Summer Haunted House/Maze

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Davetp, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Davetp

    Davetp Member

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    I have small plans for my theatre group to make a haunted attraction for summer. I don't know if it will be a success yet. There's not many haunted attractions around here so I don't know the market.

    Hopefully I want to turn an village hall into this haunted attraction.

    We have a limited budget (very small) but I want to create rooms and a maze in this space. Any ideas how I would do this. I thought of having everything painted on sheet and canvas and it suspended on wires That would be connected into the walls and lighting bars.

    What would you do?
     
  2. Joshua Hoffman

    Joshua Hoffman Member

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    Ive built a haunted house before, and I did the same thing. We were building in a place that had bars and beams above that we could hang black sheets from. It worked great! But, if this is the route you go, make sure that the sheets you use are thick enough so sound leak is dampened. You can get bed sheets which absorb enough sound for pretty cheap online.

    To light the haunted house you have two options depending on your space:
    • If you have bars/brams you can clamp lights to, I would definitely go that route. Make sure you safety cable everything though.
    • If you cant hang lights from above, put lights on the floor, and try to hide them with props.

    Here are some pretty cheap lights that I can recommend you use:

    LED Flood Lights
    LED Wash Lights
    Strobe Lights
    Blacklight

    I hope this helps you with you Haunt! If you have any more questions, I would be happy to answer them!
     
  3. Davetp

    Davetp Member

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    Thanks for that
    We do have two lighting bars on the ceiling where we could put fixtures on

    If I had cables running from the existing bars to aluminium fly bars to make the room what cable would I use and what would you do

    You said you had cables from the existing bars Are the cables attached to another bar lower down?
     
  4. Joshua Hoffman

    Joshua Hoffman Member

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    The safety cables are to make sure lights don't fall from the ceiling. I would run extension cables to the lights on the bars, or if you have more money, DMX to be able to control your lights.
     
  5. Davetp

    Davetp Member

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    No I know what safety cables are I was talking about the caves to the sheets from the lighting bars. It also has lighting as it is a theatre
     
  6. Joshua Hoffman

    Joshua Hoffman Member

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    Are you talking about cables to hang the sheets on?
     
  7. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    Afraid I have to jump in with some classic Control Booth Parade-Rain.

    For background, my company installs haunted houses at our local theme park every year, so I've put in my time in the trenches. Given that you are building a maze that the audience will be in, making exit routes difficult and obscure in a very dark environment, a LOT of attention has to be paid to safety, and you will / should come under a lot of scrutiny from fire, building, and electrical authorities.

    When we do it, we build the maze from 4x8 hard walls. We submit plans to the building and fire departments. Licensed electricians install a breaker panel and outlets to run lighting and effects, as well as exit signs and emergency lighting. There is an E-Stop system with strategically placed switches that will kill all the effects, turn on lights and play a recorded announcement.

    We pay a lot of attention to emergency exit doors, ADA accessability, ingress for emergency responders, etc. We avoid all kinds of flammable materials, use class-A rated paint, and hose the whole place down with flame retardant. All props and dressing are attached so securely that you cannot pull it down by hand. Because people will try. Before we open we get electrical, building and fire inspections. And every year, those departments shut down many attractions that didn't jump through the hoops.

    I'm not saying you can't do it, but I am saying you can't do it casually. You need to start talking to your Authorities Having Jurisdiction months in advance. If you keep a friendly relationship with them, chances are they'll want to help you. Based on the size and scope of you project they'll make judgement calls about what you can and can't do, and how you should do it.

    Imaging having hundreds of people inside a maze, in the dark, when a cheap electrical cord makes a spark and starts a fire. It takes a lot of planning to get to the point where the outcome of that scenario is everything's fine, and that's where you need to be.

    By the way, every actor inside the house gets punched at least once every year, and there are always minor medical emergencies when a patron gets scared and runs into a wall or something. It's a risky business, and takes a lot of mitigation.
     
  8. Davetp

    Davetp Member

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    Thanks I'll take your point
     
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