Some frequently asked questions we get each year. 1) Where do you store it all?
Growing up in the 80s I became well versed in Tetris and I think that goes a long way with packing skills. :-) Many of the wall panels are able to be fit into our shed. The rest of the props, lights, costumes etc go in our basement. This year may be the first where we'll need extra storage...will see once we pack it up. 2) Where do you get your actors? Do you pay your actors?
All of our actors are our friends that graciously volunteer their time to help us. This year we had additional assistance from kids in the neighborhood that wanted to take part. Since this is a free event, we really don't have the funds to pay anyone, but we do cover meals while working on the haunt and do a end of season group outing for everyone that helped out. If you're interested in volunteering next year, send us a message on the Contact page. 3) Where do you get your costumes? - Much of what we use is from thrift stores and then just distressed and aged. Some last minute costumes actually come from Spirit Halloween stores and then modified. For the future, to get some quality outfits for photo ops, I'm looking at places like Dark ATX as I really like their work. 4) Why don't you charge?/you should charge x. When I started I said I wouldn't charge while this is in our back yard because I want this to be for our neighborhood and don't think I can provide an experience worth charging for that would warrant the additional hassles that would come along.. Though based on this year's response, I'm looking at charities that do canned food drives that we could align with for donations. This wouldn't be mandatory for entrance but I think would be another nice thing we could do going into the holidays. 5) How long does it take? Basically its a year long process. After Halloween, we spend several weeks tearing down, packing and storing the haunt. Then there is usually a quiet period during the remainder of the year, but by January I've got the itch and start thinking of new ideas and story lines and put those on the website. Indoor projects and research on new vendors products starts during February/March timeframe. Once the weather is warmer I start on some outdoor projects. I'll try to hit some conventions in the spring/early summer to network, take seminars and get big discounts on items I saw on vendor lineups at the convention floor sales. Building really gets underway with the crew by late June. Full crew is going for the setup by September and then detailing up to opening day(light, sound, prop placement, etc). During late September and early October, we try to hold actor training to get everyone up to speed on safety, do's & don'ts, scare techniques, and work on their costumes. Sounds routine, but is usually very hectic from Oct 1st forward. 6) Where do you get your materials/props. Craigslist, EBay, Habitat for Humanity store, thrift shops and the Trading Post on the HauntWorld forums are all good sources for materials and props. We also become a regular fixture at the Gainesville Lowes by late Summer/Fall.
Some of my favorite vendors for props and mask are: CFX, FrightProps, Pumpkin Pulp, Scream Team, Dapper Cadaver, and Slaughter House Studioss With a bigger budget I'd love some stuff from Gore Galore, Unit 70 and Poison Props. Thanks for reading! If there are other questions I didn't answer please feel free to ask!