Online Haunt Reviews

Fear Overload Scream Park is proud to have some of the best online reviews of all nearby haunted houses. As of September 2018, Fear Overload is reviewed at 4.7 stars on Shopper Approved, 4.1 stars on Facebook, and 4.1 on Google.

To Roof or not to Roof A Haunted House

One of the biggest questions a prospective haunt owner faces is whether to create an indoor or outdoor venue. In California, October weather generally permits outside haunts to be the perfect climate. I still haven’t come to a conclusion about which choice is “better,” so I’ll just discuss the pros and cons of each option.
Outside haunts, in my opinion, immediately create a great atmosphere for a spooky Halloween event. Those brisk October nights and dark skies are both plusses. Also, outdoor areas are generally less expensive to rent or buy. However, bolting your haunt walls to the ground can be a bit tricky since the ground has to be the right firmness. At an outside haunt, your business and your customers are constantly at the liberty of the weather. That being said, everything that you use has to be weatherproof, which can take a toll on the budget. Lastly, installing fire sprinklers into an outside haunt can be incredibly expensive. You’d need to hook up to a nearby water line and get overhead sprinklers installed that are completely up to code. Not sure if all of these additional costs would make up for the money saved on acquiring the property, but at least you don’t have to worry about ceilings!
Owning an inside haunt is a completely different beast in itself. Assuming that you are renting a space, you constantly have to think about not damaging the carpets, walls, and ceilings. Detailing a haunt is messy business, and the mess isn’t always easy to contain. Obviously, you can avoid the whole weather deal and most, if not all, of the hassle of the sprinkler system. One downside to having a roof over your head is that the standard white-tile ceiling is hardly spooky. Indoor haunts face the challenge of covering the ceilings without blocking the emergency lights and sprinklers. In my opinion, the biggest con for indoor haunts is achieving the desired atmosphere. Blaring lights, white walls, and tile ceilings can subconsciously detract from the customer’s experience, so indoor haunt owners need to think of creative ways to mask them. Then, he or she can use the walls and ceilings for something spectacular… perhaps a lightshow?

How to transform a store bought halloween prop

If you’re like me, you’ve probably ordered a cool Halloween prop you found in a magazine or on the Internet to receive it in the mail and be sorely disappointed. Store bought props never look as good in your hands as they do in the store. That’s why you need to learn how to make your own custom props and improve upon the ones you already own. Let’s say you just bought a skeleton online and now you don’t have any idea what do with it, it looks way too clean and new. There are a few different methods you can use to grime it up, but hands down my favorite material to use is high quality liquid latex, this stuff is magic. If you pour it on a mirror or other flat surface and wait for it to dry, once you peel the stuff off you can work wonders on your prop with it. You can attach sheets of latex to your skeleton and rip them up to look like skin or crumple up strips of latex to be intestines or tendons for your skeleton.
Other ways to achieve a similar effect are using toilet paper and brushing later over it on the skeleton or cover areas of your skeleton in saran wrap and melt holes in it using a heat gun to look like decomposing skin. Once you have your base layer, you just need to add some color to make it look real. Use a combination of fake blood, shellac, and black spray paint and you’ll have the grisliest looking prop that you would spend ten times the money on if you bought it in a store.

What is a Scream Park?

What is a scream park, you may be wondering. Well a scream park is basically a Halloween themed theme park. At one, you’ll find a huge range of activities to do including haunted houses. What sets a scream park apart from normal haunted houses is the variety of entertainment you can find at the park. There will often be live music or DJs, a lightshow, fortune telling, and actors wandering the grounds scaring customers. Finally, like every other theme park, you’ll often find concession stands, picture booths, and gift shops.

Get unbiased volunteers to see your show before you open

As a scream park, you need to have the correct balance of quantity vs. quality for your haunted houses. Scream parks are known for having a variety of Halloween themed attractions, not just haunted houses, but you need to make sure each attraction is something people will actually enjoy and want to go through. For example, don’t just have a spinning vortex that people will walk through and feel cheated after or wonder why they just paid money to go through that. Also, you can’t charge customers $25 for them to solely come through your 2 minute long, highly quality maze and hope for them to be satisfied.
When deciding on how much money and time to put into each attraction, realize that on one hand customers are going through your haunts in the dark so each one doesn’t need to be perfectly detailed or look like a piece of art, but at the same time, if they don’t really feel immersed in your environment, don’t expect any positive reviews from them. A great way to get feedback on your set is to get unbiased volunteers to see your show before you open; you’ve obviously been desensitized to horror by now and since it’s your own show, you can’t correctly judge how it will feel to a customer. Make sure you have enough to see at your event so the customer feels like the money they spent is justified, but don’t feel the need to throw a bunch of random, cheaply made attractions at them in hopes of bettering their experience.

Creating a believable haunted house

One of the most important aspects in creating a great haunted house is its authenticity. People will come to your haunt to immerse themselves in a new, alien environment that feels real. The most terrified a customer will feel is when he believes he is actually in danger, not just walking through an entertaining set with actors. The first thing you can do to create a truly fantastic experience is to make sure your set doesn’t feel like a set. Things like having cables hanging down where they shouldn’t or ceilings being visible that don’t fit the theme can take away from the realism you’re trying to create. If you are lucky enough to base your haunted house around an old, creepy, pre-existing structure, most of this is already taken care for you due to the amazing detail already existing in the building and customers will be able to feel that. But if you are building your haunt from scratch, paying attention to detail is a huge factor. Simple additions like attaching dark netting over your ceilings so customers don’t see white tile or adding some extra blood and grime to your props so they don’t look like they were purchased at a costume store will make a huge difference.
The next step to creating a believable haunted house is making sure your actors are professional. The worst thing to see in a haunted house is a couple zombies chatting or laughing about the last group they scared. Along with your actors staying in role, spend some money on making sure their costumes look real. Seeing an actor with some cheap makeup on can completely take away from the experience of being scared to death by the creature hiding in the dark. If you follow these steps you’ll have people lining up out the door to see your haunt.

How to make your own burlap mask

Can’t think of anything to be this Halloween? Tired of the same old ghost, vampire, and zombie costumes? Well here’s a tutorial on how to make your very own burlap mask for just pocket change and a few hours of your time. Materials you’ll need include: burlap(of course), stain or black spray paint, scissors, a hot glue gun, and any old metal pieces, buttons, etc. you have lying around to decorate your mask.
To start off, you’ll need to make the structure of your mask. If your burlap came in sack form, you’re almost there; you just need to glue down the corners of the sack to make it rounded to fit your head. (Caution: keep mask off your head while gluing, hot glue is very hot!) If you have burlap strips, you’ll need to wrap it around a head similar to a mummy wrapping until you have the right form and then glue it down. The next step is to cut holes for the eyes and, if desired, the mouth. I recommend you use a model for placement of your holes, otherwise you might have a lopsided mask. After you have your mask, now you need to detail it up, think scarecrow from Batman Begins, or find another image on the Internet you can use to get ideas. To make the mask look old and weathered you can use stain or shellac around the edges, eyes, and a light coating all over. The final step is making the mask look creepy. This can be accomplished a multitude of ways, but my favorite are sewing up the eyes or mouth with thread, dabbing some blood(not real please) around any “injuries” your mask has suffered, and creatively gluing your metal pieces on the mask. For example, maybe he has a tire chain running diagonally down his face, or a metal grate or buttons instead of eyes. Just make sure you can see out of your mask, monsters that walk into walls aren’t that scary, and enjoy your creation.

Cabin in the woods style scared

One of our favorite horror movies here at Fear Overload is Cabin in the Woods. The best part of this movie is how original it is in scaring you, but also making you feel a whole roller-coaster of emotions. I was confused, scared, and kept laughing all throughout the movie. The plot of this movie is ingenious; a group of wealthy men and women bet on the different ways a group of teens will be killed in their own horror survival game. Cabin in the Woods makes you think you know where the movie is going one moment and then completely surprises you the next.
Fear Overload has adopted techniques found in this movie to take our Scream Park to a new level. Here, we don’t just have a haunted house where you can walk through it and get over; we don’t do things that way. You’re forced to survive and find your own way through our labyrinths. Given only one dim flashlight and a twisting maze full of fake doors, dead ends, and horrifying surprises at every turn, you’ll be screaming ’til the very end. We feel that is the best way to build a haunted house.

Choose a Theme for your haunted house

When designing your haunted house, the first thing you need to decide on is your theme. Get creative with your theme; anyone can put some gravestones up and call it a day, but how are you going to genuinely scare and surprise your return customers? Once you pick your theme, make sure you stick with it, don’t have clowns in your insane asylum or witches in your amusement park.
A haunted house is similar to a story in that it should have an introduction, climax, and ending. In the first room or two, you need to set the mood and really impress on the customers whatever theme you’re trying to create. Throughout the haunt, your scares should increase in intensity so you can save the best for last. Customers will often be so scared they’ll only remember the first room and the last room, so make sure they remember the best you have to offer. One more thing to keep in mind when implementing your theme is to make sure it is not too complex. Customers will often be way too frightened when going through to notice any intricate details or concentrate on any storyline you have created. But having a simple theme that progresses throughout the maze will be innately understood and add a nice touch to your haunt.

Adding additional value to your haunt

Have you ever seen those light shows people put up around Christmas time where the lights are timed to flash in different patterns to the music? If you haven’t, go look it up right now, I’ll wait. Done? Good, we’ll continue. Once you have your outside waiting area all set up with props and music, the next step is recreating one of these awesome shows to keep your guests entertained throughout the night. If you make the show good enough, you’ll have people flooding in just for the experience of waiting in your line, let alone going through your haunted house!
I’m sure if you have been inside someone else’s haunted house before you’ve wished you could walk through with all the lights on so you can see what the set actually looks like and all the tactics actors use to scare you. Well you now have the perfect opportunity to make people’s dreams come true with a lights-on tour. One or more afternoons in your season, open up the haunted house to guided tours where an actor will take a group of customers through the maze and show them all the details and secret spots where actors can hide to perform scares. In addition, for all the scaredy-cats who are too afraid to come through your terrifying haunted house with all the lights off and creatures present, this is their chance to see what this haunted house business is all about.
More ideas to improve your haunted house are possible plans for your haunt in the off-season. You have 11 months of the year in which your awesome set sits there, just wishing to be put to use. You can keep it profitable all year long by turning your maze into a laser tag arena or miniature golf course. Both of these are fun businesses that would fit in great in a haunted house!