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How to Address Kids at HOS

08/21/13 at 11:21pm in How to Address Kids at HOS (Latest Edit: 08/22/13 at 02:36pm by Zachary.)
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I mentioned this before here, but Halloween is the only major holiday that is celebrate in two extremely different ways by kids and adults. At this park, this causes issues for two groups of people (which I will be referencing going further).

Group A: The grown ups and children old enough to get scared. They're ones who like the houses and being scared, and who can handle a little adult humor. They may or may not drink but they're there to celebrate Halloween with good old fashion fear.
Group B: Kids and their guardians. Still in the comfort zone Sesame Street and Disney characters, they're not old enough to understand the enjoyment of fear or the themes of Halloween and the parents intend to keep it that way.

Both groups have valid arguments as to why they should be able to enjoy HoS and they both are delicious bags of money in the park's eyes. The problem is that both styles can not mix well enough for either style to truly thrive. Too scary and Group B gets upset that the park isn't thinking enough of the children and too lame and Group A goes to one of the many other haunted attractions in the area because the park isn't thrilling. I have no pity for the people who have to balance these things at the park. I do think that there are several ways to make a majority of both groups happy and maybe for the park to make a bit more money as well.

Freaky Farms:
One of the major issues with Group B right now is that there simply is not any specific Halloween things for Group B to do right now, which is a huge reason they're sticking around at night and going into a certain show which might not be appropriate for them. So my idea is this: Take Festhaus Park and turn it into an activity center for children. It would include fall staples for children such as a corn maze, up charge pumpkin painting and other arts and crafts, petting zoo, age appropriate shows (This would actually be a /perfect/ place for a smaller scale Jack is Back, out of traffic and away from where people might accidentally be exposed to Kesha), ect. The park might even be able to rent a small flat ride or two for the kids. The advantage of this location is that it's isolated enough to feel like it's a separate mini hamlet for kids. This would also have fall related items that parents would like to pick up as well.

Scavenger Hunts:
An up charge activity, this would be something to engage children (as well as tire them out). There would be items set up around the park that they children would be given a clue sheet to look for. Once they find everything and return it, they get a prize (which is ultimately what the up charge is for). This could actually work year round but simply be changed depending on the season or special event (Illuminights: Hey Kids! Can you find the crime against nature that likes to cook?)

Jr. "Spooky" house:
Think of this as a haunted maze but small scale and silly as opposed to large scale and body parts hanging from the wall. This would be open during the day, be very small in scale, and would be more of a fun house as far as props go. Once again, it's making Group B feel acknowledged during HoS instead of ignoring them.

So we have lots of things for Group B to do now, they're happier because they have Halloween stuff to do that's age appropriate, their children are being thought of, and they're spending more money. What about Group A? Aside from maybe painting naughty things on pumpkins or the odd adult who would listen to Nikki Minaj on their own free will, none of this stuff is for them. This is where the does a "last call" of sorts. Half an hour before HoS officially starts, the park shuts down every single kiddy ride, close every kiddy hamlet, the final performance of the kiddy shows (Including Jack is Back, it's a kiddy show and has always been one) is over by now, ect ect ect. There is absolutely nothing for a child too young to be at HoS to do. While this certainly won't get rid of all of Group B from the park, it sends the very clear message to Group B of, "Hey, your kids had all day to play, it's night time for the grown ups to have some fun."

Yes, the park has been trying to relay this message for years. They've also been relaying the message of, "Sesame Street is still open to play at", "Here's where to park your stroller while you wait to go in line at the haunted house.", and, "If you manage to avoid the monsters in the scare zones, the Red Baron and Kiddy Bumpercars are open until the park closes." Pretty much the park has been a terrible case of, "Do what I say, not what I do." With this last call procedure, it will show that actions are louder than words and that children should not be there.

I also think that the park should be more proactive with Group B children who might try to get dragged into houses or may not know what to expect. This should start at the entrance to each house by having a uniformed security guard address Group B (lets call them "issues") kind of like they did for Fiends last year. Informing them that the house might not be appropriate and they will be asked to leave the house if the children become a safety issue by panicking or whatever. There should also be a policy in place where if a group is in line next to a small child, that group can defer a bit to let that child go through ahead of them so the child and the group get some distance (I've done this unofficially a few times and it actually works great).

Now lets say that a family of both Group A and Group B come from out of town, and they simply can't leave while the others are enjoying the houses. I think that there should be something to keep them entertained while they are split up. That's why I suggest Dig it Up being moved to the Globe and converting the lobby of the globe into an area where kids can play, watch cartoons, pretty much do whatever it takes to pass the time while the Group A members of the family do whatever.

I feel that this would be the easiest way for the park to focus more on each group while giving them both the time and attention they deserve so both groups can enjoy the most of the park.
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08/21/13 at 11:26pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #2
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Brilliant.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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08/22/13 at 11:06am in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #3
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So coming out of the HoS thread, I think there should be obvious information stations throughout the park to explain what happens at night, answer any questions about the houses/shows, and explain what to do if a child panics in a house. This is all about increasing communication.
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08/22/13 at 01:07pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #4
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They do have the Welcome Center at the front of the park that can explain the event thoroughly as well as team members stationed by most of the large maps located throughout the park that could help explain the event as they understand it.
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08/22/13 at 01:10pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #5
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Yes, but they're not there in a way to encourage parents to ask questions. The info both last year was a 50% off store....
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08/22/13 at 01:11pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #6
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People will not ask, they have to be told. That is on the park and their lack of communication with guests. At least for fiends, the ushers explain that it is not a kids show
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08/22/13 at 01:15pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #7
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What I would think (hope?) is that if you have a few booths around the park advertised as "HoS event and parent info", it would encourage questions.
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08/22/13 at 01:16pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #8
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Signs signs everywhere are signs. Messing up thee scenery...

People in general aren't gonna read them. I can only imagine that most people don't wanna be told what to do by some park kid. I suggest quarter water blasters near the house entrances. Winking

"As king, you must find the good in any situation."
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08/22/13 at 01:22pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #9
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If they could find adult employees who could it, that would be awesome!
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08/22/13 at 01:22pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #10
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CK brings up a good point, not matter how many signs, what kinds or signs, etc. people will still blatantly ignore them unless they are told to their face.

What I could see working is if parents were somehow informed or warned prior to entering the park, like I don't know, entrance turnstile team members? As the parents are scanning the tickets, have the team member explain this event to them, This works because scanning passes takes a good minute or two especially for a family. They just have to make the explanation as simple as possible.
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08/22/13 at 01:30pm in How to Address Kids at HOS (Latest Edit: 08/22/13 at 05:50pm by chickenking.)
Post: #11
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On a serious note. I have suggested before that the TERROR be up front. Make the turnstiles a scary place. Put the most awful, vile theming and actors moving up and down the lines to get the point across. Nothing beats a good visual! Hell, put chainsaw zombies and wolves at the tollbooths!!

"As king, you must find the good in any situation."
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08/22/13 at 01:30pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #12
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If the signs and audio announcements don't work, telling them won't. Maybe encouraging them to take responsibility will help.... If you discourage them (like the last call thing which I think is the best option at this point) from being there, it won't matter add much.
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08/22/13 at 01:35pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #13
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Telling a parent to be more responsible is opening a door we may not want to enter. As the good Dr. Likes to say, who are we to judge?

"As king, you must find the good in any situation."
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08/22/13 at 01:37pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #14
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Not telling them, having stations advertising information for the best way for your kids to enjoy HoS.
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08/22/13 at 05:33pm in How to Address Kids at HOS
Post: #15
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Somebody said this in the HoS thread, but I agree with them, they need to have the security enforced within the houses, and somebody at the front telling them that "while you should know your child/children best, please be aware that this isn't for kids, and security will remove you and your child/children if they deem that your child can not handle it."

It'll make waiting a tad longer, but it's the best they got at the current moment.

Parents who think they're entitled because something happened to their child, are always going to complain. But honestly it's better than the TL;DR signs they place outfront.
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