Peeling Back The Walls

Brain Dump on this year’s Haunted House…

I never really get tired of saying it: Nothing says “Get out!  Get out!” better than a clown with a chainsaw!


Volunteers this year have been great!  Weather has been much better than last year (read that as “sometimes drizzly but not dumping rain everyday for two weeks”), so that probably helps the general mood, but costumes and makeup have been awesome!  The Zombie Graveyard crew have been a bit over-zealous and we’ve had some groups that come to a screaming (literally) halt, refusing to continue since the zombies have started leaving the yard.  We’ve had to talk to them about backing off when it’s obvious they’re obstructing a group’s progress.

We had at least two instances where an adult has shoved or elbowed away one of our volunteers which tells us they’re getting too close for comfort and need to back off a bit.

The Werewolf Woods still has a great atmosphere and is another bottleneck in the house as most people either run through it as fast as they can (splitting one group into multiple smaller groups) or creep through in packs, trying to avoid the wolves.

Most of the spiderwebs throughout the place are the standard cotton & polyester stuff you find in most halloween shops, but due to how quickly that fell apart when it got wet in the rain last year, we got a “webcaster gun” for the outside spiderweb effects – this thing is pretty spiff!  It’s basically a hot glue gun that attaches to an air compressor, so once the gun heats up, you can spray hot glue everywhere, and it drips down, creating cobwebs and webby effects. 

As you can see, it makes quite a mess, but the overall effects are worth it, and they’re much more durable for outside.


The Toxic Waste Room looks better this year.  Again, we decreased the lighting and painted the entry hallway to the room using the same method as last year.  We hung fishing string with bits of day-glo painted tape balls so it messes with your depth perception as you walk down the hallway as well as providing “things” that bounce and brush heads and faces as you walk.


Last Gunfight at the Zom-B Saloon is another scene that’s lots of fun, but I don’t have any photos that give it justice.  They mix things up each night, but either one or two cowboys have barricaded themselves in the saloon while zombies fight their way in and drag the cowboys out onto the path to eat them.  There are gunshots and blood and lots of screaming, and it’s been a “fun” show with groups stopping to watch before the zombies turn on them and chase them on thru the maze.  Some groups don’t even get to the end of the show as they run past once the gunshots go off.  Have to give credit to the cowboys and zombies on this one as it really is more of a show scene than any of our other rooms out in the maze.

The Vampire Room is a smoke filled room lit only by blacklights which plays havoc on your visibility and depth perception.  Four headless bodies have been impaled on 8 foot stakes, and 2 coffins lean against the wall, their occupants shaking them and begging to be let out.  What’s fun about this one is that one of the bodies is real.  We measured our volunteer for that room, and built one of the stakes with a padded “seat” at waist level that he can lean over, while a 4′ length of stake straps to his back and pokes out the back of his shirt.  So while he’s bent over the stake, he looks like the other bodies, but is able to grab people, jump up or follow them through the room.  I asked him if he got freaked out being the only person in the room with the recorded voices randomly screaming and begging to be let out of coffins and he showed me his iPod, which he wears under his “headless” costume.  “Basically, I can’t hear anything other than the music from my iPod which is why I sometimes miss a group ’cause they come in and I’m bent over and can’t see them, and don’t hear anything, so they just wander through on their own.”

Customers run the gamut from those that are too scared to move and scream a lot, to those that run around in terror and scream a lot, to those that put on a false bravado and annoy everyone in the house with stupid comments, to those that are bored with the whole house.  For our customers for whom we provided absolutely no thrill, I apologise.

I don’t expect next year to be able to grab people if they’re bored, zip them up in clear body bags, and hang them from a high vantage point above a pit of fiery knives, so the whole Haunted House experience is probably not going to get any better for those in that last group.  However, I wouldn’t mind talking to you about volunteering for us next year!