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hiya, every year we have a argument about our haunt. is it to scary, is it too childish... ofcourse I want to make it scary, but the females tend to want fun! Anyone else think about this? What direction does everyone else go down? Many thanks, HauntedSFX! :D
 

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Scary is fun isn't it?! ;) A simple maze at night can be scary. Who is is too scary for? Would you happen to have enough area where you could do a fun side for little kids and a scary side for older?

Seems like it all would be a matter of opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Scary is fun isn't it?! ;) A simple maze at night can be scary. Who is is too scary for? Would you happen to have enough area where you could do a fun side for little kids and a scary side for older?

Seems like it all would be a matter of opinion.
I just think that if its too scary, younger people dont really enjoy it, which makes the whole thing a waste of time really ;)
 

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I guess a lot depends on how many TOTs you have. If there are a lot, you can always go scary knowing that some will walk by but most will stop. If there are a few, you might want to lighten up on the scariness to get as many TOTs as possible.
 

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This is the one area that I think most haunters blow it the most. If you have lots of little TOT's as most people do and you build it scary and they know this and dodge your house, what fun is that ? Judging by most the pics I see here only teens would come. Heck we actually had people thanking us for not being too scary and their little ones having nightmares,....oh don't get me wronge we ran a creepy trail with 10 live actors and had plenty of screams but we had to cut it way back for most everybody Avg age was 5. We also bait them in with all cute stuff out front and where the trail starts so we get them in, but as they get to the backyard it starts to change to spooky, creepy and darker. It worked and we were scary anuff but not over the top. Heck my wife said next year I have to move my Gemmy pirate skelly because it was too close to the candy and they would not come up....?!?! Again age is everything we had very few teens maybe 20 out over 200 folks, most were parents and little ones 3-7. If you build it scary they won't come if they are young and again what fun was that ??? Oh ps we use no blood, guts, or gore whatsoever as well as very few props on the trail....we want them to come out laughing not crying, and they did.
 

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I agree with bozz...it depends on the audience.

I decorate for the little ToT for the most part. I went a little darker this year but still kept it as kid friendly as possible. I don't do a multi-night walk-through I just do Trick-orTreats. I only I one kid who cried and wouldn't come into the garage. I had one that just prefered to stand at the entrance. I always go out of the garage and give candy..I don't force the issue. I tell them it is alright if they don't want to come in.

There was one kid about 3 years old who didn't want to leave the garage. He was fascinated with everything. I had a bunch of high-school kids in full costume who all loved it.

Maybe the idea of a darker side and a kid side would be the answer if you have the room.

Do you have pics of your set-up?


I think you just have to go by what reactions you got the year before.
 

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I tend to rely on an eerie atmosphere the most and let my actors provide the actual scares. I personally wouldn't bring a five year old to my house but ages 8 and up would probably do just fine.

Really, it all depends on what your goals are for your haunt. Who do you want to attract... little kids or teens and young adults? There are ways to reach both goals. Bozz outlines a great way to do that.

Ultimately whatever direction you go in you're likely to have a few slow years to start and then as word spreads the crowd that you attract will grow and grow. I started out with just six Trick or Treaters six years ago and this year, our seventh, we had over one-hundred-fifty.
 

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This is something I'm always trying to balance and found it hard to so this year. Out of 350 or so people, most said it was great and ok for kids, but we also had a few cryers this year, I believe due to the far side of the haunt being darker than usual. A couple of guys down the street opened a very well done haunt this year, but more for older kids with the gore and body parts that I don't do.

So I think I'll tone it down just a little (or lighten it up I suppose) to keep it fun for the kids as they do the older group well. I'm in the scary is fun, but terrifying isn't camp. But as mentioned, it all depends on the audience you're after.

It's a tough balance to get, but ultimately it should be whatever makes you happy.
 

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We go for a traditional spooky atmosphere, avoid the blood/gore/chop shop items (okay, so we did have a severed foot in a sneaker, but it got more laughs than shrieks), and let the parents decide whether they want to bring their kids up. I've seen little ones who were totally undeterred by the surroundings, and teenagers who wouldn't come up the walk. We never try to actively scare (as in jump out or grab) anyone, particularly the young ones, although we don't mind if they THINK it's going to happen. I also do what Haunted Bayou does - if the small ones seem afraid, I go out with the candy, talk to them, and encourage then to look at the props. One little girl this year was afraid to walk through the fog coming down our sidewalk until I took her hand and walked with her. Another little boy walked by with his father three times before he worked up the courage to come to the door. I gave him extra candy.

I agree it can be a fine line to walk, and what we like to achieve is the fun scare, not the terrified one. Again, I think the parents have to be the best judges of what's appropriate for their kids when they take them out to TOT, and I'm not offended if they choose to pass the house. Other than that, we do what we enjoy and don't worry too much about it.
 

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As much as I try to create a scary haunt, it seems to become more "gee whiz, look at that" with all the animated stuff. It's also lit up pretty good with colored LED's, green spots and rope lighting. The front yard is too small to have actors. Is it the startle factor that gets screams more than gory/scary props? As Zombie-F said, create an atmosphere and let the actors generate the screams. It's the TOT's antici......pation combined with the haunt's startle factor that gets the reaction, more than the gore/blood, IMHO.
 

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We LOOK scary, but aren't. Only one bloody head, and that is kinda hidden. We want the kids to be intimidated, but not realy scared. (Plus, we get a lot of little kids & families). We did use the leaf blower scare for great effect, but only on bigger kids, or smartass little ones....heh heh heh....
 

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Mmm... juicy topic.

After five years and some vastly different presentations, I've found that folks old and young miss the old scary walk-thru... they apparently want to go inside of something dark and spooky, as opposed to browsing the 'Macy's window', walk-by display I've done for the past two years.

Having never had a real 'crier', I plan to go lots scarier next season... a dark walk-thru with some creepy pop-up animations. Since I tend toward classic scares as opposed to over-the-top gore, it'll cater to them all... but, the really young 'uns will have the graveyard walkway up to the tent to enjoy and their parents can decide between the clearly marked boundaries between cool and yikes. I'll provide a seated waiting area with chairs for the mixed bag, undecided crowd.

(I also made waaaay better $$$ (donations for charity) with the walk-thru... funneling tots thru an entrance with a bucket made for better notice of our cause than folks milling around our display and pretending not to see it. Sad but true.)
 

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To me it is ideal if you can have both, especially if you get a good mix of TOT's It's like an amusement park, you have to have the mix of the big coasters, bumper cars, and the kiddy rides to get the full experience. Of course the logistics of having it all is sometimes more then is obtainable, in which case I'd lean in the direction of what your audience wants.
 

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I don't use live actors much. I set up the display and we just go with it. I had a yard full of zombies, and I had one little one too afraid to go up, and we went down to him to give him candy. I stay away from gore, but I don't have a problem with kids. Many of them take pictures with my figures.
 

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I like the creepy thing. Like old time horror movie creepy. Some of the little ones are scared but we try to coax them, if they don't come up, we come down. But most think it's cool, like the one, I guess about 6 or 7 who yells to his parents "This is the MONSTER house!" and then his Mom explains how he's been talkin' about coming here for the last week. After dark, this year I dressed up to scare the older ones, but NO scaring the little ones, we want them to come back, besides, its more fun after hearing their parents tell them not to be scared and they go up for the candy to scare the pants off their parents! Next year we'll get into some moving props.
 

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I go for the creepy atmosphere effect (think old Universal movie set), no actors,no blood and gore, lots of pneumatics and electronic props. I try not to fire any of the big 'boo' props around little ones, but all's fair with the 8 and above crowd. For us, it's really no fun 'till the screaming starts!
 

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We do a cemetary on the creepy side and have planed but never actually built a kiddy section. However, one observation that we have made is that predicting what scares what age group is difficult at best. We didnt put out our MIB this year and had an equal number of "to afraid to approach" as in years past. But the best observation was as has been mentioned before the little ones are fascinated by the animatronics that will scare the adults but terified by what doesnt move.
 

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But the best observation was as has been mentioned before the little ones are fascinated by the animatronics that will scare the adults but terified by what doesnt move.
That's so interesting that you'd say that ^^^

We noticed the same thing. The animated proprs scare the adults but I've had a few kids who are freaked by static ones???

I was kind of talking about this in a differebt thread. My haunt has always been more for the little kids as we got maybe 10-15 teens & a ton of kids 8 & under with a lot of them being 2 & under. So I've always catered to my audience.

With that being said, I'm going to add a few spookier things next year but they'll be placed in a manner that's not too intimidating or forcing you to walk right by. Allow people to approach them if they're curious. We'll see how it goes.
 

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we do our haunt the week end before and the night before halloween and of course halloween night. Our motto is 'no mercy after 7'. Before seven o'clock my haunt is all display walk thru. with dummies around and props like the guillotine ,lab stuff , and spaceship ,etc. I encourage people who think they will be too afraid or people with small kids to walk thru during the day. It has been working for us for a few years now.
I tell people there is absolutly nothing turned on,and no actors in there . (we don t do any blood or gore either)Usually the people that come during the day, have their own private tour.(because I don t let anyone thru unsupervised, I don t want things walking off) And I get to do what we all like to do... talk about our props and breathe in all the compliments! lol
When Iam asked is it scary?,... I say yes. they always go in!
So for us, instead of making a kiddie zone, we just have no scares in the regular haunt during the day.
by the way , this year we had 1600 visitors for the week ,550 on halloween night.
 
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