Not sure what to expect at a haunted house? Wondering what to wear, or not to wear? When is the best time to get to a haunted house? We’ll answer these questions and more in our haunted house survival guide below.
Before You Leave Your House
Research where you want to go. We recommend The Scare Factor to figure out which haunted house is best for your group.
Consult the weather and wear the right clothes. Bring an umbrella to stand under if there’s a possibility of rain. Your waiting area may not be covered. You should never wear high heels, open-toed shoes or sandals to a haunted house. If it’s going to be cold, dress in layers (don’t forget hat, gloves and scarves) and consider bringing hand and feet warmers if you’re really concerned about cold temperatures.
Most haunted houses will allow customers to wear costumes, but leave masks and props in the car.
Buy haunted house tickets online in advance if you can. It will usually save you time and money at the door.
Eat a meal before you go. Some haunted houses will have concessions available for purchase while waiting in line, but many will not.
If someone in your party requires special accommodations to go through the haunt (e.g. they’re in a wheelchair, or pregnant), call the haunted house in advance to discuss and make arrangements - ideally during the day with plenty of notice.
When to Arrive at a Haunted House
As a general rule, the later you arrive in the evening, the longer your wait will be.
Opening and closing times vary widely across haunted houses. Check their website, or contact them to be sure.
At most haunts, including Nightmare on Edgewood, as long as you are in line before the posted closing time, you will get to go through the haunted attraction.
Most haunted houses offer a fast pass option, and some even offer an immediate access ticket which nearly eliminates waiting in line altogether. These come at a premium price, and many have limited inventory for these special access tickets each night. You are strongly encouraged to purchase online in advance if you can.
Some haunted houses use a timed ticketing system. When purchasing a ticket, you are assigned a window of time during which you can arrive and get in line. The idea is that you spend less time waiting in line since your “seat” for the performance has been reserved in advance.
While You’re Waiting To Go In
Be respectful of your neighbors in line by not smoking, keeping noise levels to a minimum and respecting personal boundaries. Be aware of your surroundings!
Be prepared to encounter haunted house characters outside while waiting in line. Engage and interact with them! Just like the actors you’ll meet on the inside, they are there to entertain you.
Use this time to read all posted signage about policies and what to expect on the inside. Ask a staff member about any concerns you have before going in.
Decide the order in which you will line up as you enter the haunted house. Who will lead the group through?
Have your group hold your spot in line while you step away to use the restroom, or do this just before you get in line. Be warned that most haunted houses only have port-o-johns.
While You’re Inside
DO NOT RUN. Repeat, DO NOT RUN. You will hurt yourself, others in your group, and the haunted house actors. Put someone in the front of your group who can keep it together and lead you through at a reasonable walking pace.
Try to stay in a single file line, rather than bundling up into a blob of humans scooting through the haunt tripping over each other. This is not an effective way to sneak past monsters!
Do not touch the actors or props. Even if you are in an interactive haunted house like Nightmare on Edgewood where the actors can touch you, you are not to touch them.
After You’re Out
If you encountered any problems while inside, find a staff member and report it immediately. Alert staff right away so that it can be corrected in that moment and before you leave the premises.
Stop to check out merchandise if available. Some haunted houses even take photos before you go in, which you can then pick up and take home with you at the merch booth outside.
If you have positive feedback or constructive criticism for how to make improvements, be sure to leave a review on Facebook, Yelp or Google.
If you had so much fun you’d love to do it all over again, many haunted houses offer a “lights out” or “blackout” event at the end of the season. It’s exactly what it sounds like: same haunted house, same spooky characters, none of the lights on as you navigate your way through once again.