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Museum Design

Haunted Houses: A $300 Million Dollar Industry

By Leonard Pickel (This article was written in 2004)

According to the National Retail Federation’s (www.nrf.com) Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers are expected to spend more on Halloween this year ($64.82) than last year ($59.06). This 9% increase has been on the rise since it bottomed out at $41.77 in 2003.

The most popular activity on Halloween this year will be handing out candy, with nearly three-fourths (72.9%) of consumers planning to stay home to hand out treats. Other popular activities include pumpkin carving (43.3%), decorating a home and/or yard (47.8%), and throwing or attending a Halloween party (28.3%). Total Halloween spending for 2007 is estimated to reach $5.07 billion/ However! This number does not reflect the amount of money spent on Haunted House Ticket Sales.

Haunted House Attendance According to this same survey, 18.7 percent of the US public plan to attend at least one Haunted Attraction in 2007, up 1.5% from 2006. “That equates to over 33 million people attending Haunted Houses in the US this year” according to Leonard Pickel, editor of Haunted Attraction Magazine, a trade publication devoted to the Haunting Industry, “and total gross revenues at about $334 million dollars in event ticket sales alone.” Adding this figure to the Halloween Retail number, you get $5.4 Billion Dollars spent on Halloween each year, with Haunted Attractions making up (an appropriate) 6.66% of the total Halloween Spending.

“Before you give up your day job,” warns Pickel, who offers consulting service to people getting into the industry, “this does not mean that Haunted Houses are a get rich quick scheme.” Haunting is a business like any other, with the same 60% failure rate with in the first 3 years. Owning a Haunted Attraction sounds like a lot of fun and can provide a creative outlet, but event owners have to deal with funding, personnel problems, building and fire codes, advertising costs, finding a location and dealing with the public. “If you don’t make money, you don’t get to play again next year!” jokes Pickel.

Leonard Pickel is Owner of Hauntrepreneurs(R), a Dark Design and Consulting Firm, Founder of Haunted Attraction Magazine, Owner and Creator of the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention, (HAuNTcon), Partner of Findahaunt.com Haunted Attraction locater. Leonard is available for consulting, Haunt design, permit drawings and lectures, (like the one above). Contact him at 972-951-5100 or via email at hauntcon@gmail.com