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The decline of haunted houses

And the ones left kicking

by: Shelby Mitchell/News and Opinion Editor

The lights flash and die; the sounds and slow music creep up your spine; children scream, ghouls cackle. It is October, and you are visiting a long string of haunted houses that you have planned for the night. You wait in lines, excited, but with slowly-creeping nervousness, and creepy figures or bouncing silhouettes make their way toward you, ready to entertain as you wait your turn to pass through walls and creeps set up to terrify you.

For whatever strange reason, people enjoy deliberately getting themselves frightened. Mass amounts of people line up every year outside of every haunted house in the area with the intention of either being frightened or, at least, entertained. However, this year, many haunted houses have been shut down, temporarily or even permanently.

haunted house shelby mitchell

Graphic courtesy of Open Office

Where last year there were up to twenty haunts in the area registered on HauntedIllinois.com, this year, there are only twelve.

The haunts in the area have been closing for various reasons. Ashmore Estates, for example, had a good portion of the roof ripped off in February due to a harsh weather conditions including clown bodies scattered across the ground and the owners sold the estate. Shotgun Manor has had trouble finding a new premise after spending a haunting season in a temporary abode. In general, new or reopening haunts will find trouble opening due to more recently-written and stricter safety regulations, which includes a rather expensive sprinkler system and a set size-to-exit ratio. Many of the regulations are set to attempt to prevent fires, as many haunts use many objects that could cause a fire, though not many will occur. Besides, haunts always have fire extinguishers as well as exit plans to eliminate risk. Registered on HauntedIllinois are Raven’s Grin Inn, Asylum Xperiment, Mazon Dungeon of Terror, Eleventh Hour Haunted House, Realm of Terror, Basement of the Dead, Night Terrors, Lombard Jacees Haunted House, Haunted Trails Frightmare Haunted House, Statesville Haunted Prison, Amenti Haunted House, Sheer Terror Haunted House, The Haunted Hide Away, and Boo Crew, for those of you still interested in local haunted houses.


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