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So, you want to break into the Haunted Attraction Industry but you’re unsure where to begin. Well, pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable, because I’m going to give you a few hints on how to get started.

As with any endeavor, my Haunted Attraction experiences are a work in progress. I am new to the industry, no longer a virgin, but still wet behind the ears in many respects. What I hope to accomplish with this series of articles, is for the reader to follow me around as I try to navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of the Haunted Attraction industry. So let’s get started.

My prop making company, The Ed Gein Collection, was created just after Halloween, 2000. I had been creating props for my Halloween yard haunt for a number of years and during this time I received numerous requests from friends and co-workers if I would be interested in selling any of my creations. At the time, I thought this would be a great way to fund my Halloween addiction. I could make a few extra props, sell them, and then use that money to buy a fogger or maybe some custom tombstones. What I didn’t expect was that I was going to become a fully licensed company that now had to deal with taxes and permits and all sorts of red tape. Now I’m one of those “Left Brain” creative types. We tend to daydream a lot, and love coming up with new ideas to try out. Luckily my wife is a “Right Brainer”, extremely organized and a whiz with a budget. Together we balance each other out.

Your first order of business: What is my product going to be? Am I going to be selling myself or my talents as a product or am I going to physically make a product for sale. In my case, I am going to be making a product to sell.

Next, is your product unique or do you have a creative slant on something that is already out there. With my business, our first, and that time, the only product, was a Skull Bowl. I had created them for our annual Halloween party. What I wanted was a unique and scary looking candy bowl to have as a centerpiece on each table. I decided to make the bowl out of a human skull and after much thought, came upon the idea of removing the lower jaw and mounting it to the back of the skull to level it out and to provide stability. What I ended up creating was something unique
that you will not find anywhere else, and it has since become our signature item and without a doubt our biggest seller.

How do you know how much to charge for your product? The general rule of thumb is add up your cost for making the product and then double it. This pays you for the time spent building or making your product. Use this as a guideline only. If you are making something that is complicated and it takes you a week from start to finish- charge accordingly.

How are you going to handle production of your product? Are you going to make your products in advance so that when you receive an order you can just ship it out? Or are you going to custom make your product as the orders come in. With my products we do a little of both. We are constantly in production year round creating the Skull Bowls and Candles. The larger props such as the Corpses or our “Dead Lights” are created as custom orders, but we do have a small stock of them for those customers that need one immediately.

Once you decide on a product, a price, and how you are going to handle production, you need to figure out how you are going to inform the world (and potential customers) that you are in business and that you are ready to sell your item or items. The best avenue for this is the World Wide Web. At this time, a web site is mandatory. It gives people instant access to your product and it reaches a “World Wide” customer base. My own thoughts on a web site are this:

1. It needs to be splashy. People have to enjoy visiting your site. If your site is dull, people are going to move on.
2. Make you site easy to navigate. People shouldn’t have to figure out how to get around your site. Always have a way to get back to your main page.
3. Include a button for instant purchases. Make it easy for your customers to find an item and then purchase it. 4. Update your site often. Keep it fresh.

Ok! Let’s review.
You want to get your foot in the door in the Haunted Attraction Industry as a prop maker. Here’s how you start.

1. Come up with a unique idea or a creative twist to an existing one.
2. Start production on your product and set a price. Remember: Don’t short-change yourself on your time.
3. Start up a web site.

In the next issue, we will touch on getting the word out. Selling yourself and your products, and tricks for getting the maximum number of visitors to your web site.

Kevin is the man behind "The Ed Gein Collection" - corpses for all occasions. Be sure to check out his site at

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