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scottish devil
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thats a tricky one,how about playing spooky music as the trick or treaters come up your path,i done that a few years ago it frightened the hell out of them!!
 

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Falling elements are great, but as another poster correctly mentions you HAVE to be sure of the safety. Use solid materials, make sure you've got a failsafe, and it should ALWAYS be actor-controlled so it can be quickly deactivated in the unfortunate event that something does go wrong.
That aside, here are things that I've scared adults with, on a shoestring budget.
1. Fog machines are cool, but you need to put stuff IN the fog. Mannequins in a bunch of fog is a great effect, if you've got a fake city street (but then again I work with a pro haunted house, so yeahhhh that may not work for you.) No worries, just put the mannequins in your yard! The reason that is frightening to people, is that whoever sees them can't tell for sure if they are real people. Now, put a few actors in the with them to stand really really still, and right when the ToTs get comfortable, have the actors lunge out towards them.
2 If you've got an indoor section, put up a room that just looks normal, no creepy props aside from maybe peeling wallpaper, or rotting wooden stuff like old rocking horses, chairs, desks, etc. Put strobe lights in the room and have them go off at random intervals, and have some really random loud sounds play when the lights go off; that way, ToTs will be walking through the room, and suddenly they'll be bombarded by loud noises, flashing lights, and actors jumping around them and getting in their faces. Have really good hiding places for the actors built in the the scene, that way after the lights come back on the guests can't tell where the actors came from, where they are, or when they'll come back. And have the "attacks" last for shorter time lengths, that way the guests won't know what exactly just happened to them but they'll know SOMEthing happened, and that will be enough to freak them out.
3. Sensory over-stimulation is a pretty freaky thing; for my 2010 haunt I had a "zombie virus" theme, so one section was a really narrow chain-link walkway going into a huge medical base. We had air-raid sirens going off, more fog than you can imagine, flamethrowers, people attacking guests from below, people shooting super-realistic capgun-style prop guns right in front of guests, the whole bit. The chain-link fence cage maze inside part of the tent had a roof, and there were infected patients crawling and jumping around on it.
Unfortunately I have since moved to a much more religiously conservative (and considerably smaller) environment, so I can't do anything like that again outside of the haunt I currently work for.

Some decent haunt ideas:
1. Walking right behind someone is really effective, especially in the queue lines.
2. Doing number one, while blowing air horns behind their heads. Caution must be taken not to direct the horn end towards the ears, but it is a very effective scare if timed properly.
3. Mental scaring is fun, and that's what's gonna leave an impression. You've got to expose your ToTs to a somehow over-the-top creepy, disturbing environment. You need to know the audience for this to work well, because to play on someone's fears you first need to know what they are. In point, little kids are not fun to do this to because this can cause problems for them later in life, but THAT DOESN'T matter, because it's only one night, right? Here's what scares people mentally (this is IMO, you should check your demographics and what seems to get to them for best results).
-Christmas-turned-slaughter, for example having a hideous Krampus, Belzchnikel, evil Santa, and some demented toy dolls for good measure. It's a little stale in the pro industry but it's just starting to edge its way into the home haunting circles.
-Have a made-up kids TV show, and have a happy jingle playing in the background, and then have actors dressed a demented dolls, toys, etc. run out and attack guests. Here's how my pro haunt did this last year; they had the first room in the haunt as a living room of a house, with a commercial playing on the TV for this certain heart-warming little kid's TV show; the next room was the offices of an FBI agent, who was investigating this TV show because several kids had brutally killed themselves while watching it (kind of a nod to the whole Lavender Town hoax that stirred up a lot of controversy in Japan and among the Pokemon community here in the States). After that, the rest of the house was just going through landmark places from the show like the main characters' house, the Happy Fields (which was a big astroturf room where the characters were killing each other). It was kinda like the whole Epic Mickey thing, where a happy place was turned evil. The colors and lighting we used was what made it scary, because like Epic Mickey we used dark colors and all the lighting was red. Me describing doesn't come anywhere near to being able to fully explain it, it was something you'd have to experience to understand......
sorry for the long post, I just felt like I should give you all the experience I have since that's such an important part of any haunt (the scaring, that is).
 

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I would use a lot of drop pannels if possible, those are always give a good scare and they're fun and easy to make. Also put scares in unsuspecting places. For example if you have a coffin instead of putting someone in the front of it popping out put them in the bottom of it. Theyll look in it, let theyre guards down, and boom out comes the actor. There are tons of good ways to get good scares, just be creative and safe!
 

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Good Scares

I have found that miss direction scares work time after time. Use something to get their attention, a prop, directed lighting anything to make them think a scare is coming from a certain direction then hit them from a different direction. This along with what other members are posting as far as audio, lighting setting the atmosphere up will get the scare you want. Also allow them to reset between scares this helps rebuild the anxiety for the next scare. If you keep hitting them with scares the brain has no time to reset and the scares will be less effective.
 

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A few more thoughts...

I've been thinking about this thread and the general concepts of scaring people quite a bit the past few weeks, so I thought I'd share a few more ideas. Mainly what it all comes down to is creating a realistic and overwhelming environment and then hitting people with a good startle to activate fight-or-flight. Any startle will activate fight-or-flight for a split second, but the more stimulated the brain is, the longer it will take it to realize it shouldn't actually be afraid. In simpple terms, more stimulation = less rationalization = more fear.

- Also, power tools are scary! I'm always shocked when I exit a pro-haunt and I've only seen one chainsaw. I think every haunt, no matter ghow small, should utilize power tools more (as long as they're used safely!), and not just chainsaws. Skill saws, drills and air hammers all make great scares if used correctly!

- Stick with simple, proven scares and theme them into the plot line. I base most of my scares off drop panels, power tools, door scares, air scares, and quick runs from behind corners; and all of these always have distractions.
 

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LOL I don't know - it might be just me - but I think a slightly more descriptive answer was sought..... :p
Heh, I'm sorry but I just couldn't help it.

Eh.. blasts of air scare people.
- Blast air ankle high coupled with a horde of rats running and squeaking sound.
- Blast air neck high and play bat sounds...
 

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You mentioned using body bags. In my haunt, I had 6 body bags, staggered down a hallway (I hope to add 2 more this year). It is the part of my haunt that scares people most BEFORE they even go through them. Many won't. Just to keep it fresh last year I added a little touch that no one was expecting. In addition to having my victim's arms or hands poking out of the bags, I hung a couple of heads in the midst of the bags, about face level. Imagine the ToTs surprise when they came face to face with that. The strobe light is a great idea. It keeps my ToTs from being able to clearly see to the other end of the body bag hallway, and also gives the bags a crazy flashing effect when they swing back and forth.
I love your asylum idea. I hope it comes out great.
I did the same thing in my 2010 haunt with great results. I had 7 body bags hanging in a zig-zaging room with a strobe. AWSOME results
 
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