"Too Many Props, Not Enough Scares.."
By Kreeper

In this edition of HauntSearch Magazine, I'd like to discuss the problem with props in haunted attractions today. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that all props are bad, but rather, too many haunted attractions today are relying on too many props to scare their guests. Props can really enhance a show, but they can't run it. So many fail to see the medium in which the balance between set design, good actors, and props is held.

There are 3 types of haunted attractions: Those who rely almost entirely on props and set design to scare their guests, those who rely on actors soley to scare - not putting enough effort into set design and those haunts who spend money on set design, props and hire good actors.

The last type of haunt is truly the best type of attraction. If you have the money, then use it wisely, and construct believable sets, and integrate props with your sets. Now, growing up working inside trailer haunts, I know that sometimes, budgeting cannot afford set design and/or expensive props. If you don't have alot of money in your budget, place your efforts into creating somewhat believable sets. So you may not be able to buy 3D 'Brick Wall' to use as a dungeon wall...improvise. Paint a brick wall, or have an artist come in to help you with your work...I've seen painted scenes that have looked really good and made me believe I was part of the scene. Also, invest your efforts into coming up with creative, new scare tactics working with what you have. You could take almost any room, and with a little careful planning, you could turn it into the room that people talk about when they exit your haunt, just by creating a really good scare tactic.

I know this method will work because I've done it personally. I took a room that people used to laugh at, and with a little creative thinking, I was able to come up with an idea, and a scare tactic that left people talking after they came through our haunt.

Personally, I would rather pay $10.00 and go through a haunt that has little set design, but focused on good scare tactics, than pay $5.00 to go through a haunt that has the most elaborate sets and props but weak scare tactics and actors. Besides, aren't scare tactics and actors the very foundation of a haunted house? Props are just what their name says: "props", decorations. Sure they look nice, but let's face it, actors and the element of surprise are what make a house truly scary.

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