One haunted attraction I heard from (elsewhere in Iowa, not in our area) told me that last year, 2020, they had their largest year ever. They were in a smaller community (less than 10,000 population) so perhaps the Covid impact there was far less than it was here in the big city of Des Moines.
I have not had a chance to follow up and get more details, but I can speculate:
- Since many haunts were closed due to Covid concerns, customers had fewer choices and would be concentrated at the remaining open haunts.
- If that is the case, even with fewer customers going to haunts, some locations might see increases as they absorb a greater percentage of a smaller number of customers (compared to normally getting a smaller percentage of a greater number of customers).
Locally, we’ve seen news reports from one haunt operator stating last year was down 50% from their biggest year. That is still much more than the haunts that were closed, which saw 0%, I suppose.
Of the attractions that operated last year, many did so at reduced capacity — not mixing groups, spacing out groups, etc. If capacity were reduced by 50%, then reducing guests by 50% would still be a pretty good turnout (i.e., 100% of what you could handle) on those busiest nights.
So far, reports are that opening weekend was still quite soft — but it normally is at most haunts. The big weekends are the one closest to Halloween and the one before it, usually.
Let’s see what weekend 2 is like, starting this Friday night at a haunt near you. Check the listing on this site to see what is operating. I have listed every haunt I have heard from, so far.