Are you planning to build your first haunted house or attraction for the upcoming Halloween season? Now is the time to start construction! We know, April sounds a bit early to think about Halloween, at first. However, a great deal of time, work, and planning goes into haunt building, and many people don’t realize it until it’s too late. Below is a brief guide for New Yorkers hoping to build and operate their very own haunt!
Haunting Grounds: Leasing or Utilizing?
Depending on how and where you plan to build your haunted attraction, you may need to rent… Leasing space for a haunt is often scary (pun intended), because for-rent properties don’t last long in some parts of NY. Sometimes, when you find a good space, negotiating a lease with the landlord or property owner proves difficult, depending on the length of time you plan to rent. Of course, if purchasing a building or piece of land isn’t an option for you, there aren’t many other options. Make some calls and look up rental properties online, so you can look at what they look like via Google Maps before wasting time and fuel travelling all over NY.
Or, if you own a large piece of mostly-empty land, you may choose to use your property. However, you must educate yourself on the NY state laws and the certification and/or licensing required to operate a home-based business that’s open to the public.
Building and Safety Regulations
Any haunted attraction you visit consists of, or includes, buildings or props that appear aged, abused, and dilapidated. One might think that, to own a haunt of your own, all you need is an old, abandoned house, rusty bathtubs, and dry-rotted rafters. However, that is not at all the case. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Because of safety regulations and laws, no part of a haunted attraction can be a danger to its employees/volunteers, or to the general public. A great deal of work goes into “distressing” props, building materials such as wood and metal, and costumes to make them appear gross and decaying…
New York haunt owners must comply with the Department of Buildings guidelines before they can legally open for business…
You also should have a system in place that keeps your visitors safe. This can help you avoid lawsuits, should something happen to a visitor, or should you notice that someone has vandalized the premises. A haunted house situation is an especially tricky zone, because it’s dark, there are hidden actors, nooks, and crannies. You want your visitors to know that, even though they’re experience a scary simulation, they’re actually truly safe. Be sure to install a monitoring system, or, if you want to get really detailed, Safe Visitor Solutions to do background checks and log everyone who comes through or makes reservations.
In conjunction with safety when creating your haunted attraction, you’ll want to ensure that the materials with which you build are top-notch and of immaculate quality. However, as a business owner on a budget, price is also a major concern. Do some research before you break ground on your haunt. Check local building supply companies for discounted prices on bulk purchases of lumber, sheet metal, roofing materials, etc. If you’re haunt is a non-profit, for charity cause, tax deductions and write-off options may apply to you and your business.
You can also save money on foundation installation, if you’re not using a pre-built structure. Instead of paying sky-high fees for laborers, supplies, and time, investigate premade concrete solutions. Make a call to someone like Best Concrete Mix Corp, a ready-mix concrete supplier in Flushing, NY. They can provide you with concrete for your haunted attraction’s foundation needs, at a fraction of what you would spend paying a construction team.