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For Shark Tank's Biggest Winner, Business Has Been Scary Good

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This story appears in the October 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Fear has been a healthy business driver for Melissa Carbone, the mad scientist behind Los Angeles-based Ten Thirty One Productions. Named for Halloween, Carbone's favorite holiday, the company scares the bejesus out of willing customers at interactive events, including the Haunted Hayride (a tractor-drawn trek through the abandoned Griffith Park Zoo) and Ghost Ship (which sails out on short horror cruises). Ten Thirty One events feature costume-clad actors, lavish special effects, spine-tingling original music and a deluge of simulated severed limbs, bodily fluids and related horror props.

"People love to be scared, but in a safe environment," Carbone says. "To be scared when you can actually be hurt or when there is real danger, that's obviously not fun. But that adrenaline of being scared in a safe environment--people will consume that all day long."

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