It’s time to get your haunt on! But can you? With the pandemic going on, it seems 2020 has canceled all cool things. Debbie Lazaga got a chance to chat with some haunted attractions that are taking the step and opening up this season.
Now that we’re in October, it’s time for crunchy leaves, hot chocolate, and all things spoooooky! [insert evil laugh here]
Lots of folks have a yearly tradition of visiting different haunted attractions. There are tons, and there’s even a website that can help you find one to go to, Haunted Wisconsin dot com.
But this year, the scariest thing out there has been Covid-19.
Owner of the Abandoned Haunted House Complex in *Mt. Pleasant, Corey Stephens says, “I think they want to get an escape from that, and the first time out that they finally get a chance to go do something, the last thing I want to do is bombard them with anything that reminds them of Covid or the last six months.”
Although, he says they have made some changes to how they’ve set up their haunts in order to stay safe during the pandemic.
“We are temperature checking all of our employees as well as our guests as they arrive. And we have three haunted attractions on site, and we are only opening two of the three this year. So the haunted corn field, ‘Stalker’ is going to be opened, and then we’re alternating the two indoor houses between ‘Ambush’ and ‘Hysteria’ every other weekend.”
Attractions have actors, and for them to do what they do, there are safety measures.
“Everyone on the property must have a face mask on at all times, that’s going to be the main focus. We do have fairly tight spaces inside, and we’ve told our actors to keep their distance when they do their scare,” explains Stephens.
That, along with multiple hand sanitizing stations around the attraction and hand washing stations near the bathrooms and concessions area will help in keeping everyone safe.
Chad Franks of the Wisconsin Fear Grounds in Waukesha says their set up is different this year too.
“We have an indoor queue that is ginormous, it’s at least ten times larger than it ever has been due to social distancing. And then there is a portion of our haunt that is outside before you get into the ‘Compound’ which is the first attraction you’ll enter.”
Something that’s common among the attraction runners is a new ticketing system that will allow for more control over the amount of people on the properties at any given time.
Stephens says, “We are doing a timed ticket this year, so in 20 minute increments, we’re pre-selling tickets online with a cap. So if we hit that number, then we will be cutting off sales for that specific time frame.”
So as long as you get your tickets online, you can show up for your assigned time and just walk right up to the box office.
Franks says, “Don’t be afraid to come out. Enjoy yourself and hang out. We’re as safe as we possibly can be, we’ve exceeded Covid guidelines, and we’re just ready to have a good time and see our customers again and allow them to have a good time.”
More than anything, people are looking for ways to have a feeling of normalcy and still be safe, and with all the fun stuff being canceled this year, at least there’s a little bit of fun still to be had.
*Correction: WTMJ originally stated that the Abandoned Haunted House Complex was in Pleasant Prairie, it’s actually located in Mt. Pleasant. We apologize for any confusion.