Seven deadly sites
First Posted: 10/1/2013
This is truly the time of year that shines the spotlight on all things nightmares are made of. Gravestone Manor, an attraction that has been around 16 years, is taking that to heart for its production of “Nigthfall.”
Gravestone (Trion Warehouse, 1095 Route 315, Plains Township) is unique in that it’s not a place where scares are simply thrown together; there’s an actual plot that binds the terror.
“If I turned off all the lights and chased someone around with a chainsaw, of course that would be terrifying, but we’re actually putting on a show, celebrating the Halloween experience,” said Rick Markham, project coordinator for Gravestone.
This year, the story hinges on the tour guide, who speaks of having a nightmare, the contents of which will be revealed those brave enough to enter Gravestone.
“Everything that ever scared this person as a child is coming back in fantastic ways in this dream world,” Markham said. “It allows us, for the first time ever, to get some classic horror figures like Freddy Kruger into the scenes.”
There are zombies, corpses, levitating objects, and spectacular theatrical effects aplenty in the nightmare realm, all supported by a cast that looks to the crowd to make the experience unique for each one of them.
“It is interactive, which freaks people out,” Markham said. “Our actors interact with the audience and get feedback from them so we can adjust the performance based on that.”
One hundred percent of Gravestone Manor’s $10 ticket price goes directly to the United Way of Wyoming Valley. It opens this weekend and runs through Oct. 27, 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7-9:30 p.m. Sundays. For more info, visit gravestonemanor.org or call 570.821.6500.
If there’s one irreplaceable staple of Halloween in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it’s Dracula’s Forest. Celebrating 30 years in business, owners Darlene and Tom “Bergie” Bergamino are still thrilled to bring the haunted hayride to life (and death) every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October.
“It’s amazing. It’s a long time,” Darlene noted.
“We like to plan different things, so this is just part of us. We just like to put the forest together and have people enjoy it. We’re on four generations coming back.”
Those three decades of experience means they’re always ready with a new trick up their sleeve for longtime thrill-seekers and newcomers.
“We have a giant spider this year, an animatronic spider that’s probably going to send some people running, even though they’re supposed to stay in their seats,” Darlene said with a laugh.
“Maybe being there that long gives us a feel for what people want. We try to make it family-oriented.”
Though it’s features like the dreaded Tunnel of Terror that will always be part of the dark forest ride.
“It changes inside, but it’s still the Tunnel of Terror. It’s intense because they’re enclosed at that point – nowhere to run,” she continued.
When parents ask her if their kids should ride, she advises that they should bring a blanket or hoodie so that they can hide if need be. For the very young children, there’s Little Screamers on Sundays from 1-5 p.m., a “not-so-scary” hayride where “the creatures are sleeping” for only $7 general admission.
For the rest, Dracula’s Forest (2828 Rock Dr., Clarks Summit) is $15 for adults and $7 for those 10 and under with a paying adult, along with a $2 parking fee. On Saturdays, there’s free entertainment at night with food and vendors around a big bonfire. Birthday parties and group rates are available. For more info, call 570.586.5084 or visit draculasforest.com.
The indoor Shock Walk has been moved to the Luzerne County Fairgrounds off Rt. 118 in Lehman Twp.
Back for its fifth year is Reaper’s Revenge (460 Green Grove Rd., Olyphant), a three-part attraction that includes the classic Haunted Hayride, Lost Carnival footpath, and Pitch Black indoor maze.
“I believe what makes us stand out from other haunts is the quality of people we have been able to assemble together and how hard we work in every aspect of our show, including scene design, costume design, acting skills, makeup, sound, lighting, special effects, infrastructure, marketing. We strive very hard to make all these departments just a little bit better every year. We have a great nucleus of people and we have a high percentage of return seasonal employees,” explained Paul Kotran, president of Reapers Revenge Inc.
Their ongoing strategy is to keep everyone’s favorite scares and tweak them a little each year “with a little more detail or changes in the soundtracks.”
“We also add new scenes to the hayride every year. We extended the Lost Carnival… and added a game midway and a house of mirrors. We also built two new tunnels that are very disorienting. Our Pitch Black indoor walkthrough was also expanded another 125 feet, and we’re constantly changing things up inside of that attraction,” Kotran said.
“What keeps us coming back every year is how much we love what we’re doing – our passion for the season and our ability to scare and entertain. Also the satisfaction we get from our customers who love what we do and how much they enjoy the show and the changes year after year.”
Running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October and Nov. 1-2, tickets are $25 for all three attractions and an extra $25 to shorten your wait. There is a $2 parking fee, and group rates are available. For info, call 570.253.4746 (GRIM) or log on to reapersrevenge.net.
“My staff and I can’t wait to see how much money will be left at the end of the year. Not for personal gain, but so we know how much we can put back into the show for next year. We already have been writing down and talking about all the changes and additions and ideas for 2014. We can’t help ourselves.”
Circle of Screams
Have some time? Circle of Screams gives you a ton of bang for your buck, with several spooky attractions in one concentrated area (Circle Entertainment Complex, Scranton- Carbondale Hwy., Dickson City).
There are several ways to be terrorized. The Hayride of Torture is a tractor-pulled wagon that dives deep into dark woods that are rife with evil. The Carnival of Fear is an in-your-face 3D walkthrough that’s littered with clowns and ghouls. And still, there’s more fun to be had in the Maze of Torment, a chain link, pitch-black maze – will you make it out?
Admission price for Circle of Screams is $25. The attraction is open through Nov. 3 every Friday through Sunday, from 6 p.m. To 11 p.m.
It’s relatively new to the area, and actually began as the Carnival of Souls in 2011, but Fear Hollow has already added a brand new feature to its creeptastic attraction. Fear Hollow (1600 Church Road, Mountain Top) brings the scares both in and outside this year.
Fear Hollow itself is an intense, interactive walkthrough in a haunted house, putting attendees in close quarters with demons and ghouls that are out for blood.
As if that’s not terrifying enough, the mere $15 ticket price also gets you access to the brand new Deadwoods Haunted Trail, an outdoor trail that snakes through the woods, upping the fear factor even more.
Fear Hollow opens Oct. 4 and runs from dark to 11 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays and dark to 10 p.m. On Sundays. For more info, visit fearhollow.com or call 570.261.0333.
Not a Halloween season can go by without hearing the name. Horror Hall (11 E. Poplar St., West Nanticoke) has been around for more than 20 years now and shows no signs of slowing down the scaring.
The all-indoor attraction, located at the Plymouth Township Fire and Rescue Tilbury Station, is not for those who’d like to rush through quickly – at nearly a quarter-mile, this haunt clocks in at 20 minutes to complete.
And even before you enter the haunted house itself, the scares begin – Horror Hall gets the adrenaline pumping as you wait for your tour to begin.
If this all isn’t enough, don’t forget the fact that Horror Hall has been rated number one in the state by America’s Best Haunted Houses.
Tickets to Horror Hall are $12.50, $17.50 for front of the line fast pass admission. It’s open through Oct. 27, from 6 p.m-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 6-10 p.m. on Sundays. For more info, visit horrorhall.com.
Trails of Terror
It’s a classic setting for scaring – just ask any Blair Witch enthusiast.
Trails of Terror (West Wyoming Hose Co. No. 1, 926 Shoemaker Ave., West Wyoming) is completely outdoors, plunging those brave enough to bear the elements into a twisting trail through dense woods.
This annual fundraiser for the all-volunteer fire company is populated by zombies, maniacs, and pretty much anything else you can conjure up from your darkest nightmares.
Trails of Terror opens at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through October. There will be a special walk on Oct. 25. Tickets are $8.
For more info, visit trailsofterror.org or call 570.693.1811.