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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to hear what some of you fellow haunters think of my planned ending for having a haunt. I'll be doing a pirate theme this year and next year is my youngest daughter's choice for theme. 2018 will be the last year (it will have been 6 years in total). I enjoy putting it on with my family. My oldest is going to college this year and won't be in it this year and my youngest will be a junior in high school in 2017. Usually we get their friends to help out and it's been great fun. After that I still plan on decorating the yard but not do the haunt.

By planning this out I've avoided the majority of the 'burn out' feelings and since it's planned ahead of time I can let guests and friends know there's only going to be a couple more years of craziness in my garage. In addition to getting older and the amount of work that fills all my free time during October plus my job I'm kind of looking forward to the break in 2019.

Has anyone else planned an end time for their haunt? Often I read about burn out or lifestyle/economic conditions stopping a haunt but I hadn't heard of a planned time span. I'm sure I'm not the first.
 

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Good post and one I identify with. We had actually planned to scale way back three years ago. I was pretty much a one man set-up/tear down crew, and while we had ample help working the walk through haunt on Halloween, come 11/1 I was tearing down all by myself and it got to be a chore. Along came fellow haunter and forum member "lewlew" who lived not too far from me and who's own awesome haunt was on hiatus. We agreed to do a collaborative effort back in 2014 and while it took up less real estate, it was much more involved and fun than anything I had done before. We built a structure in the driveway that served a detailed and scary walk through haunted house and the reception from the guests was tremendous. We've done the same for the past three years and our numbers and reputation as one of the coolest home haunts around has grown exponentially, with over 900 visitors last year over two nights. This year we are paring back a bit but still doing the walk through, along with the traditional front yard display. We've had discussions of where we want to take this venture and I think we both agree that an end game needs to be part of the plan. We have no shortage of helpers but my youngest will be a junior in college and many of our helpers are also graduating high school or college soon and will be moving away. I just turned 59 and while I can physically do the things that need to be done I feel it more and more each year. Lewlew also travels about 40 miles one way to get to my place so the week of Halloween he's back and forth every day, not to mention the work/build days that start in July or August. We've talked about doing the full walk through for the next 2-3 years, including this year, and then scaling back to the front yard and a small driveway haunt with perhaps a mausoleum type structure in the drive that would have a FCG or some projections. If my wife had her way, we'd stop after this year but she doesn't have her way..yet! so yeah, we're planning on a major scale back in the next 2-3 years, allowing us to still have a great display with an interactive component, but a ton less work for everyone. I think it's something we all reckon with at some point. I'd like to think we've inspired others to do a home haunt and it would be great to see new haunts crop up.
 
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Not there yet but I can see it off in the future. I'm a little younger than jdubbya but the whole thing hits me a little harder each year. I'll always do something but it would definitely be scaled back, since we only do a big one-day thing and then take it all down that night.
 

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Even when i was a very small child I liked to "Out-Hide" the other kids.. I guess that was one of the reasons i liked Haunting, getting to scare people by popping up from the unexpected depths of some obscure rat hole!
I had a Haunt in my Parents basement , I was in the JCs and built and ran that, now this is my 30th year of ownership of my Ravens Grin Inn and if I live to be 300 I would still love to be doing this.
One of the reasons it has turned as good as it can be, seemed to happen about the time we began refusing admittance to those who were screaming, staggering Drunk! (How about that?)
I lead most of the tours from the first room to the last Exit. (Except in October, of course.) But even in October, as the night wears down, I might be doing the complete house tour for the last one or two groups.
I talk, telling stories about this house (All True!) I also throw a few little comedy routines into their mix, I love to hear people laugh! (Then Scream!) Or vice-Versa.
I travel through the entire house with them, or taking a secret short -cut to appear for the scare.
Every area of my body gets the workout.
If they marvel at the house or certain portions of it.. this makes me very pleased, because this usually means they were really impressed and will be talking about their being here.
Open almost every night .. for 30 years. (Plus Sat, and Sunday afternoons!)
 

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Mine wasn't planned....It was thrown in my face = absolute frustration on a very stormy night on the last Saturday night of October 2012....Party night was canceled....Unbelievable amount of work for one day a year that will probably rain 9 times out of 10....The rest of the year I stored enough Halloween crap to fill a warehouse anywhere I could cram it where I live.....Ended up clearing about 80% and have been in limbo since.....Problem is it's still my favorite holiday and I want to do....something....Not all the craziness of before but not nothing either.....Finally decided I want to try to make my own Halloween inflatables - extremely quick to set up myself, much smaller storage space needed, etc....I'm off to a very slow start but eventually I want to make all the same things I had before only in the inflatable format.....I guess we all figure out compromises that work for our needs.....Good luck figuring yours out....ZR
 

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I would love one day when I retire from halloween decorating, just doing projections. Or 1 massive art piece for the front yard. Light up well, and thats it. I have talked with the neighbors and said it would be fun to pumpkin carve- in the range of 20 or 30 pumpkins, then tea light them and thats it. Eventually it will just be my little fave things inside the house maybe. These are all my thoughts when I eventually will start toning it down. But life is funny, and probably when I am 80 I will have a ton of kids in the neighborhood and will have to keep it up...(right now we don't)!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm glad I'm not along in these thoughts. The part I dread the most is the "disappointment" from the community but I have seen other haunts on nearby streets. Being a part of that chain of home haunters is a good feeling when I see others continue it. Again I really appreciate the replies, helps support my decision :)
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm glad I'm not along in these thoughts. The part I dread the most is the "disappointment" from the community but I have seen other haunts on nearby streets. Being a part of that chain of home haunters is a good feeling when I see others continue it. Again I really appreciate the replies, helps support my decision :)
This is what I struggle with as well, for lack of a better way to put it. We've been doing a haunt for over 20 years and we've developed a loyal following. We now have older teens and young adults who come by and tell us they've been coming to our house since they were young. Parents tell us how much they like coming each year and how they appreciate what we do to give kids a fun Halloween. I think of the void we'd leave if we just stopped doing it so hopefully we can scale back gradually and then simply continue to do a nice yard display for kids to enjoy. Hoping we can keep it going for several more years and go out gracefully lol!
 

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I get great satisfaction from my happy patrons here. A few nights ago there was one young man in the group and the second I saw him my mind said("He;s been here before , and it was a LONG time ago!")
At the exit at the house tour's finale I asked him how many times he has been to my house?
He told his Dad grew up just 10 miles away, and that when he and his Brother were toddlers (3yrs old) Dad would bring them here all the time.
"I have been through your house 100 times." (He's 30 years old and now lives 45 miles away.)
Another reason I love doing this so much is because I build my own "Stuff" following my inside-my-head blueprints, and I entertain people and sometimes even ad-lib some stuff to entertain everyone , all of which makes the show here more unique. Getting into other people's conscious minds then making them have to laugh, is and always will be a great , fun thing, and "They" appreciate it wonderfully!
As they used to always say at those "Holly Wood Roasts, "I'm a legend in my own mind!" But I don't... "Mind"
And another funny thing, I have had what would be called "Regular " Jobs,but I spent so much time in laughter, the jobs weren't bad at all. maybe it's just "Me"?
 

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yeah !! I can't think of the day when I might have to stop doing it, oldest is going to college, youngest in high school. they help a little with the set up and take down.
but it is like most a solo job. Been doing it for 15 years and it keep getting bigger and better (well I think so) LOL from comments I get, think the visitors also
enjoy it a lot.. decorate on the 1st of October and people just keep stopping by to see what's new and chat a little.
so my concern is like others, the day I will stop :( I feel that will leave a void.. this year seemed to have a few more than before (was in decline a few years) with new families moving into the area and one haunter died in the summer, many wondered if it was my house and kept saying how happy they were that I was still doing it..but I will miss my haunting friend, we always visited each other to chat it up, last season, the family had a sign up in their husband/father's name
thanking everyone who came all these years and it would be the last time for them :(
I don't see myself ever stopping completely, I may not have the physical strength to put up all the facades on the house when I'm too old, still only 45 :)
should have a few more good years to go hahaha
but when you see the joy in people eyes and then the next day while taking it all down you have parents walking by saying thank you for doing this, the kids love it and look forward to it.. Well that just confirms to me that it's worth all the work and time put into it.. I'll have enough props to set up something nice for the little ones..
 

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Because of everyone having their own computer, I have had people who were crossing the USA stop, pull off the road almost three miles to see and go through my house.
I have been very fortunate getting "Free "Ink" from large circulation newspapers and magazines.
I will never stop feeling very gratified that So many people know I'm here and have taken the time, spent their money just to see my place and enjoy it.
Last night I posted on another site how my night usually ends here:I lock all the doors walk around turning "OFF" all those "House" lights, then I go down to the Wine Cellar and personally re-fold then carry the pads and protective gear required (By ME) for the Bad-Dream " bed.
48 stair-steps later the first load is replaced. It took a total of three trips up those 48 steps to get it all back up here for next time.
A few nights ago a young woman who had been here before told me:"I felt it, Jim.. I really did!"
Then she explained how a multi-million dollar Amusement Park ride had given her that same feeling!
Then she pointed to the center of her chest , and that is why a large number of people Do Return here!
 

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I plan on doing my haunt this year, then next year just a party and a small set up on the lawn for the big night (something I can do alone in an hour or two). After that, who knows? Maybe a good sized haunt every couple years interspersed with years off or just small displays. I've invested a lot of time and money (as I'm sure we all have) amassing props for a wide variety of themes. Every few years I sell off some items to purchase new and keep it fresh, but it would be nice just one year not to set up at all and just enjoy the season, but I'm not there yet.
 

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We have done a big and involved yard haunt for the last 15 years, but with our kids all grown and gone with families of their own, my husband and I have been struggling the last couple of years with the massive amount of work involved. Also, my hubby isn't into Halloween the way I am, so ultimately I wound up doing the planning, building, setting up and taking down alone. Two years ago we agreed we would have a blow-out haunt and from then on we would scale back. So, we created a full scale Louisiana swamp complete with water, cypress trees, alligators and voodoo rituals. Without sounding too cocky, it was amazing and we literally had people pulling off the highway to see what was going on with the lights and the traffic. However, lifting and anchoring those 35 pound cypress trees took a toll on our backs, so true to our promise, last year we kept to only decorating our front porch. We had lots of people come up and tell us how spectacular the "swamp" had been and asked us why we weren't doing something like it this year. After explaining that it was hard with just the 2 of us, we got so many people volunteering to help us that it looks like we will be back at full tilt again this year! You don't always realize the impact you have with people until something like this happens. It was a really big boost to our creativity juices and now we can't wait to get started this year! (Yes, even the hubby is excited!)
 

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We have done a big and involved yard haunt for the last 15 years, but with our kids all grown and gone with families of their own, my husband and I have been struggling the last couple of years with the massive amount of work involved. Also, my hubby isn't into Halloween the way I am, so ultimately I wound up doing the planning, building, setting up and taking down alone. Two years ago we agreed we would have a blow-out haunt and from then on we would scale back. So, we created a full scale Louisiana swamp complete with water, cypress trees, alligators and voodoo rituals. Without sounding too cocky, it was amazing and we literally had people pulling off the highway to see what was going on with the lights and the traffic. However, lifting and anchoring those 35 pound cypress trees took a toll on our backs, so true to our promise, last year we kept to only decorating our front porch. We had lots of people come up and tell us how spectacular the "swamp" had been and asked us why we weren't doing something like it this year. After explaining that it was hard with just the 2 of us, we got so many people volunteering to help us that it looks like we will be back at full tilt again this year! You don't always realize the impact you have with people until something like this happens. It was a really big boost to our creativity juices and now we can't wait to get started this year! (Yes, even the hubby is excited!)
Sounds like fun and I hope it happens. My only concern is that all the well intentioned people who voulunteered actuall come through and offer to help when it's time to roll up their sleeves. I've seen it happen many times and people who want to see something happen make the promise to help out but then things come up and they don't follow through.
 

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No end time planned time for me...I have actually turned the page on gardening this spring/summer so I can concentrate on my facade build. I don't see it ever ending, I have too deep a passion for this.
 

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So smart to do this....then you can finish on your own terms. You can know its coming and really savor it. I just completely burned out last year. The enormous effort and its toll on me started to outweigh the joy I was getting from it. I began finding myself exhausted, stressed to the point of panic and just glad it was over by the time we were done. It was mostly my own fault--I just kept trying to go bigger every year when nobody was going to get out of it what I was putting into it it(not their fault I have an insane amount of enthusiasm//love for all things Halloween and they just love it a normal amount)! I end up looking forward to the season and October all year and then not getting to enjoy any of it. I am going to revel in it this year. I am going to the WCHC to just soak it up and enjoy,
I am going to do all the things I wish I had time for in October (events, spooky movies etc.) You are right the disappointment is hard---I keep getting "you aren't really done, we know you will be back" or "you always say you are going to hang it up--I know you will do it again". My family has been very supportive (both during the height of the mayhem and in my stepping back). So I guess this is a long winded way to say I applaud you. In giving yourself such a long lead time you and the community can really enjoy your finale and you can end the way you want with good memories! Bravo!

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm glad I'm not along in these thoughts. The part I dread the most is the "disappointment" from the community but I have seen other haunts on nearby streets. Being a part of that chain of home haunters is a good feeling when I see others continue it. Again I really appreciate the replies, helps support my decision :)
 

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I finally feel like I'm hitting my stride and this is the first post-season period where I realized I'm probably halfway through my haunting years. Threw out 5 tombstones when my daughter was 4, now she's 12, and in 6 years she will be in college. I did this for her, and it's become a huge bonding thing for us. I don't know what will happen when she leaves home, but I'll probably do something different on Halloween than haunting. I'd like to give most of the haunt to a young family around that time and see how it changes. It's a bittersweet thought and I kinda don't want to think about it.
 
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