So we have been at this for two weeks now and it has been going swimmingly. We've had a few bad apples, of course, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I would say it has been the most positively received house in our 6 years. But I have noticed some things from our audiences that have gone through so far that might help you better prepare for attending this event:
1. Don't come drunk. It anaesthetises you. This is always true for coming to any haunted house, but especially ours this year because part of the enjoyment is not just from the shocks and startles, but also from actually following and understanding what is happening. There is a story and it adds to the thrills and chills when you follow it. And, in truth, it is truly much harder to get scared when you are drunk. When something does jump out at you your reflexes are dulled and muted, and hence not as fun. You are coming to get scared, so don't numb yourself so that you don't. I realize when a group gets together for a fun night out something you all say to yourselves is "I won't be able to handle this unless I drink." What i say to that is, aren't you paying for an experience where the only real pay-off is if you DO have trouble dealing with it? Sure, have a few libations, but don't get to the point were you are no longer alert and responsive. You simply will not have as much fun. And there is a bar at the venue before and after you go in. That should just about do it.
2. Don't wear heels. Its hard to walk in them, the vampires don't care if you look cute, and you will constantly be concentrating on your stepping and not falling to the point where you will miss things; things that are important to get fully invested in the experience. It will be like reading a book while on your cell phone. You are too focused elsewhere to get the real impact of the thing in front of you.
3. Wear comfortable, casual clothing. This is a sweaty, bloody hot-box you are going to, not exactly the cleanest environment. We won't purposely ruin anything you are wearing, and indeed there is nothing you are going to get on you that doesn't wash out if you get anything on you at all. But a lot of people go through in a night and that's a lot of make-up, sweat, hair product and actors who have rubbed their bloody bodies on every wall possible. So don't dress to the nines, there is no point. Like above you will be more concerned about your clothing than having a frighteningly good time.
4. Put your fists down. Don't come with the attitude "they better scare the s*** out of me or I am going to get pissed" or "if someone gets in my face i am gonna punch them." None of that. If you think it, it will come true. Come for a scare, suspend your disbelief, and mostly, have fun. You are paying good money to have this fun, not to challenge our idea of it. You know how life works, if you go into something with a certain mindset it will manifest itself. It always does. This is a scary, interesting, startling, creepy, creative haunted house. None like we have created before or any you have ever seen, but it doesn't mean that we can influence the biggest cynic. I think it is safe to say if you are generally a cynical person, haunted houses are not the kinds of outings you should be taking. These are entertainments. Some are better than others at making you forget reality, but you know if you put your mind to it you will be able to convince yourself that this isn't real and hence safe. because it isn't real, and it is safe. But it is scary, in fact, scary as hell...if you let it.
5. Be prepared to let go of your friend. There are certain spots that might separate you. let it happen. It will be more scary for both of you, and again, you're paying to be scared. if someone tries to divide you or put you into a different room, let it happen. There are reasons for it, and all of them lean towards a division has to happen if you are to get maximum impact. So don't sabotage your own good time. Let the flow of the journey happen as it is suppose to. Assume if you throw a wrench into that plan it will have an effect. I love the people who ask the actors who are trying to scare them questions like, "where am I supposed to go next? Is someone behind there? Are you cute?" ugh. They aren't the information desk. Don't you think that if they broke into a dialogue with you it would alter your perceptions of them? why would you want that? Don't be a knucklehead, we will lead you in the right direction for maximum scares.
And that's what I have noticed this year. If you abuse any of the above, I am telling you flat out it will lessen your experience. I think it is safe that you can apply these same guidelines to any haunted house you may go to this season. I know I do, and I go to a bunch. I go to get scared and have a good time. And even though many of them are my competitors, I don't go wanting them to fail. I want them to be scary because i enjoy the sensation. I assume that is why any of you are going to a haunted house. So let it happen!