Shawnee County Planning Department

Enforcement Support Development.

Haunted House


The establishment of a temporary haunted house businesses in unincorporated Shawnee County is subject to the review and approval of the Shawnee County Board of Commissioners. 


The term “haunted house” means any indoor or outdoor structure or facility used for the gathering together of persons during the Halloween season for the purpose of scaring, thrilling, entertainment or amusement.

Operational Requirements

Operation of a haunted house shall conform to the following requirements:

  • Zoning:  The proposed structure shall be on property zoned the “C-4” Commercial District, “I-1” Light Industrial District, or “I-2” Heavy Industrial District.  Properties located in other zoning districts must obtain a Conditional Use Permit in accordance with Sec. 25.01 of the Shawnee County Zoning Regulations.
  • Safety:  The applicant must comply with minimum fire department and building safety recommendations, as well as all applicable local, state and federal laws.
  • Sewage Disposal:  Suitable arrangements for restroom facilities and sanitary sewerage disposal must be provided as determined by the Shawnee County Health Agency.
  • Parking:  Suitable parking must be available as determined by the Shawnee County Planning and Public Works Departments to accommodate the anticipated volume of vehicle patronizing the site.
  • Maintenance:  The property and structures shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner by the owner or operator.
  • Conduct:  The audience of any haunted house must be orderly at all times and it shall be unlawful for any person attending such haunted house to create a disturbance in the audience.
  • Amplified Sound:  Amplified sound equipment operated inside or outside of the haunted house structure or facility shall not be audible at a distance of more than 50-feet from the structure or facility, or at the property line of an adjoining residential property.
  • Event Window:  Haunted houses may be open to the public from September 1st through November 1st of any calendar year.  Haunted houses shall not be opened earlier than 9:00 am nor remain open later than midnight.

Permit Required

It shall be unlawful to conduct or operate any haunted house that is open to the public, whether or not an admittance fee is charged, without having first secured a permit.  Failure to obtain a permit and continued operation of a haunted house after notification from the Zoning Administrator may result in a legal action against the owner and/or operator of the haunted house.

Application Procedure

It is encouraged that anyone wanting to establish a haunted house contact the Planning Department before proceeding with your plans and initiating application for a permit.  Planning Department staff would be happy to discuss the proposed haunted house location and operation to ensure it is compliant with county regulations.

To insure compliance with the requirements of Home Rule Resolution 2005-8, a permit is required to establish a haunted house in unincorporated Shawnee County.  No haunted house shall be established without first obtaining a permit authorizing same by the Shawnee County Board of Commissioners.

The procedure and application submittal requirements is as follows:

  • Application.  Prior to the establishment of a haunted house, the owner(s) of the subject property and operator shall make application to the Shawnee County Planning Department for a haunted house permit.  Application shall be filed on or before October 1st by 5:00 pm.  The application shall contain the following information:
    • Applicant’s name, address and phone number;
    • Property owner’s name, address and phone number;
    • Proposed location of the haunted house;
    • Written consent of the property owner;
    • Dates and hours of operation;
    • Number of personnel to be present when open for business;
    • Name and telephone number for person having on-site supervisory responsibility while open;
    • A hold harmless agreement executed between the County, applicant and owner;
    • Verification of public liability insurance with a minimum single occurrence coverage of $300,000;
    • Floor plan of the proposed use of the structure; and,
    • Sketch plan of the property including parking and restroom facilities.
    Each application shall be signed by the property owner and operator.  Applications received after said date shall be returned and no action shall be taken on them.  Applicants are advised to submit applications as early as possible to allow for the application to be reviewed by appropriate departments and entities.  Applicants are further advised that the approval of the application will be substantially delayed, and additional fees incurred, when a Conditional Use Permit is requested.
  • Filing Fee.  All applications for a haunted house shall be accompanied by a non-refundable permit fee of $500 made payable to the Shawnee County Treasurer.

Permit Process

Upon receipt and review of the application, the Zoning Administrator shall forward the application to the Public Works Department, Sheriff’s Office, Health Agency and applicable fire district and township for review.  Following review and response, the Zoning Administrator shall forward the application to the County Commission for final determination.  The Zoning Administrator may recommend conditions of approval or disapproval based upon the response of the different review entities and the requirements of HR 2005-8.  The County Commission may approve, approve subject to conditions or disapprove the application based on stated reasons.


The County Commission specifically retains the right to revoke a haunted house permit any time it deems such revocation to be in the interest of public safety or where the permittee has failed to comply with applicable requirements.


  • Any person who violates any provision of HR 2005-8 shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction or a plea of guilty thereto may be fined a definite sum of money not exceeding $500 or confined in the County jail for a definite term not exceeding one (1) month, or both.