A haunted attraction is a form of entertainment that simulates the experience of entering a haunted location that might be inhabited by ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...
A monster is any fictional creature, usually found in legends or horror fiction, that is somewhat hideous and may produce physical harm or mental fear by either its appearance or its actions...
s, criminals, humorous characters, and other such creatures. Haunted attractions can take place in many locations, including dilapidated homes, abandoned asylums, old prisons, ships, boats, run down grocery stores, semi trucks, factories, shopping malls, fields, farms, and parks.
Haunted attractions use many effects, intense lighting (strobe light
A strobe light or stroboscopic lamp, commonly called a strobe, is a device used to produce regular flashes of light. It is one of a number of devices that can be used as a stroboscope...
s, black light
A black light, also referred to as a UV light, ultraviolet light, or Wood's lamp, is a lamp that emits ultraviolet radiation in the long-wave range, and little visible light...
s, and so forth), animatronics
Animatronics is the use of mechatronics to create machines which seem animate rather than robotic. Animatronic creations include animals , plants and even mythical creatures...
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...
, scent dispensers, fog machine
A fog machine or smoke machine is a device which emits a dense vapour that appears similar to fog or smoke. This artificial fog is most commonly used in professional entertainment applications, but smaller, more affordable fog machines are becoming common for personal use. Fog machines can also be...
s, air blaster
An air blaster or air cannon is a de-clogging device composed of two main elements: a pressure vessel and a Triggering mechanism...
s, old antiques, gory images, and intense scenes of terror, torment, crime, mischief, or comedy. Visitors often come in contact with various actors dressed up in elaborate and often scary costumes, masks, and prosthetics perform skits or hide and jump out unexpectedly to scare, shock, disturb, or amuse the customer.
There are quite a few attractions that feature elaborate facades that make the building look haunted if it doesn't already take place in a spooky looking building. A clown themed attraction may use a circus tent with freak show posters or a haunted asylum may have a boarded up asylum frame in front of its building. The facade they use really depends on what kind of attraction it is. While waiting in line you'll notice that some attractions have their own entertaining queue lines. Some are simple and just include TV screens or projector screens playing horror movies while some queue lines resemble mini haunted attractions. These queue lines may feature frightening animatronics, live animals, costumed characters or other features from the actual haunted attraction.
Many haunted attractions feature concession areas that may offer burgers, hot dogs, pizza, soda, hot chocolate, haunt apparel( t-shirts, hoodies etc.) and food you would expect to eat at a carnival/fair. In addition to that, some haunted attractions offer side entertainment so you can make it a night of haunting entertainment. This may include a tarot card reading station, paintball, laser tag, a coffin simulator (aka Last Ride), sit down electric chair simulator, arcade games, a dance club, skating rink, a 3D Motion Theater, or any form of entertainment that might appeal to customers.
The typical haunted attraction starts operating during the week/weekend of late September or early October all the way up to the last week/weekend in October or first week/weekend of November. There is even a sub culture of haunted attractions that are open year round and a few that open during special occasions such as haunt conventions or Spring Break (aka Scream Break). Haunted attractions range in price from $5–$40 (excluding possible parking charge) and may include a discount or coupon available on the haunt's website, at the haunt, a restaurant or an entirely different location. There are some attractions that may even offer the option for a fast pass which will allow customers to skip the line for an additional cost, usually $10 or more. Some attractions are run by Jaycees associations or charities, while many are for profit.
OriginsThe history of the haunted attraction is unknown. Hollycombe Steam Collection
Hollycombe Steam Collection
The Hollycombe Steam Collection is a collection of steam-powered vehicles, rides and attractions based near Liphook in Hampshire. The collection includes fairground rides, a display farm and two railways.- History :...
has an Orton and Spooner Haunted House in its collection that dates from 1915.
In the late 1960s to early 1970s haunted attractions were in developed cities like Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH with the creation of Jaycees haunted houses. These haunted houses are run by local chapters of Junior Chamber International (JCI) which is the only worldwide non-political and non-sectarian youth leadership training organization. There are still many local chapter Jaycees haunted houses in towns like Huntington, IN. Lombard, IL. Foxboro, MA. Raleigh, NC. and Columbia, SC. In 1974 The Haunted Schoolhouse opened to the public and is still in operation to this day. Another notable haunted attraction that has stood the test of time is The Edge of Hell in Kansas City, MO.
Haunted HouseA Haunted House is a type of haunted attraction that takes place indoors. Visitors may experience intense animatronics, bloody and frightening set pieces, rustic antiques, scary music and sounds, dynamic lighting, fog, costumed actors with elaborate makeup or masks, and other special effects used to create scenes of terror. Haunted Houses can be located in hospitals, grocery stores, shopping malls, warehouses, semi trucks, factories, boats or ships, dilapidated homes, etc. The typical haunted house ranges in price from $5–$25 and can last 5–60 minutes, with visitors sometimes going at their own pace and sometimes led in groups by guides.
Over the years many haunted houses have held the title of the longest walk through horror house. But as of 2011, Factory of Terror in Canton, Ohio has captured the title with 3,795 ft 11 in.
Haunted Trail/ForestA Haunted Trail or Haunted Forest is a type of attraction that takes place outside in the woods, at a park, themepark or outside venue. Most haunted trails are close to a mile long and may include small buildings or huts that include various scenes you'll be forced to enter or walk past. The majority of haunted trails have lit paths or roped off areas if there aren't paths in the woods that have been made. Haunted trails include various rooms/scenes such as hillbilly huts, a haunted cornfield, a clown maze, movie themed rooms (Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers etc.), an alien invasion etc.
Haunted trails may use tour guides, or they may allow visitors to walk alone. Unlike haunted houses, weather determines if the attraction will be open or not. The typical haunted trail ranges in price from $5–$25 a ticket and lasts 10–45 minutes. The tour time varies greatly depending on the customer's pace.
A Haunted Hayride is a haunted attraction and a form of agri-entertainment that takes place on a farm or large piece of land. Patrons climb on a wagon filled with hay
Hay is grass, legumes or other herbaceous plants that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for grazing livestock such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is also fed to pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs...
or haybales and are driven into the deep dark woods as the tractor driver navigates through brush, cornfields, narrow paths, fields, and barns. Throughout the trip, customers may come in contact with out of control farm equipment, fast-moving vehicles (hearses, hot rods), actors dressed up as monsters and traditional characters like the Headless Horseman
The headless horseman has been a motif of European folklore since at least the Middle ages.The Headless Horseman is a fictional character who appears in a short story called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which is in a collection of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon written by Washington Irving...
The typical haunted hayride lasts 10–45 minutes and ranges in price from $5–$25 a ticket with some using sound systems attached to the wagon or tractor. During the daytime some haunted hayrides may have live shows, face painting, fun characters and may even sell pumpkins or other vegetables grown on their farm.
Haunted Theme Park/ScreamparkA Haunted Theme Park is an amusement park
thumb|Cinderella Castle in [[Magic Kingdom]], [[Disney World]]Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people...
where many of its buildings have been converted into haunted houses or paths have been made to create haunted trails or hayrides that are open during the fall season (September, October and early November). Many haunted theme parks include themed outdoor scare zones that feature costumed monsters who roam around scaring customers. It's not unusual to come in contact with actors known as sliders who wear special kneepads. When the actor slides on the ground, the kneepads make a scraping noise before the actor is inches away from the customer.
Additionally, a large percentage of haunted theme parks feature live shows, concession areas, rides and other typical amusement part attractions. Not all haunted theme parks take place inside an actual amusement park. There are quite a few events that include multiple attractions in one place and may be located on a farm, park, parking lot or anywhere suitable for a large scale event.
The first haunted theme park was Knott's Scary Farm in Buena Park, CA which opened on October 31, 1973. Haunted Theme Parks are some of the most popular haunted attractions since they offer a variety of attractions at an affordable price, usually $15–$40, or free with a park season pass.
Dark Maze and Chain MazeA Dark Maze (AKA Pitch Black Maze) is a haunted attraction that consists of dark or pitch black rooms that have twists, turns and/or dead ends. Some may feature actors, air cannons, loud sounds, sprays of water, moving walls or floors, hanging props, flashing lights and more. A dark maze can be a stand alone attraction or an extension of a haunted house, haunted trail or hayride. Some dark mazes can transition into a chain maze which is similar to a dark maze except it uses metal bars or a chain link fence for its various walls. Most chain mazes will utilize strobe lights and heavy fog to blind and disorient customers while they try to find the exit. A chain maze can also serve as a stand alone attraction. The average dark maze and chain maze range in price from $5–$20. The amount of time spent inside a dark maze or chain maze depends on how good you are at mazes and how the maze is constructed.
Hell HouseHell Houses are haunted attractions typically run by American, fundamentalist Christian churches or parachurch groups. These depict sin, the torments of the damned in Hell, and usually conclude with a depiction of heaven. They are most typically operated in the days preceding Halloween.
A hell house, like a conventional haunted-house attraction, is a space set aside for actors attempting to frighten patrons with gruesome exhibits and scenes, presented as a series of short vignettes with a narrated guide. Unlike haunted houses, hell houses focus on occasions and effects of sin or the fate of unrepentant sinners in the afterlife. They occur during the month of October to capitalize on the similarities between hell houses and haunted attractions.
The exhibits at a hell house often have a controversial tone focusing on issues of concern to evangelicals in the United States. Hell houses frequently feature exhibits depicting sin and its consequences. Common examples include abortion, suicide, use of alcoholic beverage and other recreational drugs, adultery and pre-marital sex, occultism, homosexuality, and Satanic ritual abuse. Hell houses typically emphasize the belief that anyone who does not accept Christ as their personal savior is condemned to Hell.
The first hell house, Scaremare (still presented each October) in Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 75,568 as of 2010. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or "The Hill City." Lynchburg was the only major city in...
was created by Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...
in the late 1970s. Similar events began in several regions during that period. Hell houses have faced criticism for advertising they're a traditional haunted house, when in fact it's a church run haunted attraction. Most involve biblical lessons and some ask customers to pray to Jesus Christ before exiting no matter what their beliefs are. Sometimes a hell house is much more graphic than a traditional haunted attraction and not appropriate for all audiences.
Haunted HospitalThe Haunted Hospital is an urban legend that has been passed down since the creation of the first haunted attraction. Supposedly there is an attraction that takes place inside a 7 story abandoned hospital. Inside, you'll come in contact with live animals, booby traps, fire and unspeakable things that few have experienced before. If you are lucky enough to make it out alive, you'll be given a full refund ($25–$50) and be able to tell your friends that you were one of the brave and few that made it out of the one and only "Haunted Hospital". Many haunted attractions have been inspired by the urban legend of The Haunted Hospital and quite a few have used the name "Haunted Hospital" over the years.
Yard Haunt/DisplayA Yard Haunt is a house that is elaborately decorated to celebrate Halloween. Yards may feature fake tombstones, skulls, large inflatable characters, plastic light up figures (aka blowmolds), strobe lights, fog machines, cobwebs, spooky music, animatronics and decor that can easily be purchased at a local Halloween store. Some home owners even create their own homemade props to set their display apart from other houses, while others synchronize their display to music using computer programs such as Light-O-Rama, Animated Lighting and other popular programs. Neighbors have no need to worry about the loud music since many displays utilize an FM Transmitter so people can park their car, locate a low frequency radio station and watch the show without it disturbing anyone.
The Halloween Yard Haunter - "Halloween is a great time to wear costumes, pumpkin carving have a Halloween party, and setup your own Halloween yard haunt or home haunt. The Yard Haunter was created so that we could share our Halloween experiences others who would like to setup a yard haunt of their own. Our goal was to create a website that would inform people about what's out there, where they can get it, and how they use it for Halloween."
Dark RideA dark ride or ghost train (United Kingdom and Australia) is an indoor amusement ride where riders in guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sound, music, and special effects.
A dark ride does not have to be dark. They are enclosed, so all illumination is artificial, and most use special lighting to achieve theatrical effects. Selective use of darkness helps hide the ride mechanisms and increase the visual drama of the experience. Disney's It's a Small World is an example of a brightly lit dark ride. The Haunted Mansion is a haunted attraction which is also a dark ride.
Cornfield MazeA Cornfield Maze is a Halloween attraction that is created by using cornstalks and forming paths for people to walk through. Patrons can expect to experience turns, twists, straight paths and dead ends. The cornfield maze might be designed to resemble a popular character, public figure, event or holiday. Most cornfield mazes are open during the day and are appropriate for all ages. Admission price ranges from $5–$20.
The largest corn maze in the world was located in Dixon, California, and is 45 acres in area as of 2010. Although this corn maze holds distinction as the world's largest corn maze, Adventure Acres corn maze in Bellbrook, Ohio, just outside of Dayton, Ohio consists of 62 acres of corn maze with 8.5 miles of trails. In 2003, a world record for the longest maze path, as recognised by Guinness World Records, was set on 10 July 2003 at 8.838 miles (14.223 kilometres) in the Lobster Maize Maze, designed by Adrian Fisher, at Stewarts Gardenlands, Christchurch, Dorset, England.
Haunted Cornfield MazeA Haunted Cornfield Maze is identical to a cornfield maze except that it may include actors, props, special effects, scary music and more. The maze is created by using cornstalks and forming paths for people to walk through. Patrons can expect to experience turns, twists, straight paths and dead ends. The cornfield maze might be designed to resemble a popular character, public figure, event or holiday. The majority of haunted cornfield mazes are open during the nighttime hours and range in price from $5–$20.
Ghost RunA Ghost Run is a haunted event that's unique since it takes place in a person's car. When a customer purchases a ticket for a ghost run, they are given various clues as to where different haunted attractions are. This haunted scavenger hunt usually includes a few local haunted attractions and other free items. At the end of the ghost run's season, the winner with the best mileage locating the haunts is revealed and they are given a cash prize.
Midnight Spook/Ghost ShowsBetween the 1930s-1960s movie theaters would have live shows that featured magicians performing magic tricks, séances, special effects and scary skits. This was at a time when people were unaware of how these incredible tricks were pulled off and it was a relatively new form of entertainment before the invention of the haunted attraction. Many of these spook shows doubled with horror movies and played at smaller movie theaters during Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...
time or different parts of the year. Eventually these shows would incorporate bloody special effects and be referred to as Midnight Horror Shows. These shows were daring for their time, but would phase out near the end of the 1960s.
Business environmentThe haunt industry is a multi billion dollar business with nearly 2,000 haunts open each year and over 12,000,000 customers attending those attractions. Throughout the year there are many conventions held all over the United States. This includes Midwest Haunters Convention (OH), National Haunters Convention (PA), HAuNTcon (Moves to a new city each year), Indy Haunt Fest (IN), West Coast Haunters Convention (OR), Canandian Haunters Convention (Canada), Halloween & Attractions Show (MO), and many others. These annual conventions feature props, seminars, workshops, parties, haunt tours and everything a haunter could ask for.
Just like with any industry, there are associations. The haunt industry has had a couple of associations. The first started in 1998 which was the International Association of Haunted Attractions (IAHA). The second was the Haunted House Association in 2008. In late 2010, both associations agreed to merge and form the Haunted Attraction Association. Other related groups are the Haunt Reviewers Association(HRA), Home Haunters Association, and the Halloween and Haunt Vendors Association (HHVA). The Haunt Reviewers Association is the only review association the industry has to offer. The oldest of all association is [Haunted House Association http://www.hauntedhouseassoction.org]
The haunt industry has a lot of competition when it comes to entertainment, but has evolved greatly with the times. Many attractions all across the United States now feature animatronics and effects that Hollywood would be jealous of. It's not uncommon to come across towering monsters 13 foot or larger, impressive movie quality CGI, dynamic lighting, props that interact with customers. scent dispensers, intricate set pieces and figures, Pneumatic props, props that spray water or air and much more.
The haunt industry has grown a lot over the years and now features its own industry trade magazines. This includes Hauntworld Magazine [ Haunted House Magazine http://www.hauntedhousemagazine.com], Haunted Attraction Magazine, 13th Hour Magazine and Fright Times Magazine. These unique magazines feature articles written by haunt owners, actors, tips and tricks, how tos, haunt showcases and many helpful articles. Most of these magazines release 2-4 issues per year and range in price from $20–$79 depending on the magazine. It's quite amazing how the industry has evolved over the years to include magazines as well as haunt websites like HauntersDigest.com, http://www.hauntworld.com, hauntedhouse.com, horrorfind.com, hauntforum.com, hauntspace.com, rottingfleshradio.com and many other sites that promote haunted attractions.
The haunt industry is more popular than it's ever been and many TV stations have noticed. Throughout the years the Travel Channel, Discovery, Food Network, ABC and other stations have featured shows that highlight incredible attractions all over the country and have made the public more aware of the haunt industry.