Haunted Attractions: Behind the Screams
Professional Haunters Share Tricks (and Treats) of the Trade
PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — What’s it like inside the mind of a professional haunter? Members of the Haunted Attraction Association (HAA), owners and operators of some of the most extravagant and creative haunted houses in the country, recently shared their secrets for scoring screams.
Due to the ever increasing popularity of haunted attraction entertainment, and the need to continually heighten the haunted house experience, haunted house owners are coming up with bigger and better ways to scare the living day lights out of you–and they are turning to other industries for answers.
“When you break it down, the haunted house experience is interactive theater that creates an immersive environment. This is what separates us from movies and video games. The difference is in our business, the applause comes in the form of screams,” said Patrick Konopelski, HAA president.
Hollywood quality make-up and costuming: Gone are the days of rubber masks and plastic knives. Haunted house professionals are turning to vendors in the movie industry to provide high quality latex appliances and silicone masks costing hundreds of dollars. Haunters are also creating their own iconic characters with elaborate costumes.
Detailed set design: Black painted walls simply won’t be enough to wow today’s haunted house customers. The professional haunter now incorporates detailed movie and theater set design to effectively transport them to another world. Realistic artwork and props fool the eye and draw the person into the macabre setting such as a graveyard, prison, asylum, haunted hotel or abandoned farm. Some haunts use sophisticated control panels to run individual motions and sync all interactions–they raise and lower signs, open and close doors, make monsters jump out from walls and vibrate floors.
Advanced technology: Thanks to the greater availability of technology, haunters can now afford to incorporate advanced computer, sound and special effects systems. Haunted houses are replacing what used to be dangling ghosts on fishing line with computer generated imagery (CGI) and 3D movie effects. Single motion skeleton pop-ups are being replaced by multi-action audio-animatronic creatures. Fully integrated custom light shows are also seen in many attractions–harnessing the power of today’s most advanced LED lighting for controllable strobe lights, black lights and other custom style lights used for effect.
The use of magic: Misdirection and sleight of hand are the cornerstones of every magic trick. The professional haunted house industry uses the same techniques a magician would to amaze their customers. The art of magic helps create the illusion of realism. Misdirection allows haunters to catch customers with their guard down, and fun frightened emotions to set in.
The haunted attraction industry is approximately $6 billion in size and includes an estimated 2,500 haunted attractions worldwide. To arrange an interview with an HAA spokesperson, please contact Kaitlin Friedmann, (609) 297-2215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a list of HAA member attractions in your area, visit our website. To learn more about the industry or become a member of HAA, call (609) 799-4900.
About the Haunted Attraction Association (HAA)
HAA serves as the voice of the haunt industry. The organization’s mission is to promote a network of haunted attractions including haunted houses, hayrides, historical sites and other supernatural experiences. The association also advises the industry on haunt safety standards to protect customers. For more information on HAA, visit www.hauntedattractionassociation.com.
Contact: Kaitlin Friedmann
SOURCE Haunted Attraction Association