When choosing a haunt room theme, you need to have an idea of what the
Hells Bench incorperated into our saw room theme.

Hells Bench incorperated into our saw room theme proved to be a great scare tactic over and over again.

scare will be for that room. What type of scare tactic will you use to initiate that frightful scare that your guests wont ever forget? How will your theme aid in making your scare believable? How will you execute the scare to bring out the best effect for the entire group? These are all questions that you need to ask yourselves as you formulate the plan for your haunt room prior to design.

That’s not to say that you cant quickly throw something together, cause we all have likely faced the fact that at the last minute we may have to fill a dead space such as a corner or a hallway. But that’s another post.
In the early days of planning the rooms of your haunt, you have to decide on room themes. In my experience that tends to set the initial course of action to planning the new haunt. But the room theme is just one point of the design of that room. We need to know where the scare point will be in the haunt room and what the scare will come from. Will the scare be coming from below the group, on top, behind them, from the left or right sides, or from the front. And what will actually be producing the scare?
Generally speaking, we try to scare the groups forward to prevent backup. Where a scare from the front will act to slow the group down (which may not always be a bad thing, and has its purpose), a scare from the back will act to push the group along their way, and this is generally what we want. Although we have to find a balance to this as either way excessively can lead to a backup of groups within the haunt. Haunts have to rely on their actors and actresses to speed up or slow down a group to prevent the individual groups from running together. This can take a greater level of talent by an actor, knowing when to speed up or slow down the flow, having to spend extra time with the patrons when needed, keeping them entertained, and all while staying in character.
Will the scare be coming from an actor/actors or a prop of some sort. What will the actor look like or what will the prop be? If you want a prop for the scare, will it be static or animated? If you use a prop, how and when will you trigger it or if using an actor, when will he or she produce the scare? Another thing to consider when using a prop is if you can make it yourself or if you’ll need to make a purchase. And also, do you have the means to “trigger” and “control” your prop effects and/or animation?

From a different perspective if you constantly scare from one angle within the entire haunt, you will likely not be as successful in scaring every patron within each group. Try and mix up the angle of which you scare throughout your haunt so all of the patrons get the opportunity to experience a scare. If you know how the room before and after yours will be set up, that may help you in determining where you will scare from. On the other hand you may go all out and come up with a plan to scare the entire group at the same time. This has been an ongoing quest of mine and has been extremely fun, but can be rather difficult as not everyone in the group will respond to your scare in the same way.

If your not going for so much of a “startle”, but more of a “gross them out” type of scare, you will really want to tie your room theme into the items your trying to gross them out with. The butcher scene can be done with the appropriate props and a well detailed room with a convincing actor. But you’ll want to take the time to make this room and everything about it look as much like what your trying to portrait as possible. But don’t forget, a well trained and seasoned actor can make or break a room with such a scare tactic.

Regardless to the scare tactic for your haunt room, you want your patrons to be leaving your room as entertained as possible. Hopefully you scared them or a least part of the group. If you’ve even scared one person and got a great reaction from that individual, its likely that you entertained the rest of the group enough to make them appreciate the effort and happy that they chose to come through your haunt.

I’m interested to here how anyone else chooses to set up the scare points within their haunt room and how the haunt theme they chose determined the type of tactic used to initiate the scare. Look forward to hearing your comments!