b"Scare the Right Way, Think Safety FirstZombies, Goblins and Ghouls, oh my! Can you imagine your campground full of such creatures? Maybe its easier to picture a wagon ride of families enjoying a crisp fallKimday. Whichever your pleasure, haunted at-tractionsandagritourismarecreepingAyerstheir way into the outdoor hospitality in-dustry in a big way.As more and more campground owners seek out ancillary income avenues, theney look it over to be certain it is applicable hauntandagritainmentindustriesarein your state. Credit: Land-O-Pines Family Campground Credit: Land-O-Pines Family Campground stepping up to the demand. As with any Lay everything out on the table for dis-erates the haunted house only on Friday and Saturday nights throughout October.seasonal business, park owners are con- cussion. Haunt companies have different Other activities the park incorporates include trick-or-treating, crafts, a DJ and more.stantlyseekingasecure,saferevenueperspectives and requirements for safety At Land-O-Pines, Everhardt said trick-or-treating is one of the most popular activitiessource for the shoulder seasons. Done cor- than your park. Define who does what, at the 270-site park, along with a best-haunted house contest where campers makerectly, it can be a big revenue boost forfrom the advertising to ticketing, managing closed-in haunted houses at their sites.parks that historically close in the fall. talent and cleaning the bathrooms at the Other activities at the park include a best-decorated site contest, costume contest,RandyJenkins,ownerofMidwayend of the night.nighttime light-up parades, marshmallow eating contests, scavenger hunts, hayrides, aCamping Resort in Statesville, N.C., has Clearly define the haunt attractions pumpkin patch and more.been doing exactly that for over 20 years. route in your park. Parks with seasonal One of the larger attractions at the Cleveland/Sandusky Jellystone Park in Nova, Ohio,If you want to camp with us in October,campers have an additional layer of risk, is its Haunted Halloween Trail, according to Cherolyn Chiang, director of marketing foryoull need to book well in advance. We areyou have a duty to safeguard your guests The Jenkins Organization Inc., which owns the park.booked three years out explained Jenkins. campers when they are not there. The trail runs both at night and during the day (for the little ones), along with a Mag- He credits their financial success and Do you have adequate parking in a ical Pumpkin Patch.impressive safety record to attendance atwell-lit area for guests to gather and wait? For the Magical Pumpkin Patch, the park sells little baggies of pumpkin seeds thatthe Transworld Conference each year. HeldHow will you handle security and first aid? are sprayed with clear adhesive and covered in glitter for $5, noted Chiang. When thein St Louis, Mo., the expo attracts over 400Most Haunts are under the jurisdiction sun goes down, the park will take a group of kids who are participating to a fenced-offexhibitorsandencompasses500,000of the local Fire Marshall. Life safety should area that is called the Magical Pumpkin Patch. Organizers make up a spell and one ofsquare feet of exhibit space.always be first and foremost in your mind the Yogi Bear-themed mascots will be there with a wand to cast the spell on the seedsTheHauntedAttractionAssociationas you create any attraction. What permits that the kids will put in the ground. That night organizers will go out and put pumpkins(HAAS) serves the international haunteddo you need and how long does it take to out with each kids name on a tag and the next morning a bear will escort them over tohouse industry in a variety of ways. Presi- obtain one? How will you train your staff to pick up their pumpkins. It is very successful.dent Spencer Terry walks the talk with hisrespond to various emergencies? Burkett told WCM that trick-or-treating and costume contests continue to be the mostown haunt, Fear Factory Haunted HouseAs with any other addition to your park, popular activities at the Jellystone Park in Akron. The park also hosts a magical pumpkinin Salt Lake City, Utah. The associationyou will want to calculate your return on patch, lumberjack games, site decorating contests and more.serves home haunters to agrihaunters toinvestment. Props, actors, advertising and While Rustic Knolls Campsites and Cabins host the traditional activities like site dec- full on professional attractions like Fearinsurance are all a consideration. orating, costume contests and crafts, the park has also introduced some others that areFactory, which brings in over 60,000 cus- And yes, insurance must be a consider-big hits too. tomers within 30 days. ation. But any haunt company worth its Our adult trick-or-treating is quite popular, and we always have some guests thatPlus,theassociationofferssafetyscream is familiar with what is required for show up dressed like the parks owner, Biffath noted. training, decision making and marketliability insurance. If you are leasing your Most of the parks that WCM spoke with noted that they try to strike a balance betweentrending data and serves as a communi- park to another entity, the company will spooky and fun, so that campers who enjoy one or the otheror bothhave choices.cation conduit to haunters around thename you as an additional insured on its At Land-O-Pines they focus on creating specific themes each week, with the first weekworld.Youcanlearnmorehere:policy. If you are creating your own experi-being focused on kids.www.hauntedattractionassociation.comence, you can opt for a special event policy It is non-scary and is geared towards the smaller children, explained Everhardt.In The Art of the Haunt HAAS states: Al- that gets in front of your regular general The themes change every year for the rest of the Halloween weekends. The secondthough there are numerous common legalliability policy. In a broad statement, camp-weekend is a Ghostbuster theme, with an alien-themed weekend planned for week three.considerations, constraints and themes ap- ground carriers may frown on adding a We've done zombie, Tim Burton and Stephen King themes in the past, Everhardtplicable to all businesses, Halloween relatedhaunt company to your current policy. Talk noted. The last two weekends are pretty much anything goes, full-blown Halloween- businesses, and more specifically haunt-re- to your agent well in advance to determine themed weekends.lated service providers and vendors, are pre- what is best for your business. One year we did a zombie apocalypse, and we constructed a full-blown obstaclesented with several unique legal challenges.Pumpkin patches and agritourism fol-course where zombies were roaming around and the kids had to try to make their wayHaunt proprietors rightfully take pride inlowmanyofthesameguidelinesasa through the zombie course without losing their lifeline, she added.their ability to thrill, excite and terrify theirhaunted attraction. If your target guest is a On the preparation front, Burkett noted that the park utilizes a team approach whencustomers. This is the very nature of thefamily, consider setting up fair type events it comes to decorating and preparing for the fall.business. Like all businesses, the better thethat utilize your existing structures and add We have to purchase pumpkin and fall decorations, plan out schedules and createservice offering, the more satisfied the cus- to the fun with subcontractors for things the tasty treats our guests enjoy, said Burkett. We spend a few weeks leading up to ourtomer base. Haunts push the limits and ex- like pony rides and gallery style games.fall weekends preparing for our campers to arrive.plore the depths of patrons' deepest fears.Small vendors who didnt get to go on Some parks utilize work campers or seasonal campers that like to organize activities.Additionally, as is common among seasonalthe road in 2020 are ready to get back at it. We do everything in-house as far as setting up decorations and hosting activities,businesses, real world considerations oftenYour own hometown is likely a host to Everhardt noted.force haunts to conduct the bulk of theirmany small businesses who would gladly Still, the most important part is finding a way to make it enjoyable for campers andbusiness management within a narrow timepay a portion of their proceeds to set up at employees.frame. From securing permits, passing fireyour campground for a fall festival.Halloween just always works, explained Everhardt. I don't care what activity youinspections and securing insurance, to hir- Pumpkins, mums and sunflowers can do; October is just one of the best months of the year. People absolutely love Halloween.ing talent, managing sales and overseeingbe purchased in bulk and arranged into Everything about it.WCMoperations, haunt operators have little timeworks of art. Photographers often pay ses-to spare. Although exhilarating, these tightsion fees to the host in order to use your time constraints can lead to legal risk expo- beautiful grounds as an outdoor studio.sure if not properly addressed. Beyond stan- Guidance in this industry is available dard liability considerations, multiple riskthrough www.nafdma.com. mitigation opportunities exist.Industry cross over is everywhere. We As you consider adding either a hauntedare all in this together and the more we can attraction or agritourism to your park, con- shareexperiencesandknowledge,the sider these things:more we all succeedAre you going to be hands off and leaseLooking forward to a Happy Fall yall! the campground to a haunt company or are you going to play an active role? Kim Ayers is an insurance provider withIf you are leasing, youll need a goodLeavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insur-solid contract between your operating en- ance who specializes in campgrounds, agri-tity and the haunt company. Have an attor- tourism and haunted attractionsWCMCredit: Rustic Knolls Campsites and Cabins Credit: Akron, Ohio Jellystone ParkWOODALLSCM.com October 2021 19"