The Haunters Spotlight is a series focused on presenting an inside look into the world of those who dedicate their lives to the haunt industry. Each piece will focus on owners, actors, and staff who have deep passion and love for haunting. With this edition, we are honored to feature the career of Jennifer Condron, owner of Bane Haunted House and formerly The Haunted Hotel. With over fifteen years of industry experience, Jennifer started out as a scare-actress and would like to give credit to my husband John. Jennifer attributes much of Bane’s success to her husband and expressed that without him Bane wouldn’t be what it is today. John is responsible for bringing to life Bane’s vision and also serves as a creative filter, often reminding Jennifer that there are some limits within the haunted attraction industry.
Describe your interest in the haunt industry. What made you want to work in a haunted attraction? What first interested or inspired you? My interest in the industry began as a young child. My whole family has always been into anything horror, we always had the best Halloween costumes and the more elaborately decorated house. As a college student, I stumbled upon auditions for a local haunted attraction and I couldn’t wait to be an actor! After working at a few Haunts here and there, I knew I had found my niche. I was then hell-bent on opening my own and the rest is history!
What is the source of your creativity? What drives you? What drives me is the need to be unique and different. I have been to countless haunted attractions throughout the country and in my opinion, for the most part, they are all pretty much the same. I wanted to Bane to be something different. Edgy and unique yet scary and fun!
What do you enjoy most about your position? The best thing about owning a haunt is being able to see the look on customers faces at the end of the attraction. That just brings it all home for me. When they come out sweating and smiling, we know all of our hard work has paid off!
What are the greatest challenges you face each season? The greatest challenges we face every season is trying to find the most qualified actors. Because we do not rely on any animatronics and we keep expanding the haunt every year we need more and more qualified actors and the pickings are slim, unfortunately.
If you could tell your customers one thing, what would that be? Why? I would tell them to let go of their inhibitions, come in with an open mind and leave with a smile. We are a gritty extremely immersive attraction, if you’re coming in not looking to be touched or separated then Bane is not for you. But if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, then come on down!
Do you have any stories you would like to share? The evolution of Bane is a story in itself. We went from an outside haunt under a 4,000-sq. ft. haunt to a 40,000 sq. ft. the facility in less than 4 years. Our growth has been steady and we’re excited about the future.
Just as of October 13th, 2017, we’ve had over 600 quitters already. We had 2000 last year, we’ll see how many we get this year!
Where do you see the industry in 10 years? That’s a tough one. If other haunts don’t start changing up their show to match the needs and demands of customers, they’re not going to make it in the industry. Customers want a more personalized immersive experience, not the same old haunt. We think VR is the wave of the future. We are actually in the midst of building the country’s first VR Untethered Multiplayer Escape Room and we’re stoked! From there the possibilities are endless. Maybe a VR haunted house is next? Maybe Bane will be bringing the country’s first Untethered VR Haunted House right to your doorstep?! Our elves have been very busy this year!
Any advice for those who one day would like to enter the haunt industry. First and Foremost, spend money and do it the right way. Running and operating a successful haunted attraction is not cheap, spend the cash and do it up! Take the right safety measures, advertise advertise advertise and if you’re only doing it for the money, stop right now! If you love what you do, your show will be amazing!
Also, be open to working with other attractions in your area. Customers aren’t going to go to your haunt all season long so co-promote with other local Haunts. Coming together and being friendly with your “competition” will surely allow everyone to make money.