Plan Awesome Charity Haunted House with Low Budget
By Scott Faubion, Halloween Hill Owner
Halloween is a special time and one that my family looks forward to each year. Our family even ran a charity haunted house for three years in a row. This can be a great way to make money for the charity of your choice, have fun, and bond with family and friends. It can also be stressful. Here are some tips and tricks to making your haunted house successful and not too stressful.
I learned these tips from personal experience and hope they help you out as you plan your haunt:
- Be sure to have enough volunteers. It is key when planning a charity haunted house to secure plenty of volunteers. Also, plan out how many rooms you will have in your haunted house and try to schedule at least one volunteer per room. If you can schedule two volunteers per room, that is best. That way volunteers can chit chat between guests and not be bored. The more fun your volunteers have, the more likely they will keep coming back.
- Although this is a charity event and you are using volunteers, I do recommend creating a professional schedule and try to pin down what days volunteers can help. Most people understand you will need to create a real schedule in order for the event to work well.
- Buy some professional props and then make many other Halloween props to save money. One thing you do not want to do with a charity haunt is make the decorations so cheesy that it is laughable. You want to do everything possible to make your charity haunted house a real haunted house. That means buying some high-end professional haunted house props and Halloween decorations. However, you do not want to break the bank with Halloween decor either. After buying some professional haunt props, such as coffins, skeletons and Halloween animatronics, make the rest of the props.
- Gather friends and supporters of your haunted house project together and build coffins from cardboard and plywood. Tear up old shirts and rags to hang from the ceilings. You can even create many cool, cheap Halloween decorations from Styrofoam and paint them with spray paint. Be sure to use dark colors, such as black, gray and dark orange.
- Get the support of neighbors. One of the first things I did when we organized a charity haunted house years ago was knock on the doors of the neighbors next to where the haunt was planned. I believe it is important to alert the neighbors about the planned haunt; sweet talk them and get them on board early on. You could even invite the neighbors to help. That way they are part of the group and less likely to have a problem with any noise. Also, if a neighbor does have an objection you can find out early on and not on opening night.
- Advertise, advertise, advertise. I cannot stress this enough. It is important to treat a charity event as if it is a true business. That does not mean breaking your wallet to advertise. Many news outlets will donate advertising space for charities. Contact your local newspapers and newspapers in surrounding towns. Contact area radio stations, too. Like newspapers, some radio stations will donate air time for charity haunted houses. There is still merit to passing out flyers to promote your haunt, too. Fall festivals are wonderful opportunities to pass out flyers for your haunted house. Find out when your community has an autumn festival and prepare pamphlets for your haunt. Be sure to advertise your haunted house as a charity, too. Some patrons will visit your haunt simply because it is a charity event whether or not they even like haunted houses.
- One final suggestion I would give is to have a special room for little children at the haunted attraction. Make this room a place kids can play games, watch cartoons and take part in non-scary activities. Be sure to advertise this play area on flyers and in advertisements. Families with young children are more likely to attend your haunted house if there is something for little kids to do other than go through the haunted house.
I hope these tips help. One more thing to remember is to have fun while planning the haunt. If you enjoy what you are doing, it will show in your final design. Have fun, be scary and make money for your favorite charity.
Read More articles by Halloween Hill owner Scott Faubion at this haunted link.