If you want your haunt to be the talk of the town this year, you need to be in the know about the latest trends in the industry. Lucky for you, we’ve scoured the depths of the underworld to uncover the most spine-tingling, scream-inducing trends of 2023. From cutting-edge technology to fresh takes on classic scares, these trends are sure to keep your guests on the edge of their seats.
Trend: Introducing More VR Effects
Haunted attractions are embracing the use of VR experiences—ranging from short platform rides to fully immersive haunts—to enhance the overall guest experience. VR elements are not only fun, but they also offer a practical solution for expanding your attraction without adding square footage. By incorporating VR into midway games, haunts can set the tone for the rest of the attraction, creating a seamless and more terrifying experience for guests.
In the same way an appetizer sets you up for the main course, these VR ‘appetizers’ can set the tone for the rest of your attraction. Haunts that use VR also provide guests with a unique and unforgettable experience that they will want to share with others.
Trend: Ancient Egypt Is On the Rise
The 2023 haunted attraction season is looking to be one of the spookiest yet, with mummies and other ancient horrors crawling out of their crypts. It’s no secret that the recent popularity of the television show Moon Knight has had a huge impact on the haunt industry. We’re seeing tons of props and costumes inspired by the show that draw on ancient Egyptian themes. Things like Anubis and Horus masks or statues, mummy sarcophagi, and Egyptian-themed haunts are making a comeback.
Trend: The Last Of Us and Rings of Power costumes
We all love TV-inspired costumes, sets, and props, and this year is no exception. As shows like The Last Of Us and Rings of Power have grown cult followings, the show-inspired costumes have quickly followed. These two shows have brought out the Orc and post-apocalyptic survivor in all of us. We’ve seen multiple Orc costumes break out already this year and expect that number to grow.
As for the ‘clickers’ from the show The Last Of Us, they’re also making an appearance in haunted attractions this season. These zombie-like creatures are known for their distinct clicking sound and are sure to send shivers down the spines of haunt-goers. Whether you’re a fan of the show or just looking for a new type of scare, the inclusion of these popular show-inspired themes is sure to make for a thrilling haunted attraction experience.
Trend: Magnetic Shoulder Ornaments Are Everywhere
One category that rarely gets touched on but can be another money maker for haunts is merchandise. This 2023 haunted attraction trend involves the rise in popularity of magnetic shoulder ornaments. These small creatures and monsters have exploded on the scene – from Zero the Ghost Dog to creepy little ghouls, these creative creatures are fun in the spookiest way. We expect to see this trend continue to grow in popularity as more and more guests search them out at haunts and online.
Trend: Scented Costumes
A 2023 haunt industry trend we expect to see is a push towards multi-sensory experiences with smell, touch, and taste joining the party. While many haunts have used scent as a way to enhance the experience through scented fog, we’re now seeing scented costumes used to take it to the next level. Having an undead pirate jump out at you at a haunt is scary enough on its own but when said pirate smells like they’ve just crawled out of a crypt it really amps up the experience.
Trend: Touch and Taste Have Entered the Chat
In addition to scent, we’re also seeing a push towards tactile experiences. Haunters are using textures and materials that engage the sense of touch, such as fake blood, slime, and even furry walls. These elements create a more realistic and intense experience for guests, making them feel like they’re really part of the horror.
Similarly, taste is becoming a part of the multi-sensory experience at haunted attractions. Some haunts are incorporating food and drink into their attractions, such as serving creepy cocktails or snacks that fit the theme. This adds another layer of immersion and can help guests fully embrace the horror experience.
Trend: More Than Just Halloween
The haunt industry has traditionally been associated with Halloween, but we’re now seeing more and more haunts embrace other holidays. Holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Halfway to Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Scream Break, Summer Camp, and more. By expanding beyond Halloween, haunts are able to offer a wider variety of experiences to their guests and reach a broader audience. This trend is not only providing more opportunities to open haunts and make money but also satisfying guests who are looking for thrills all year long.
We anticipate seeing haunts host more and more attractions and events outside of Halloween – particularly Christmas and Valentine’s Day. ‘Bloody Valentine’s Day’ was a popular attraction this February where haunts may incorporate love-themed elements like heart-shaped decorations, but twist them into something darker and more sinister. By offering guests unique and immersive experiences year-round, haunts are able to keep their guests engaged and generate additional revenue.
Trend: Adding Mobile Escape Rooms to Your Offerings
More than ever, we are noticing mobile escape rooms brought to the forefront and props being turned into rooms. We anticipate more escape rooms (mobile and otherwise) popping up at haunted attractions as the demand is increased for interactive experiences. These mobile escape rooms are relatively easy to set up and offer more flexibility for the operator, designed to fit seamlessly into the overall theme of the haunt. These challenging, but on theme, attractions offer guests a fun new experience and allow guests to ‘choose their own adventure’ based on their level of comfort.
Trend: Changing the Game with Prop Shaped Rooms
A truly new trend we expect to grow this year is the creation of rooms shaped like traditional props. For example, a giant hollowed out pumpkin (reminiscent of James and the Giant Peach) that is actually part of a haunted attraction. On the non-haunt side of things, we’re seeing giant Christmas trees and cups of hot chocolate being turned into adult beverage stations. This trend is surprisingly clever and a fun new twist for guests.
Trend: Timed Ticketing
As the haunt industry continues to grow and attract more visitors every year, managing crowd control and wait times has become a crucial aspect of running a successful attraction. That’s where timed ticketing comes in. By offering timed ticketing options, you can ensure that guests have a more enjoyable experience without feeling rushed or overcrowded. Plus, staggered ticket sales can help reduce long lines and improve the flow of guests throughout the attraction.
But why are we seeing an increase in the use of timed ticketing, a tried and true feature, in the haunt industry? The answer is simple: technology and preferences. Guests don’t have the attention span or want to wait in a 2-hour line anymore. They would rather have a specific time slot and show up for that. This also offers the added benefit of attracting guests to your midway games or gift shop while they wait to enter. With ticketing platforms like HauntPay, setting up timed ticketing has never been easier or more efficient. You can customize your time slots, set up waitlists, and even automate your check-in process with mobile ticket scanning.
So, if you’re a haunt owner looking to improve crowd control, reduce wait times, and maximize revenue, timed ticketing is a trend that you can’t afford to ignore. Get in touch with HauntPay today to schedule a demon onboarding call and learn more about how timed ticketing can help take your haunt to the next level.
2023 Trends Coming In Hot!
The haunted attraction industry is rapidly evolving and we’ve only touched on some of the trends that we’re bound to see in 2023. The biggest focus area we expect to see is immersive, sensory experiences that transport guests to the macabre recesses of their minds.