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Author Topic: Kids at haunts  (Read 1820 times)
packbacker
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« on: October 30, 2011, 10:37:35 AM »

We had an interesting experience last night.  We were lined up at Xtreme Fear and the two people in front of us was a guy in his 30s and a little girl.  I was thinking this was going to be bad juju.  Talking to them we found out she had been to nine trails this season.  He said she never, ever screams.  I had my doubts.  It ended up that we went through the trail with them. 

Going through the trail I saw her flinch 1-2 times but never verbalized anything......and they weren't taking it easy on her due to her age.  I saw one monster pop scare, menace her, and realizing he wasn't going to get the reaction he wanted he simply put up his glove for a high five.  It was pretty awesome.  I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I flinched more than she did!  Come to find out in the parking lot she was all of SIX years old.  Amazing.

My other experiences with kids at haunts this year:
-  Watching a four-ish year old in line at Midway Wicked Woods.  To the clowns credit, they didn't let up.  Right in his face.  The kid did ok- some cowering and such but appreciated the fact that they didn't break character/lighten up due to the stupidity of some parents bringing a kid WAY too young to be there.

- Watched four kids "quit" at Trotterville Horror in two separate groups.  They were nice and gave you your money back.  I would have been a jerk and said "Told ya so" when informing you that these trails are for people of a certain age.

- Probably the oddest experience was at Darkside Haunted Estates (slack on that review, I know!).  Their cemetery scene had three or four little kids (6 or under) just running around through it.  A house later on the trail had two children....one probably 5-6 and one that had to be 3.  The three year old was simply banging cupcake tins together.  The five year old looks at us and says "You're all gonna die!"  We laughed and she said "They're gonna EAT YOU UP!"  Surreal.  I think basically this was like an unpaid nursery but hey I'm creeped out by all children so it worked on a very strange level.


Any stories out there good/bad about kids at haunts?  I really think that kids under 10 (except super-girl described above) really shouldn't be at these things.
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DARKSIDE
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 09:10:15 AM »

HEY PACKBACKER THE KIDS AT THE DARKSIDE HAUNTED ESTATES LOVE IT OUT AT THE OLD HOUSE. TWO OF THE KIDS ARE MY VERY OWN. IT'S LIKE THERE VERY OWN HAUNTED HOUSE. tHANKS FOR COMING OUT Shocked
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Slappy
Guest
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 11:14:52 AM »

Coming from someone who experienced his first haunt at age 2, I still find myself impressed by some of our younger guests.  I know the youngest I've heard the age of was 6, but I swear some of them look younger than that.  Some of them make it, some of them don't.  Some of them give up before they ever make it through the line.  Then there's those that have to be escorted out of the haunt.  Of those that make it all the way, about half come out screaming and crying, the other half walk bravely from the exit, attempting a macho facade while failing to cover the look of sheer horror on their faces.  Is it good or bad that these kids can make it through a haunted house?  Does this show that we as a society are numb to horrors that used to strike fear into the hearts of full-grown adults?  Or are we braver than we used to be?  We're no longer scared of witches and werewolves because they've become such an integral part of modern literature.  Vampire have gone from creepy old men to pretty boys.  Werewolves now strut around with no shirts on.  Witches are the cool kids on school.  Do we do this to protect ourselves from our fears?  To sugar coat the fact that there are true monsters among us?  Columbine ring a bell for anyone?  So what are we doing?  Making money while trying to turn our attention away from what's really happening in schools and society these days?  Are we using fake monsters to numb ourselves away from what truly scares us?  Where do we draw the line?...
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Cousin Levi Slaughter
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 11:58:42 AM »

You got a little "deep" on me Slappy, but I agree with most of what you are saying...It's true what scared our "parents" such as Dracula, Wolfman & so on, is laughed at today by most "kids," but I've noticed over the years... & stick with me on this... Most younger kids,"unable to talk or can't talk well" age, respond to the monsters the same as by bulldog dose.
 He is fine until you put a mask over your face or even makeup appliances, it's like once he sees the person he "knows / loves" change into a "monster" he goes crazy. I 'm sure he can tell it's still us by "scent & instincts" but I think he doesn't like what we have become, it's like he knows "it isn't right & I don't like it! My friends small children act very similar when the see us get ready for the haunt, while they aren't as bad as the dog you can see the same "confused" look in their faces... I even noticed they will not make eye contact, just as a scared adult will sometimes choose to do.
I wonder if it's just some type of "self defense" we all have inside of us when we see something we don't like. They aren't really scared because they know it's us, but they just don't like it.
Most times after a few minutes they become OK with it & it's back to being Daddy or Uncle, but the "transformation" really seems to bother them, and oh yea, the dog hates it until you get back to normal, he often will try to "kill" the mask even after you take it off.
So as for Society, I think it's a "learned behavior" is to what as deemed "Scary," but as primal reaction it's just anything UGLY & different.
Just my 2 cents.
Slaughter.
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JohnnySlaughter
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 12:53:53 PM »

As far as children go, When I see them in a group or on a hayride I always take a brief moment to examine them look and listen to them to see if they're scared or perhaps too scared. I don't like to scare children all that much, it seems too cheap for me every so often though I go all out if they show no sign of fear. 'm not going to go batty on an already crying child or a child buried under mommy/daddy's arms. I might speak to them in some way but i can't yell and scream at them like I would an adult or a seemingly fearless child. As for the rest of the group/hayride they get no mercy regardless of the children, I have no limit to the things I will do to get a rise out of every one of my victims. I love a good scream as much as the next ghoul but, I won't try to get it out of an already terrified child. (But, I will keep them scared.)
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TheDark
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 12:17:59 PM »

This is such a sticky subject... A couple of years ago,  we  had a guy somehow get by our ticket booth, and he had to have bought a ticket for A 2 year old! If I had seen him , I never would have allowed it. We don't have kids tickets because we don't recommend it for kids. I am a mom first, before a haunter. While your child might not act afraid, and be all cool with it, what are you doing to them? They are forming their personality and growing. Who knows? Are we helping to form cereal killers?!! But back to the guy with the 2 year old, he dropped the child while running from a monster! Seriously? Do you think that kid is ever going to forget that??? People need to understand, what is fun to you, isn't necessarily fun for your kids. FIND A BABYSITTER, OR DON'T COME! Just my opinion... Smiley
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Badger
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 05:02:53 PM »

When I train actors for haunts, I cover what to do with young children.  Obviously, the 'not recommended' signs are there for a reason. The kids may put on a brave face, but I'll guarantee you they are having a nightmare or two afterwards.  I have three kids ages 10 and under and I will not take them to haunts unless I know they can handle it even though they have lived their entire lives with someone who works in this industry.  My kids are used to seeing me acting or experimenting with my look and they still have issues from time to time. 

There is an old rule in this business called The Rule Of Four in which on average one visitor will tell four of their friends about the haunt.  If they come out and their child is traumatized and crying, they tend to give negative reviews.  Another thing to remember is that if you scare a child too much, they will never come back when they're grown up and you've lost that potential paying customer for life.

One think I do when I'm working is to act completely frightened of any young child and let them give me a 'scare'. the parents get a laugh and the kids have a much better time knowing that they've scared one of the 'monsters'...

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jhc36
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 08:55:19 AM »

Each kid is different...and this is definitely a sticky subject.  But I saw no less than 10 kids leave Midway this year after the hayride.  I believe some are just too scary for kids....Midway and HH probably be two of them.  Boogerwoods is a far more kid friendly haunt.  So parents just need to do their research...ie...this place.
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JohnnySlaughter
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 12:49:39 PM »

It's a very big issue of age, I honestly can't stand to see a group coming through holding a baby. It kind of messes up the experience for the rest of the group because I'm not even gonna try to scare a group with a baby that can't even walk... It's stupid. I do however think that the appropriate age for a kid to decide if they want to go is around 11-13 based on their maturity level. Like I said before I'll take a moment to check them out before I scare them to make sure they won't be too scared.  It really is a touchy subject and a lot of people only do research on which haunt is the closest rather than the scare factor. We would see a lot less children having to be escorted through the chicken exits if this were to take place.
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Slappy
Guest
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 08:11:56 AM »

I don't think we had any babies come through this year, but we definitely had some young children.  Now, the more I think about this subject, the more cynical I become.  We get a lot of people that come to Hacker House and ask, "Is this scary?".  Well, it is a haunted house, so, yes, it's scary.  Isn't that the idea of a haunted house?  I know I saw a lot of younger kids decide not to go in, I saw just as many go through.  I think if they can make it, then it's their and their parents' decision.   If they decide to not go through, I'll joke around with them and make sure no one else scares them.  But if they decide they can go in, they don't get special treatment.  Our monsters don't hold back (or at least they shouldn't).  Kids and adults alike, if they're too scared, then that's fine, no scares for them.  But if they decide to brave the waters, then they should expect to be scared.
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ReLlIK ThE KiLlEr CloWn
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 09:36:59 AM »

What I do for kids, is just make my routine more comedy than anything. But most kids don't even make it past me.. (Not sounding cocky, but I mean.. Most clowns just LOOK scary.. Idk. I feel bad, but at the the same time, I feel like we need to give th em what they pay for..
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packbacker
Completely Haunted
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 12:02:05 PM »

Very glad to hear it, Slappy.  I'd hate to be in a group that got "lite" scares due to a kid.  Once you enter through that door/entrance/whatever you should be treated like anyone else. 

I did notice a haunt (Castle of Horror, maybe someone else) had hours set aside on a certain day/week for "lite versions".  I thought that was a novel idea and could give kids exposure w/o terrifying them....and ruining it for patrons seeking "full scares".

That six year old with us at Xtreme Fear though.....WOW.  She's gonna be hard-core.
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