Haunted Houses: When terror becomes reality

Millions of people will pay a lot of money this time of year to be spooked by zombies, chased by werewolves and startled by vampires in haunted houses.  There is estimated to be between 3500 and 5000 professional haunted attractions in the US where masses of people go to get thrilled.  People don’t mind being afraid in a haunted house because it’s fun and the fear is superficial and temporary. When an accident occurs, however, the terror becomes real.

To be competitive, owners of haunted houses continue to find more ways to make visitors’ experiences as realistic as possible, often blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Each Halloween season a variety of accidents injure hundreds of visitors to, and workers in, haunted houses. While inside a haunted house, any number of features can cause injuries.  Typical accidents customers experience include:

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls
  • Scaring Gone Wrong
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Shuttle and Tram Accidents
  • Exposed Protrusions
  • Falling Props
  • Trampling

Typical injuries to haunted house employees come from:

  • Haunted House Throat
  • Cleaver Elbow
  • Spooked Customers
  • Freak Accidents

One of the primary messages that you’ll see mentioned in industry information is the importance of haunted house safety. The purpose of a well-planned haunted house is to create the illusion of danger but never actually come close to putting someone in harm’s way. Insurance, safety equipment and maximum capacity will vary, depending on the city where the haunted house is located.  In most cases, safety requirements for temporary haunted houses include (but are not limited to) such requirements as structural permitting, emergency planning, exit requirements, fire protection (per NFPA standards), and electrical safety requirements.

If you have a case involving an accident in a haunted house, contact CED Technologies at www.cedtechnologies.com or 1-800-780-4221 to speak with one of our frighteningly-smart experts.

Featured Engineer: George Wharton, P.E., CFEI, CVFI, CFPS Mechanical Engineer

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