It may seem crazy early to start planning for the spookiest season of the year but the reality is, it’ll be here before you know it. Soon, goblins and ghouls will line the streets of your neighborhood and screams will be heard long into the night from frightened haunt guests. We recommend that you start planning and preparing for the haunt season as early as possible to make sure you are at the top of your game.
You may be wondering what you should be doing to prepare for the haunt season, so we’ve compiled a checklist for you so nothing gets overlooked:
1. Assess Your Haunt’s Current Conditions
First, you should take a good look at the state of your haunted attraction and determine what work needs to be done and repairs need to be made. This is a great time to do an in-depth walkthrough of your haunt and inspect everything to make sure it’s all in proper working order.
2. Test Your Current Equipment
A dead battery or faulty lightbulb has ruined many a spooky evening; don’t assume that last year’s equipment will function properly this season. Now is a great time to check all your equipment, props, electronics, etc. Basically, if it has a battery or a power cord, you should check it and replace anything that needs to be replaced. Some of the things that should be tested are: walkie talkies, flashlights, any lighting, mobile devices, fog machines, etc. You should also be testing out and checking out all of the props you use to make sure none of them are faulty or broken.
3. Order New Props or Supplies
After going through all your props and equipment, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be replaced or fixed and what supplies you’re low on. Make a list of all the things you need for the upcoming season. This could also be a great time to think about how you can upgrade your haunt or any changes you want to make to the theme that you’re working with.
4. Set Up Your Ticketing
The sooner your ticketing is set up, the sooner you’ll see money coming in. Don’t wait until the last minute to set up your ticketing, that way your guests can start buying their tickets or merchandise which will also help with cash flow. This can help you plan your staffing in advance too since you’ll be able to see which nights are selling out quickly and may require a little extra help.
If you’re already using HauntPay, our team will do the work for you of setting up your ticketing, product sales, virtual queues, all of it. If you’re not using HauntPay, maybe now is the time to consider switching over. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a good ticketing solution and get everything put together.
5. Create a Marketing Plan
Getting guests to show up to your haunted attraction can be a difficult task. It can be extremely valuable for a haunt to create a marketing plan that outlines how you plan to promote/advertise your haunted attraction. This will guide every marketing decision you make going forward and can be an extremely useful tool.
If you already have a marketing plan in place, now could be a great time to update it. Take some time to determine what worked well in the past and maybe what didn’t work so well. This will give you a better idea of the most profitable way to market/advertise your haunt.
6. Update Your Marketing Materials and Website
A new season means new dates and times and any changes in dates or information which will have to be updated on your website and any marketing materials you use. This could also be a great time to revamp your ad campaigns or take time to work on your social media presence. You may also want to dig deep on your current marketing strategy and how that’s working for you and brainstorm ways to improve your numbers and gain more business.
7. Start Staffing Up
Things are getting real now and as the haunt season creeps even closer, staffing should be on your list of priorities. Staffing is an essential part of operating your haunt and has become increasingly difficult to do during labor shortages, especially for seasonal work. We have a blog post that could be helpful if you’re trying to staff your haunt during a labor shortage. It’s important to start the staffing process early to allow yourself enough time to fully staff up. You could start by contacting staff members from previous years to see if they’d like to work with you again this season before writing up job postings to draw in new hires.
It’s also important to set up payroll and other compensation before the season begins so there aren’t any surprises or issues with that. Taking care of your team should be a top priority.
8. Start Pitching Sponsors
Sponsorships and partnerships can be huge money-makers for haunts and mutually beneficial for both parties. Running a haunt can be expensive up front, before you’ve even had your first sale of the season your entire budget may be spent. Sponsorships can be a great way to alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with running a haunted attraction. However, don’t wait too long to start reaching out to potential sponsors since their budget may be all used up by the time September rolls around.
Another helpful resource may be HauntPay Capital. HauntPay Capital offers haunted attractions an up-front infusion of cash (from $1,000 to $50,000) when you use HauntPay as your exclusive ticketing provider.
Click the button below to apply for HauntPay Capital now!
9. Reach Out to Past Guests
Do you have an email list of guests who visited last season? Reach out to past guests and let them know when you’ll be open for the season and what scary attractions you’re offering! After you’ve set up ticketing, send out an email blast or post on your social media that tickets are available for the season and any updates that you’ve made.
10. Reach Out to Local Media
We’re still living in a world of shut downs and strange hours so it may be helpful to reach out to local media outlets to let them know you’re open for the season and what your health & safety precautions may be. This will also get your venue onto lists of open haunts this season and could bring in more business for you.
11. Consider Local Partnerships
Supporting local businesses is always a great way to give back to the community. Your haunt can team up with local businesses to get both of your names out there and form a mutually beneficial partnership. It could also be a potential sponsorship opportunity for your haunt to bring in some extra cash flow.
Better Late Than Never
It’s never too early to start preparing for the next haunt season, but it can be too late. Start prepping now and making lists of all the things that need to be done before the moon is up on the first night of the season. Be as prepared as possible so that your season is as smooth as it can be.
When you’re ready to start selling tickets, HauntPay has all the features and support you need for a successful haunt season. Schedule an onboarding call and let our team set everything up for you. It’s scary simple!