A key to a successful haunt is keeping your ideas fresh and introducing new concepts and ideas to your haunt. After 2014, it was my idea to bring a carnival theme to the haunt, something that was actually inline with the Harvest Carnival the school runs, with the haunt being the biggest draw. I toyed with ideas and searches on Halloween forums and didn’t like what I found. Carnival themes weren’t difficult to pull off, but I decided to limit the scope of our project and the haunt to clowns.

This year, the number of rooms decreases to a total of 5, but I feel the haunt will be improved because of it, allowing up to day more gore and detail to those areas we are building. We also changed the overall layout of the haunt, opting for larger areas of unused space that allow actors to walk around and possible storage areas for unused items, as well as plugging in props that require an outlet.

Helping Hand: Based off the Hall of Faces I did last year, I ran across an image via Pinterest that showed a hallway full of severed arms. I thought this would really bump up the scare factor from the colored masks last year. This corridor underwent a few modifications due to size and restrictions and ended up being the first room in the haunt. The hallway is 14′ long and 4′ wide, the hands stick out of the walls, leaving about 2′ for guests to navigate through. A bit close for comfort.  Within each 4′ section of wood walls, actors (the 5th graders) have their hand/forearm, covered with blood sticking out with all the static hands. A total of 5 kids, 10 arms in which to scare guests.

Drop Panel Hallway: This ended up bombing on my last year, after I tipped it as the centerpiece of the haunt. The design and setup of the drop panels was awesome! Mark and I did a great job on the construction and thought we had it made, but it just did not get the scares I was after. Part of the problem, the hallway wasn’t long enough, nor was there enough pictures or distractions to take away from actual pictures that dropped.

It didn’t help that we had a latch break during the haunt and the teenager who was responsible for it, didn’t tell anyone about the break and just walked out of the haunt. This year the hallway is actually shorter than last year, but there will be more scary distractions in the hallways and on the walls leading to the  drop panels. I also took advantage of AtmosFEARfx digital decorations, as you exit the severed hand hallway into the this area of the haunt. The decision was made to remove the video camera so people could see themselves, as it just did not work as expected.

Dot Room: This is the third year we have included this room in our haunt, I have worn the one piece spandex suit the past 2 years and guests love this room! Measuring 10’x10’x8′ the size of this room has fluctuated over the years because of miscalculations during the planning and layout stage, but regardless of size it still freaks guests out, even when they know what’s coming.

Clowning Around: This is the center of the haunt, nothing more than a 3 foot wide, 20 foot long corridor that was leftover space. Like last year, this will house our terrifying clown. There are clown masks and balloons planned in this area. I was able to enlist the help of the fourth grade students to each paint a clown mask for me. Those masks will be hung on the walls, with black lights shinning down. There is also a plan in place to have some 200 balloons in the hallway, my fear it kids will pop them if left on the group, but that’s the plan, for now.  The clown will also monitor movement into the last part of the haunt.

Laser Vortex : This is a new addition to the haunt for 2015. I was very impressed to see a video on a laser vortex and just how simple and affordable it was to build. The tunnel is 8 feet wide and 20 feet long, free standing structure built out of PVC. Essential you will enter from the side and walk towards the rotation laser that is shinning through fog. The effect is chilling. I was able to get a unique soundtrack made specifically for this tunnel. The combination of the laser, the fog and the soundtrack should make this a special end to the haunt this year.

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