October is a time of scares and Terror Nights Haunted House is pulling out all the stops to deliver thrills and chills to the Tyler community all month long.
“We’re bringing back the Void this year. We’ve revamped it, and it’s pretty much the Void on Steroids,” Brandon Causey, general manager of Terror Nights, said.
The Void is a haunt theme done in the past by Terror Nights. It is based around the space between life and death. It takes people’s biggest fears, such as monsters lurking in the dark, and releases them all into one building where victims must face them.
For the past five years, Terror Nights has been doing their part scaring the citizens of Tyler. This year they are bringing back Patient Zero and the Void.
Patient Zero is based on a fiction story where an experiment to create the perfect super soldier went horribly wrong. The Patient Zero is infected with H1Z1, a disease turning people into zombies, and it spreads rapidly. Now there are only a few living survivors: the visitors to the haunt.
The haunts consist of several rooms that groups of about five to six people are taken through. The customers are asked not to touch the actors that are placed in the rooms, in order to preserve the safety of the establishment. The length of the tour depends on whether or not a person is walking or running. Usually it takes about 12-15 minutes to walk-through.
Terror Nights has a strict age requirement for participants on entering the haunt. No one under the age of 10 is allowed in the haunt, and anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
“I think this is a good idea because I have a little brother who is 10 years old, and I don’t know if he got scared if he would know what to do in that situation,” Kati Sigler, a TJC theatre work study, said.
The actors working at the haunt will walk around, jump out at people, or do other tactics to terrify. Auditions have already taken place for this year’s haunt for paid positions, but they are always willing to accept new volunteers who are over the age of 16, throughout the month as long as they have a time to train them.
Working in the haunt can be fun and games while scaring people. However, the shifts are long hours and energy draining. Because of this, the owners and managers try to make the working environment as comfortable as possible. They will even get in costume during the evening and go into the rooms with the actors.
“The haunt people are a family and they show nothing but kindness and help keep up the energy for that long month. Because it is a long month and we just kinda stick it out together,” LeeAnna Burgdorf, a veteran haunt actor of three years, said.
Something that makes this particular haunt one of a kind is its structure and costumes. Practically everything in the haunt, except for maybe a few costumes, is designed and built specifically for the haunt by Terror Nights itself. The workers of Terror Nights pour their blood, sweat and tears into the preparation of the house.
“It’s a labor of love. A lot of us call it a big boy’s hobby. It’s like a large scale of making a model airplane,” Causey, said.
A new event happening this year at the Terror Nights is a Blackout from Nov. 2-3. These nights, the lights will be completely out and the customer all go through the haunt.
“It’s for people who really enjoy a lot of fear. It will usually be around three to four people with just the light of a glow stick,” Causey said.
The event runs through Nov. 3, Friday-Sunday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the haunt is open from 7 p.m. to midnight. On Sundays the haunt is open from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Patient Zero cost $15 and $12 for the Void. There is also the option of getting a general combo pass for $20, which allows a customer into both haunted houses. Tickets are purchased on location at the ticket booth.
Terror Nights is located on 816 E. Oakwood in Tyler. For a detailed map and directions visit their website, www.terrornightshaunt.com. One can also find the answers to frequently asked questions on the website and learn more info on the haunt itself. Terror Nights also has a Facebook page to keep updated on the haunt’s events.