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High Tech Horror

This Year it is High Tech Horror that's Differentiating Haunts

The Halloween and horror sector has grown from strength to strength over recent years.

And like any industry it is innovation that is its life-blood.

zombie laser tagEvery Haunted attraction manager is looking for a way differentiate themselves from the next ghoul ride.

As reported in Selling Halloween, Gary Schneider, General Manager of Rasta Imposta says "The market has been maturing over the last few years, leaving the stronger customers in the market and the weaker customers not surviving."

Innovation is the key to staying relevant and keeping customers coming back.

That is especially true for Halloween-related businesses, whose biggest challenge is balancing scary new effects while keeping costs down, according to the Selling Halloween report.

Zombie-mania continues to infect and excite consumers across the western world.

Zombie laser tag, such as Battlefield UNDEAD, continues to rise up across the United States and throughout the globe.

The need for constant evolution drives many changes by laser tag and haunted attraction operators.

Boo! Building Your Scary Business

According to the Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by the National Retail Federation a record 170 million Americans celebrated Halloween in 2012. Total Halloween spending was said to be reach $8 billion.

Industry expert Leonard Pickel, Event Coordinator from the Haunted Attraction National Trade Show and Convention says multi-activity attractions is the way to go. "Whatever an operator is charging for a single haunt could be doubled if it was divided into two attractions."

He says two elements or activities is good, but preferably four elements is better for a "combo" ticket price.

The latest trend is for costumes and candies for trick or treat to be augmented with thrilling interactive experience. 

Experience is the new fun.

Many battlefield operators are hoping for some spirited spending this year.

Laser Tag arena operators such as Battlefield LIVE Wisconsin in the USA will transform their maze into Battlefield UNDEAD, during October.

The crew offering scare-goers a thrilling live gaming event in an authentic zombie-killing zone.

Likewise the trend continues in the UK with Battlefield LIVE Pembrokeshire (see video), loving zombies.

During the Halloween season they dedicate special events to zombie games. Players really get into the spirit of things.

Lasergaming Oxford are offering the Ultimate Live Zombie combat gaming experience. "If you have ever wondered how you would handle a zombie apocalypse, now’s your chance to find out!" said Lisa Pointin.

zombie laser tag"This is an immersive zombie gaming experience using the latest SATR gaming guns and zombie technology in our 50 acre insanely dark and creepy forest," she said.

Haunted Attractions Innovations

According to Forbes there are more than 2,500 haunted or horror themed attractions worldwide, ranging from haunted hay rides to corn mazes, haunted houses to major theme park offerings.

Likewise, Haunted Attractions are adding new excitement to their scare-factories by augmenting their reality with zombie laser tag.

The Bates Motel got its start in 1991, when Randy Bates and his wife, Anne opened a haunted hayride. "We added the Bates Motel haunted house in 1996 and the haunted trail in 2000," said Randy.

"Over the years we have added an amazing amount of high-tech sound and lighting and automated props."

"One of our greatest assets is our location," says Randy. "Our hayride is located in a very tall, dense woods which is pitch black at night. This immediately set the tone for the ride. The farm, as a whole, lends to the experience as it is mainly an outdoor event, and most of our customers are from an urban or suburban setting."

The Bates Model strives to be unique.

"Every attraction needs to have a defining role they can play, and the defining role of the Bates Motel is to scare the heck out of people," said Randy."The greatest challenge is adding new and fresh ideas each year to bring back customers."

"The scare defines us."

This year innovator Randy has added Battlefield UNDEAD to Pennhurst Asylum.

Pennhurst Asylum is a 100-year-old abandoned mental institute. Ghost hunters are especially interested in this haunted attraction. It has been featured on both TV Shows “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters.”

Pennhurst Asylum is a haunted attraction that grosses nearly a million dollars a season.

In fact both Pennhurst Asylum and Bates Hotel have been named in the Top 10 Scariest Haunted Houses in the USA by News Discovery.

This year it is zombie laser tag is bringing the hordes back.

Bigger. Better. Bloodier.