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Traditionally I just try and create a spooky/creepy setting and dont startle that much. But going into haunted attractions, I see people really enjoying it so Im considering it this year.

What do you think? Do you startle any of your ToTs or their parents?
 

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I think they both have their purposes. I hate to hear people leave saying, "Ok, cool, but not scary." I want to put at least one good fright into them, otherwise it's just a museum.I make a spooky yard haunt, but I do try to add a couple of startles.

For me the question is spookiness versus straight gore/human atrocity. Normally I stay away from that. However I am considering adding an electric chair, because of the potential for a good startle (the orbital sander bolted to the bottom of the seat)
 

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I always have a startle in my haunt, for two reasons. One, because its fun to watch peoples reaction, Its Halloween, and it wouldn't be the same without the scares. Two, because it gives people a chance to look back and make Halloween memorable. I often hear parents talking to their kids about how they were so scared a couple years ago, or how fast they ran away from the haunt...and they share a good laugh.

oh, and its even funnier to scare the parents!
 

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I always have a couple of scares. We don't scare the little ones but I love scaring the ones who shouldn't be trick or treating anyway. They always come and say this isn't scary and end up screaming.
 

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We always have at least a few mild scares (barrel pop-up, skeleton grabber, that sort of thing). But you can never guess what scares some people. We once had a group of teen girls scream and run down our street after our intermittent fog machine went off - so you never know.
 

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spookiness in the suburbs
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Looks like a lot of us lean toward the spooky with a few mild scares route :) I don't do blood, gore, or chainsaw-wielding maniacs. I don't want the HOA up my butt over my display for scaring some of the rugrats.

That said, if I can get some of their parents or older sibs with a mild startle, I'll all for it!
 

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I helped with my sons Halloween PTA fund raiser one year and we set it up and was very good but the kids that were volunteering stopped taking direction and started yelling at people every chance they got trying to scare people, these kids were 10-12 yrs old.......the problem was, people were getting yelled at every few seconds from all the kids.......this was irritating more then scary. My point is, dont get carried away with the scares, keep it simple and fun and scary.
 

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I prefer atmosphere and intricate decorations, but nothing wrong with a good scare now and then. I think what's important is what you enjoy doing.
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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There is no creepy vs. scare as far as I'm concerned. They were born together, leering twins forever clasping hands, Horror and Terror.

What I mean is this - a startle or a jump scare is effective, but ten times moreso when anticipation has built. The reason is, if someone gets "creeped out", the heartrate increases, eyes dilate, and andrenaline is released a little at a time through the body. We prepare involuntarily for "fight or flight".

The expectation gets a better reaction, though that may sound like a contradiction. Those dilated eyes cause a tunnel vision that provides better focus, but eliminates broad spanning.
Therefore? Set them up for a scare in one direction (creepy, weird, spooky, music, lighting, etc.,) then hit them from the opposite. (Boo!)
Or let them see the scare, but confuse them as to when the scare will occur, as in the dropping head over the candy-bowl video posted here the other day.

It's the dummy scenario.
A house has two dummies, one slumped in a chair on the porch, the other hanging from a noose in a tree by the walk.
Creepy. Hanging corpses are unsettling, and smart money says the dummy on the porch is a real person, waiting to strike.
The approach to the house is tense, filled with wide-eyes, nervous jumps and giggles.

If the actor is sitting on the porch, he is expected to scare folks, but he is still very effective because no one knows when he'll make his move. Creepy + scare = good result.
If the actor is hanging from the tree, and makes his move on exiting TOT's, he was completely unexpected. Creepy + scare = good result.

This isn't an either/or situation. Use both
 

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Creepy Clown Is Redundant
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I think a well designed set can be very scary , but very difficult to achieve in a home haunt. The little details is what makes a set creepy. In our home haunt kids walk through too fast to absorb anything. I get upset when I've been to Halloween Horror Nights because they rush you through some very well designed sets.
 

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Seer of All
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What is Halloween Horror Nights?
Halloween Horror Nights is Universal Studios Islands of Adventure's Halloween conversion. They close the park early and then reopen a few hours later completely converted to a Halloween/horror theme.
 

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Hmmmm... I have to agree with the "Spooky but with a scare or two" theory. I helped set up a non-profit haunt a few years back at a 1800's era fur-trading fort. We setup mostly spooky/eerie effects (including my pepper's ghost illusion). We had rave reviews from those going through but the one thing everyone said after was "that was great but make it scarier next year"!

I think if it's a walk-through, people expect it to be scary... yardhaunts can be either. I'm not into the gore... I think that you have to make a gory scene super-realistic looking to be effective or it'll look fake. I don't have the space or resources to do that right now. I personally lean towards the Spooky atmospheric effects. I'm aiming for people to leave saying "wow! how did that work" or "how did they do that?" Having said that I see the benefit of having a scare thrown in there. My thought is to add a 2-way mirror effect that is startling. I'll suggest everyone "check" their costumes on the way out and have a remote trigger for a strobe lighting up a scary mask or skull in behind. Still spooky yet can be scary as well!
 

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Bête noire
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I've always aimed for the creepy setting, with sensor-activated sound effects providing some moderate surprises. This year I'll have a couple of actual startle props (opening coffin, tombstone popup). It's a little different for me and I hope it doesn't detract too much from overall "mood" that I try to set.
 

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The Halloween King
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What I mean is this - a startle or a jump scare is effective, but ten times moreso when anticipation has built. The reason is, if someone gets "creeped out", the heartrate increases, eyes dilate, and andrenaline is released a little at a time through the body. We prepare involuntarily for "fight or flight".

The expectation gets a better reaction, though that may sound like a contradiction. Those dilated eyes cause a tunnel vision that provides better focus, but eliminates broad spanning.
Therefore? Set them up for a scare in one direction (creepy, weird, spooky, music, lighting, etc.,) then hit them from the opposite. (Boo!)
Or let them see the scare, but confuse them as to when the scare will occur, as in the dropping head over the candy-bowl video posted here the other day.

It's the dummy scenario.
A house has two dummies, one slumped in a chair on the porch, the other hanging from a noose in a tree by the walk.
Creepy. Hanging corpses are unsettling, and smart money says the dummy on the porch is a real person, waiting to strike.
The approach to the house is tense, filled with wide-eyes, nervous jumps and giggles.

If the actor is sitting on the porch, he is expected to scare folks, but he is still very effective because no one knows when he'll make his move. Creepy + scare = good result.
If the actor is hanging from the tree, and makes his move on exiting TOT's, he was completely unexpected. Creepy + scare = good result.

This isn't an either/or situation. Use both
Couldn't have explained it better myself, so i won't.
 

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Grand Poobah
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I'm more on the creepy/eerie setting, but I use it to lull people into focusing on one thing, while using props to scare the shiat out of them. I like to have music/sounds for each scene.

Hidden air cannon, trash can trauma among row of cans, etc...
 
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