As a home haunt, you’ve mastered the art of creating heart-stopping experiences for your neighbors and friends. Now you’re ready to tackle an even larger beast – taking your haunted attraction to the professional level. To help you make a seamless and successful transition, we’ve created a comprehensive checklist of everything you need to take your home haunt to pro.
- Research the current market: Getting a good understanding of other competition, demographics of the people in the area, and so on, is essential to set your haunt up for success.
- Make a budget: Consider your needs before, during, and after haunt season has wrapped up. Expenses can easily get out-of-hand without a budget set beforehand.
- Select your location: You’ll need a brick and mortar building or outdoor space to open your haunt. Check your local zoning ordinances before purchasing or leasing any property to be sure it’s properly zoned for your type of business
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
- Obtain the necessary permits and licenses: Research your local regulations for operating a professional haunted attraction and secure the required permits and licenses.
- Conduct proper safety inspections: Ensure your attraction complies with all safety standards, including having the necessary number of fire extinguishers and emergency exits. Read everything you need to know in this comprehensive haunted attraction safety checklist.
- Get insurance: Protect yourself and your visitors by getting insurance to cover general liabilities like injuries that happen on-site or third party property damage.
- Register for taxes: Every business must register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open to the public.
- Open a business bank account and credit card: It’s best to use a dedicated business banking and credit account for your haunted attraction to protect your personal assets.
Designing Your Space
- Build your props: Channel your creativity into building or buying durable props that help bring your spine-chilling fantasies to life.
- Lighting and sound design: Invest in high-quality lighting and sound equipment. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and creates an ambiance that is much more immersive for guests.
- Special effects: If your theme calls for it, implement impressive special effects like fog machines, animatronics, and holograms to add a sense of realism to your haunt.
Staffing and Training
- Hiring scare actors and staff: Recruit passionate actors and reliable staff members to help run the various moving-parts of your haunted attraction.
- Training sessions: Conduct extensive training sessions for actors and staff members so they know what is expected of them. Emphasize the importance of safety, character development, and customer service to give guests a well-rounded experience.
- Customer service training: Train your staff to provide excellent customer service, both in and out of character, to handle various guest questions and concerns.
- Payroll: Make sure that payroll is factored into your budget so that you can pay your actors acceptable wages.
Set Up Your Ticketing
- Choose the right ticketing service: Work with an online ticketing platform that is customizable to fit all of your needs. Schedule a demo with HauntPay for your ticketing needs to see how easy it is to get set up in 60 seconds.
Getting the Word Out
- Build your social media presence: Utilize platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your haunted attraction and get potential visitors excited about attending.
- Earn media coverage: Easily get your haunt listed in hundreds of local media directories without having to complete individual submissions using HauntPay’s “Promote your Haunt” feature. Learn more here.
- Flyers: Don’t underestimate the power of offline advertising, too. Hang up eye-catching flyers in local favorite establishments to grab potential guests’ attention.
- Networking: Meeting with other haunt owners and enthusiasts can be a great way to build positive relationships that can turn into future partnerships. Connect with haunters in your local area, or find a community online.
Customer Feedback and Future Improvements
- Collect feedback: Encourage visitors to leave reviews and feedback, both online and in-person, to identify areas for future improvement.
- Make the proper adjustments where necessary: Regularly assess your haunted attraction and implement changes to enhance the guest experience.
Turn Up the Scares!
Taking your home-based haunted attraction and transitioning it to a professional endeavor can be a daunting task. This process takes time, but with careful planning and dedication, it is possible to turn your deepest nightmares into a reality. Following this comprehensive checklist will leave you well-prepared to take your haunted attraction to the next level and provide an unforgettable experience for even the bravest of thrill-seekers.