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Some friends and I went to Knott's Halloween Haunt last night. Had lots of fun. I couldnt help noticing that the majority of the monsters were using gloves with the fingers coated in metal. Dunno if anyone else has seen these but they use them by clicking them in your face as you walk by. doesn't seem very scary but it sure catches you off guard :eek: So anyway i thought i would get a post started where we can all post up our favorite haunted house scare tactics. My haunt needs some new scares and i think this is the best place to find them :) anything but saying "raaahhhrrr" counts lol

my personal fav is shaking beans in an empty tin can behind someone's back. usually gets a good scream :D
 

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My favorite was what appeared to be several stationary creepy faces against a black background illuminated by a black light. It turned out that one of them was a mask on someone with a black suit on. This person jumped out at us. Needless to say, I jumped too. :eek:
 

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Nothing in a home haunt caught my attention, but Halloween Horror Nights at Universal does some great simple/easy scares that work wonders. I think because there are so many guests walking around the park, that when you encounter a 'scaractor' it catches you off guard.

When I went they wore metal knee pads and carried knives. They'd run full speed down the street and slide on the metal pads right up behind people while scraping their knives on the ground. Such an odd sound coming up behind you and they you see someone on their knees flying towards you. Scary, but fun.

They also would jump out with small tin cans filled with rocks/metal and shake 'em. That one could easily work in a home haunt.
 

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When I was out trick or treating (cmon, im 13 still!) there was a small house, and they put these 3 skeletons in the front, but 1 was real, and it jumped out at you as you waked by.
 

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I went to the Halloween Happening at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and there was a butcher scene. He was turned around and you could hear power tools. He would turn around and wave a saw in your face. It was really freaky and terrifying.
 

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I've found that quiet works well for me...

Since I don't get a lot of ToTs, I just follow people around the cul-de-sac. When they stop, I stop, when they talk, I don't say a word....I just stare at them. This technique works great on female ToTs and especially their moms :D

Working a room in a haunt gives the "victim" the opportunity to get away once they go to the next room....but when you roam the neighborhood they can't get away as fast.

As more and more kids are being driven around on Halloween, I also like to sneak up on cars and start staring through the windows at the people inside. You know you're doing a good job when the kids won't get out of the car :D
 

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More mental then visual

I think the best scares are the ones that are more mental then visual. I can honestly say i have never really been to a haunted house (walk through) that actually frightened me. Sure i'll jump at the sound of a chain saw that was unexpected...but I enjoy the scares where you feel uncomfortable.

Case in point: There is a mental asylum in west virgina that me and my wife went to one October. The first 10 minutes or so was terrific. They pretty much left you in the dilapidated cell block, certain cells were open, some were not... the smell of the place, the intense quietness, and sense on impending dread that your mind begins to play, for me, is the best scares. The paint on the walls were chipped and dirty, you can hear the drip on nearby leaks, you can almost feel the misery of the place.

It all went downhill shortly after when the tour came upon the strobe lights, and fake skeletons, and the "normal haunts". In previous years, this particular asylum was just a plain old walk through with no special effects, but i didnt get a chance to attend then.
 

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I remember as a teen (not senital yet!)this haunted house that you walked down a hallway and as you where walking you heard some like you are now entering the dead or something like that,then you noticed that it looked like you where floating in the air over a cematery.It was a werid kinda thing. and it gave you that fear of falling feeling.What it was is darkroom plexiglass floor and under this floor they made a model of a cemerty with I would guess HO or N scale model railroad props. Hummm maybe a new prop this year. now that I'm thinking about it a prop like that but instead of a cemerty a corpes bucky looking up at you......
 

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What gets me is when you are looking at a scare actor and you think to yourself that you are safe in this room ('cause you see him) and another actor scares the heck out of you coming out from another part of the room. Guh!

I'm finally really understanding the power of distraction.
 

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I think the best scares are the ones that are more mental then visual. I can honestly say i have never really been to a haunted house (walk through) that actually frightened me. Sure i'll jump at the sound of a chain saw that was unexpected...but I enjoy the scares where you feel uncomfortable.

Case in point: There is a mental asylum in west virgina that me and my wife went to one October. The first 10 minutes or so was terrific. They pretty much left you in the dilapidated cell block, certain cells were open, some were not... the smell of the place, the intense quietness, and sense on impending dread that your mind begins to play, for me, is the best scares. The paint on the walls were chipped and dirty, you can hear the drip on nearby leaks, you can almost feel the misery of the place.

It all went downhill shortly after when the tour came upon the strobe lights, and fake skeletons, and the "normal haunts". In previous years, this particular asylum was just a plain old walk through with no special effects, but i didnt get a chance to attend then.

Right I totally agree with you, this is the most intense fear but it is also the hardest thing to imitate.
 

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Engage Their Mind

Get them to pay attention, THEN it can happen and not before. I crave customers with attention spans!
I have had very experienced , professional haunters get very frightened in my haunted house.
They later say to someone that they were in actual fear for their lives, "We thought that he was going to kill us!"
I never threaten them verbally, I never go at them as if I am going to attack them physicaly, I guess it's just mostly "Me"? Along with my house being very different and unpredictable and actually haunted.
Because my house and performances are so different, it is always amusing just what someone will have to say as they try to describe it to their friends.
Commonly frustration takes them over and they finally just say:"You have to go and see it."
I adjust the show for whatever kind of audience is looking at me, this also helps one remain in the business, I think?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The unknown gets me! When you wonder around and dont know where your going, and don't know whats coming next. Fear of the unknown can drive the mind mad! hehe yeaaa!
ah ya! the haunt i help run has a fair sized maze that gets everyone. we had some kids that got lost for a full 10 minutes. they came out crying cuz the actors working the maze had scared them so bad.

funny how you can create a sense of panic just through making someone feel like they dont know wats going on
 

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It seems to me the simple things that I just throw in there turn out the best scares, and the elaborate scenes I make sometimes just don't pull off the scare I want. Simple things that seem to work: complete darkness, sudden loud noises, pop outs like the already mentioned drop panel, etc.
 

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Simple but effective

Hey guys, just thought about this one too actually. When I volunteered at one of the local walk through haunts (decent sized semi professional) they placed a plain clothes actor up front as if he or she was waiting in line. they would sections off groups of people say 10 at a time.

The plain clothes actor would keep his ears pealed and catch the name of an individual that seemed the most freaked out. He would then report that name to all the other zombies, deadies, and ghoulies, so that they could whisper it in raspy dead voices when that particular group went through.

Always got a good reaction out of hearing your name called by total zombie strangers :)
 

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scary

I've worked in pro haunt design for years. I can't stand it when even pro haunts rely too much on the "startle scare". One or two is O.K. but the whole thing? LAME. I find psychological scares are the ultimate. Horror movie type ambient soundtracks get them started, the finish them off with all the real life things that really freak people out, add one or two startle scares, and you will have a great haunt. Also, have a STORY! You will get people more scared if there is a continual theme, as opposed to random stuff. The anticipation of being scared, gets people more on edge.

Bill Ehrsam.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey guys, just thought about this one too actually. When I volunteered at one of the local walk through haunts (decent sized semi professional) they placed a plain clothes actor up front as if he or she was waiting in line. they would sections off groups of people say 10 at a time.

The plain clothes actor would keep his ears pealed and catch the name of an individual that seemed the most freaked out. He would then report that name to all the other zombies, deadies, and ghoulies, so that they could whisper it in raspy dead voices when that particular group went through.

Always got a good reaction out of hearing your name called by total zombie strangers :)
Woot! thats a great idea. Havent heard that idea before n i think we'll try it. awesome thanks for the input :)
 
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