Unfortunately, the haunt season is always over too soon. Haunt owners spend months preparing for the haunt season before, like a ghost, it vanishes, and the spookiest time of the year gives way to the holiday season. Of course, behind the scenes, it takes months of prep work to set up your haunt and put together your horrific attraction. But what are you supposed to do when it’s all over?
The fun doesn’t have to be over when haunt season is, there’s plenty to do in the off season. It can be incredibly beneficial for haunts to diversify and find other ways of making money in the off season as well. In fact, we wrote a whole blog post about just that – Top 6 Ways Haunts Make Money in the Off Season.
However, you may be wondering what else you can be doing with your haunt (or yourself) when the screams die down. Don’t worry, we made a list just for you.
TAKE SOME TIME FOR SELF-CARE
You’ve spent months cooking up screams from your guests, drowning in props, and adding last minute touches to hundreds of costumes. You probably haven’t slept a full night in months and could definitely use a nice long bubble bath.
Now that the screams have died down, it’s time for you to wind down and spare a moment for yourself. Don’t worry, we have a blog post all about that too – 7 Ways to Practice Self Care When Haunt Season is Over.
You deserve to pamper yourself and make up for all the lost time. So grab something cool to drink, turn on the hot water, and practice your favorite self-care routine.
ATTEND TRADE SHOWS
Trade shows can be great ways to market your haunt, learn more about the industry, get ideas for new sets, props, or scare tactics, and meet fellow haunters. There are plenty of haunt themed trade shows that happen all throughout the year. The haunt off season is a great time to put yourself out there and find some great inspiration. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to see us there!
Some of our favorites are:
- Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show – “TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction show is the ONLY industry trade show of its kind in the world. There is no other show that has as many exhibitors and industry related products. For four decades TransWorld’s annual Halloween & Attractions show has created the marketplace for the Haunted House industry. Each year the Industry gathers to network, get new ideas and purchase products.”
- Hauntcon – “Hauntcon will push your business out of its comfort zone and introduce you to game-changing new products, ideas and concepts. It’s more than a tradeshow, it’s an innovative experience where the haunt community creates the future of the industry.”
- ScareLA – “ScareLA™, the original summer scare convention, premiered in 2013 as the first fan festival dedicated to the spirit of Halloween. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, we combine our city’s top talent and unique setting with a twist! Kick off the scare season with the hottest attractions and products in SoCal. Mingle with thousands of fans, haunt entertainment professionals, top scare event designers and operators, makers, artists and filmmakers. Enjoy a weekend jam-packed with Halloween season teasers, attraction unveils, classes, industry panels, haunt tours, screenings, cosplay and games. Share, inspire, play – ScareLA! “
- Halloween & Party Expo – “The Halloween & Party Expo is North America’s ONLY event that brings all things Halloween, Party, and Celebration together under one roof. Get your first look at 1,000s of new products being released for the coming season and take advantage of exclusive show specials and discounts – only offered during the show – designed to help your budget go further.”
- Midwest Haunters Convention – “The Midwest Haunters Convention is the largest Halloween show of its kind in the US, dedicated to ALL Haunters; actors, enthusiasts, Halloween loving families, home/pro haunters, and Halloween enthusiasts! MHC is open to the public*!”
- Fear Expo Live – “Fear Expo LIVE is the newest National Haunted Attraction Industry tradeshow bringing together haunters and vendors. We are dedicated to connecting attraction owners with the latest products and services from the industry’s leading vendors early in the year to ensure products are delivered on-time, ahead of schedule and at some of the best prices.”
PREP FOR NEXT SEASON
It’s never too early to plan for next season. Once you’ve taken some time for yourself and relaxed a bit, get to work dissecting the past season. Go over what worked and what didn’t work, create a list of things that went wrong and why, look at the attendance numbers and compare them with previous years to see if you’re growing, and then compile a list of solutions and explanations for those problems or why you did better/worse this season.
Don’t hold back or pull any punches when doing this – be objective and unbiased. It’s okay if it takes time to do, but this could be a critical point for your haunt in determining what to continue doing or new changes to implement.
The best time to go over the nitty gritty details is right after your doors close for the season. This is when everything is fresh in your mind and you’re able to evaluate what worked and what didn’t.
If your haunt doesn’t already offer merch at your concessions, the off season is a great time to start bouncing the idea around and putting some designs together. The possibilities are endless with merch – mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, stickers, and so much more.
You can create designs that work well throughout the whole year and see the sales roll in even in the off season. Don’t forget to offer your merch online too so customers can purchase anytime, anywhere. The best part is, if you’re using HauntPay we already offer ways to track sales and inventory and sell merch directly though the platform.
HOST YEAR-ROUND EVENTS
The fun doesn’t have to end when the haunt season does. Take some time for yourself – to rest and relax after a grueling few months of hard work and no sleep, and then you can start setting up for the next event.
There are plenty of other days of the year with spooky tones that you could open your haunt for – Friday the 13th, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday season, spring break, prom, ‘halfway to Halloween’, and so many more. There’s no reason to limit yourself to one short season per year – keep the screams and terror alive all year long.
Not only that, you could turn your haunted attraction into an escape room with minimal effort, host private parties for those who enjoy the occult and want a spooky fun-filled evening with friends, create an axe throwing range, or get into the holiday season with pumpkin patches and Christmas light shows. Maybe even a summer carnival or festival if you’re feeling adventurous.
Or if you’re looking for something with less setup and a faster timeline, you could always host a year-round haunt. There’s no reason to end the reign of terror if your guests want to continue being terrified all year long.
When deciding what other events to host, it’s always good to ask the people what they want. This might mean sending out a survey to past clients asking what they’d like to see from you next or what they would attend at your venue. It might mean doing the same for your staff and scare actors. Let the people tell you what they want.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT TICKETING
HauntPay is the #1 ticketing platform for haunted attractions of any and all kinds. It was made for haunts, the setup and maintenance are simple, and it’s an all-in-one platform with ticket purchasing, concessions, and comprehensive reporting on everything.
In case you didn’t already know, we don’t only do ticketing for haunted attractions. If you’re looking for a platform with all the features you love about HauntPay with less zombies and monsters, you would love our sister platform: Passage.
With the same backend and built by the same team that built HauntPay, Passage is a family-friendly clone of HauntPay designed for professional event producers. No blood, no demons, and no hassle. Schedule a demo to see how we can help you!