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How many rooms should a haunt have?

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  • How many rooms should a haunt have?

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    I decided to jump into the world of Haunt and open my first Haunt in 2011.

    We are starting to build the different sets and etc. My initial budget is in the area of $25,000, but there is a good chance we could at least double that figure through other sources.

    My goal is to create a haunt that will last approximately 30 mins. Depending on how everything comes together, we would like to charge $10-$15 unless it really turns out beyond our imaginations.

    Is there a rule of thumb on the number of rooms per sq ft? What would be recommended for a haunt to last about 30 mins?

    If we break even for our first year, I will consider it a success. Then we can build on what we had this year for next year. Anything beyond that will be great.

  • #2
    You Could Build ...

    A two or three room haunt and Make it take however long you decide it has to be. Infact there might be quite an advantage in such a design. With only two or three rooms if suddenly a mob is at your door, you can make those three rooms immeadiately empty out and be able to whisk in that new busine$$.
    Of course you would have to put as much effort into building those two or three rooms as you would put into building ten other more ordinary rooms.
    "Detail", and some really special things happening, which always cost noticable money to buy or build.
    Sometimes I find myself wondering why I have more than just three rooms?
    I can entertain customers in just the first room for 45 minutes, no problem.(It's just too bad for them they might actually be in that room for 60 minutes! hahahahah!)
    My routines are labor-intensive for me and most people I have ever had work for me here or just try to help me out on a very short-term basis find competing with me (or is the customer's expectations?) to be a very difficult task, which makes it bad because they were excellant performers with alot of quick talent and could really handle a group....but "Nooo, it wasn't YOU, Jim." So the talented helper gets no credit (usually) Not a nice thing.
    Not every item in your three rooms has to a pnuematic wonder or something that cost you a month's pay to be really effective entertaining the customers . Small little props can do absolute wonders when set up and "sold" correctly with timing, voice, attitude, storyline and heaping amounts of customer anticipation, all skills not commonly found for minimum wage everywhere or in October.
    Another bonus of providing a show like I just described is that it affects the customers in a totally different way and on many levels, endearing your efforts more with their conscious and the subconscious.
    Some part of their emotionalism actually enjoys the efforts taken and time alloted just for them, the eye contact made the posture of the human speaker.
    Maybe it's just not being treated as if they are just a number or a dollar sign?


    • #3
      Very Interesting suggestion. Although, I am having a tough time thinking of how to keep people in a room that long and still scare the crap out of them.

      Of course, I have in mind at least 2-3 rooms that will cost practically nothing to create. ie dark room with glowing masks. So 2-3 rooms, can easily turn into 5-6 rooms with little to no money.


      • #4
        As with many questions on here, the answer is "it depends".

        I do want to point out several things.

        1) Plan to not break even for 3-5 years. If that is a problem, then spending that much money on a haunt may not be a good idea.

        2) Figure that as much as 50% of your budget may need to go into marketing. If people don't know you are there, then it doesn't matter how good a show you have, and you haven't been around long enough to build up word of mouth.

        3) How long it takes for someone to go through a room depends largely on the design of the room. More details usually = more time. Things like maze sections also would obviously extend time. You could specifically put places in the haunt to control flow and purposely slow down or speed things up.

        4) Figure out what kind of location you are going to have, and draw out designs. This will determine the number of rooms more than anything else will. What fits well? What sizes and shapes of rooms do you need?

        There are three rules to designing a haunt. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.



        • #5
          It Is Much Easier, Actually.

          To scare people when you can keep them in the same room for awhile. As the scares keep happening in the same room possibly a real fear , simular to torture might come to their minds, feeling actually trapped and as if they are being held? The urge to run is capped and held in-check, which should also generate more angst or fear.
          You can lull them, give them a false sense of security, speak plainly and well and possibly impress them that you are intelligent and someone to be reguarded as possibly worthy of paying attention too...dealing with people like this can be very rewarding...of course a few minutes ago this didn't even begin to work very well because all four of them had been sucking wine just before they got here.
          She has seen "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"47 times and was now "in the movie", which saved me having to say or do much as they went through the house.
          My Wife could hear her screaming and talking very loud and stupid and thought they were too drunk to even be in the house but they actually weren't, her "acting" just made it sound that way.