Social Media and Its Impact on the Halloween Season

Author: Jack Martin

Halloween: a season some would consider the only season worth celebrating (Who doesn’t love costumes, candy, and ghouls?) I may be biased but there is something magical about All Hallows’ Eve. Is it the beautiful fall colors? The clever pumpkin carvings? Or is it the fact that you can pay someone to chase you with an ax until you are in danger of wetting yourself.

Haunted houses, hayrides, and trails have become an enormous revenue opportunity for individuals who choose to put on a good spook show during the season. In 2012, over $8 billion dollars in revenue was collected by haunted establishments all over the United States. An average haunted house charges approximately $15-$20 per patron (the high end haunted houses charge up to $60) with an expected turn out between 6,000 and 10,000 – You can see how lucrative this can be.

Their web traffic increased by over 10,000 percent in just one day.

Teenagers and horror enthusiasts flock to a haunted venue with a good scare rating. The establishments that have integrated a concrete social media strategy obviously have the upper hand against others that may depend solely upon word of mouth. Through a haunted houses Facebook or Twitter page, you can find deals, see ratings/reviews, and even get previews of what to expect through pictures and videos. Plus, odds are, the more “Likes” from Facebook and “Tweets” from Twitter, the better the haunt will be.

A Spook-tastic Social Media Campaign

There is a great story of a haunted house located near Niagara Falls called Nightmares Fear Factory. Thanks to their genius social media campaign, their web traffic increased by over 10,000 percent in just one day; going from 600 visits per day to over 60,000 in less than 24 hours. How did they do it? Nightmares Fear Factory came up with the idea to strategically place cameras around the house in places where a good scare is going to occur. The picture is taken of the patrons at the perfect moment, capturing their screaming faces and looks of terror. Not surprisingly, the pictures were hilarious and they were placed on the company’s website and social media platforms. Through the ability to tag and share photos on Facebook as well as all the other sharing and “liking” options through other social media outlets, the pictures went viral.

A Ghoulish Use of Technology

There is another way that social media is beginning to impact haunted venues, as demonstrated by The Nest haunted house in 2012. By using Radio Frequency Identification technology, the Nest can personalize each guest’s terror experience. The Nest contains multiple cameras and control rooms, which allows staff to follow the guests and personalize their terror by using their name, displaying pictures from their Facebook throughout the complex, and even presenting their name on a tombstone in the cemetery using their actual birthdate and todays date as their death date. There is no doubt that this use of technology was a contributing factor to The Nest being recognized by voters as the scariest haunted house in the country on Good Morning America.

Haunted houses have come a long way since the beginning. Through social media, the way marketing a haunted venue has changed dramatically. The only downfall to this change is the fact that now, if a haunted house is not on social media, regardless of how incredible their haunt may be, chances are it would not do as well as a competitor with a solid social media presence. This is just another example of how social media and the Internet has and will continue to change everything.

So as the Halloween season comes to a close, make some time to visit a local haunt and be sure to “like” if you found it bewitching.

Happy Hallo-scream.