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Discussion Starter #1
I am struggling with the debate on including 'trigger warnings' on my home haunt. What are some thoughts on this topic? What steps should a private home haunt go through in terms of strobe lights, fog, graphic imagery, suicide mention, etc.

Are there any articles or literature out there on what some professional attractions consider?

Please, keep an open mind in your responses, I am not looking for an argument on the idea of "trigger warnings".

Thanks!
 

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Strobe lights and fog I think are go-to ones for all pro haunts across the board, that a safe bet to include. If you have particularly gory scenes and think might offend younger guests, that may not be amiss - Simulated Gore/Violent Content for that kind of thing. Most after hours events I've attended consider gore par for the course, don't warn of it specific, but a home haunt different beast. Things like enclosed spaces/vortex tunnels or stuff that can affect people's balance or anxiety. Definitely anything sexually suggestive (not at all saying you do that!) should be included if were to come up.
 

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I always like to know if there is touching or not, since I went to haunts put on by Marines as a kid - and they didn't seem to know how to pull back fordifferent age groups. Strobe light warnings are awesome too.

I personally don't get to any home haunts, so when I'm out for a scare, I call ahead. Have to see how it will be for service dogs, slow moving people, walking with crutches, etc. If i did go to a home haunt, i would be delighted to see something about common triggers, or something where I could ask about specific things - like depictions of animal mutilation. In my experience, trigger warnings let people decide if they are feeling up to the experience, and prevents having to pause the attraction while someone having a panic attack is escorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My reason for posting this is in line with a conversation I was having with a group of friends. My theme for this year is going to be the Wizard of Oz (though a dark twist on the original story). I want to include a hanging munchkin prop as a nod to the myth surrounding the original film. I was offered a suggestion of placing a 'suicide mention' at the start as a warning.

That being said, since we are a home haunt, we have NEVER had a trigger warning. We use strobe lights and fog occasionally, but have never had an issue with trigger warnings; nor even put thought into trigger warnings.

Thanks for the responses.
 

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This fall know a very able haunt reviewer who went through a pro haunt that was so nasty.. she couldn't even write much about it.
It is also the most high-priced haunt ticket I have ever heard of.
 

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My reason for posting this is in line with a conversation I was having with a group of friends. My theme for this year is going to be the Wizard of Oz (though a dark twist on the original story). I want to include a hanging munchkin prop as a nod to the myth surrounding the original film. I was offered a suggestion of placing a 'suicide mention' at the start as a warning.

That being said, since we are a home haunt, we have NEVER had a trigger warning. We use strobe lights and fog occasionally, but have never had an issue with trigger warnings; nor even put thought into trigger warnings.

Thanks for the responses.
Oh, that's a tough one! I think with things that are meant for kids, parents often expect them to be very friendly, so I can see why you might be considering a warning. I'm not really sure on that one, not being a parent myself. I don't know how many kids these days know of the myth, or if it would bother them. Might bother the parents more than anything.

My husband suggests that if you are doing a dark, spooky, adult-oriented version of the Wizard of Oz, it should be fine. But if you are going more light-hearted and friendly, it would be good to have a warning, since parents wouldn't be expecting that.
 

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IMO, anything that can cause disorientation or set off a medical condition [seizures, asthma, vertigo] should have some kind of warning before entering.
Content warnings can become a 'where's the line' discussion on the other hand. If you have touching or close interaction, common phobia themes [clowns, spiders, snakes], or scenes that could hit close to home emotionally, it might be helpful to have some kind of content warning, especially if it's outside your usual haunt theme.

Overreaction and panic are my main concerns over people being kind of upset. I don't want someone taking swings because we keyed their fight/flight response, nor do I want someone having a mental breakdown mid haunt. Someone groaning to their friends that it was gross or just not their thing doesn't bother me, but we don't go out of our way to be offensive or antagonistic either though.

Dunno what to tell you about the hanging munchkin. It could be upsetting to people who don't get the reference you're making, it could go unnoticed by most depending on how you set it up.
 

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It couldn't hurt. Professional haunts always include SOME sort of warning about what is to be expected (lights, fog, warnings for people with heart conditions, etc)

Especially with a home haunt you might benefit from this. I think people tend to assume a home haunt will be less intense/more kid-friendly by nature, and if its a particularly scary/quality haunt it might throw some people off-guard or into something unexpected. I think most of us would agree that the point of doing these haunts is so people can have a good time, not walk away with their night ruined. If you decide to include a sign, it's a safe bet to focus on any sensory aspects of your haunt (smells, flashing lights, loud sounds, etc) as these tend to be areas where people are sensitive or might have some kind of disorder that triggers a negative response.
 

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That is a tricky one, the munchkin specific scene - if the build up is eerie music, horror-type witches, spooky trees, and more twisted stuff - it just part of a eerie/creepy overall attraction with other 'more intense' content, I don't think the singling it out for a warning is warranted. If stands out dramatically as more grim than the rest, then yes, maybe that would be cause to have warning.
 

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I think the haunter and the ToT both need to use some common sense....as a ToTer, you should be asking if the haunt has things that trigger problems for you. I don't know if half the people out ToTing can even read a list. As a haunter, you shouldn't be touching anyone and if you are worried that the content of your haunt is offensive then either tone it down or be your offensive self. Word will get out about your haunt and those that don't like it wont be back and those that get into the offensive things will be looking forward to next year.

I usually end up doing crowd control on my haunt and parents ask me if it is okay for their kid and I tell them "I don't know, it's not my kid...is there anything specific you are worried about?'
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We've been running for over a decade without a sign or anything posted, and no complaints yet. For better context on the munchkin: it's sort of an inside joke for MYSELF at this point, I doubt it will be front and center in any scene. Just an afterthought for anyone who knows about it. I like including little things like that. I will make a note that everyone here is advising erring on the side of caution, though.
 

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Add my vote to warning about physical risks like strobes or smoke. But it's a haunt, for gosh sake. It's supposed to be scary. If you warn about what you are going to see, that ruins probably 75% of the effect, just by being a spoiler. If you are easily triggered, don't go in.

I would definitely stay away from touching anybody, however. Sounds like a huge lawsuit just waiting to happen. Either that or one of your scareactors getting punched out when they touch the wrong person.
 
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