Shake it Up!

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Does your haunt run for multiple nights, and you are looking for a reason for guests to come back? Do you just want to do something different this year without redesigning everything? Maybe you just need to shake it up!

I'm not talking about a rewrite. I'm not even talking about making any major changes. Just something relatively quick and easy that will make patrons say "oh, that sounds cool!".

Maybe the simplest is to have a "blackout" night - or even to have a "blackout" tour late at night. Just turn out the lights and let people go through in the dark. Now, before you say that's too boring or stupid, consider that many haunts do this successfully each year. If you have paid attention to your sound design, turning out the lights should add a level of suspense, not take anything away. You may decide to give guests a glowstick or LED candle to "help". Since most people hold those right in front of their eyes, this will actually blind them more while making it easier for your actors to find them.

With a little thought, your actors can take advantage of the new low-light conditions to find new scares!

Similar to blackout is the whiteout - fill the haunt with fog and turn the lights WAY up! People are just as blinded by light as darkness. You may find doing a whiteout is easier than a blackout simply because it's hard to remove all light. Of course, you can always mix the two, leaving some rooms fog filled and bright to make the dark rooms seem that much darker.

Try letting people go through the haunt from exit to entrance! You may have to turn some props around, or come up with some different scare areas, but that's all part of the experience. Going through a haunt "backwards" makes the haunt new again!

What about the soundtrack? I know you spent a good deal of time on your sound design. Just for this one night, what if you had a disco night? 80's night? 50s night? Play dance music or clips from TV shows and movies. OK, OK, that won't work if you are trying to avoid licensing fees and intellectual property issues. Still, changing the soundtrack will change the feel of the haunt. If your haunt is normally more industrial, maybe change the basic soundtrack to thunder and rain? If more natural, maybe a weird alien throbbing sound would help. Sound is powerful. If you have no circus elements, maybe just for the one night, change the soundtrack to circus music and give all the characters a clown makeover?

Which brings me to theme changes. Just for one night, to shake it up, maybe you can switch from industrial horror to demented circus. Maybe your haunted house can become a zombie house? Changes would be mostly with soundtrack and makeup. This would NOT be as simple as some of the others, but it would be interesting and fun. If you are open after Halloween, maybe you could put everyone in elf ears and Santa hats and play twisted Christmas music. Why not?

What do you do to "shake things up"? What have you seen haunts do that you liked? Share in the comments!

Happy Haunting!

Updated 02-01-2020 at 06:49 AM by JustJimAZ



  1. Godzilla's Avatar
    Ummm, good ideas! Really good ideas
  2. JustJimAZ's Avatar
    Glad you like them!