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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so I have put on a spooky yard haunt for a few years now. I have pneumatic props as well as many other animated and static ones plus I run a 32 channel light-O-rama system with about 800 watts of sound and a tone of flood lighting. My 2008 video clip is featured on the home page of Halloween Network check it out its cool.

My question is: I was thinking of opening the garage and building a walkthrough this year 2009. It’s a two car garage so it wouldn’t be the biggest thing in the world but I know I can make is freaky as hell. Could I charge a small fee maybe like $3.00 to the people that would like to take the tour? Is that tacky or do others do this?


Thanks All
 

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Super Moderator
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First, check with your local officials to see if that would even be legal.

Chances are you'ld need a liscence, and that means you'll need to be inspected and comply with a host of regulations.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Also, check with your homeowner's insurance. Different states and different insurance companies have different regulations on opening your house to something like that. You want t make sure you're covered -- just in case.
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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My two cents; keep it free. It's a home haunt, not a pro set-up, even though I'm sure you put on an awesome show. People go out on Halloween for a good time, and a free one. Start charging and you may notice a drop in your numbers next year, in addition to the potential problems of charging a fee mentioned above. Another option would be to simply takeup a free will donation. Be sure to put a sign up indicating what the money is for. If it's to fund future improvements to the haunt, be sure to specify that, but again, bear in mind it may turn some folks off. For the past few years as our own haunt has expanded from a front yard display to a rather elaborate walk through with multiple scenes, a lot of folks have suggested we could charge admission. To me it's all about doing it as a labor of love, even though some extra cash would be nice to offset costs.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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If you charge any money, you most likely will run into insurance problems - most homeowners insurance will not cover you at all.

You also may run afoul of your neighborhood association as you will be operating a business out of your home, and a slew of other problems pop up. (Operating a haunt that charges means you'll even be inspected by local fire department and such)

There have been other discussions on here (do a search about charging or donations) and in general as long as you aren't setting a fee you should be fine. Donations can be asked for (most of the time it's for charity - like canned food and the like) but outright charging, and you won't be covered and could be inspected and fined or shut down (or both).
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Just put this sign up:

The Following Donations are accepted:
Pink/Blue Styrofoam
Chicken Wire
PVC
two by fours
Newspaper
Latex
Glue
Drywall Mud
Gray and Black Latex Paint
Drylock
LED Spotlights
Wire
Air Compressors
Extensions Cords
Corn Stalks
Beer
128 channel lightorma system

add to the list as you see fit
 

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Shadow box dancer
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1,443 Posts
Just put this sign up:

The Following Donations are accepted:
Pink/Blue Styrofoam
Chicken Wire
PVC
two by fours
Newspaper
Latex
Glue
Drywall Mud
Gray and Black Latex Paint
Drylock
LED Spotlights
Wire
Air Compressors
Extensions Cords
Corn Stalks
Beer
128 channel lightorma system

add to the list as you see fit
Hilarious. Well put.
 

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Yes indeed. If you were to charge admission you would be opening a HUGE can of worms. For us, we simply ask for a certain donation per person. Our first year we tried this I asked for a $2.00 donation from each person who entered. We had many compliments and people told us we should ask for more. So last year we asked for $5.00. We had 1,000+ patrons last year and made around 3,000+ so not everyone donated, but it sure helps!

If you have any other questions feel free do PM me or e-mail me at [email protected]. I'd love to help ya out! Oh, and you can check out my site at Front Yard Fright - Waverly's PREMIER Haunted Attraction! and read up on my haunt and see how I run my show.

Good luck!
:).
 

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Last year I remember thinking it was such a drag when only 60 kids showed up. Normally I get 200+. I can't say I go to the extremes of what some people here do but in my area my yard is the best. I really thought it was all for not. I mean all I wanted was a crowd.

So a few days later I was cleaning up my display area when a lady pulled up and said she and her husband really enjoyed my display. She went on to say they found 2 foggers by the side of the road froma forclosed property and asked me if I wanted them. I said SURE!

From what I can tell they're pretty good. One is not working right now but it may be clogged. The other puts out a lot of fog and fog juice was included(crate of juice).

So some people do appreciate the effort we make. I've always considered it to be a community service.

Print up some business cards with your web page thanking the TOT'ers for their patronage. Maybe some parent will see it and think wow he really went to a lot of effort to entertain our kids. Maybe they donate some materials suggested above? Maybe they contract you to build them some props?
 

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I am a school teacher and resident in a suburban New York City Town. I get around 400-500 people walking through my Haunted Yard, porch and garage. We put out a UNICEF bucket and recieved one 10 dollar donation. This was partly because it was dark and the line was huge, and hard to manage. i do it for the passion of Halloween. I will throw some pics up later.
 

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I'm really loving this print a business card with your website idea, then on the back of it saying something to the effect of, "Dear Neighbor, If you are throwing out any of the items listed below, we would love to pick them up from you year round, in attempt to continue adding to our haunt!" Place it on a shorter column with a light, or on a podium or something... parents could pick it up, the older kids might throw it in their Halloween buckets..... Wow. Thats just a great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This year's extreme yard haunt



It's called The Wicked West Ghost Town Of Jase Ramon Ave. All I did was add a donations box so let’s see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
wow this thread is a flash back so I figure I would post an update as so much has changed... lol

Ok so as many of you know we now have one of the most insane yard haunts in the world as we where voted/rated #5 in the world as far as yard haunts go by the HHA contest last year 2011.

Its been a couple years now that we have had our donation box up and people don't seem to mind giving one bit. The donations are of course optional.

First thing is first: 1. We collected and still collect allot of data. Such as how many people visit us, how many people enter our maze, how many people would be willing to donate, after setting up the donation box how much was collected, etc... We do this on a nightly basis (spreadsheet) and after a few years we have enough data to show what nights are hot and what nights are cold so we can refine our hours, donation collections, services, etc. It also helps for our sponsorships(ill get to that in a bit).

2. Donations, yes we collect them and yes people give. On that note, we then gave the donations to a local non profit that takes care of the homeless children in our county but we didn't advertise that allot as we wanted to see if it mattered at all and I don't think it did or will. This year we will promote that fact that we give to the non profit and see what happens then. Good for next years statistics to see if donations are more or less.

3. Sponsorships, do to the fact that we get so many people to our haunt and on our websites (5347 people went in the maze in a 2 week period and 8500+ visitors for the entire month of Oct. in 2011 - Websites had around 40,000 unique visitors that converted to over a million hits for a 3 month period, this does not include our Facebook and YouTube traffic, but I can tell you our Facebook started a strong viral upswing with over 7k people talking about us in Oct.)

Last year 2011 we decided to market ourselves and our numbers to a couple local business and basically told them we will put them on our websites and add their business cards to our goodie bags that we hand out each night and bang lots of small businesses wanted to be involved and started giving us what we needed to run the show for a month, fog, candy, lumber, etc... This made it so that we didn't have to count on the donations to cover our overhead.

This year 2012 we have a very well defined sponsorship program with different layers that sponsors can get, such as onsite vendor tables, card handouts, media co-branding options, etc... Things have been crazy already and we now have a person that deals with sponsorships exclusively.

So a couple years after originally posting this tread I have answered my own question. Haunt stays free, donations are excepted and the bonus one that I didn't even think of at the time is Sponsors. Community is extremely happy, all 60 or so of our volunteers are happy, the kids are smiling, the moms are peeing. lol



Thanks All... Hope this will give you some ideas and or at least a little incite.
 

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Boy, you've really come a long way really fast.

Your haunt looks pretty open. How do you count the number of visitors? Someone with a clicker? How do you know how many are there that didn't go inside?

Thanks in advance!
 
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