The illusion of danger is what makes haunted attractions so thrilling. But the fun can quickly turn into a nightmare when things go wrong: an overheating lamp, an arcing wire, and cramped corridors can result in property damage, injury, or worse. Designing your haunt with safety measures in mind should always be your number one priority. Follow these 5 safety tips to ensure a safe, spooky, and fun time for everyone involved.
1. Only you can prevent haunted house fires
Fire safety is one of the biggest issues facing haunt owners, yet is extremely preventable with planning done beforehand. When building walls, panels, decor, or any other elements of your haunt with plastic sheeting, be sure to only use flame-retardant poly sheeting. Additionally, apply a generous coat of flame retardant spray to everything in your haunt. This includes spraying the floors, walls, ceilings, props, and anything else in the building. This should routinely be done once a year, primarily a few days before your haunt opens to the public. To decrease the chance of anything catching flame, avoid using decor made out of highly flammable materials like cotton batting, straw, and dried plant material. Fire extinguishers and alarms also must be properly mounted and visible. Call your local Fire Marshall for more information specific to your location and check out the guidelines specified by the NFPA Life Safety 101 in the “special amusement buildings” section.
2. Help your monsters practice safe scaring
Working at a haunted attraction can be exciting and rewarding, but also comes with an added responsibility. Every staff member at your haunt should receive proper safety training so they can appropriately respond to any situation. In the event that someone does have an accident, it is essential that you and your team of monsters are well prepared beforehand. Put together an emergency action plan that outlines fire safety, injury prevention, and how to assist in case of a medical emergency. Keep several well-stocked first-aid kits on hand with, at minimum, gauze pads, bandages and first-aid ointment ready to go. Your staff should also be aware of all emergency exits and be able to jump into action to help lead guests to safety.
3. Ghosts can walk through walls, but people need an exit
When setting up your haunt, remember that you must legally have an emergency exit within 75 feet of any location in the building. Make it a daily routine to check all of these exits for anything blocking the path to the exit doors before operations begin. In case of an emergency, guests and staff need to swiftly navigate themselves out of the haunt. Extension cords, fallen objects, and even some decorations may pose a threat to unsuspecting guests who are moving too quickly. Without clear pathways, there is risk of a tripping hazard and further injury to your guests.
4. Flickering lights can spark a fire
Lights within your haunt can get extremely hot and pose danger to you and all that enter. In order to minimize this risk, opt for using LED bulbs. Not only are these more cost efficient, but they also do not get as hot as standard light bulbs. In general, also keep in mind that you should house your bulbs appropriately and keep them away from any fabrics that could catch flame. Larger bulbs will get hotter than smaller ones because it has more surface area to absorb and release heat. For your lights and all other electricals, use heavy duty extension cords, tape them down, and keep them away from areas with heavy foot traffic.
5. Air should be thick with anticipation, not toxic chemicals
Fog machines are often a staple for indoor attractions to create that chilling and mysterious atmosphere, but they can also pose unintentional danger to your guests without proper ventilation. These machines can raise carbon monoxide levels in enclosed spaces, leading to an increased chance of poisoning. Along with this, thick clouds of smoke can also impair guests’ vision and make them feel lightheaded. Make sure that your fog machines are never left unmonitored and keep any flammable materials away.
Keep haunt season fun by taking the proper precautions to keep everyone who enters your haunt safe. As always, be sure to check with your local city, town, or county government for the most accurate rules specific to the location of your haunt. If you need more help planning your haunt, check out HauntPay’s 2022 Haunt Checklist for more tips.