If you are doing a large haunt like that - how much advertising do you do and what kind?

This is just the tip of the iceburg for my questions honestly, but its a start.
I appreciate all of your comments and answers. Thank you
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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Check with you home owners insurance regarding accident coverage. My sense is you're covered under your policy in the event of somethng happening but double check to be sure. As far as numbers to make it worthwhile; tough to say. I think your numbers would dramatically increase if you did go with a walk through haunt. We staeted withg a front yard display that now goes down the drive, to a scen on the back patio, an interactice scene in the garge and another display in the back yard. We've gone from about 300 TOT's 4 years ago to over 600 this year.
You can't make people go through so be prepared for some who refuse. It's not a big deal. Honestly, this year I maybe had 4 kids out of the whole bunch who were too scared to walk through. We give andy out at the entrance too for anyone who doesn't want to go, but most are curious and want to see what we have going on.
Advertising can be as extensive as your budget permits. I make up flyers and pass them out at our Cub Scout meetings and also at work. IMO, word of mouth is your best promotion and if people enjoy what you have, they'll tell their friends. We had people lined up almost 50 deep at one point and several were on their cell phones calling friends to come over. It was a hoot!
hth
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I heard that word of mouth was the best promotion. We had about 50-60 people and all of them were very complimentary. So hopefully next year we can get a few more.
 

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My feeling on it is if you have 5 people to 150 as long as you enjoy doing it and the people that came to see it left happy and scared you were successful. Any set up you do and any amount of work you put in it is worth it if you are happy with the out come. My yard display started out very small 8 years ago. I got a hand full of people and they liked the effort i put in. This year we gave out 130 treat bags to TOTers, had many children that came just to see the display. and we had more adults come to see it then children. My neighbors that came to see my set up 8 years ago still come and bring more and more people each year ever though we moved.We do not advertise and we tell everyone when they ask not to tell the media because we want to keep it for the neighbor hood. I fear if the media starts talking about it . It will get out of hand and the people I do it for will miss out.As far as anyone too scared to walk to the door I keepa couple treats beside me at the entrance so there is no presure.
 

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Where in Texas? Here in the Houston area, TOT is still a big deal. But there is a level of competition with commercial haunts. You have to establish with yourself what level fo scope you are shooting for. And also, is it for true terror type of a haunt, or just something interesting/spooky? Word of mouth is the ultimate advertising.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I'm in Houston also, and Halloween is still pretty big around my area.

I think the TOT was down this year due to it being on a Friday. School football games, parties, and the incredibly stupid trunk or treat that a few area churches have started up probably caused a drop in my neighborhood. :( We got over 170 last year, and only 70 or so this year. (which the non Halloween folks at my work still think is a huge number. :rolleyes: )

Oh, and the beginning of our street had a streetlight burned out, so it was pretty dark up there. We saw lots of TOTs bypass our street, so I'm thinking that also had something to do with it.

I do a static yard display, no walkthrough. I am too concerned with legal crap to be doing a garage/yard walkthrough. While it's true that your homeowner's insurance will cover accidents that occur on your property, there are some loopholes that make me a bit too nervous to actually invite TOTs off the beaten path.

You would have to be extra careful of cords, lighting, (strobe lights cause seizures in epileptics - and sometimes they don't even know they're at risk and black lights can burn the retinas if anyone stares into one for too long), using inflammable materials, construction (any loose nails to catch a costume?)... not to mention that allowing the TOTs up close would endanger some of the props. ;)

If you get kids that don't want to go through? Your choice, but most people have a small bucket of treats at the start for those little ones or the scaridy cats.

As far as how many to be worth the full set up? That's up to you. I was happy we got as many as we did, but last year was much better in terms of kids seeming to stop and look more. I heard WAY more compliments last year, but there were plenty of good stuff that happened this year to have made this year's set up worth it.
 
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