Are you a fan of real-life horror or even Halloween? Whether you still adorn your Halloween costume or you are a staunch fan at heart, there is a lucrative opportunity for you to get paid staying in a haunted house.
There are haunted houses where they are more than willing to part with good money for anyone who can go through any frightening challenges they throw your way.
You get paid to be scared to death, as long as you make it through the house.
Table of Contents
- History of Haunted Houses of America
- How to get paid to stay in a haunted house
- 1. Running a Haunted House
- 2. Paranormal Investigator
- 3. Get Paid to Spend the Night in a Haunted House
- 4. Playing the Role of a Scare Actor
- Which Haunted House Can You Apply to?
- McKamey Manor, Tennessee
- Erebus Haunted House
- 13th Gate Haunted House
History of Haunted Houses of America
In America, the first haunted houses started popping up during the Great Depression and were mainly Halloween-themed. They started these as deterrence for young kids who, in the spirit of Halloween, went around damaging property, harassing strangers, and vandalizing.
They were set up in the basement where a group of parents would come together to decorate and hold parties for the tricksters.
It wasn’t until Disney created one of their own in 1969 (Haunted Mansion) that these haunt houses became cultural icons. The Haunted Mansion became a tremendous success, with over 82,000 visitors shortly after its opening.
This success motivated people like Jerry Falwell and Liberty University -two evangelical Christians, to come up with their own attractions which were anti-Halloween and were called the “Hell Houses”.
However, it wasn’t until Hollywood started making movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween that the haunted house industry got a lot more demand.
In present times, the haunted house industry has expanded and incorporated much more realistic and scarier props. There are also escape games, traumatic designed experiences–some are so scary that instead of paying for entrance, you get paid to get through the haunted house.
Some houses are haunted by ghosts of people, who either committed suicide or were murdered in them. These are reserved for the serious freak fans who don’t mind clashing with the supernatural for a night.
How to get paid to stay in a haunted house
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or just looking to put yourself to the test and make some money in the process, staying in a haunted house can be the perfect opportunity for you.
Since it became a big industry that operates all year round, the owners of these houses go the extra mile to terrify you. With the improvement of props that look like real-life people and costumed actors, these places are not for the faint of the heart. For those of you who can stand a long fright night, here are some ways that you can make money out of it:
1. Running a Haunted House
Number one on the list of ways to make money staying in a haunted house is running one as a business. Across the globe, the business of scaring people has been growing gradually–not even the pandemic halted it.
If you are looking to get in on the action, there are several things that you will need to focus on if you are to make good money. Finding a house that is actually haunted by the paranormal will give you an edge in the market.
However, if you have to make create the haunt from scratch, you first need to find a house that fits the profile. Look for a building that’s rundown and is located somewhere isolated, or at least far from the nearest neighbor.
Do proper market research and make sure that you have all the legal requirements before you start your business. You also need to ensure that you adhere to the fire department regulations to keep your guests safe in case of an accident.
Finally, come up with a theme or story that balances scaring and entertaining your guests.
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2. Paranormal Investigator
Another way how to get paid to stay in a haunted house is by working as a paranormal investigator. People are generally skeptical of things that they can’t “see” such as ghouls, and this creates a gap in the market for ghost hunters.
For you to be an effective ghost hunter, you need to have patience above all else. Unlike in movies where ghosts are detected fast and communicate with ease, ghost hunters claim that this isn’t always the case in real life.
This job can be a slow way of making money–first, you need to invest in high-tech equipment for searching and detecting paranormals. Though most people who call for your help won’t pay you, you can make money by being smart about it.
Organizing public events in houses you find haunted is one way of making money; you could also start a YouTube channel where you post all your findings to grow a following that will eventually turn into a source of income.
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3. Get Paid to Spend the Night in a Haunted House
Are you gutsy enough to spend a night in a haunted house? If so, you could make some good money staying in haunted houses. This has become a great side hustle, especially for guys who are into the paranormal and don’t mind being scared to death.
There is a house in Tennessee where you could make a cool $20,000 if you make it through the night. Adhere to the guidelines provided by the home’s owner–so far, no one has made it through to claim the prize money.
Before you can venture into this terror tour, you first need to prove that you are healthy and sober. You also need to sign a waiver and have medical insurance before you are allowed to stay in this haunted house.
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4. Playing the Role of a Scare Actor
Although all haunted houses are designed using props, there are always some costumed actors in the house to get things lively.
Even in a setup like this, you still need to be professional and enthusiastic about your job if you are to do it properly. Being aware of what is happening around you is an exceptional skill since most of the time you might be in dark or dimly lit places.
Awareness will come in handy when scaring people who you can barely see. Thinking quickly on your feet will also go a long way in making your performance great and believable by the people you are trying to scare.
Another way of getting paid is by working as a scare actor. This simply means that you get dressed in scary costumes, and give the visitors the best scare of their lives.
Because of the demands of this job, you need to walk, crouch, and stand for long periods in hot, damp, and even rainy weather.
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Which Haunted House Can You Apply to?
Now that you know what you can do to make money staying in a haunted house, let’s check out some of the most popular ones that you could work with.
Though there are many, we are only going to check out four of them to give you a rough idea of what you’ll be working with.
Come on now, let’s get to it!
McKamey Manor, Tennessee
The McKameys Manor is one of the highest-paying haunted houses, with a cash reward of $20,000, and probably one of the scariest places to spend the night.
This spooky attraction is the brainchild of Russ McKamey, built in San Diego in 2001, and then moved to Summertown, Tennessee. This was after they let him go from the advocate job he got after leaving the Navy in the late 1980s.
To gain entrance into this house of horrors, all you need for payment is a bag of dog food for the owners’ five dogs. You also need to be in good health (physically and mentally), sign a 40-page waiver, pass a background check and drug test, and have medical insurance.
After that, it’s time for you to wait in line, for there are thousands of visitors waiting for their turn to win the $20,000. Taking the whole spooky tour would take about 10 hours to complete–though no one has ever completed it.
Mainly because of the hardships and frightful scenarios that include being force-fed, buried in mud or tight spaces, blindfolded, exposed to cockroaches, subjected to a feeling of being drowned, intense audio, and damp conditions, among other freaky tests.
They videotape the entire experience to ensure the safety of both the participants and the owner of the haunted house.
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The Netherworld haunted house has been in business since 1997 and it has grown to include haunts, a monster museum (house of creeps), laser tag (Netherworld Laser Adventures), and escape rooms (Escape the Netherworld).
Armstrong and Billy Messina found it after a client they’d been designing haunts for failed to open the show for one year. With their experience in the field and Armstrong’s understanding of the psychology of spookiness, they could start and grow their business in no time.
It’s among the top scariest haunted house in America where horror lovers get entertained to the spooky Rise of the Netherspawn attraction.
Visitors will take a walk through a dark and fearsome labyrinth filled with special effects, live actors, and monsters. If you are looking for a way to make money this Halloween, working as a live actor is a great way to go.
Though the Netherworld Laser tag adventures and the Escape room are open on weekends all year round, the Haunted House is only open for the Halloween season. They aim to balance Halloween and Horror factors to ensure that you are still having fun, even when you are screaming your guts out.
Erebus Haunted House
The Erebus Haunted attraction is one of the longest in the world, with visitors walking for up to half a mile of terror. It’s in downtown Pontiac, Michigan, in a four-story house that used to be a parking garage.
Edward and Jim Terebus started this scary attraction in 2000, and it’s only open during fall. To keep things interesting, Erebus maintains its key themes but changes its events and basic effects.
It’s a great place to visit with your friends for some blood-curdling screams, laughter, and terrifying thrills throughout the attraction. It made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the length of its attraction.
Beware that when going through this attraction, the spooky characters are going to touch, bury you alive, throw you into a bottomless pit, and get eaten by a 6-foot dragon.
The age limit is 13 years and kids are advised to be accompanied by a grown-up. They have also been featured in the Oakland Press, The Discovery Channel, and Detroit News, among many other places–so you know it’s bound to be a killer show!
Some of these haunted businesses offer giveaways during holidays, such as All Hallows’ Eve, to attract more visitors.
The 13th Gate Haunted House is located in Louisiana and it is open 7 days a week all year round. It was begun by Sanburn in 2001 and gets its name from the 13 themed areas at the visitors’ disposal. It is quite famous for its ultra-realism and highly detailed displays.
It’s known as the scariest haunted house in Louisiana, and though it has no age restrictions, kids under 12 years are encouraged to be accompanied by their parents.
To bring the spookiness into full effect, this designer uses strobe lights, intense sounds, moving floors, live costumed actors, fog, and sudden movements.
People who are suffering from heart conditions, broken bones, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, pregnancy, and mental health may not enter. This also applies to intoxicated people, and those that aren’t physically fit -it’s a long walk through the attraction.
Parents who take their kids to the 13th Gate haunting are fully responsible for any accidents that their kids might suffer.
The house retains the right to refuse anyone’s entrance, so it’s best to observe the guidelines provided if you’d like to go in.
Though these haunted houses work all year round, it’s during the Halloween season that business is quite booming.
For all you rookie fright fans looking for work, the best time to start is during holidays like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Perchtenlaufen (celebrated in Europe) among others.