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Haunt Weekly is a weekly podcast about the haunted attraction industry from the smallest home haunt to the largest event haunt. We talk about management, operation, tactics and more!


Japes Palles is one of the busiest men in haunting, and that's saying something.

Not only is he a new father but, even as haunt season is ramping up, he is taking on not one but two new projects, both of them epic in their scale and what they can do for area haunts.

The first is a new Facebook group that aims to help haunts and actors pair up. Haunts and actors alike sign up, haunts post what they need and actors step up to fill roles. Easy, but complex at the same time.

The second is a three-night haunted attraction tour entitled the Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour. This is not only the fastest way to see some of the Chicago area's haunts, but also the cheapest as it includes transportation and, most impotantly, beer.

So join us as we sit down again with Japes to discuss these efforts and much more!

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Introduction
  2. Freelance Haunters Group
  3. Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour

All in all, this is an episode you definitely do not want to miss!

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You guys should go pro! Why don't you?

It's a question we get asked dozens of times per year, usually starting right now as the work ramps up. 

Usually the question is high praise and comes from happy visitors to our overgrown home haunt. They see the work and money we put into it and want us to be successful. But while it's flattering, it's alst not something we are pursuing at this time.

However, we have had many conversations about it and have even started the ball rolling once or twice. However, each time we've stopped before things got far along and we've come back to these five reasons why we don't make the leap from home to pro haunter.

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Conference Reminders
  2. Reason One: Money
  3. Reason Two: Creative Control
  4. Reason Three: Headache
  5. Reason Four: Love of Haunt Season
  6. Reason Five: Difficulty Making it a Job

If you've ever wondered why we never made the jump, despite 12 years of haunting, this is an episode you do not want to miss!

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This week on Haunt Weekly, it's another episode divisible by four and that means it's time to do the news!

And a busy time for haunt news it is. As haunts gear up for the start of season, press releases are flying everywhere and everyone is talking about actor auditions and openingn nights.

But that's not why we're here. Though it tickles us pink to see the great coverage the industry has been getting, we're all about the big news and celebrating milestones. 

So, on that note, here's a look at what's going on this week!

This Week's Episode Includes: 

  1. Conference Reminders
  2. Free "IT" Popup Haunt Appears in Hollywood
  3. Denver's 13th Floor Moving to a New Location
  4. Halloween Horror Nights Finalizes Lineup
  5. Disney's "Guardians of the Galaxy" Ride to Become Part-Time Haunt
  6. Knott's Scary Farm Celebrates 45 Years with New Attractions
  7. Cedar Point Closing 3 Attractions, Opening 3 New Ones
  8. Field of Screams (PA) Celebrates 25th Year
  9. Las Vegas' Fright Dome Celebrates 15 Years
  10. Houses That Ocober Build 2 Being Released

All in all, this is a jam-packed week for news so this is definitely an episode you do not want to miss!

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Halloween & Hauntfest 2017 is in the books and what a show it was. Some great classes, an exciting trade show floor and some after hours events that will make a lifetime of memories.

Over the course of the 48 hours there, I have two talks, attended half a dozen more, Crystal acted in a small haunted house, we both were chased around a room by a zombie, bought a prop for our haunt back home and got to meet a couple fans of the show.

However, all of that barely scratches the surface of what Halloween and Hauntfest is all about so sit back as we go back through the weekend that was in our recap of the conference and our experience.

This week's episode includes:

  1. Conference REminders
  2. Intro to Halloween & Hauntfest
  3. Saturday Classes/Activities
  4. Saturday Night's Adventure
  5. Sunday Classes/Activities
  6. Wrap Up and Final Thoughts

All in all, it was a busy weekend and hopefully makes for an episode that you do not want to miss!

PS: Sorry about the late episode this week, illness and schedules made it impossible to record on time for a Monday posting. Back to regular routine next week!

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This week on Haunt Weekly, we're not just staring at the eclipse, we're gearing up to go to Halloween & HauntFest next weekend in Dallas!

Now, before we begin, we had some technical issues with last week's episode. If you didn't ge the full 50 minutes of the podcast, simply refresh the feed and you should download a new episode that fixes it. 

Sorry for those problems!

But, out with the old and in with the new as we spend the hour taking a look at what is coming up at Halloween and HauntFest, what we will be doing, the talks I'll be giving and, most importantly, what we're excited about.

So, without any further ado, here's what's new this week!

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Conference Reminders
  2. Corrections/Fixes for Last Week's Episode
  3. HHF Education Preview
  4. Saturday Night Plans
  5. Exhibitions
  6. Networking
  7. Invitation to Come Find Us!

All in all, if you're going to Halloween & HauntFest this is definitely an episode you do not want to miss!

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To those who are not and never have been fans of pro wrestling, it can seem silly. That's partly because it is, but, then again, so is haunting a lot of time. Just because something is silly doesn't mean it isn't also very serious.

But, most importantly, professional wrestling is both a form of storytelling and a form of acting that is easy to overlook. As an industry built on non-traditional storytelling and acting, it's worth taking a moment to see what lessons we can learn.

So, with that in mind, we take a deep dive into the world of professional lesson and what haunters can/should learn from it.

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Important Announcement About Halloween and Hauntfest
  2. Conference Reminders
  3. Update on the Den of Fear Haunted House Video Request
  4. Update on the Don't Be a Monster Auction
  5. Why We're Looing at Professional Wrestling
  6. Storytelling Through Action
  7. Selling a Move (or Injury)
  8. Bumping (Taking Hits)
  9. Use of Hope Spots and False Finishes
  10. Promos
  11. Hyping Up Events
  12. The Dangers of Targeting One Audience
  13. Exploring Alternate Business Models

All in all, there's a lot to go through this week so this is definitely one episode you do not want to miss!

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This week on Haunt Weekly we're doing the news and we have a lot to go through this episode!

We have tales of two break ins at haunted attractions, an update on McKamey Manor, a new and unique haunt opening up in Orlando and another merger in Pennsylvania.

Combine that with the next announcement from Universal's Halloween Horror Nights and news about a Nightmare Before Christmas sequel and you have an episode that you do not want to miss!

This week's Episode Includes:

  1. Introduction
  2. Conference Reminders
  3. Welcome to New Listeners
  4. Should Out to Don't Be a Monster
  5. Hundred Acres Manor Burglarized
  6. Cinema of Horrors Vandalized
  7. McKamey Manor Attracts Opposition in New Locations
  8. Beast of Blackwood Opening Near Orlando
  9. Ravenhurst Manor Expanding/Joining Forces with Hariss Haven Funeral Home
  10. Universal Announces Ash vs. Evil Dead Haunted Attraction
  11. Nightmare Before Christmas to Get Sequel (Sort of)
  12. Ocean City Dark Ride a Family Affair
  13. The Worst Dark Ride Ever
  14. Den of Fear Haunted House Video Request

On that note, if you're interesting in participating in the Den of Fear Haunted House video, I'm pasting the questions to answer below and the link to the dropbox to upload you video is here: https://www.dropbox.com/request/Ny3H3RgPOeUETlCLbiZo

Who are you?
Where are you working?
How long have you been haunting?
What does haunting do for you?
What do you do for a living?
What's the difference between working in a haunt and other jobs?
What are your coworkers like?
How does it feel to get a good scare?
Do you see yourself leaving haunting?
What advice do you have for new haunters?

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Most haunters are already very familiar with Raven's Grin Inn, a year-round haunted attraction in Mt. Carroll, IL. The brain child and labor of Jim Warfield, it is an attraction that is both unique and revered.

Last week, we got the chance to see the iconic haunt and it was indeed every bit as unusual an amazing that we thought it would be. But, equally awesome, Jim agreed to sit down with us and talk for an hour about his attraction, how he got started and the challenges of running a year-round haunt in a small midwest town.

Jim is definitely one of the most interesting characters we've met and this interview is easily one of the biggest honors we've had with this podcast.

So, without any further ado, here's Jim Warfield of Raven's Grin Inn talking about his 30+ years at Raven's Grin Inn. 

PS: Be sure to follow Raven's Grin Inn on Facebook and check out their store on Etsy.

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After a heavy podcast last week, we're lightening things up this week with a podcast all about web services that can you run, promote and monetize your haunt more effectively.

Best of all, these are all web services that, while very useful, aren't targeted at the haunt industry. Even better still, most are free or at least offer a free tier.

So, whether you're looking to get some graphic design help, schedule your actors, setup an online store or just organize your reciepts for taxes, we have a service that has you covered.

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Intro
  2. Conference Reminders
  3. Canva - Fast, easy graphic design
  4. Pixabay - Large library of public domain images
  5. Shopify - Set up an online store
  6. Squarespace - Build a website quickly
  7. Buffer - Reign in your social media
  8. MailChimp - Professional email newsletters cheap and easy
  9. TinkerCAD - Free online CAD by AutoCAD
  10. Sling - Completely free employee (actor) scheduling
  11. Slack - Free and effective group messaging
  12. Shoeboxed - Reciept/expense tracking
  13. Responster - Free surveys and analytics
  14. Doodle - Meeting scheduling made easy
  15. Esen.io - Low-cost online ticket sales

Hopefully at least some of these tools are useful to you. If you have any further suggestions let us know! Follow us and hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!

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Haunting is hard. Threading the needle between scaring someone and actively traumatizing hem is a difficult task.

However, sometimes haunts can cross the line and include scares, props and scenes that do more to offend than scare. 

While haunting is an art and no haunter should feel like they're being censored, it's also important to understand that haunt is a commercial art that must be palatable to a broad audience.

With that in mind, we're starting a conversation about certain scenes and scares that may not be appropriate in a haunt or, at the very least, can have a very different meaning to some members of your audience.

It might not be a reason to change your haunt, but it is something to think about.

This Week's Episode Includes:

  1. Conference Reminders
  2. Why This Topic
  3. A Word About Haunting as Art
  4. Hanging Scenes/Nooses
  5. Voodoo Scenes
  6. Animal Abuse
  7. Poverty Porn
  8. Woman Victimization/Sexualization
  9. General Suggestions
  10. Conclusions

If you're intersted in making haunting a welcoming place for everyone, this is an episode you do not want to miss!

(Note: Our discussion about the VR controversy took place in Episodes 44 and again in Episode 59)

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