Haunt Survival Guide
It can get pretty chilly on a cool fall night. Be sure to dress according to the weather forecast. If it’s supposed to be cold out then wear a hoodie, sweater or coat. Don’t wear a hat or beanie while walking through the haunt because actors love to grab them off of your head. Don’t wear flip flops or heels because this can definitely hinder you from walking. You might trip or fall. Don’t wear fancy clothes because they might get damaged or dirty depending on the type of haunt you tour. Don’t wear shorts because you might rub up against something inside the haunt and you don’t want to have a bloody leg. If you’re going to a haunted trail or another type of outdoor attraction then don’t forget to wear boots. It can get awful muddy in the country if it rained recently.
If you’re planning on touring a haunt while it’s raining out then don’t forget to bring a couple of ponchos. You can get a poncho for 99 cents. Some haunts don’t have a covered waiting area and you might be standing in the rain. Theme parks are known for being open during a downpour, so be prepared. You might also want to have a plastic sheet to place on the floor since you could get the floor dirty if it’s muddy out.
Check the Weather Forecast
Yes, this may seem silly but many people forget to check the weather. If the haunt takes place outside (haunted trail, hayride etc) then make sure that it’s not raining that night. If it’s a heavy downpour then the haunt is more than likely going to be closed. If you’re uncertain if the haunt’s going to be open then call or check their social media pages. Many haunts will post if they’re closed on their Facebook and Twitter.
Indoor haunts can be flooded because of heavy rain. So, if you’re unsure that they’re open then please call. Be aware that some haunts might have a hotline where they won’t answer your phone call. It will just have information such as hours, prices etc. The busier it is, the more likely they won’t answer if it’s a regular phone number.
Bring Extra Cash
Many haunts will offer tasty treats and refreshments at their concession stand. Haunts also have memorabilia such as hoodies, shirts, hats and more. Some even offer novelty glow toys or Halloween crafts. You may want to buy a group photo since quite a few haunts will take your picture beforehand. Sometimes it’s free, but many times it isn’t. If it’s a small charity haunt then you can usually expect the prices on food and drinks to be pretty cheap. Smaller haunts usually offer food such as hot dogs, popcorn, chips etc. Bigger haunts will offer a larger variety of food and refreshments. If it’s a big budget haunt then you can expect prices to be higher. But this isn’t always the case.
Cash is king since some haunts won’t accept credit cards. There are haunts that will require money for parking. So bring cash. Cost for parking usually ranges from $1-$5, but for themeparks it can be as high as $20 or more. Popular haunts will have huge lines and it might be worth it to upgrade to the VIP line so you don’t have to wait long. It’s usually $5-$40 more than regular admission. But it can be even higher if it’s for a themepark or if there are more perks included.
If you’re making it a night of haunts then you might arrive home late. Many late night restaurants are open. We recommend Steak ‘n Shake since they have many meals around $4 and they have late hours.
Don’t Forget Your GPS
I’m not talking about using a cell phone GPS app such as Google Maps or Apple Maps. This is taking a risk since the GPS on your phone requires cell service. Yes, there are workarounds to using a GPS App offline, but it requires you to download maps to your phone which takes up space and it’s not exactly a straight forward process.
Some haunts are in the middle of nowhere and the area might not have good cell reception. So if your only source of a GPS is from your phone then you’re going to be in trouble if the reception drops out. Use a traditional GPS that relies on a satellite signal. With a GPS app, you’ll be eating up your cell phone data which can be expensive depending on your plan.
A traditional GPS usually has more features such as points of interest and the ability to add favorites. We recommend Garmin. If you have two GPS devices then bring both. If one malfunctions then you’ll have a backup. But if you know where the haunt is then there’s no need for a GPS.
Don’t Wear Cologne or Perfume
Some haunts will use scents to enhance a scene or effect. So don’t wear that crappy cologne or perfume that you love. There’s no way that you’re going to smell cotton candy in that clown room if your cheap Polo cologne is getting in the way.
Check For Discounts
Some haunts offer coupons or discounts that are available on their website and social media pages. Hell, some even have contests giving away free tickets. Also check for Groupon deals and even the newspaper or weekly saver for discounts. Stores like Kroger might have coupons which are likely to be near the front entrance.
Many haunts will offer discounts if you purchase a combo ticket that includes some or all of their attractions. So be on the lookout for that. You might even find coupons for other area haunts at the haunt you just visited. Check the back of your ticket because sometimes there’s a discount of some type. This might include free food, a discount at a Halloween store or whatever.
Small Groups Are Best
Bring as many people as you want, but walk through the haunt with as few people as possible. It’s harder for actors to scare a group of 10 instead of a group of 4. There’s also a higher chance that you might miss a scare if you’re part of a big group. There are exceptions to the rule which include haunts where you’ll be placed in a large group to interact with others and Escape Rooms where you’ll need to solve clues to escape.
Visit On A Sunday or Weekday
Haunts are less crowded on weekdays and Sundays. Actors are less tired when they have to scare fewer people. You’re also less likely to run into another group. Sometimes tickets are even cheaper. There might be fewer actors, but they are going to do a better job at scaring you. This is from my personal experience.
Sit In The Back of the Hay Wagon
This is where a lot of the action takes place. Many haunted hayrides have vehicles bump or push the back of the wagon. You’re sure to feel the impact if you have a seat in the back.
Larger Groups Are Better For Hayrides
One of the best parts of a Haunted Hayride is seeing how others react while getting scared out of their boots. You can always bet that there will be someone on the hayride who is going to freak out. Hayrides can be very interactive because of actors who might climb the wagon and it’s fun being able to see how others react to pure terror. So the bigger the group, the better. You’re going to either laugh, cry or scream your head off at a Haunted Hayride and to share that with a big group is priceless.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
The majority of haunts are very safe, but you still have to be aware of your surroundings. Haunted trails are likely to have sticks, rocks and debris on the ground. There are haunted trails that don’t light up their paths which can make it difficult to find your way out. Be sure to watch where you’re walking. Some indoors haunts will require you to walk up and down steps, but sometimes the steps aren’t well lit. So watch your step.
Don’t stand up during a hayride and keep your arms in the wagon. It’s not unusual for the wagon to get close to trees or rub against them. Be aware of animated props that might jump out at you. You don’t want to get knocked out by that flying grim reaper. Remember that it’s dark at haunts and you can accidentally bump into anything if you’re not careful. Be aware that some actors can be over enthusiastic with that gas powered chainsaw. It doesn’t have a chain, but it can hurt like hell if you run into it.
Dark mazes are fun, but if you’re not careful you can run into things. So feel the wall as you try to find the exit and walk slowly. It’s easy to run into another group if all you see is darkness. Dark mazes are notorious for becoming very congested. Don’t panic if you end up with a large group of people who are freaking out because they’re lost. You’ll eventually find your way out.
If it rained that night then some areas of the haunt might be slippery. Be cautious and don’t fall. Sometimes you will be placed with another group, but be observant of how the other group acts. If the other group is full of young girls who are freaking out then you need to realize that they may push, pull or grab you because they’re scared. They might even hold your hand while you walk through the haunt. It’s not your job to reassure them and to be their hero.
Show Some Respect
Countless money and time is invested into building a haunt. So, please don’t damage props and sets. Don’t use a cell phone or flashlight to help you navigate through that dark maze or hallway. Turn off that flashing necklace you just bought because it could be distracting for other groups who are walking through the haunt. The actors might think that you don’t want to be scared because you’re wearing that glow necklace that you so dearly love.
If you recognize an actor then don’t start talking to them. This will ruin the experience for others. Plus any good actor won’t want to break character. Be courteous to actors and just enjoy the experience. Relax and have fun. If you’re drunk or high then don’t visit the haunt. You might get hurt and you might hurt others. If you didn’t enjoy your experience then don’t tell customers that the haunt sucked at the exit. This is just plain rude.
Be Careful of Your Valuables
Don’t leave your valuables out in plain sight when you park your car. Lock them in your trunk. Put your wallet in your pocket, not on your front seat. Don’t carry valuables in your pocket because you might drop them in the haunt and there’s no guarantee you’ll get them back. This is just common sense.
Don’t Bring Your Crying Kids
If you’re wondering if your young child can handle a haunt then they probably can’t. The staff isn’t your babysitter and their job isn’t to comfort your kid if he or she starts uncontrollably crying. Customers don’t want to be walking through a haunt and hear your kid crying the entire time. It ruins the haunt they paid their hard earned money to enter. Think of others before you think of yourself and don’t traumatize your kid. No one loves a crying baby on an airplane and no one likes it at a haunt.
Do a little research before you visit. Go to the haunt’s website to see pictures, video and more. If you notice that most of the scenes involve gore and sexual themes then the haunt might not be appropriate for your child. Don’t assume that a church ran haunt will be family friendly because most haunts are there to scare you. There might be blood, boobs, strong language and more. A Hell House is a haunt organized by the church and usually features graphic depictions of murder, suicide, abortion, drug use and more. These scenes are meant to teach a lesson, but the staff can be pushy with their beliefs. The scenes can sometimes be graphic in nature. So be leery of hell houses. Use your best judgement since you know your child better than anyone.
A Thunder Storm Enhances the Experience
Yes, you heard me right. Every classic horror movie seems to have a thunderstorm. There’s something about a thunderstorm that makes an indoor haunt even scarier. This is especially true if it’s a haunt that takes place inside a building that looks haunted or has a history of hauntings. I’ve been to many haunts where the sound of thunder and lightning makes the experience much more frightening. So don’t worry about visiting an indoor haunt when it’s raining out. The crowd is going to be much smaller and it’s scarier.
Read The Haunt’s Backstory Beforehand
Sometimes scenes don’t make much sense until you read the backstory. Before you plan to tour a haunt visit their website to see if they have a backstory. The backstory might explain why the place is haunted or go in-depth about different characters you’ll interact with. The haunt might even have videos that discuss why the place has been inhabited by spirits. Some haunts will have an actor explain the backstory before you enter, but don’t count on it.
Read The Rules
This is self explanatory. Read the rules before you enter and remember that there are no refunds. Just because you chickened out after you bought a ticket doesn’t mean that you deserve your money back. It’s not going to happen. Do your research before hand to find out what the haunt is going to be like. If it’s a touch haunt then it’s obviously going to be more physical. Actors will grab, push and verbally assault you. If you are physically disabled then there are going to be issues. Many haunts aren’t handicapped accessible and don’t assume that they will be. There’s no smoking, photography, use of cell phones, food, drinks, running etc.
Sometimes the haunt will recite the rules before you enter and other times there will be a sign with them posted. Many times the rules will be hard to read since the sign might not be illuminated. Your ticket might even have the rules on the back. An actor will sometimes state the rules before you enter the haunt, but many times they won’t. Just use some common sense and act like a decent human being. Follow the rules or else!
Look at the scary sets and try to let yourself be scared. Haunted attractions can be fun if you’re wanting to have a good time and it’s a great stress reliever for some people. Remember that you spent good money to be entertained and it’s best to get the most out of your experience. Soak it all in!