tabithashaw asked: bahhhh, I am so sorry for what happened to you. I've been running a charity yard haunt for 10 years, and every time stuff like this happens I am just mortified. I've only had a handful of incidents, and that's good - we've got some mighty detailed 'precautionary' style steps. In your opinion - What would you say is the best way to avoid these incidents?
OK awesome question. And this is very important for scare-actors.
Things to avoid: Getting yourself trapped. Never put yourself or another actor in a position where they cannot avoid the danger (attacks, fire, or other emergencies). If they’ve got a ‘Boo hole’ (*snicker*, no I mean like a trap door) make sure it closes safely separating them from potential violence. If you’ve got a pop-out scare (like you hide behind a curtain or wall) give yourself enough room to run around crowds. If you move fast and far you scare more people and you are able to bypass possible attacks.
Look for cues and make sure you can see patrons before they see you. Drilling peep holes, using smoke and or mirrors can help you with this. If you can see who’s coming, you’re probably five times safer. Look for people with blank worried stares, eye contact, fists that are clenched or fists up at the ready. These are signs that they could get violence.
Breaking character isn’t always a bad idea, sure it can ruin the magic, but if someone is threatening to punch you its a safe idea to ask if they are ‘ok’ and remind them that the haunt is fake. I’ve had a few guests put their hands out to me and told me to stop while making fierce eye contact. Its acceptable in these situations to call upon the fact that you are a person in make up and the haunt is pretend. Sometimes you even get a laugh out of it, and if your customers are laughing then at least they are having a good time! (money well spent)
Another fun thing to do is move like you’re dodging dodge balls. Not only is it creepy in the haunted house environment, but you become less of a target. Just make sure you don’t have anything you can trip over in your room.
Put more than one person in a large room. This can not only prevent incidents but serve as a tool to get the word out when an incident occurs. We’ve got radios at the front of the haunt where we can page security. Having a calm buddy with you can comfort you if you’re attacked and radio for help much faster than you if you were alone.
In one of the haunts I worked at they passed out whistles for us so we could notify nearby managers and security, but the effectiveness of this can depend greatly on the setup of your haunted house.
And lastly, ALWAYS TELL YOUR PATRONS NOT TO TOUCH THE ACTORS. Also make sure your scare actors know not to touch your customers. This seems like common sense, but its not. I’m still encountering both customers and actors who don’t know this or don’t enforce it.
Anyway sorry for the long post, but this was defiantly an important subject to me. Always, have a safe and fun Halloween! <3