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Topic: Halloween Shows
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 6, 2004 02:50PM)
How many of you are putting on a show this Halloween? It is a wonderful opportunity for the bizarrist to get down and dirty with spooky tales!

I have a show up in Chester, UK. If anyone is out and about that way. Details can be found [url=http://www.hauntedchester.com/show]here[/url]

Would be interested to know what everyone else is up to.
Message: Posted by: Magickman (Sep 6, 2004 08:39PM)
I think a good idea here would be to find a haunted house in the area and see if you can get a reporter to come watch the show/séance' you could do there. If you aren't already booked. Might get a good write up in the local paper!

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 7, 2004 01:50AM)
On 2004-09-06 21:39, Magickman wrote:
I think a good idea here would be to find a haunted house in the area and see if you can get a reporter to come watch the show/séance' you could do there. If you aren't already booked.
Might get a good write up in the local paper!



That is exactly what is happening here in Chester! A 16th Century House with two resident ghosts. It is the most haunted house in the most haunted City in England!

Should be fun!
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Sep 7, 2004 09:35AM)
Jeez! What is it with England? It's just packed with haunted places!

I'm quite jealous.
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Sep 7, 2004 12:45PM)
Before I begin, I must declare a special interest. I have been collaborating with Salsa Dancer on the writing of his show, and I'm very excited about this project. The venue (the Haunted Gallery in a late Elizabethan Townhouse) and the ancient City of Chester are locations to die for. It'd be great to see some of you there. :)

Plug over, Magickman raised an important point, which has been touched on in the recent 'Pre-show' thread: publicity. I'm keeping notes on the several things we're doing to publicise the show, and one day I'll write them up to share with you.

However, any ideas/experiences would be gratefully received. As we know, with Bizarre magic, it's not a case of 'Build it and they will come'. So what do you do to get your details out there?


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 7, 2004 02:20PM)
Dear Caleb,

You pose a very interesting question. I can think of two general approaches; once you have decided which to take, you have a framework.

First, you can think of your event as an entertainment, bill it as an entertainment, get good art, good coverage, some good local tie-ins, and just work the press by the book.

Second, you can make the media ring with a genuine news event. Without going too far into this, what if the planned "show" had to be "canceled" because the theater company found the venue to be genuinely haunted? What if they went so far as to advertise for the services of a professional paranormal investigator to help cleanse the place? What if the person arrived just in time to attempt the ghost-casting on the very night of the show? What if the local silk-and-bunny magic club denounced the dark doings of a bunch of fake ghost-chasers and offered to challenge the ghost-buster by pitting the feats of their champion against his?

None of this is very original, it is all pretty old. Still, staged challenges, denunciations, and carefully orchestrated shocking turns of events are the stuff that keeps the press running. Why not just collaborate with the newspapers in the Houdini tradition?

I hope you see what I am getting at. They get plenty of press releases, what they want is a story: heroes, villains, dramatic opposition, sex and violence.

The press is a ravenous beast. Throw red meat at it.


Message: Posted by: Magickman (Sep 7, 2004 03:33PM)

Second to TV is radio, and radio reaches a lot of people! Why not ask or challenge (whatever fits best) a local DJ to spend time in this eerie old house.

If he accepts, he will bring it up on air and you will have free advertising up till the day of the show.

Another idea would be to make a DVD teaser and send it to the news station. Make it short and to the point, make it look good and leave it with a business card, nothing written on the DVD, that way you know someone will watch it. Also mail it early so people watching have time to get tickets.

Gothic clubs in the area? Posters, a few give-away tickets. Let them use them as giveaways in costume contests.

Your only competition is the every year the same haunted houses. Let them know you are different!

They want different!

Hope this helps!

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 7, 2004 05:27PM)
I have very good contacts with the local press so we are hoping for a good deal of publicity. Ticket sales are going very well already and that is before we have started the big push with advertising.

Caleb has come up with some wonderful ideas and twists. Combined with the atmosphere in the place it is going to be a lot fun!
Message: Posted by: Osiris (Sep 8, 2004 08:57AM)
Dr. Wilson's second idea is very cool IF used properly. Long ago we did a "Séance" type thing in which the medium "lost control" and all of hades broke loose in the room. The PR such a happenstance can muster is awesome!

So why not "arrange" for the local Ghosts Union to strike (in a violent manner) during the middle of one of your earlier performances? Milk it dry for some added PR, etc.? Granted, you'll need one heck of a poker face to pull this off, but it is TRICK OR TREAT SEASON right?

AS to the question posed by Reis... England has no exclusive when it comes to ghosts and hauntings. The U.S. has its fair share of paranormal abundance: the Bell Witch of northern Tennessee being one of the more famous, but there is an incredible plethora of others, especially in your older states where either the Revolution or Civil wars (or both) were fought.

At one time, not too long ago, my family and I lived in what was considered to be one of the most haunted private homes in the entire state of Ohio. Trust me, things really did go bum in the night---regularly! I defy any of the armchair experts to explain them all.
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Sep 8, 2004 09:16AM)
I keep trying to find some local "haunted" residences to work with in my area. One issue, at least in California here in the US, is the that of disclosure in real estate. There are a number of folks who do not want their houses known as "haunted" or otherwise seen as unusual in manifestations, as they are required to disclose those "facts" to future buyers, etc.

I know there must be a number of great atmosphere buildings/places where I live with a history that could be ustilised rather well, but I cannot get folks to kick loose with the information!
Message: Posted by: Magickman (Sep 8, 2004 12:19PM)
Hype a place that isn't haunted. Look what good publicity did for the Blair Witch Project! Possibly the worst movie ever made makes a "killin" at the box office!

Personally I thought the trailer on Sci-fi was done better than the movie itself.
With today's computer, you can make old looking newspaper headlines and all. Interview people that lived there (or did they?). It's all an illusion!

Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Sep 8, 2004 12:52PM)
The replies have been very informative and helpful. Thanks everybody. I particularly liked Dr. Wilson's and Osiris' respective accounts of turning Entertainment news into News news.

As SalsaDancer says, his media contacts are very good, and just this week we've been brainstorming what we can do for the radio.

On a slightly different tack, I'll add a couple of observations:

Firstly, I think that it's important to recognise the entire value of one's show. We're not just providing a hopefully thrilling and entertaining piece of spooky theatre. We've also created another reason for people to come to Chester. In addition, when the show is over, there will be nearly a hundred people spilling out into the centre of Chester in need of a stiff drink and maybe a meal. Now, not every member of our audience will be coming to Chester specifically for the show, but some will be, and in a sense, these people (and their wallets) are a commodity we can trade with the rest of the city.

Therefore, SalsaDancer has been able to establish a very positive relationship with the local Tourist Board and Council: they have been keen to help us. Amongst other things, they've set up a Halloween week of events, with our show as the headline feature.

Secondly, we've been exploring the possibility of tie-ins with other local businesses. For instance, there is a famously-haunted Chocolate Shop in Chester. Now, taking our lead from product placement in films, we're negotiating with this Confectioners for some free chocolates for our guests, in return for a bit of publicity through the show. We're negotiating similar deals with local bars.

Now, I'm sorry to introduce this sordid monetary note, but we've created a decent product, and it would be dumb (and disrespectful) to undersell it.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 8, 2004 01:51PM)
Back in May, I booked five nights with the Haunted House I worked last year. They wanted to get me before anyone else had a chance! I've got new stuff I'm going to be doing which should be....um...rather interesting.

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 8, 2004 01:52PM)

It sounds just great! If you were in America you could even be shameless enough to market haunted chocolates on the web at shockingly high prices. In the land that Barnum built, money is not considered to be a sordid subject. They can't take it with them, so ghosts don't care about it much, but the living...Well, they have to eat, don't they?

Break a leg!


Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 9, 2004 05:16AM)
On 2004-09-08 14:52, drwilson wrote:

It sounds just great! If you were in America you could even be shameless enough to market haunted chocolates on the web at shockingly high prices. In the land that Barnum built, money is not considered to be a sordid subject...they can't take it with them, so ghosts don't care about it much, but the living...well they have to eat don't they!

Break a leg!



What a great idea. I think we should work on getting the Haunted Chester box of chocolates out to sell at the show. ;)
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 9, 2004 09:43AM)
At the Haunted Chester Show, you can buy a box of Haunted Chocolates from Chester's genuinely haunted confectionery. Your souvenir box of Chester Haunted Chocolates includes an assortment of ectoplasm creams in unearthly flavors covered with hauntingly rich milk chocolate or our special midnight dark chocolate. You'll also find caramel specters, truffle apparitions, and ghostly fruit jellies. Each souvenir box of this limited edition includes a booklet describing the history of Chester's Haunted Confectionery, including unusual phenomena that have been carefully documented by psychic investigators.

That could be a news story by itself. Think of a little tri-fold brochure with sepia tone photos (easy in Photoshop) of the confectionery and your performers. Save me a box!


Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Sep 9, 2004 12:15PM)

The limited edition chocolates is a great idea! Like SalsaDancer says, we'll have to try it. :) Souvenirs of a show seem like great publicity. I can see people sharing the chocolates at work next day and saying 'You'll never guess where we got these!'

Kay, that's less of a problem here in the UK - lots of businesses, especially the ones that involve alcohol, are actually quite keen to have a resident ghost. Magickman's suggestion, to 'discover' a haunted history at your location, is a good one. However, I'm not sure that it would help you with the real-estate disclosure issue.

Margarette, best of luck with your show. :) Is it all new stuff from last year?


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 10, 2004 04:48AM)
Actually I put a bit of thought into this, and it probably wouldn't be that hard to create. You can get confectionery bags and fill them with a handful of chocolates. Some black ribbon and a spooky card with individual stories of Chester.

A huge markup and away you go!

We are also looking at tie-ins with local restaurants and pubs to promote the show with discounted meals, drinks, etc.

Good luck to all who are putting on Halloween shows. By the way, we must compare notes after the events.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 10, 2004 07:57AM)
You can get nice boxes at:


For some reason, people seem to tolerate a huge markup if the product is in a classy box. We have used the gold ones with clear covers to sell six homemade truffles for $5 at fund-raising bake sales.

Your confectioner probably has a line on nice boxes at wholesale prices as well.


Message: Posted by: Slim King (Sep 10, 2004 08:33AM)
Why not challenge a local Radio DJ to do a remote broadcast starting at midnight, lasting all night or part of it, at the "Haunted" location? Maybe a little "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" type of thing?
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Sep 12, 2004 04:50AM)

Nothing to be jealous about. We have quite an array of paranormal right here. Look up Haunted Chicago. They say the Excalibur is one of the most haunted buildings in the states. I've seen some pretty weird people there myself, but I think they were still alive.
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Sep 12, 2004 07:42PM)
On 2004-09-12 05:50, Daryl -the other brother wrote:
Nothing to be jealous about. We have quite an array of paranormal right here. Look up Haunted Chicago, they say the Excalibur is one of the most haunted buildings in the states. I've seen some pretty weird people there my-self, but I think they were still alive.

Thanks for the plug, Daryl.

My show about the paranormal at Excalibur nightclub is actually called "Supernatural Chicago," and trust me, Reis has heard all about it -- he's a member of SAM #3.

Now, if I could only get you and him to check it out. Busy this Friday? Ticket are still available at http://www.SupernaturalChicago.com


Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Sep 12, 2004 09:33PM)
Okay, I have Tory chained to her machine, and she promises me that we will add the listings for venues if folks will send them to us, either via PM to me here on the Café', or to Tory@bizarremagick.com

Do please let her know if it is an on-going location/event, or something that is a one-time occasion, i.e., only Oct. 31, so we can keep up with the updates! <rolling eyes upwards> We really will try to keep things current!

Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 13, 2004 07:21AM)
Hmmm...I need to talk to the municipality of Waynesville...and fast. It is an antique-dealer's town touted as one of the most haunted in Ohio.

Message: Posted by: Scott Grimm (Sep 13, 2004 07:46AM)
David Parr is throwing his show in downtown Evenston again this year. It has mostly brand-new material in it and looks like it will be even better than before.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Sep 13, 2004 02:59PM)
I am performing all next month at the Live Bait Theater 3914 N. Clark in Chicago, which is allegedly haunted. I have had some "PSYCHIC FEELERS" come through to "verify" these details.

It's 80 minutes long, and you will get to witness a life-size 3-d see-through ghost who is interactive!

I want opening weekend the 7, 8, 9 to pack, so if you want tickets, PM or email me.
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Oct 13, 2004 07:02AM)

Just to let anyone interested know, the Haunted Chester Halloween show has sold out! We are now in the process of collecting names for another evening in November (obviously this won't be a Halloween show! ;) )

Thank you to those who are coming along, and if you missed out get in touch for the next one!
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Oct 13, 2004 11:13AM)
Congratulations Salsa. I know that you put a lot of hard work into this project and you deserve a great response. Keep us updated.

Message: Posted by: Roger Kelly (Oct 14, 2004 05:19AM)
I wish I could get to Chester for Salsa's show. Does anyone know of anyone else performing anything similar in the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire area of the UK? I'd be very interested in attending.