The Future. Haunted houses — from the state-of-the-art professionals to the mom-and-pop bootstraps — are getting bigger and better. And audiences are showing up in droves. The phenomenon speaks volumes about the power of horror entertainment and the desire for people to have communal experiences. And with Universal starting Halloween Horror Nights earlier in the year and even cementing a permanent horror destination in Las Vegas, spooky season may soon be all year round.
These days, one of the best real estate moves is building a haunted house.
- Top haunted house production companies like Blood Manor and Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group spend over a million dollars building their attractions and employ hundreds of people.
- Locations can typically recoup their costs in a season with ticket sales alone, with merch and concessions bringing in additional revenue.
- Even small businesses (like Phillips Farms in North Carolina) and charities (like Scare for a Cure in Texas) are mounting haunted houses for six figures and doubling their investments.
- Then there’s the granddaddy of them all: Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, which brings in as much revenue alone as a single month of Universal Studios ticket sales.
- The National Retail Foundation estimates Halloween revenue will hit a sky-high $12 billion this year (Spirit Halloween must be in good shape).
What drives the love for haunted houses? Science may give us a clue — a study in the journal Emotion found “voluntary scare experiences” put people in better moods and have the same calming effect as meditation (after you leave the attraction, that is).
No wonder horror movies are such a consistent draw at the box office.