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hey there well i was just organizing stuff for my haunt today in math class lol. Anyway as a student budget does not permit many "robot" scare tactics, I must go with real people. This year i am having at least 7 actors (including me) who will be the highlight of my haunt (fingers crossed). Moving on. This year the actors will have almost a "script" to follow as peole make there way up my newly named haunt "Sutherland Manor". I hope to put up sign s later and my mom will paint the new logo on my 150 lb pumpkin(yes its an atlantic giant for you pumpkin nuts out there. Oh well im off topic again this part of the forum is about atmosphere.

SO my question is.....Are real actors better then props that move or worse? Ready set GO!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Well, I think alot of people will agree it all depends on the setting, situation and what you want the prop/actor to do. Clearly a motor in a box is a better Monster-in-the-Box than a person inside it pushing the lid open and closed.

Actors do add the human element in that they can respond to any of the patrons' comments as well, actors can offer up a custom scare to each individual patron that a animated prop could not.
 

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I think a good mix is the best way to go. The best haunted houses and yard haunts I've seen have combined them in such a way that you're never sure whether something's just a prop or an actor.
 

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I Think actors or simply people to trigger props would be the way to go. But since I have no friends that are itno it,I have to go with something motorized. I think you will get a better reaction with someone jumping out of a pile of leaves than to have a fake looking skeleton pnumatic prop come hissing out of a coffin. don't get me wrong I love the pnumatic stuff people have created. It's just the fact that you never really know whats behind the mask. for all you know it could be a real lunatic wandering the neighborhood.:D

The mask I used to wear was soft foam latex and zlipped over my head and fit like a wet suit and took patience and time to put on and take off. I had to quit dressing up with it because it was making several of the littler kids cry. (I did't like that) :( I had to resort to a cheap o mask that came off quicker. I did scare several of the older kids by just standing there looking like a prop amongst other props with the most awkward fake looking pose swayng in the breeze . It went something like this......"hey look at that one!" "uh.. hmmmm this one looks real".... "not it's not" they would get a little closer to look at my face "no Thats not real!".The kid was close enough to kiss. LOL "Look at it's eyes" then jump at them "Happy Halloween!".... Got'em good. :D you dont get that kind of personal touch with props.

actors are much cheaper! a few burgers and beer:D
 

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I don't believe it's a case of "either or", or "better or worse". Each style has it's own benefits and drawbacks. Personally I prefer to go with no actors, and let the haunt "be" itself. This year, I may have to resort to having a few to keep the flow going. the main thing I don't like about using actors, is the stories I keep hearing about bad actor/patron confrontations. Some people lash out when frightened, and every year I hear about actors being punched, abused, etc.
 

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Lashing out becuase you are frightened is just an excuse to be an ass. A guy was arrested for assault at the local haunted house here last year for punching a worker. his excuse was "he scared me" The court did not buy it... 6 months in jail.
 

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Last year we had between 10-15 actors "working" our yard and it went over great. This year I'll be cutting it down to about 8 because we've changed the theme. Since I don't know anything about pneumatics I have to rely in the actors. It works great because they can read the crowd, knowing which people to play around with and who not to. They can just stand or lay completely still until people come up to them and even then they don't have to move if they don't want to. The rule I have for them is that they don't jump up and scare the little tiny kids or the older people. Everyone else is fair game. In fact last year, one set of parents sent 2 of my actors to their house with a chain saw blaring to "get" their son, who was too scared to come to our yard. Of course, they chased the kid into his house and he locked himself in the bathroom, crying hysterically on the bathroom floor. This year we have a storyline though, so there will be no random scaring.
 

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the ONLY problem I've ever run into with actors, was trying to keep everything organized, and keeping everybody on top of the rules for conduct/ safety. We had two actors that had to be "let go" due to an inability to follow the rules. It's a pain, but the end result was worth every bit of it..I love props though. They don't break rules, they always do the job intended of them, and they don't take breaks....lol. We would police the haunt, by performing a walk through of our own during operation with the patrons. More than once Somebody would get to a scene and the actor would have a mask half off, or something like that, and totally blow the scare. It wasn't a huge problem, but it did happen. But I guess that's what you gotta deal with when your actors are there performing community service :D
 

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I like to have people in my exhibit at the local spooky walk PRETEND to be fake until someone comes close, then they jump out at them. I have at least 2 people doing that next to actual animatronics so they can't tell what's real and what's not until BAM! It's actually a very disturbing thing to see, because at time I even forget where I put the real people and the animatronics.
 

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We've done that in the past also Eric. In fact that's how we started, either hubby or I would dress up, pretend to be a mannequin or prop and then when the TOT'ers reached for the candy, we'd get them. We would switch places to get people as they wandered into the yard. One thing led to another and now we have 10-15 actors working the yard and we're looking to expand even more this year. I don't know ANYTHING at all about motors, pneumatics, any of that stuff so if it wasn't for the actors it would all just be static props, and we wouldn't have the same crowd or reaction. I feel like that movie Monsters, INC. We need SCREAMS....
 

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Yeah. I never had a really good thing going on in my yard. I'd just sit there with candy and scare people sometimes when I was younger. But now I work in the local Spooky Walk (www.spookywalk.com) and it's HUGE. It's the best experience and it is beyond fun. It's one of my favorite things to do and I'm excited for it all year long. It only lasts 2 - 3 weekends but it's great.
 

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Being an actress, I'm one who believes you just can't give a well rounded performance(which is what we're giving them) without actual humans for patrons to interact with.
For nine years, I have been like trishaanne - no pneumatic props or animations because I didn't know anything about them. But, having them is something I have always wanted because I felt there was definitely something missing.
2006 will be the first season we will incorporate pneumatics into the haunt. Thanks to being a member of Calhaunts(every month, we have a session on how to create a certain prop), I am having a MIP (Monster in the Privy :D ).
Thanks to a great friend of mine, I'm having a barrel popper and a coffin riser. These three items have me excited beyond all things this season as I feel that I now have come full circle. I feel as though the haunt is well rounded.
 

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I usually have to rely on pneumatics because I am the one who prepares the haunt, sets up, and takes it down. Hubby likes to get involved but if it is on the weekday, he works and gets home at 3:30 p.m. After he gets home he likes to give out the candy while in costume and popping up from the side of the house to give out some "scares". I do like the pneumatics that I have because they are voice/motion activated, so when the TOTs come around, they are surprised and usually find it great to be scared. The only time it might become a problem with electronic props is when you have the little TOTs that come up to the front porch. Usually when me and hubby are in waiting, I will let him know when to pop up or not to pop up.
 

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like everybody is saying, it depends on the situation... the haunt i worked at last year had many computer controlled things, nothing like characters, just like an elevator, a fireplace that moved, a door that slammed. I think computer controlled stuff is pretty awesome my self... but then again, you can not EVER beat the look on a kids face when you figure out their name and you start chanting it... hahahaha
 
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