Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Funds

I've gotten a few emails from people sending me a link to promote some guy asking for money so he can build his Halloween display the way he really wants to. For, you see, he needs over $2,000 to really make it something special. I've featured his life-sized crashed locomotive on my blog before, back when I guess he was funding his yard haunts himself.

Click below to see what I mean:




And now I see that another haunt is using that fund-raising site to ask for money so they too can build their haunt - The House at Haunted Hill.

I'm trying to wrap my brain around this concept, and the only thing I'm coming up with is that it's sorta kinda in the same ballpark as the public funding the arts, similar to donating to public television or your favorite public radio station. But it just feels off to me. I'm still half-expecting the guy to say "Surprise! I'm giving all that to the homeless AND I'm still going to build my haunt!"

A good friend of mine once said "So much of haunting is making due with what you got." And I agree with him.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess I would have expected more from someone who was asking for money. Also he doesnt mention donating anything to anyone. I agree with you, you have to use what you have.

Mr. Macabre said...

Hmmmmm, interesting quandary. I have to agree with you on it not feeling right.
I clicked on the link...an impressive haunt. But haunting is also about innovation and indeed what your friend said "making due with what you got".
For gut-feelings sake,this notion just isn't ringing true and I don't know why. It just doesn't seem right for some reason.

Rot said...

And it should be noted that he exceeded his goal.

Pam Morris said...

agree completely...it just doesn't seem right to be asking for money for something that is merely a hobby for someone when so many people are struggling to keep their houses, etc. it looks very cool but I have to shake my head "no". it's a great haunt but.... someone asked me if I was going to ask for donations for my haunt this year...just the thought made me feel all guilty and creepy.

SmartLiLBtch said...

Here's my 2 cents: If you need cash, turn your haunt into a haunted house/walk or something with what you have, but don't ask for money so you're yard can look really cool for Halloween. The closest I get to asking for donations is telling my family that I seriously want Home Depot gift cards for Christmas and my birthday. :o)

Cabrina said...

We turned my folks house into a 2 room walk through for 5 years. Folks would ask at the door if we were charging or if we took donations.

We never did. And we had a line of kids down the block come through every year.

It's just not cool to ask for money UNLESS, you're doing a huge haunt like the professional ones.

crudedoodle.com said...

I'm going to do this and build the crappiest haunt ever and keep all the money. Like a Halloween version of The Producers.
"How can we make more money with a flop than with a hit?!"

NecroBones said...

Yes, it seems strange to me too. I mean, I used to run a haunt out of our living room when I was a teen, working with only about $20 a year. A lot of wondrous things can be done with a shoe-string budget and a little creativity.

Asking for everyone else to subsidize your haunt feels like asking people to pay for your hobby for you. Like "donate to my new golf clubs fund!" or something like that.

NecroBones said...

On the flip side, a local neighborhood makes a big deal out of Halloween, with the whole street decorating and closing the road to traffic. They get several thousand trick-or-treaters, have to get "block party" permits, and so on, so they have a donation box to help offset the costs. But in that case I think it's fine, since it's all going into the event that's supporting the neighborhood.

Rot said...

crudedoodle...hysterical!

Necrobones, I think that's really at the heart of it. The hobby aspect of it. I just kept finding myself saying "Well, I didn't tell you to build a giant drilling machine, so don't ask ME for help."

Drop Gallow said...

Wait, so I can just ask for money from strangers on the internet and they'll give it to me?

This is genius.

Can I ask for old bed sheets? That's what I really need ... and a broken fan - the fan blade on my homemade web-spinner is bent.

I guess if I ask for money, I can just by a web gun - but that doesn't sound half as much fun....

Sara said...

I agree with Pam. Asking for money when the economy is at a low seems in poor taste maybe?

Like Tim Gunn always says, "make it wooork!"

Rob said...

Agreed..Two problems.

One.. The haunt should have a cause. The haunting community is possibly one of the most giving communities out there. I'm not as interested in freeing up someones haunt budget, as I am for freeing up someones haunt budget so they can spice up donations for the Human Fund. I dunno, haunting has always been pick and pull from thrift shops, and dumpsters. This seems like shorthand for a lot of character building experiences.

Two.. Next year, there will be hundreds of haunts on that site. Expect Christmas to be there too. It will be sad to see the very cool idea become clogged with donations for fog machines.

I guess I'm showing my more grizzled haunter side this morning. Maybe I am just sad I didn't think of it first.. hahahah!

Costume Bot said...

I saw this guy's "fundraising" schtick a while back and I have to say I'm amazed anyone donated. I certainly won't and this guy's in my own neighborhood! I LOVE Halloween but the spirit of this just seems wrong to me. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece, Rot. On one hand, I agree with what everyone here has already said. Not to mention the fact that he might get "tired" again this year and not deliver.

If I can note a silver lining though, it would be that the donations obviously came from people that really, really want to see something neat for Halloween. Not all of us are creative, builder types and with our fingers crossed, hope that each year someone else provides us with some special. So it's interesting that he's had 85 donors. The people really want some Halloween goodness in their neighborhood, and I can't fault them for that =)

With that said, maybe he should have taken suggestions or have donors vote from a list of things that he COULD build, rather than just deciding on a giant drill....at least everyone would feel like they had a role in it rather than just a wallet. I dunno. Just a thought.

@Crudedoodle-that's a riot!

NoahFentz said...

hhmmm...

So I wonder if he is charging the Trick or Treaters for the candy?

Money money money...

When I was a kid we had a family tradition at Christmas that we all had to "handmake" a gift for each other.

I am at the point where I can go into a Halloween store and not wish I had to have that store bought prop. I enjoy making my own props and to be able to share our family traditions with the nieghbors and friends.

It sounds to me that it has become a chore for him to haunt his yard...

Anonymous said...

I gave him money for a simple reason, to be connected to something really cool in a area I used to work in. I can't be there in person to see it but by contributing I will actually get a piece of it after Halloween.

GoneferalinID said...

Just for perspective-I'm sure there are plenty of folks that think us haunters are off our rockers for spending what we do on our own haunts (money and time). If people think that this project is worth their hard earned cash, they are welcome to hand it over to him in my book.

Slarti said...

Yeeeah, that seems fairly shady to me. Haunting is a hobby, albeit an expensive one sometimes. We also collect comics, and we don't ask for donations to expand our collection, even though that can be an expensive hobby as well.

Otaku said...

Interesting situation, alright. Are the donations tax-deductible? Just kidding...
As others said, this just feels wrong. Like all home haunters, I do it for the love of the holiday and if I get some screams for my efforts, that's gravy.
I have to admit the guy does a really labor and material-intensive haunt, but if he needs outside funding he ought to consider going pro. Asking for donations is fine, but after the display is up and folks are enjoying the hard work he put into it. Hopefully he won't get an "investor" asking for his money back because he doesn't like the haunt.

Otaku said...

One last thought after reading the donation request from House on Haunted Hill - to quote Super Chicken, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred."

MorbidMariah said...

Yeah, I don't like it. I like it when haunters collect for charity ONLY. My haunt is just a smallish party and yard haunt, but I collect for a local no-kill shelter. Not much, but it makes me feel good, and makes others feel good too. The haunt grabs attention, and makes people feel like giving. I think unless you're a pro money making kinda venture, haunting should be for the fun, community, and creative outlet of it, not for money.

JHMDF said...

This is the first year I will be actually putting out a donation bucket at my walk through... just a little bucket with a sign saying donations. I have fought the idea for years, but after a few people in my neighborhood said they would be happy to donate some money to see the haunt grow, I changed my mind. I take off 5 days from work, and if someone would like to throw a couple bucks in the bucket for me to supply a attraction for them, then that's fine with me. This is the first year where I feel my haunt is big enough to even warrant that little bucket.

Now... as for taking donations online from people that might not even see your haunt in person... It is a bit weird. Especially saying the money is going towards a specific prop, and not like the electric bill or paying for food for the build crew or something. It's the way the donation thing is worded that makes it sound weird to me... if it just said "accepting donations to help run the haunt"... seems a little less pushy. I think if Rot asked for donations to help keep his haunt going... I might do it.

JHMDF said...

Correction... I did see he put that he spends money to feed volunteers. Either way... he's still asking for money for one specific prop... and it's not really even a "Halloweenish" style prop. A giant drill? The train through the wall was pushing it for even being Halloween related. The skeleton and the tomb stone were the only things that tied it together.

Anonymous said...

And so now he has the dough. And he is going to build it in 2 weeks??

Ghoul Friday said...

I don't know. Although it seems...odd...and it would feel better if it was attached to a charity, I don't see this as some big evil move. I mean, he asked for money, he said what he was spending it on, and let people decide if they wanted to give. Pretty straight forward.

While I have never put a donation button on my site, or google ads, I don't have problems with people who do. I mean, if the general public WANT to give you their money because they like your work/site/hobby, then let them. I don't see this as being drastically different.

Is it in bad TASTE? *shrug* That's a whole other issue, but I don't think it makes him a bad guy.

The guy has also been haunting for 15 years, getting bigger each year (as we all do) and he's done large scale projects in the past. I'm going to assume that he's the highlight of the street for the local kids and families, so it isn't like this project won't bring joy to people in his neighbourhood. It's not like he just showed up out of nowhere, decided to build his first big haunt, and asked for cash. He's invested his own money in the past, and realized he could make something even BIGGER if he had outside help.

I think as haunters we also get caught up in our own unspoken rules. You're a REAL home haunter if you build everything yourself. You're a REAL home haunter if you build everything yourself AND it's only made of recycled items. Yes, I have more respect for people who make items in their haunt and who have the brilliance to repurpose items around the house, but I can't fault someone for wanting to use actual building materials that didn't come from a second hand store or garbage bin.

I know I'll probably take some flack for my comment, but I just think maybe we get caught up in our own politics sometimes. We get enough flack from people who don't haunt and don't like Halloween.

Anonymous said...

@Ghoul Friday- You make a valid argument. The guy was straight-forward and the question of whether or not it was done in poor taste will have many answers/responses. So that's a moot point. Everyone's book of etiquette is different.

I do applaud you for pointing out the oft-times elitist attitudes from haunters. I think that anyone willing to decorate their home and yard in celebration of Halloween (and for this haunter, particularly for the entertainment of kids) should not feel poorly because their decor is not custom, homemade or from recycled material, etc, etc. I mean, we're all on Team Halloween here, aren't we?!? So why do we have to turn up our noses at people with varying degrees of creativity and or craftsmanship? We all do it because we love October 31st. Period.

Rot said...

I wouldn't categorize my opinion on this topic as being a part of an elitist group of haunters. I addressed this issue because I was emailed a few times from people wanting me to promote the guy's fund raising. So it seemed like a good time to post about something that I think is going to become commonplace in the world of haunting. I wanted to express my opinion and see how other people feel about it.

That said, I welcome the debate. And 85 supporters gladly paid up and didn't have a problem with it.

But I'm one of the people who do find it inappropriate. And it's not about the guy not building a display from scratch, it's about him asking someone else to pay for it.

Ghoul Friday said...

Just to clarify, my comment wasn't a direct response to Rot. It was a cumulative response to ALL the different comments made by other posters as well, especially the common suggestion (as I interpreted it) that if you want a larger budget for your build then you should be a pro haunt and not a home haunt. I think it's a good suggestion to solve the money problem, but I certainly don't think it's an all or nothing situation (where the ONLY way it's ok for this guy to raise money is by making a walk thru/pro haunt).

As for anon below me, I think they were more responding to my example rather than an insult to Rot directly. I mean I've been outright told I'm not a haunter because all my decorations are throughout the house and not outside, and I don't let the general public through my house (just invited guests). It was just an example of some of the "rules" or "stipulations" certain people have of what makes someone a proper home haunter. I should have been more specific in my example. And I'll correct that now.

The majority of people so far in these comments have agreed with the idea that a home haunter should just "work within their means". And my opinion is yeah, there is pride in that. But I disagree that this should be the rule, and that we should suggest the haunter in question is shady or going against the true nature of a haunter by asking for donations. Yeah, we all scrounge and salvage. But some haunters HAVE $2,000 to drop on their home haunt each year (some people rent space for their props during the year for that amount). And them having money doesn't make them less of a home haunter or mean they are breaking some haunter code, right? It just happens their "making due" is better than my "making due".

So why can't this guy ask for donations to make his "making due" better, and include more money (instead of coming up with a business venture aka going pro)?

As haunters, many of us give to each other all the time. How many of us send or receive prop materials in the mail from other haunters? And while I admit it isn't MONEY changing hands, I don't see how it's that different (since we're sending it so the other person doesn't have to spend money).

Would we be more comfortable with this guy if he was asking for materials? Neat idea, but kinda hard for a project of this size.

I think this is a really interesting discussion and I've actually been waiting and wondering if SOMEONE would bring it up.

Anonymous said...

I was not trying to insinuate that Rot is an elitist. I was simply stating that some haunters truly turn up their noses at the thought of store-bought props and haunters that use them. I was trying to say that we all do what we do for the love of Halloween and should not be chastised because we don't have time, vision, or money or whatever to construct our own props.

Now that doesn't mean that there isn't something to be said about the quality of homemade props. Yes, they tend to be much better, and grander than anything found in-store. But there's no denying that there does seem to be snobbish, unwritten "rules to haunting" that are uncalled for. I was not making a personal dig at anyone on this site. Just stating an observation that haunting is not an equal opportunity effort. And I think effort is everything here. We all just want to do something for Halloween and yet some of us turn into Clark Griswold and enter into insecure competitions with neighbors or other haunters as to who does it best. Why can't we all just be happy for one another and grateful that others love Halloween as much as we do? Isn't the point to decorate as many homes as possible, to keep the spirit alive?