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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I was young, I remember some local haunts that were really cool. My neighbor worked with the Jaycees, and they did some charity events every year. They had a haunted hike in the woods, and another one had a haunted house. I helped scare people at the hike, and it was simple but effective. I actually think I used a William Shatner mask inside out lol. I know because of liability issues that many of these are probably long gone. On the mountain top a few miles nearby, a horse camp has a cool hayride and they own several hundred acres, at one point giving you a fantastic view of the county from the highest spot around. Kind of has a retro feel to it. Anyone else remember childhood haunts?
 

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Our local hardware store did a haunt in their basement! It was in an old historic old west type building and we’d get so scared waiting outside to go in. I loved it!
as an adult I’ve become friends with the proprietors. They haven’t had their store in a very long time and have moved to Ecuador but they did such an amazing service to the community for the years they put it on.
 

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We had a haunted house put on by our local Jaycees that was in an old farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by cornfields. I remember the anticipation waiting in line to get in and hearing the banging & screams & chainsaws in the house. It was magical. Then afterwards we would get hot cocoa & talk about all of cool ways they set up the house for scares. Unfortunately the house fell into a state of disrepair and between that and the ever-expanding subdivisions in our area, the house was torn down and the property sold. At least we still have the memories. And now we get to make new memories with our kids.
 

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Had a haunted hayride that a local Lion's Club did a few years in a row that made a great impression on me as a child. Also several county fairs show up during the fall, so they always had some sort of Halloween themed weekends, with haunts the last few weeks of October. These were definitely rickety thrown-together affairs, but really fun!
 

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I’ve mentioned it before, but when I was little my dad was a member of the Optimist Club in town, and they did an amazing haunted house.

This was the early 80’s and they did some real cool tricks. The house itself was an early 20th century four square. It was all dilapidated, and sat on top of a small hill with an old rail line that ran past it. At the time, it was the middle of nowhere, but the area is all built up now.

Inside the house was a maze of false walls that led through the main floor then upstairs and then out the side down a long flight of stairs tacked to the side. Everything was painted black inside. We had service lights for when they were working on things, but during operations, it was left very, very dark inside. Mind you, this was when people believed in personal responsibility and weren’t completely lawsuit happy.. but sadly, a lawsuit did it in. But that’s another story.

As I said, this was the early 80’s, so there was a lot of early style tricks, random things dangling from the ceiling, holes in false walls for jump scares..etc. luminescent paint was minimal and very few black lights were used. The whole effect was about darkness.

My dad usually worked the upstairs (along with his buddy who was the county sheriff) and I would sometimes help with set up each year. In his area he had an old cast iron tub with fake blood spattered all over and a dummy in it that looked like had been ran through a meat grinder. Dad was usually in his wolfman outfit and would use a giant cow femur he’d get from the local butcher. His buddy was done up as a zombie and would wield an old chainsaw with the chain removed. It was a real gas powered one and everything covered in gore.

Later years we added the car trick (car headlights and sound rushing at people walking by), and some random bones my dad would find near the train tracks by his other job.

I don’t recall what all went on the main floor, but the upstairs was where I learned a lot about how to scare people!

The house was one of the most popular in Portland and super successful, but it was all ended when some teenage girl broke her ankle horsing around in the parking lot one night. The lawsuit killed it..


I’ll have to look around at my dads place sometime to see if any picture of it survived.


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I grew up with Rocky Point Haunted House. From when it opened in the abandoned restaurant to in the North near Willard, to moving into the mall in Ogden, and finally down to Salt Lake.

I didn't always understand their choices, but the one thing they ALWAYS did was nail the details. I mean, I remember the year they did a batman theme. I will NEVER understand batman, even the villains, as a scare. But they absolutely nailed the sets and costumes to make it FEEL like the Burton era batman movies.



I think it was 82, maybe 83 when I first went. I'm 7-8. Chainsaw, of course, I'm in the back of our group, and I can feel it's exhaust on the back of my legs, and I am RUNNING down the hall. THEY HAD PUT A MATTRESS PAINTED BLACK AT THE END OF THE HALL SO YOU WOULD TRIP!

I mean, that would NEVER fly today, but my word did it leave an impression.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For those of you on the eastern seaboard, maybe you've heard of the legendary Brigantine Castle. This definitely has a strong claim in the annals of classic haunts. I was too young to experience it, and the castle and pier burned down in 1987, after closing permanently in 1985. Fortunately there are still pictures and even sound clips of this unique haunted attraction, the first of its kind possibly.

www.darkinthepark.com/Brigantine/History/history.htm
 

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For those of you on the eastern seaboard, maybe you've heard of the legendary Brigantine Castle. This definitely has a strong claim in the annals of classic haunts. I was too young to experience it, and the castle and pier burned down in 1987, after closing permanently in 1985. Fortunately there are still pictures and even sound clips of this unique haunted attraction, the first of its kind possibly.

www.darkinthepark.com/Brigantine/History/history.htm
I've read that story on Brigantine castle a few years ago but I never got to visit it....I've been blessed growing up to experience so many haunts though....My favorite "Castle" haunt that left the biggest impression was a real castle!....In the early to mid 90's they did a haunt with jump scares but honestly my favorite part was getting to go through the real castle....At the time it was around 100 years old....I was gutted when I found out someone bought it and refurbished it....It's still nice but now it's like it was new again instead of the old dusty place I got to tour in the dark with low light through out....I scoured the net for pics and could only find a couple old pics before the refurb.....Here's a few newer pics of the whole castle...





This is what it looked like when you walked up on it...Imagine the anticipation walking up on that in the dark!



They had a skeleton looking out the window in the turret with a strobe light.....

When you walked up to the front doors someone would open it and let you in....Old wooden BIG creaking door....The first entrance room was HUGE with a fireplace on either end and a grand staircase with red carpet in the middle....They had a fire in both fireplaces and the chandeliers were dimmed low giving the room an amazing ambience...The fire crackling and popping, you could smell the wood burning as the fire made shadows dance across very long stone walls....Even with the fire burning, it was still chilly since fall weather had set in....This is the only picture I could find the way I remember it....


This is a pic facing the other way after the refurbishment.....


This is the last picture I could find before the refurb and it's of the dining room....It was the next room you entered through the door past the fireplace....



And after



Then the next room was the kitchen, then upstairs to the bedrooms...Again, amazing with the old chests and the canopies over the beds....The smells were old and senses overload....Then we went to the rooftop....Everyone else was looking over the edge while I ventured over to look in the top of the turret room....Who knew there was a vampire waiting in there behind the huge open wooden door peaking through the crack so he knew when to run out and scare everyone....Not me....I was looking at the ceiling when he jumped out and gave me the biggest adrenaline rush of the evening....Finally we all went down to the dungeon (It had a real dungeon!)....And just like that it was over.....ZR
 

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I expect May 11, 1984, (fire at Six Flags Great Adventure NJ), changed the Church, JC's, etc.. fund raisers with haunted houses. Not to say lawsuits or fear of lawsuits also didn't, but my guess if doing a History of Haunts, that fire changed a lot.
JerseyScare
 

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I ended up watching that documentary about it last night on YouTube (Gateway to Hell?) and it was a problem waiting to happen.

It sounds like it affected the entire amusement industry and more.


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I expect May 11, 1984, (fire at Six Flags Great Adventure NJ), changed the Church, JC's, etc.. fund raisers with haunted houses. Not to say lawsuits or fear of lawsuits also didn't, but my guess if doing a History of Haunts, that fire changed a lot.
JerseyScare
It definitely changed what haunts were allowed to do....Anything under a roof has to have a sprinkler system, exits every certain amount of feet also clearly marked....All materials used must either be natural flame retardant or flame retardant applied to meet the specification....Fire extinguishers every so many feet/clearly marked....No extension cord runs/must pass all electrical code....The fire marshal has to approve the haunt before they are allowed to open....Definitely changed a lot after the tragedy.....Most people can't afford to go pro today because of the cost of meeting code....ZR
 

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I grew up in Small town, IN. Our local Jaycees ran the the annual haunted house. Unsure what the building was used for the rest of the year but it bordered the baseball field where the high school baseball team played and was home to a softball league as well. What I recall from my youth is upon entering, being greeted by a blue-skinned fortune teller. She was hauntingly beautiful to my pre-teen eyes and even had a crystal ball. She said I would have a great life, until one day. She didn't elaborate, just laughed. I was scared, tried to convince myself she was talking about death which we all must face someday. It took years before I would enter another haunted house despite being a life-long horror fan. The building later would burn down. Arson was suspected. I remember watching the flames and the fortune teller's warning.
 

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Back in the '70s, got my start as a kiddo by going to Amling's Haunted House in Melrose Park, IL. Amlings was a gardening center that would open up a haunted house from Sept. thru Nov. It ran from the '50s to the '80s. Craig's Lost Chicago When I got older, there were plenty of Jaycees haunted houses. So many fond memories getting scared with friends.
 
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