We visited the Jefferson Township 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House on Oct. 16th, 2014. This event was a bit different than the normal haunted attractions we visit because it was designed and staffed by the local kids from Jefferson Township as part of a fundraiser for their activities. It runs only 2 days a year and is set up within 2 days before the event. Yes, it’s worth your time.
Right off we knew that this haunt would be something special. Since it was a fundraiser the enthusiasm and spirit of the staff was really high–they really showed that they were there to make the event fun and have a good time doing it. It was also funny to see times when the people in the haunt and the people going through it recognized each other and made funny remarks or especially tried to scare people. Given the limited time, and the age of the developers/creators the set up was of course fairly “adhoc” but even so it had a great range and phenomenal understanding of psychology demonstrated within the attraction.
This was way above our expectations for quality.
The only things we’d recommend to them is to lower the fog levels a bit–many of the rooms actually were pretty enough that they can stand on their own without the fog. Also have the actors change up from mostly shouting “get out” or other similar statements to perhaps improv skits with each other. We recognize that actor training in their circumstances is somewhat limited but maybe giving the kids the idea to come up with characters and motivations that they all define for themselves might be a great teaching tool and maybe an opportunity for the local theater groups to get involved.
They implemented a really great solution to pacing for the haunt: a rope system where the attendees held onto a rope lead by one of their staff. This was a spectacular idea to keep the attendees moving while preventing the typical backups that can happen. A really great extension for next time might be to have this staff member also have a story that connects with the haunt which they then talk about as they go through.
This is an idea so good that I think other haunts might want to look at this idea and add it. It would really add a new dimension to things and make the walkthrough a bit more like a ride.
So, what does this tell us? That even the most basic style of haunted attraction can have great ideas and that there can be some unique fun found in going to these types of haunts even for the most hardcore haunt fans. We were extremely impressed with what we saw here. If these kids continue to embrace creativity like this they’ll be earning 6 figures in no time as adults. This is a can’t miss event that I’ve told all of my haunter friends about.
I also have to give the kid in the parking lot an A+ for being the only person to scare me this year. He put his skull mask face in my car window before I got out and I jumped. I just didn’t expect a scare to be THERE. A+ fun, guys. A+
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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