This year ScareHouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania aims to attack the most common complaint among popular haunted houses: crowds.
Recognizing that the “conga line” style of walking through a haunted attraction removes so much of the scare factor, this year ScareHouse is actually purposefully reducing the number of people that can see their scares, making the experience better for each of their guests.
“Our new approach is designed to maximize the experience for a smaller amount of customers,” explained ScareHouse creative director Scott Simmons. “We’re actually trying to REDUCE our throughput instead of increase it.”
It’s an unusual move for an industry where more bodies generally means more business. Simmons admits it’s a big risk, but feels the reward will be seen in their fans’ reactions as they enjoy a much more personal experience.
This year, ScareHouse guests will actually make decisions and interact with characters instead of passively walking through the sets. “No two trips through ScareHouse will ever be the same, and the choices each customer makes will lead to different outcomes and consequences,” said Simmons.
To begin to explain how this inventive approach to their haunted houses will work, ScareHouse has released a short teaser video:
It’s a complete overhaul to their attractions. “We really went nuts,” elaborated Simmons. “Tore out all the walls, even tore down parts of the permanent building in order to make room for the massive sets.”
This year, we’ll be giving Outside the Magic readers an exclusive look at how this year’s new ScareHouse experiences are being created. Throughout Halloween season, we’ll stay with ScareHouse to continue to share their new scares. I will personally be visiting and experiencing their attractions this year, reporting back on what this leading haunted attraction has to offer.
For 2014, ScareHouse features three high-quality haunted attractions intended for ages 13 and up as well as one available only to adults age 18 or older.
The Summoning (new for 2014, replacing Forsaken): This all-new highly immersive attraction is set in October 1932. Guests will uncover sinister secrets and twisted characters lurking within their most elaborate haunted attraction ever.
Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out! (new for 2014): ScareHouse’s expanded tribute to Pittsburgh’s Living Dead Legacy surrounds guests with hordes of the hungry dead. The lights are going out and the zombies are getting in.
Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D: A fan favorite at ScareHouse, Creepo returns with an even more twisted tale of Holiday Horror. Guests wear 3-D glasses for an eye-popping journey through a world of killer clowns, evil elves, and nightmarish toys.
The Basement: In this most extreme ScareHouse experience, Fear researcher and sociologist Margee Kerr, PhD brings the science of scaring to the creative team of the Basement. Building from research on what scares people from a social, psychological, and physiological perspective the Basement takes customers on an interactive journey built to push them outside their comfort zone, challenge their expectations, and scare the hell out them each step of the way.
All guests of The Basement must be 18 or older and must sign waiver before entering The Basement. Guests will be touched, hooded, and restrained. This attraction contains high voltage effects involving electricity, sexual content, very low lighting, tight spaces, strong scents, profanity, moments of complete darkness, water, physical contact, violent situations, and high impact scares.
Despite the planned decrease in customers, ScareHouse hasn’t increased their prices much. General admission tickets are $24.99 (up $5 from last year), which includes and include admission into The Summoning, Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D, and Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out.
The Basement is a separately ticketed experience at $29.99 for one guest to enter alone, $49.99 for two guests to enter together.
ScareHouse opens September 19 and is open on select dates through November 1.
Tickets, dates, and more information are available now at www.scarehouse.com.