A few years ago, I posted a demo video of the Chauvet DMX-RT device. This tiny $100 box could record DMX lighting information and then play it back later without a computer. It even had a trigger input so you could have an entire show scene activate when a guest entered the room (via pressure mat, motion sensor, or actor pressing a button).
We created some generic looping light patterns which allowed a haunt operator to plug in a DMX, and select any effect they wanted just by changing the address on the back of a DMX light. Want pulsing green for the swamp? Set the two DMX lights in that room to channel X. Want flickering candlelight in the king’s chamber? Switch those lights to channel Y. This made changing fancy lighting effects easier than switching out a light bulb.
I am pleased to announce that Chauvet has the new DMX-RT4 unit available for sale. This unit adds multiple trigger inputs (four instead of one) as well as an audio player! Put one of these in a room, and when the guest enters, sounds start playing as well as DMX lighting effects. The whole room can come alive without any actor control, OR, there could be up to four different scenes that play based on what is triggered… Hit the low scare button and less scary music and brighter light patterns play. Hit the extreme scare button and the lights go to near darkness with super scary music. There are many uses for this tech.
And, for haunts on a budget, you could have one box control an entire haunted house by daisy chaining all the lights over cheap DMX cables (as with the DMX-RT) BUT use this box to play the overall music loop for the entire haunt. The four inputs were designed so you could run a whole haunt like this, using the triggers for modes:
Standby Mode – worklights are on (white lights) and no audio.
Startup Mode – an audio message plays telling actors to get in to place as the lights fade down.
Show Mode – show lighting is on and music loop plays.
Emergency Mode – bright lights, and “please go to the nearest exit” message plays.
This device could replace the PC and expensive software in several haunted houses I helped with years ago. And, unlike a PC, the box should be far more reliable than Windows 😉
The haunted house scene in the area came crashing down in 2020, with most not operating, and some closing permanently. 2021 had far fewer haunts operating than earlier years, though it did see the addition of Scare DSM. This year saw the addition of Adventureland’s new Halloween themed event. Even with all of this, the market is still way down compared to “the before times.”
That said, with fewer choices, and an audience returning to wanting to do these things, that should mean that the remaining haunts get a larger slice of the haunt visitor pie. Without having access to business records of the various haunts, all we can really say is several did report nights when they operated at capacity (though we don’t know if they are operating a full pre-pandemic capacity, or still at some reduced level).
As far as this website, it saw a 41% increase in visitors in 2022 compared to 2021. With the trajectory is headed back up, so let’s hope for an even better next year.
Maybe I’ll even resume doing video interviews, though the landscape in 2023 is very different than what it was like when I first started this site. I think posting 15 second TikTok videos or someone screaming when they see a clown might get a larger audience than interview videos 😉
The final two weekends of haunted house season 2022 have begun, with several haunts operating Thursday-Sunday. I haven’t heard from any other haunts that want to be listed, but if I do, they will be added to the site.
When you buy tickets online, you usually do so either to guarantee entry (for places that sell out), or to get a discount. Most online ticket sales have extra fees added. Here is a rundown of the area haunts and their fees, from most expensive to least:
Adventureland Park – $4 Processing Fee (per item, but no fee for $5 mAlice add-on)
Scare DSM – $2.50 Fee (per ticket)
Slaughterhouse – $2.48 Processing and Service Fee (per ticket)
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park – $1.50 Service Fee (per item)
Parking is also extra at Adventureland ($20, or $15 online) and Sleepy Hollow Sports Park ($5?). Some have had to pay after buying a ticket online, and others have said buying a ticket online includes parking. Always check with the haunt to make sure.
Also, Adventureland is cashless as of 2022, so you have to have a credit card to pay for parking. Other places may be cash only to buy tickets or pay for parking at the event.
In the future, I’ll be adding these items as categories to the listing.
The Harry Potter House is back for 2022. Located at 3720 Brook Ridge Ct in Des Moines, this house gets quite the themed overlay this time of year. Drive by and check out the large-size Hogwarts Express train poking out from the building, and see skeleton versions of your favorite Harry Potter characters in the yard. It’s quite the display!