How to Choose Actors for a Haunted House

When choosing an acting squad, it is imperative to choose a varied group of individuals. It is best to choose some people who are athletic, some who are good actors, and some who just look the part. Once the actors have been chosen, tailor the costumes specifically to their body types. Use rain suits, hospital gowns, burlap and chains to create incredibly detailed costumes for your actors. These items are easily attainable, and far cheaper than buying prefabricated costumes. Splatter blood on everything, and your acting squad will be looking top notch. Plastic weapons tend to cheapen the experience, and are actually dangerous. High quality rubberized props may be a good addition, however they tend to be expensive, and do not last long. Actors do not need these things anyway. Have them hide in the darkness, leap from furniture, and focus on being theatrical, rather than on cheap scares.

Strategies for Making a Horror Event Scarier

Many haunted house producers like to design haunted houses with fantastical themes that are not realistic at all. These can be fun for both the producer and the patron, but they are simply not as scary as more realistic haunted houses. At Scream Park California, we focus on creating real life scares that could really exist. For instance, vampires are simply not very scary. We all know that they don’t exist, and whenever we see them we are reminded of the fact that we are viewing a fictional character. It creates a barrier between the customer and the scare, greatly decreasing the scare value of the scare. Is the idea of a vampire frightening? Yes. The idea of shadowy creatures that feast on the blood of humans is horrifying. But the simple fact that it is well-known that there is no such thing as vampires ruins the scare value.
A haunted house that focuses on creating ultra-realistic situations will find far more success in scaring its patrons. For instance, a haunted house themed after a serial killer could be horrifying. It is important to choose a theme carefully, and brand the haunted house accordingly. A carnival theme is realistic, but could easily go badly if it is branded as a demonic carnival, or a ghost carnival, etc. A simple abandoned carnival grounds with terrifying characters in it will do just fine. People have walked through carnival grounds before. They can easily picture themselves at a carnival, and so when they walk through the haunted house, they will not be able to use a “this isn’t real” blanket to shield themselves from the scares. Realism is highly important, but the public’s standards of what is realistic are constantly changing. It is important to keep attractions updated, using themes that are relevant and nixing aspects of the show that are no longer scary.

Training Actors at a World Class Halloween Event

The number one most important thing involved in ensuring that your haunted house does not come across as cheesy, or even second rate, is training your actors incredibly well. There is simply nothing worse than having an otherwise fantastic haunted house experience tarnished by unprofessional talent. Even if the sets are perfect, the props are ultra realistic, the theme is spot on, and the storyboard is a work of art, a haunted house can easily get bad reviews if the actors don’t cut it.
Fortunately, it is fairly easy to train actors to follow a routine, and just so long as that routine has been developed carefully, the show will impress even the toughest audiences. When designing a routine, a producer must consider several common hangups. First, actors will always want to perform for too long. An actor’s shock value is lost quickly after he or she has revealed himself to the audience. Limit them to around ten seconds of performance time. From the time an actor reveals himself to the audience to the time he makes a calculated, and well rehearsed exit should be no more than ten to twelve seconds.
Second, most actors will want to reveal themselves by jumping out at patrons. As a customer, the novelty of the pop-out scare is lost fairly quickly. To alleviate this, make sure that some actors focus on building suspense, rather than popping out. For instance, if an actor in a hallway is constantly just out of view of the patrons, only visible for a fleeting moment every few seconds, a customer will begin to feel suspense build. That actor may not get to experience the rush involved with scaring the patrons facetoface, but he has successfully built suspense, and increased the value of the show.
Last, talking and hovering ruin the show. There is nothing less scary than when a costumed monster scares a patron and then continues to follow them. Actors love to do this, but it is far more annoying than scary to the patrons. Furthermore, it reminds people that they are in a haunted house. The actors are not allowed to touch you. Once you remember that, the scare factor plummets.