How To Get More People To Find Your Haunt

I stumbled across a hidden gem while working on my own business. A FREE way to get your Haunt ranked high in Google in just a few easy steps! No ad-words, no fees, no catch! Follow these simple steps to have your Home Haunt or Haunted Attraction reach out and get everyone’s attention! Let me show you how.

  • First, you need a Google Account. Most of the horror geeks out there already have a google account but I really didn’t use mine until a few months ago. You can use your existing email account to sign up for this account. I have a side local business that I own and decided to list my business. After these simple steps now it shows up at the top of google search page for places and maps. I have now done this with my home haunt. Here are some screen shots I captured as I was listing my home haunt. It’s really simple. Click Here to get started.
  • After you sign up for a free account-list your Haunted Hot Spot. Just follow the next few easy steps to get your business located. The phone number is not a real number so please don’t call it. My address is correct.
  • Use a unique phone number for your business. Only if you have another business listed on google with the same number. I haven’t tried to use the same number but I assumed that is why they verify your number with your account.
  • Sit back and let Google take care of the rest! I don’t remember getting a verification letter in the mail. I think they emailed me a link or something. Either way follow up with the instructions they give you. Do Not try to cheat the system with multiple business’ or names.  Be honest and you will be on your way in the top of your area! If you run into any problems email me at brian@scaryvisions.com

Photo donated by: www.cuomoz.com/ibmblog/

The 5 Different Types of Scare Actors

As actors, we all search for new ideas and methods to scare the victims that go through our haunts. I came across an old article in HauntWorld magazine (Issue 3) by Ben Armstrong titled What’s Your Line that describes various methods that an actor can use to improve his skit. Reading this article sparked an idea for a post that many actors will find interesting . Here are some ideas to get your actors to improve their scares and they can always switch ideas up as needed.

    • The Sharer: Wants to give the patrons something horrible they do not want. “Wanna pet my snake?” “Here. Take this. Take IT! TAKE IT! NOW!” “I want to show you something…come with me. It’s a secret. I promise not to hurt you…” This also works great if you have nasty props that no one wants to touch. One year my brother was dressed up like a Mad Doctor trying to give the guests a shot with a huge sirenge. Most people do not like needles.

 

    • The Dominator: Tells the patrons to do something horrible they do not want to do. “Touch me….I want to touch you…they tell me if you touch me that I can touch you!” “Get in the coffin. Uncle Bud don’t need it no more..GET IN!” “Kiss the pig. Let me hear you squeal like a pig!” “Give me your shoes. I want your shoes!” Be prepared for your customers to follow your commands. Ben explains that one year they told people to get into giant cages and commanded that they couldn’t get out until they sang songs. 99% of them sang their scared little hearts out!

 

    • The Questioner: Asks patrons questions they do not want to answer. “What’s your name? What’s your friend’s name? Does she like dark places? Are you scared?” “What do your insides look like? Purple or red…let’s see!” You might have to tweek this one a bit because many people have their heads down just trying to get through. If you want them to answer you find a creative way to keep them in your area until they give you one.

 

    • The Pleader: Begs the patrons not to do something. “No. Don’t go in there! Please! Don’t leave me here!” “Don’t look at me..please I’m disgusting. Don’t look at me….” “Stay here with me. I’m scared. Please stay here..they want to hurt you…” This is the play on reverse psychology. You’re kinda letting them know that you warned them and BOOM! Let’s say you have a little girl or petrified old lady in a corner with a little ambient light. She tries to tell the crowd not to look at her bashfully. Then she jumps out and turns on the anxiety! And maybe she triggers a strobe or different color light as her mood changes. One year we had a little girl actor that worked this one perfectly!

 

  • The Threatener: “I’m going to _____you” “I’m going to find you in the dark…” Make sure when you threaten that something happens to them soon afterward. “I’m going to rip off your legs” and then have compressed air shoot up their legs! Instant spillage!

Many of us experienced actors have probably used most of these methods at one time or another. However, when I’m running around like a headless chicken at haunt time and I’m at a loss for brain function-these are just what I need for my actors. I’m planning on creating a list on index cards for my actors with these ideas and some direct quotes I want them to use. Simple for them-easy for me. Enjoy!

Check out our Scare Actor Training Program by Allen Hopps Here.

Homemade Fog Scents

fog scents

 

 

 

This is from Eyegore at

http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/92014-homemade-fog-scents.html

Homemade Fog Scents
These make great secret reaper gifts!

I started testing some custom scents. I read everything I could regarding essential oils, and fragrances oils (which isn’t even an oil).
After testing the safety of the fog vapors on both the eyes and mouth, as well as the safety of using it in a fogger; I have come to
the conclusion that it works just as good as the commercial stuff, and is safe. I experimented mixing fragrance oils together for my
custom fog scents. The price is a little bit less vs buying ready made scents, plus it’s more fun to make them yourself! This isn’t a
tutorial, so much as it is a recipe guide. As with all fog scents; the fogger should be flushed with fog cleaner or distilled water-vinegar
when putting it back into storage. When making custom fog scents, wear rubber gloves, if you don’t…your hands will STINK!

These scents are concentrated and should be added to aprox 4 gallons worth of fog fluid depending on scent.
You can use a child’s medicine spoon to measure the the right amount for smaller bottles of fog fluid.

Conversion Guide:
6 tsp = 1.0 oz of fog scent (2-3 gallons)
3 tsp = .5 oz of fog scent (1 gallon)
1.5 tsp = .2 oz of fog scent (half gallon)
.5 tsp = .1 oz of fog scent (1 quart)

Here are the recipes:
each fragrance oil bottle/vial is .5 oz
some recipes require 1 oz
(do not use essential oils)

Directions: Mix together in glass mason jar.
Close with lid, let scents mellow for 2 weeks.
Then open it up and add it to the fog fluid.
Each fragrance makes approx. 4 gallons worth of fog.
Use a measuring spoon for smaller fog fluid sizes.

Circus Gothica
Step right up ladies and gents…
anise .5
cottton candy .5

*Haywire!
No Igor. The other Switch! BOoM!
leather 1.0
lime .5
campfire .25

*Swamp
The smell only an alligator would love!
campfire .25
rich potting soil 1.0
rain .5

Manor/Mansion
It was Prof. Plum in the Library with the pipewrench!
basil 1.0
amber 1.0

Vampyre
I wish I could bottle this stuff as Twilight colone!
anise .25
black cherry .5
leather .5

Crypt
That rotting earth scent you’d find opening a buried casket!
potting soil .5
dill pickle .25
amber .5

Burton’s Nightmare
This smell happens when two holidays collide!
anise .25
pumpkin 1.0
spruce .5

*Asylum
Susie just killed patient 030020 in the courtyard!
lemon grass 1.0
popcorn .25 (smells like urine in small doses)
linen .5
genuine leather .5

*Walk the Grounds
Now you too can smell like the Groudskeeper, and that malnurished pooch!
tall grass 1.0
rich potting soil .5
rose 1.0

Candy Corn
For those that want to give TOTs a sugar coma!
candy corn 1.0

*Harvest Hayride
A ride through the pumpkin patch…in scent form.
pumpkin 1.0
cedar 1.0
tall grass .5

Charred Corpse
Frank, this meatloaf is fantastic! Where’s Mom?
campfire 1.0
leather .5
indian musk .25

Witch’s Brew
Like the Yankee Candle fragrance.
patchouli 1.0
dragon’s blood .5
cinnamon .25

*Death
This scent is in TOXIC ‘cading!
Indian Musk 1.0
clove .5
rich potting soil .5

Moon Doggy
I’d call this scent Jacob; but I’ve already made a Twilight joke.
Mary Jane 0.5
cucumber mint 0.5
oak moss 0.25

Zombie Breath
This scent will send your nose on a journey…to the cemetery.
patchouli 1.0
dill pickle .5
butterscotch .25

VooDoo’d
The smell of a voodoo rite, minus all the blood and KFC chicken bones.
Dragons Blood 1.0
clove .25
oak moss .5

*Fog Smell Eliminator
Removes that slightly sweet smell associated with fog.
sage 1.0
lemon grass .5

*tested scents.

Fragrance oils can be bought here:

http://www.wellingtonfragrance.com/
http://scentsations4u.com/

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/

http://www.peakcandle.com/

How Not To Operate A Haunt: A True Story

 

Scott had been building this Haunt for weeks. It wasn’t his building but he had about $10,000 worth of his props hanging on the walls, fog machines, strobe lights; just about 7 years worth of props put into this dark attraction. It wasn’t his own venture. At the last minute, an aquaintance begged him for his help because October was quickly arriving and ironically Scott was not going to be able to open his own this year due to financial situations. So like any good haunter would do, he said yes. The events that follow his decision will be difficult to digest by many and it may even piss you off a little bit. It may sound a little surreal; like a bad dream or one of those urban legends you hear about someone’s friend of a friend of a friend. Well, this is a true story and the man I speak of is my brother. This is his nightmare…

The phone rings. Early September. I look at the caller ID and recognize the number. It’s my brother Scott. When it comes to Halloween we both get consumed by it’s dark forces and creative power. Usually this time of year that is the hot topic for us. I was designing a new floor plan for my home haunt when he called. “Wazzuuup?”, I greeted him with our usual greeting. “Waaaazzzzuuuuppp? he replied, seemingly trying to out-do my version. We did small talk for a bit and then he told me of an opportunity that had surfaced for him recently. He had owned his own Haunt on his own property for two years, but over the summer the county inspector delivered him some bad news. Certain codes needed to be met before he was allowed to open this year, codes that require quite a bit of time and money. An old acquaintance that was also in the industry needed help in construction, props and lighting, and actors. Scott was able to supply all of these requests and still be ready to go on opening night- October 8th. This partner was leasing the building, supplying most of the materials, and taking care of the business side of things. He offered a 40-Scott/60-partner split. The deal was made and Scott began immediately. I told him I hoped the best for him and knew he would do well. We said good-bye and I jumped back into my creative whirlpool.

After a few more phone calls with Scott and a couple trips to the Haunt, I was impressed with his dedication and shared his vision as he took me on a walk-through. An old one-level warehouse. Two big open bay doors, nice concession and waiting area, highway front, and plenty of room. He had awesome ideas and he had already put in over two weeks of work; most of the time after he was leaving his first job. Many late nights away from home; focusing on that ‘big’ weekend-you know the kind when your actors don’t get many breaks and you lose count of the numbers. Those kind. His first Haunt was only two years old so the numbers were doubling every year. He still hadn’t found that magic year yet…this was going to be it!

 I only talked to Scott a couple of times during the first two weeks because we were both really busy on our inventions. He explained that each weekend was getting better numbers and that he was still building to make things better. He lived about 30 minutes away so he brought his camper to sleep in. If he wasn’t building at work , he was designing at his Haunt. Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks; providing a promising life for 4 kids and a supportive wife. He loved being there, this is his passion, and he knew if he worked his ass off to impress the customers he would be rewarded. That’s what the Bible tells us and most self-help books preach to us; this was going to work.

On October 23th I get a phone call at 7 am,”Scott and his partner got into it. The law was called and some shit went down.” My heart stopped and I felt overwhelmed by all the questions I had floating in my head. I needed to talk to him but I also needed to get to work on time. So after a mentally exhausting day at work I came home to get the real truth. I called Scott up and I couldn’t digest what he told me. Let me try to sum it up for you: On Friday night Scott and Mr.X had a little disagreement on getting an equal split. Mr.X believed no money will be divided to anyone until all rent, materials, & bills were paid first. Then he wanted to change the split ratio in his favor. Many things began to unfold.  Scott left for the night to cool off and get ready for a big Saturday. The next night he shows up and the locksmith is there changing the locks. Mr.X keeps him distant and acts a little suspicious. After a good night of scares and numbers there is a surprise meeting held by Mr.X. After a few condescending words about the night before he proceeded to let everyone know that they were trespassing and to leave his property. He told Scott that all his props were to be left untouched and that they were now his to keep! He was leasing the building so they were legally his to keep! He locked him out of the building! He pushed everyone out of the place and even pushed a door into my little sister as she exited the building! Everyone Scott was related to- OUT! Scott called the law and the Sheriff shows up a few minutes later. Mr.X proceeds to tell the officer that these are his now because it is his building. You should have seen Mr.X’s face when the Sheriff told him the opposite! That Scott was allowed to get what was his and then he would leave! So the whole family: my parents, sister, his wife’s family, kids and senior adults all helped gather most of his things; vans and trailer fulls. Still in a state of shock by the real insanity of this guy. Maybe this was the real Satan that had come to test the will of an honest man? So unreal!

After a few more confrontations and problems Scott finally packed most of his things in everyone’s vehicles and was ready to leave and never look back. When Mr.X realized he wasn’t going to keep the items that weren’t his and that he wasn’t  going to make any money because he didn’t have any props, he changed his tune. He even wanted Scott to come back tomorrow night to set everything back up! For real? The audacity of some people! Where did this guy come from? Scott left and Mr.X struggled the next two weeks with few actors and limited supplies. I’m not sure if he succeeded in his revised business plan or not, but I also believe that how you treat others will come back to you even stronger. I believe Scott learned a valuable lesson here that will make him stronger in his wisdom. He stared the devil in his face and saw past his lies. This experience happened for this reason..a reason for growth.

 This is a prime example of how not to run a haunted attraction. But there are some positive things to get out of this story. He got most of his things back, no one got hurt, and it’s better it happened now than 2 weeks down the road. Just a little reminder to those out there who are thinking about going into partnership-be careful. Sign legal contracts, contact a business lawyer, get EVERYTHING in writing! Stay with your business plan and stick with your contract. Working with family can also be difficult because it’s tough to balance family and business. It can be done with the right attitude. Work hard, stay honest, be grateful for everything, and keep that passion alive! If you do these small steps you’ll have good dreams and hopefully no more nightmares…

10 Different Ways To Advertise Your Haunt

Every Haunt owner knows that marketing for your haunt can make you or break you. Here are a few cheap tips to get your haunt noticed and to hypnotize all those scarelings into your haunt…maybe never to come out again…Ommmmm…..sorry, it’s getting close to Halloween…starting to slowly tranform into my alter ego…..let’s go on a mass murder marketing spree….

Alot of these ideas were taken from HauntWorld Magazine/Issue #2/page 10/By Billy Messina/The Netherspawn Haunted House/Atlanta,GA

  • Social Media: If your still living in your crypt, wake up and walk into the light. Start a Facebook page, Twitter account, Haunt Forum, Haunt chat room, etc. to get that word out locally. These networks are like a wildfire. If people like your haunt they’ll talk about it and want to add you as a friend.
  • Get a Hearse. Put your info on it or maybe just a creepy picture and your website.  Go to car shows or just drive in a parade with people in costumes. Think about how many people go to these events!
  • People love free stuff! Make up some stickers, buttons, tee shirts, or anything with your name on it. Give away free tickets and do something big your first weekend, “the first 20 people get in free” “the first 50 buy one get one free” Get aggressive!
  • Scarey Squad. Buy a spot at a radio station to come out to your site for an evening, of course giving away more free stuff. Then ask them if you can come out to other locations that they may be sponsoring- or just show up – in costume! Send your scarelings to football games with flyers and coupons, walk into bars (make sure your actors are over 21) and be in character the whole time,  parades, festivals, media locations, sporting events, school drama club events, etc. Use your creative mind. This usually always increases attendance. Any publicity is good publicity.
  • Buy cheap WANTED ads and ask for help burying bodies, unburying bodies, looking for an undead bride, etc.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper or school flyers in the Open Forum and be as creepy as possible-but still getting your vibe across. Send invites to all your friends on Facebook. Send text messages to all your contacts that say “free 5 dollars off if you show this text at the door”. They’ll bring someone else too!
  • Get a professional flyer and put it everwhere! Make a logo. Put it on everything. Have your actors help put them up and hand them out wherever you show up.
  • Call radio DJ’s with a creepy voice and get your name out there. Send them free tickets to come to your event. If the DJ’s like it they will talk about it!
  • Again! Start a blog, youtube show, easy to navigate website, twitter account, etc. Social media is HOT right now. Take advantage of it!
  • Be creative. Take any opportunity as an open door. Actually listen to that little voice in your head that your sometimes afraid of. If it sounds like a good idea-it probably is!

If anyone else has any good ideas about marketing for your haunted attraction, email me on the contact form on the left-hand area of this site.