Requiem Haunted House in Downtown Caldwell, Idaho, is celebrating its 9th season this year. The haunt is roughly 13,000 square feet spread over multiple levels and takes 30-45 minutes to walk through. However, what makes Requiem stand out is its fun...
Requiem Haunted House in Downtown Caldwell, Idaho, is celebrating its 9th season this year. The haunt is roughly 13,000 square feet spread over multiple levels and takes 30-45 minutes to walk through. However, what makes Requiem stand out is its fun and community engagement culture. Today, we’ll speak with co-owner Krista Brower-Wood about Requiem and their haunt’s culture. Follow along to our Hauntathon: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork
Krista Brower-Wood: My name is Krista Brower-Wood, and my husband and I own Requiem Haunted House in Caldwell, ID. Requiem is in a 100-year-old building, it was an old undertaking furniture store, of all places, back in the 20s. It then became like the first JCPenney’s of Caldwell, and it has been numerous other buildings since then, and then when we bought it was an old pawn shop. It's multi-level, it's a basement, then two full floors, and a half floor. We have six icon characters that we use. The second floor is the freak-out clown floor, and then our third floor is the blackout maze that you have to get through 5000 square feet.
Krista Brower-Wood: 2022 we Changed up our ending because our ending, nobody could seem to get it done right how I wanted it. My husband is the builder part of it, I am the designer with my daughter, we have actually demented minds if you actually come through it. Sort of bad. But our ending changed, then we changed two more rooms on our freak show, and then we changed our path on our blackout maze. We actually made it longer.
Krista Brower-Wood: We opened on the 23rd of September, and we're open on Fridays and Saturdays in September. Then we start Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. In October, and the last two Wednesdays we're Wednesday through Saturday, and of course Wednesday and then Halloween.
Philip Hernandez: What do you think makes your haunt unique?
Krista Brower-Wood: We just do it for so much more on the fun side than a lot of haunts that I've met. We like to have fun when we're at work, 110%. We're trying to open up for all the different holidays. We're also talking about doing laser tag here, because they need something for kids.
Philip Hernandez: Why do you do it?
Krista Brower-Wood: Why do I do it?
Philip Hernandez: Why do you haunt? Yeah.
Krista Brower-Wood: I do it because I love watching people get scared. Scary movies don't scare me anymore because I'm always looking at, "God that be a cool pop." But I do just because it's just watching, especially little kids, and then seeing them through the years get over that fear, and to have fun and to know that this is really fun. I always tell the ones that get scared really extremely, I'm like, "you know what? When you get older, you need to come back and work," and they're like, "why?" And I go, "because it's a completely different type of experience." I've had conversations with 14-year-olds and 13-year-olds, and they're. Like, "OK, so how old do I have to be?" I'm like, "16." "OK. We'll do that." And one of them, she showed up this year to work.
Philip Hernandez: What do you think makes it a different experience?
Krista Brower-Wood: I think because once you realize that these are actual people, and they just have a different job, they enjoy their job, what they're doing, and to see how people react not knowing who they are and having a fun time going through. I think that's a totally different thing than thinking, "Oh God, there's a monster. It's going to hurt me." Then getting over that fear of that, this is a fun thing to come in and have a good time.
Philip Hernandez: Well, why do you think it's important for them to realize that like it's people?
Krista Brower-Wood: I had one of my swimmers come in, and we dude monster be-gone sticks, the glow sticks. She had on, probably, 20. She had him on her neck. I put them on her hair, and she was bawling the entire time through. We got her to the freak out floor, and my daughters in there in the office, and we just brought her in, and we showed her what it was to see people get scared by the cameras. She had the best time, she was laughing so hard by the time. She comes out, she's like, "I can do this next year. " Getting over that fear, it's like a stepping point in their life.
Philip Hernandez: So, you mentioned just then were like saying they had a blast. Then while back you also mentioned that people seeing people scaring, but that having fun at the job, do you think that element of it is also important? That people are having fun at it doing it? Why is that important?
Krista Brower-Wood: Yes, completely. I think that a lot of kids think that when you're scaring people, it's like you have to scare and be scary all the time. You don't. You can be creepy. I have some females, how they get the names out of people, and they're just hilarious about how they get it, and then the kids are like, "oh, I gave up my name!" Then they realize it because it goes through like wildfire and they figure out halfway through the haunt, "oh, that's why she wanted my name." Just having that experience to know that you can have a really good time when you do this, and have fun when you do it, and for our patrons to have fun when they come in, and not to be so petrified that they don't ever want to come back. That's my biggest, because then if you make them so scared that they don't want to come back, you've lost that customer.
Philip Hernandez: So the big topic this year, of course, is staffing. The time we're recording this you haven't started yet, but you are starting soon. Talk to me about that. Are you doing anything different this year to kind of combat that? Have you noticed it being a problem?
Krista Brower-Wood: We haven't noticed that being a problem. One of the biggest things I do with a lot of my actors, is a lot of them go to college, a lot of them go to school. I have no problem working with their schedules.
Philip Hernandez: Flexible schedules. We see that all the time!
Krista Brower-Wood: Yes, and there's a lot, I know some that don't, and I'm just like, "well, can't you just work with them on that?" My actors have to call me at least by 3:30 they'll let me know they can't make it, because I'm on a pool deck and I can't have my phone on the pool deck, so they need to let me know ahead of time because I'm usually running in to here getting off work. So, I try to get that taken care of, and my daughter helps out a lot with trying to make sure our actors are covered, that each room's covered all the time. We also supply dinner every single night to them, no matter what, just because we know they're working their butts off for us.
Philip Hernandez: Are the majority of your cast students?
Krista Brower-Wood: A lot of them are actually. It's about middle. I have some high schools, I have college, but then I have a lot of adults that stay with me all the time.
Philip Hernandez: Have you had to change your compensation at all?
Krista Brower-Wood: Not really.
Philip Hernandez: Are you adjusting your ticket prices at all this year?
Krista Brower-Wood: Yes, we went up a dollar.
Philip Hernandez: That's not bad.
Krista Brower-Wood: Well, Caldwell, it doesn't have a lot of money, and we want to make it feasible for parents to be able to take their kids.
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