Where would you like to be haunted? Many organizations take advantage of this holiday to help give scares and shivers. So, whether you plan to go out and be scared by others or start your own venue for fun, we’ll explore events you can host. This badge program is for creating an event that lasts longer than a single night like a party.
1. Scary or fun.
Depending on the age and maturity level of those you want to entertain, you may choose to do a fun or scary event . . . perhaps even a combination of both. The best way to not only determine what you want to do, but what you want to include, is to try out different venues. This badge program will help you determine what you’d like to do to make your own haunted location.
NOTE: My family has been to many different haunted venues over the years. I hope you find one or more of these “fun.”
2. Corn maze.
Corn mazes can be great fun. You get a map and try to find all the points on it within the maze. We like to pair up and do it as a race. In addition, using the corn for things like a corn pit instead of a sandbox is fun for little kids. The corn maze is usually up for about a month before Halloween. Find a corn maze near you. Note what you did / didn’t like about it.
3. Pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin patches are usually for picking out a pumpkin. The one we frequently go to slowly added attractions so the kids could burn energy before getting on a wagon to be pulled back to the patch. They made things like a maze out of haystacks, boards where you put your head through for pictures, a play area and more. Visit a local pumpkin patch. Most are available about a month before Halloween. See what they have to do and note what you did / didn’t like about it.
4. Haunted trail.
The local Boy Scouts use their camp for a haunted trail that usually runs for two weeks. They do an asylum / graveyard theme. It takes about an hour to walk through the entire area and it spans multiple buildings as well as forest and fields. The trails are cleaned very well beforehand and a guide takes groups around to keep people together as well as to warn about problem areas (real and imagined). See if you have a haunted trail nearby to visit and experience.
5. Haunted ride.
This is usually a wagon ride (pulled by a tractor) through an area designed for spooks. The benefit is that no one touches the props. However, you need someone to tell the story as you go through and a way to make sure everyone can hear you. Is there a haunted ride near you? If so, try it!
6. Spook house.
There are different kinds of spook houses. At “Niles Haunted House Scream Park”, they have a pole barn split into two different haunted areas. They also have a house that has six different ways to start so your scare will be different each time. In other words a “house” is not necessarily a house. Experience a haunted house near you.
7. Cemetery and haunted locations.
Ghost hunting groups lead tours through cemeteries, haunted buildings and more. If they are leading you, they’ve probably investigated the location and have done a search on the history so they can share not only the stories of hauntings, but what really happened. Look for local ghost tours and try one.
8. Shows and demonstrations.
For variety in your event, you might choose to add a fortune teller, magician. musician, walking minstrel, clown or other performers who fit into your theme without being a full attraction. These interactive possibilities engage your visitors and add to the overall feel of your event. See who you can find locally who might be willing to volunteer at first or work for little to help you get it off the ground.
9. Other items.
You can add other items into your event. Here are a few to start thinking about:
- Games of chance
- Rides (or equivalent)
- Optional seating area
- Unsupervised play area
Determine Your Own
Do you want to do a single event or are you looking at making something that will last a full weekend, a couple weeks or even a month. Keep in mind storage and size concerns. Will you have enough help to maintain a month-long event?
11. Type of event.
Looking at the events presented and perhaps a few you’ve experienced but are not listed, try to determine what kind of an event you would like to host.
12. Flesh it out.
Look through your notes and determine which things you want to have. You can also look through the other badge programs from the Enrichment Project’s Halloween set and pull things from those as well. Sort your ideas by difficulty to accomplish, where they fit into your theme or other criteria you determine. Prepare a plan to start your own haunted location.
13. Zoning and laws.
You will need to find out what you can and cannot do not only at your location (zoning) but also per the laws of the city, county, state, etc. where you will be having your event. You will find other regulations as well. For example, if you serve food, you need might need to have restrooms or the equivalent, food has to be made / presented a certain way, etc.
Creating something larger than a party requires help. Check with local organizations, high school clubs, senior groups and others who are likely to volunteer. Often, offering free tickets is a good enough incentive.
15. Build it slowly.
Start with a simple design and build a positive brand. Make sure people enjoy themselves. The next year, add a few more things. This will allow people to see something new when they come back, fix issues you had the previous year and allow the community to be involved.
In addition, you might choose do to something like create one attraction each year. For example, last year the Niles Park added a zip line for an extra activity.
16. The rules.
Post rules for your visitors. For example, if you have people helping you create a full experience, flash photography can be very bad. You may not want people to touch items and cause damage. What other rules might you include? Remember that you want this to be a positive experience for everyone!
17. Plan your volunteers / helpers.
You will need help if you plan on doing an extended event. Even a full weekend is a lot for one person or a family to do. Some of the jobs you might need done include:
- Building props and haunts
- Repairing props and haunts
- Manning ticket booth
- Manning haunts (attractions)
- Making and serving food
- Proving information
- Emptying trash cans
NOTE: Some of the people you need to help you may be professionals like electricians or carpenters.
18. Halloween badge set.
Review other badges in the set for ideas and information for your own haunted attraction. You’ll want to especially check out “Halloween Crafts” and “Halloween Decor.”
19. Search online.
Find additional information on venues, props and more. You’ll often find instructions as well.
Sites to Explore