« back to article: Haunted House 101

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Creating the ultimate haunted house is both an art and a science. It takes engineering, innovation, and, above all, a twisted mind. In case you don’t feel adequately prepared to create your own haunted experience (be it house, trail, maze, or otherwise) there’s no need to fret – the V1 squad is here to help. Below you’ll find a collection of tips from our staff, community members, and local or national haunted veterans.

So listen up, spook school is now in session.

 

LOCATION/TYPE
To start things off, you’ll need a location. This bit can be tricky. Fortunately, a big venue isn’t always needed – the focus here should be on quality, not quantity.

  • • A location can be key. For instance, the basement of a funeral home or church, an abandoned factory or warehouse, a former jail, and an old hospital are inherently scary.
  • • Don’t have access to a house? No problem. How about a series of semi-truck trailers?
  • • Several haunted houses have now taken their show to large boats, capitalizing on the effects of queasiness.
  • • Drive-ins occasionally re-open for Halloween weekend, screening classic horror marathons, and the most popular ones have actors sneaking up on cars and scaring audience members at opportune moments during the movies.
  • • A maze doesn’t have to be corn. Hay bales work, too.
  • • Without too much work, a trail (if it’s truly through “the woods”) can be inherently scary. You’ve got the moon filtering through the bare branches. You’ve got the inexplicable creaks and footsteps of small animals. Make sure, however, that it’s not too steep, winding, or criss-crossed by tree roots. You want to attract all ages.
  • • If you have a fire pit, make full use of it. Sell hot cider and caramel apples. People appreciate a comfortable, friendly refuge and camaraderie after their harrowing experience. (Establish this off to the side a bit so that the people standing in line are focused on the experience ahead).