The Haunted House aint what it used to be.
Back before the terror business became a $1.2 billion dollar seasonal industry in the United States, a haunted house was just that– a residence some warm people shared with someone else who was no longer living but who was still there. A ghost!
These days haunted houses are big money, with more than 1200 admission-charging attractions operating in the US alone. The domestic tradition goes back to the 1970s when the Jaycees pioneered the modern concept as a fundraiser. And though lots of communities (including ours) still feature attractions stewarded by schools and scouts, the for-profit crowd really got in the game in the 1990s. Today, the industry supports a frightful variety of manufactures & retailers, magazines, websites and trade shows. It is no longer commercially-viable to screw in a blacklight bulb and coax visitors to stick their hands into a bowl of cold spaghetti. To keep up with the Kruegers nowadays, you need Hollywood make-up artists, state-of-the-art hologram projection, hydraulics, and real fire. Maybe even a live alligator. Continue reading