Halloween haunts

Written by: Beau Brown

October is notoriously known for its last day, Halloween. The weeks leading up to that holiday favorite are filled with purchasing candy, trying on costumes, decorating homes and workplaces, carving jack-o’-lanterns, eating pumpkin pies, drinking apple cider, and, of course, enjoying the thrills of haunted houses.

Northeast Ohio is chock-full of haunted houses. You can try to act as brave and tough as you want, but every haunted house is different, and each one has something especially horrifying that will scare the pants off of you.

Two of these terrifyingly fun haunted houses are situated just a few miles away from The University of Akron’s campus.

The Haunted Schoolhouse and the Haunted Laboratory, located at 1300 Triplett Blvd., have been alive and thriving for over 30 years. The aged buildings in which the hauntings happen are themselves frightful to look at, and were among the few haunted houses that opened before the fad caught on in America. The houses have received several awards in recognition of their special service, and have been included in the top 20 most influential haunted houses of all time, as ranked by hauntworld.com.

The two large buildings seem to be old, run-down school buildings, until you notice the giant goblin on top of the Haunted Laboratory. The adventure begins at the Schoolhouse, where one can choose to either trudge through one of the houses or purchase a combo ticket and visit both attractions.

As you climb up a stairway to the top of the Schoolhouse, red lights consume your surroundings and the walls are covered in pictures and messages written in black ink. Once you make it to the top, you step into a pitch-black hallway and simply… walk. The suspense can literally take your breath away as you make your first steps into the unknown.

The first scare is almost always the most extreme, as explained by Christian Perkowski, a student at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

“The suspense is what really kills me,” Perkowski said. “The dark room engulfs you, and you have no idea what to expect, and then it hits you — and all you can do is scream like a little girl.”

After the first jump, your journey continues through a total of three to seven floors, depending on whether or not you stay for both houses. Each floor contains numerous exhibits bent on giving you the thrills of a lifetime, or at least one sleepless night.

The haunted houses are purely interactive and cover the entire spectrum of classic horror figures, from Dracula and Frankenstein to more contemporary terrors such as zombies and clowns. Props, actors, machines, music and inhuman sound effects combine to create a cage of fear that surrounds the attendees, and the only way to break free is to endure. The moral of the story: if you enjoy a good scare, this is the place to be.

Most of the customers who visit the haunted houses are high-schoolers, but people of all ages visit the Haunted Schoolhouse and the Haunted Laboratory. Amber Curey and Carly Miller, both graduates of Kent State University, said that going to the haunted houses reminds them of when they were teenagers.

“Going through this again is nostalgic for me,” Miller said. “I used to come here a lot when I was a teenager. This was the popular haunted house at the time.”

“I am a huge fan of haunted houses,” Curey said. “And I anticipated the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory to have improved since ten years ago. It didn’t let me down.”

Details on the full experience are available only if you plan a night to attend The Haunted Schoolhouse and Haunted Laboratory.

The Haunted Schoolhouse and the Haunted Laboratory are open Thursdays through Sundays in October, and partially in November. On Sundays, Thursdays and Halloween, tickets are $14 for a trip through one house, or $26 for both attractions. On Fridays and Saturdays, tickets are $15 for one house and $29 for two. You can purchase tickets, print coupons, and obtain VIP tickets (for those who don’t like to wait in line) online.

Pick up future issues of the Buchtelite in October for an inside scoop on nearby attractions that are sure to scare.