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
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
will not find anywhere else, and it has since become
our signature item and without a doubt our biggest
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
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
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
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
Kevin is the man behind "The Ed Gein Collection" - corpses for all occasions. Be sure to check out his site at http://edgeincollection.com.