Sure. Haunted Houses are fine, but they don't seem to inflict the same kind of fear that they used to. No one screams helplessly at the sight of chainsaw-wielding zombies, and people just yawn at bloody, hissing vampires, because they've seen it all before. The same goddamn ghosts and ghouls show up year after year, and it's just not scary anymore.
When your haunted house employees spend countless hours trying to create a hellish landscape of mystery and mayhem, but the local high schoolers still don't give a shit, you need to change your business model. But hey! Don't worry! Check it out! We have some ideas that will definitely have the kids freaked-the-hell-out to the point where they'll probably try to sue you!
Scenario 1: Walk them Through the Waiver
Make them sign an intensely graphic legal document that details all the different ways they could potentially die before leaving your haunted house. Why not make them question the sanity of the haunted house purveyor and the legitimacy of the business itself right off the bat? If there's an actual psycho running the show, there's a much better chance that they'll question whether or not the zombie with the chainsaw in the second room is actually going for the kill. FUCK. THEY BETTER RUN.
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) Have a room with nothing but a desk and a man in a business suit.
2.) As the guests enter the room, slam and lock the door behind them.
4.) Have the man present the guests with the waiver for their super-spooky haunted house experience.
5.) Make sure the man walks them through each potential horrific experience they might endure (hacked into bits by an axe-wielding redneck, eaten by a clown, etc).
5.) Have the man tell them they can't leave the room until they sign the waiver. Make sure he's extremely aggressive. Throw the phrase "legally binding" into the psychotic rant every few sentences.
6.) Now the guests are truly questioning the legitimacy of your establishment, which is going to come in handy in the next room where there's a clown that is totally ready to "eat them alive."
Scenario 2: Pull a Dick Move / Tell Them Their House is on Fire
Sometimes you really just have to be a dick to scare a douchey 18-year-old. And they paid some good money to be freaked out, right? Right.
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) When guests enter, make sure you get the name and phone number of at least one person in the group. If you tell them that you're requesting this sensitive information for safety purposes, there's a good chance one person will give in. You also need to inform them that the fifth or sixth room has caution tape in front of the staircase and the elevator, and that they should definitely "take that seriously."
2.) When they enter that last room, call the number provided. Tell them it's the fire department and that their home is "burnt to a goddamn crisp." Make it sound as though the connection is poor, and make sure you don't answer when they call back.
3.) Make it very difficult for them to find a way out of that last room. I don't know, cover a door with a prop or something. The exits with the caution tape will still obviously function, but they'll have to go against your word in order to leave the building. Then they can rush home to see that you're definitely a liar. But hey, there's no way they weren't sweating heavy for at least a few minutes.
Scenario 3: The Never-ending Scene.
Why not make them afraid of the same thing over and over again? Also, why not make them think they're actually going crazy at the same time? I've only worked out this scenario for multi-level haunted houses, but here's how it could work:
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) Setup a simple scene that can be recreated easily. For example, something that doesn't require many props or an abundance of fake blood.
2.) Put caution tape on elevator doors so that it forces them to use the stairs.
3.) Make the staircases as dark as possible and cover the whole stairway with spiderwebs.
4.) When the scene is over, run to the elevator, undo caution tape, and beat the people to the next floor. When they open the door to see the exact same thing they saw before, they'll shit their pants and question their own sanity simultaneously. Now that's fear.
Scenario 4: Say It's Over When It Isn't.
Why not send their gut into a fear-frenzy as soon as they think they're getting away from it all? This would work very well for business that have front and back parking lots.
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) Make sure they park in front. If you can, offer valet parking.
2.) Once they finish the experience, have someone in a uniform open the door to the back parking lot. Make sure he/she thanks the guests and informs them that their adventure has ended.
3.) Ten seconds after, stage a realistic murder scene in the back parking lot. Make the aggressor wear an Insane Clown Posse hoodie. That way the guests have no doubt they're witnessing a genuine, real-life murder. The more fake blood, the better.
4.) Make sure the "aggressor" sees the guests finishing the experience, and make sure he/she is loud enough to draw their attention.
5.) Make sure the aggressor runs after the guests with the weapon. If he/she is wearing an Insane Clown Posse hoodie, the fake weapon should probably be a knife. That's kind of the juggalo way.
6.) If you opted in to the valet parking idea, the guests will now have absolutely no fucking idea where their vehicle is. There's nothing more scary than not knowing how you'll get away from an actual murderer.
7.) Stretch this out for as long as you can. Just make sure the other guests don't see you do it.
I hope at least one of these ideas inspires you to make your haunted house legitimately nightmarish. Also, if you get sued, don't blame us. We told that it would almost definitely happen.