Haunted Houses: Delivering Screams on the Promise of Entertaining Fear

old abandoned house surrounded by treesFear is a normal human reaction. It is a safety valve and a quick release button. It activates the fight-or-flight mode. It is also the reason states such as Minnesota (MN) have so many haunted hayrides — a growing trend in the industry.

Haunted attractions range from whole-year theme park attractions to one-day charity events. There are famous places where these themed places are a lot of fun and have become seasonal attractions for decades.

By the Numbers

Haunted houses are a significant attraction, not just during Halloween but in large theme parks as well. Halloween spending is estimated at $5 billion total a year and includes candies, costumes, decorations and rides.

Haunted houses earn up to $500 million in tickets annually, with the average price of admission at $15 and more than 3 million paying customers. There are 300 amusement parks with haunted attractions, 1,200 independent commercial haunted houses, and about 3,000 charity-event haunted houses a year.

The largest attractions serve between 40,000 and 60,000 customers a year and are found in amusement parks. In contrast, the average operation serves about 8,000 paying guests during the Halloween season.

Custom Thrills

People have different comfort levels for their frights. There are kids, teens, adults, and each of these demographics has their own safety levels to consider.

There are some attractions that don’t allow pregnant women; others have strict standards of admittance — people with hypertension, asthma, seizures, heart condition and other health conditions are not allowed, for example.

There are studies about people who like haunted houses as well as what would be entertainingly scary for the season. For instance, zombies started to become popular around 2007–2008 — well before they became common in pop culture.

In addition, veterans get a kick of the scares. For most of them, the scares and screams in a controlled environment they can handle are a far cry from their combat experience.

Haunted houses are not just a Halloween experience; these are also entertainment venues that follow society’s heartbeat. This is an industry that closely follows trends and delivers scare tactics to survive.