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Discussion Starter #1
We ran our first haunt last night. It was a huge success, with one exception - some bad kids who destroyed quite a bit of the interior and hit and kicked a number of our actors. These were the last 2 tours of the night, and the kids had obviously gone through a few times before since they headed specifically to certain props to destroy. The tour was led by my husband, who kicked them out as soon as they started doing damage, but by then the damage was done.

We had about 300 people come through, and had set a time limit. We ran in groups of 10 and I would say 99% of the folks were well behaved. But these kids really ruined it for everyone and we may not be getting some of our actors back for next year because of the way they were treated.

What things have you done to keep this sort of stuff to a minimum? I think that if we can limit their trips to the house to only one time, then they won't have a chance to destroy much - nothing got damaged in the first 1.5 hours we were open. I was thinking of doing hand stamps when they go through, but those will wash off. Any other suggestions on how you've handled stuff like this?

Hubby wants to do a rent a cop and haul them off to jail on the spot for assault, but that may be out of our budget. :)

Stacy
 

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devilsfan I know I have read stories similiar to this on here but its been some time ago......there was a story last year or the year before about a small home haunt but it was a bit different....people..... adults had come through & started hitting the actors & some of the owners kids. It was people from the same school that all of their children went to & I believe it was all based on a religious thing, I can't remember on the board who it was but I do remember her saying they were thinking about closing it down for the season. The whole thing scared her to death because 2 cars of them came & just came right in & started hitting everybody.

When all of us tried to tell her to call the police & report it she was scared if she did they would come back because the people who did it, they were recognized as having children in the same school as hers. We told her if she closes it they win....but still any of us would be scared if something like that happened & our kids were hit but crazy religious radicals.

You have a tough decision but I believe in self defense so for me it would be a baseball bat!

Muf
 

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I haven't done it myself, but my old neighbor use to put up signs that say "you are on video" after having his props damaged and destroyed and it was quite effective. Also if security is out of your budget, you can call your local police and ask them to add a patrol by your house every so often, that is what they're there for. Or my personal favorite, beat the ever living crap out of one of them to make an example and nail them to the wall. Muahahahaha.
 

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For the safety of your actors, you may want to consider pepper spray. I would not want to get into a physical confrontation with someone bent on damage or violence unless I was quite sure I could end it quickly in my favor. Might be worthwhile to have it in the hands of standby personnel, rather than the actors themselves. There may be local regulations concerning its use.

Be sure to tell the visitors "Our security personnel are equipped with deterrents that you will not enjoy receiving, if your actions require us to deploy them."

Limiting it to one trip punishes everyone else. If you have so many visitors that you can't get them all through by the end of the evening, that would be one thing, but why limit the folks who behave themselves?
 

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Ten is much too large of a group. It's hard to see who is doing what and when you say something it isn't directed to anyone in particular. The mob mentality takes over.

Make the groups much smaller. They won't feel as invinceable that way. Then if anyone starts anything you can direct your words at one in particular and they might have an effect.

Like saying "Hey, all of you stop that!" versus "Don't do that kid!"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's not as easy as increased patrols. This isn't at our house - it's the neighborhood park in a private subdivision, in the middle of nowhere basically. We have a county sheriff, no city cops. Everyone here has a lot of land, so TOT house to house isn't an option, so we do it at the park. There's a large barn on the park property that serves as the haunted house and is the "cap" at the end of the evening after a day-long fall festival put on by the HOA. There are costume contests and pics at the top of the hill, then all the kids TOT down the hill (folks set up tents and tables), ending at the HH at the bottom of the hill. The entire park is about 30 acres, so we have a lot of room to work with.

We wanted to limit the house time to 1 hour, since we had a LOT of trouble getting volunteers (yes, 300+ ppl who live here can make time to COME to the festival but not help out. :() and we felt that if it was only 1 hour of time, people would do it. And they did - we got 8 people to volunteer, which is huge, since last year the guy who was running it only got 2 volunteers. We ended up extending the time an additional hour since the line waiting to get in wasn't moving AT ALL. We only found out later from one of our committee members that it was because a lot of the teens/tweens were going through the house and then cutting back in line with their friends. I just got an email today from another chairperson who said a lot of folks left because of the line length. We need to avoid that next year - which is why I thought limiting it to one tour per person would help tremendously.

We started with 5-6 per group early on, but the line was stretching about a quarter mile and we decided to increase group size at that time. And it wasn't a big issue until the last 2 tours, when those kids came through set on doing damage. We are NOT allowed to spray them with pepper spray or touch them, because the HOA will get sued by the parents. So we have to be very careful about how we handle things.

I did target a few kids ahead of time (2 were trying to pull the cemetery fence down, and I told them if they touch it again, they don't get in. They shaped up after that). But I don't know if these are the same kids that did the damage. They weren't in costume, but they all looked alike to me anyway. And it wasn't a mob rush - it was 1 kid in the first tour who punched out a display, then 2 kids in the 2nd tour finished the job and attacked our guys in the dot room. Hubby talked to the kids individually and escorted them out. They laughed the whole time tho and I can easily see this being a challenge next time.

We got the OK from the HOA to essentially start the tour up the hill next year, maybe doing a hayride to the house, so if you've already been to the house you don't get on the hayride. Which would help keep people from breaking the outside displays at least, if they're not waiting in line for an hour with nothing to do. But we need something to prevent them from going on the hayride to the house more than once. I liked the idea of a hand stamp, but the kids could easily go the clubhouse (where the TOT starts) and just wash it off. We also thought about doing those snap-type bracelets - everyone gets one who wants to go to the HH when they enter the park, and then it gets cut off when they leave the HH. We'll set up only one entrance so it's controlled. That's going to be a lot of work tho, and will need more volunteers - which is the biggest problem we seem to be having.

Any other ideas?
 

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Truefully I have gone through a Haunt drunk. Not very proud of it. But have never damaged anything that people have spent so much time on. Police over seeing everythin g is a good idea but I don't think pepper spray should be an option. Having a few guards watching over things inside the haunt would be a better option. You can usually spot the bad eggs by their actions. Make the guards know, people usually won't act up when they know their being watched. And let them know that their being watched and what the punishment will be for acting up! I am a big guy and have never had propblems. I have been known in my area for some time.
 

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As for handstamping. The super blue invisible ink that glows bright blue/white in blacklight does not wash off. It's not expensive and a little goes a long way. You could get a skull or ghost stamp. And just have a blacklight near the entrance to easily check hands and stamp new customers (costumers).
 

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I really had a hard time understanding this, this is a HOA & this type of behavior was allowed?

Its one thing to have people wreck havic with a display or haunt but to physically attack someone & then for you to actually have these kids there & know who they are & have spoken to them......I don't understand why the law was not called.....what ya gonna do let them tear the place up & hit & punch people and then not do anything about it.

I don't think extra volunteers are going to control a situation like this & if you knew the kids why didn't someone pursue talking to their parents. This is kids completely out of control & with adults there why didn't some of the other adults there help you guys out. What if someones small child was going through & an accident happened while these kids were destroying things. If it belongs to the park there would have been a big lawsuit if a little one got hurt in this mess.

As for county sheriff......I lived in a town of 63 & sometimes we had to wait awhile for Stan to get there but if it was important they sent another sheriff to us. Things like what happened need to be reported or those kids will back again next year only there will be more of them out to cause more problems.

Since when can kids go around physically hitting someone & just get away with it. Sorry if I sound harsh its just hard to believe this would just be something you all would let go & not make sure these kids are taught something here.

I mean look how many folks on this board have trouble with props getting stolen & have no recourse because they were taken in the middle of the night.....but in your situation having these kids there to talk to face to face.....please tell me where the parents were & if the kids were older, unsupervised & out with their friends.....is it a small enough complex that anyone knew who these kids belonged to. If not why were they not held & told to call their parents.


I'm just curious.......I have put on a lot of events in my life & we always had families come with all their kids & this type of behavior would have never been tolerated not just by me but by the community of people that attended.


Muf
 

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Give us their addresses and we'll send the parents some letters letting them know how the world feels about their children's behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Heck, we WOULD have done something if we knew who the brats were! Like I said, it was the last tour of the night - they took off as soon as they got out of there and I have no idea whose kids they were. As for the parents....fat chance of them doing much. The committee chair got cussed out by one of the parents on the TOT path (I don't know if they were related to the bad kids, but it would make sense) after she told him to stop throwing the HOA lights that lit the path into the park pond. Lovely, huh? Some people just suck.

We have a good HOA, I would say about 99% of the folks are decent people who work hard and enjoy the festival with their kids. Then there are the 1% that get drunk and let their kids do whatever the heck they want. I'm thinking about starting to take polaroids next year if we catch the little bastards and blow up posters to put around the mailboxes...."Are these your kids? Because you need to step up and be a freakin parent!"

I had no idea the indelible ink existed. That would be perfect. Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm also going to see if we can get a cop uniform and have someone dressed up as a cop at the door. The kids won't know he's not real. I would hate to bother our sheriff or deputies with something like this when they have more important things to handle. A sign letting people know that destroying property or touching the actors will result in arrest might make some think twice as well.

Stacy
 
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