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Starting the New Year’s Projects

Well, it’s the New Year!! Did YOU make a New Year’s Resolution? I usually make only ONE….to NOT make New Year’s Resolutions!!! But I do like to reflect and think how I can do things better. This year I’d like to add a few more Blog Posts….so here we go!!!

The Asylum and Hotel Fear aren’t really “Halloween Attractions”, we don’t do Halloween. We have highly detailed themed Haunted Attractions. So, we don’t have spooky ghosts, black cats, witches or the like. When I work on props, I am building things like a radiator to replicate an old stem heating unit in the Hotel or detailed “knick-knacks” to put in the Dr’s office at the Asylum!

An issue that always rears its ugly head is period stuff! Most haunts back east find tons of old stuff to populate their attractions from friends, at thrift stores or even on the curb during trash day! We live in Las Vegas. Most people move here from somewhere else, so they get rid of old stuff BEFORE they move. I scour thrift stores on a regular basis looking for “treasures”. Most times I must buy something that is new and then have to make it look old!! Or, more fun for me, is to make something I need out of stuff I don’t!

So, let’s start out the New Year with this first Blog Post! A “New to Old” prop segment…. The HOSPITAL WHEELCHAIR. I have several wheelchairs, but I wanted an old-style vintage looking chair. Well, they start at over $300 on eBay, so time to build! It will be a set piece just to add atmosphere to one of the scenes.

On a trip to Goodwill, I found a newer wheelchair. Then I found a kitchen chair. It had the right look and appeared to be close in size. So here I am in the store trying to jam a chair into a wheelchair…yes I got a few looks! Fortunately, it fit! Off to the register, then home to build!

I dismantled the wheelchair, repainted it, took off parts I didn’t need, then attacked the kitchen chair. I had to cut off the legs, sand down the wood and then distress the whole chair. It needed to stained and weathered to look like it has been around for years.  Assemble the two pieces, add new foot pieces and suddenly a new wheelchair and kitchen chair are transformed into a vintage wheelchair!! Utilizing discounts at the register (remember, different colors equal different discounts!) stain, paint, a few screws and wood scraps, all I have invested in this build is less than $30 in materials and about 2 ½ hours in the shop!

So the lesson here is …if you can’t find it or afford it….you build it!! Besides…it’s more fun!!!


Our Volunteer Cast Members are the BEST!

We are famous for our ALL VOLUNTEER Cast. Sometimes people ask why we use volunteers? Simple answer…Because they WANT to be here!! We actually tried a paid cast twice. Both times we had issues with the actors and our customers asked what happened to our actors, they weren’t as good as usual!!

Since Haunts only pay minium wage, AND we’re only open 18-20 nights, it’s really easy to just blow off coming in if anything else comes up! Paid actors seem to focus on their next break. The volunteer actors focus on the next SCARE!

Our Cast members are volunteer and they are here because they LOVE to scare people! It’s what motivates and invigorates them! We really take cast of pur crew because they become “family” members! We feed the cast because many come straight to the Haunts from work or school so having a free meal is really convienant for everyone. We have a big Awards Ceremony after the Season, usually at a cool place like Defy Trampoline Park. There are awards, actors earn t-shirts or the coveted Haunt Hoodie if you have perfect attendance. We do several activites throughout the year, all free to the actors. We go the places like Defy, Battle Blast Laser Tag, Pole Position, Cowabunga Bay Water Park, Galaxy Theatres. It gives everyone a chance to reconnect, relive past seasons and bond with their fellow actors!

Most of our Core Actors have been with us 12-15 YEARS!! Let’s face it, it’s just FUN to Scare the Piss out of someone!!! Yes we really scare people enough that they soil themselves, (on average 1.8 times a night). Our attractions are Actor Driven and our actors are the BEST!! So if you want to SEE the Best, come visit the Asylum & Hotel Fear. If you want to BE the Best, audition this season and experience it for yourself!

Welcome to “Whispers from Within the Shadows”

WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!!! Owning and operating a Haunted House Attraction is a unique business, to say the least! The questions we get are quite different from that of a “normal business”. We do get a lot of the same queries like: “How did you get in the business?”, “What else do you do?”, ” Is your real house haunted”, “How do you come up with ideas?”, “What’s scary?”….the list goes on and on. It seems the best way to answer these and other questions would be to address them in a BLOG! So again….Welcome to our Blog!

Besides questions about the haunts from customers, I get a lot of questions from other owners and operators. I have been outspoken in the industry since we first started in 1999. I have been a featured writer for Hauntworld Magazine, the industry’s leading publication, a featured seminar speaker numerous times at the TransWorld Haunted House Trade Show, and a speaker at IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), this is the convention for major parks like Disney, Universal, Six Flags and the like, even a Board Member for the industry’s Association. This isn’t just to brag (well maybe a little), but to show you that the information and knowledge I share has real value and content. People have paid hundreds of dollars to gain such information. You get access just for being a fan of Las Vegas Haunts!

Being heavily involved in the industry a big question I get is, “If you are so involved in teaching about the Haunt Industry, why don’t you do a Blog or Pod Cast?” So, I guess my answer has always been an excuse like I’m busy or I don’t know if people would be interested. Excuses to say the least. I do realize than a lot of people are like me, I LOVE to hear information from behind the scenes. I’ve been able to get special behind the scenes tours of many of the best haunts in the country, even a special tours behind the scenes of Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror! So, if I enjoy it, I think other people might too!!

If I take the excuses out of the equation, then I guess it’s time to start Blogging!  With an Asylum as one of our themes, there are definitely some whisperings coming from the shadows. Our Hotel Fear theme contains several hidden passages and secret doors, so it too has its share of whispering voices!  Hence the title, “Whispers from Within the Shadows”.  My goal will be to give you some insight into our attractions, a few non-spoiler behind the scene peeks and some insight into the haunted house industry! If you have some unanswered questions pertaining to our industry just log onto our Facebook page (www.LasVegasHaunts.com/Facebook)  and start a conversation!  So, buckle up and we’ll take this joint adventure into one of the most unique industries together!

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