Most Americans like Halloween even better than their birthdays, according to a Harris Interactive poll. Here are five reasons construction professionals should like it, too:
1. It’s a monster-sized industry.
Haunted houses don’t build themselves, so the $1 billion-a-year industry drops a scary amount of cash every scream season on framers, carpenters, electricians, painters, designers and remodelers.
In fact, most of the owners of the 2,500-plus Halloween-themed attractions around the country are haunt-epreneurs whose forte is far more creepy and crawly than structural beams and wiring.
Proof: “It’s a miracle I can do self-serve gas,” haunted house producer and designer Steve Kopelman told NBC News. “I’m the guy who can figure it out and market it, but if I’m holding a hammer we’ve got problems.”
Another scaremeister, the co-owner of New York City’s longest running and “most horrifying” haunted house—called Nightmare, has said he shells out up to $200,000 every summer overhauling, adding onto and updating the attraction.
2. The profits are hair-raising.
It costs in the neighborhood of $1 million to build a “mega haunt” like the Great American Nightmare in Phoenix and Chicago, Netherworld in Atlanta and the Beast in Kansas City, MO, estimates HauntWorld, which bills itself as “the biggest online directory for anything and everything Halloween, haunted, spooky, scary and … bump in the night,” and named those three haunts among the 13 “best and scariest” fright night attractions nationwide.
And in the 30 to 45 days the blood-soaked buildings are open for business each year, their owners scare a collective $1 billion worth of revenue out of twisted ticket-purchasers who pay up to $30 for the chance to come undone over the undead.
3. There’s a market for haunted homes.
The owner of the shuttered Nightmare on Grayson has moved his house of horrors—plus a new Ouija board museum--into the apartment building he owns and lives in on San Antonio’s East Side. And he’s got contracts from enough terror-seeking tenants to fill half of the 16 units under construction that will share the building with the ghouls and goblins hiding in the “haunted” apartment down the hall.
“It probably comes across to a lot of people as chaotic,” owner Gordon Wise told the San Antonio Express of the fearless folks who will rent apartments ranging from 800-square-foot studios to 3,500-square-foot three-bedrooms. “But we’re doing this for people who want to be a part of something not traditional or normal.”
4. Ghosts tend to live in fixer-uppers.
Among the 10 most famous haunted homes for sale around the world is Dracula's Transylvania castle, on the market in Romania for $78 million, even though the vampire Count would be rolling in his grave if he could see the ruined condition of the nightmare palace author Bram Stoker based his story on.
The 5,813-square-foot former Los Angeles home of “Ozzie and Harriet” Nelson’s family also has a for-sale sign out front. That’s where Ozzie, who died in 1975 when he was 68, reportedly haunts the house with audible footsteps in hallways, and by opening doors and turning lights on and off. Recently remodeled, the owners of the five-bedroom, four-bath home want $5.25 million.
They say it’s not haunted.
5. Homebuyers ain’t scared of no ghosts.
In fact, the National Association of Realtors reported last Halloween that plenty of consumers would gladly move in with Casper the friendly ghost—for a deep discount on the selling price.
In the survey, 26% said they would consider buying a haunted house, compared with 38% who turned out to be phasmophobes. Of the would-be buyers, 34% would buy for a 1% to 30% discount, while 19% would risk it only for 51% or more.
In honor of America’s third-favorite holiday this year, a Trulia survey discovered that homebuyers are more afraid of living near a trailer park than they are of sleeping in a house haunted by the ghost of someone who was murdered there. Also higher on their list of horrors: neighbors who leave their holiday decorations up all year and ugly wallpaper.
Besides, 68% of the survey participants said, they can have the house exorcized if it’s haunted.