Haunted House Halloween Handbook

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About the Book

Every October, schools, civic clubs, scout troops, little leagues and charity groups of all kinds sponsor Halloween “haunted houses” as fundraisers. But where do they go for good information on how to do it? How to make the rotting corpse that scares the bejeebers out of everyone or the demonic knife-wielding doll or the living, beating heart that visitors swear is real? And what about the mundane details (e.g., permits and insurance) that make the haunted house a profitable and safe venture? Where does one find out about that? All aspects of the successful haunted house are covered here. There is good information on site selection, logistics, design, security, budgeting, sponsorship and volunteer management. This is followed by detailed, descriptions of many inexpensive illusions for your haunted house; each is accompanied by illustrations that further explain how to make the effect successful. Floor plans, advertising flyers and design worksheets are some of the sample materials included.

About the Author(s)

Jerry R. Chavez has been designing and producing haunted houses for over twenty years. He lives in Fountain Valley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Jerry R. Chavez

Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 148
Bibliographic Info: photos, worksheets, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 1997
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0375-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0712-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     vii
Preface     1

1. GETTING STARTED     3
Start-up Costs and Sponsorship     3
Accounting     3
Workforce     3
Location     7
Legal and Safety Considerations     9

2. LAYOUT AND CONSTRUCTION     13
Floor Plans     13
Basic Construction Tools     19
Lumber     21
The Wall Frames     22
Building Temporary Walls     25
Electrical Cord Organization     27

3. BASIC EFFECTS     29
Appearance or Vanish     29
Transformation     30
Penetration     30
Animation or Levitation     31
Physical Paradox     31
Sensory Assault     31
Threatening Object     32

4. PROPS     69
Special Tools     69
Special Materials     71
Surface Treatments and Finishes     76
Using Color     79
Some Basic Props     86

5. COSTUMES     93
Latex Mask Making     95
Some Basic Makeup     104

6. SOUND, LIGHTING, AND SPECIAL EQUIPMENT     111
Sound Effects     111
Lighting     115
Other Effects Equipment     116

7. ADVERTISING     123
Media     124
Publicity Stunts     124
Postings     125

Last Words     127
Appendix A: Task Checklist and Sample Timeline     129
Appendix B: Threatrical Supply Companies     133
Index     139

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “it will tell you everything you need to know to make sure the event is the nightmare you want it to be”—Big Reel
  • “Chavez utilizes his knowledge of stage magic and his vivid imagination to add some new twists to old illusions…sets a new standard for Halloween ‘How To’ books. For the beginning and intermediate haunter, this book is a must have”—Haunted Attraction Magazine