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Columbus houses Halloween horror attractions, spooky entertainment

Courtesy of Scare-A-Torium

As Halloween approaches, costumes are being perfected, pumpkins are being carved and Ohio State students are looking for more ways to celebrate. From organized haunted houses to haunted tours around town, Columbus offers several options for students to get a spooky fix.

Haunted houses

One of these options is the Scare-A-Torium, running for a fourth year, which used to operate as Terror Park at Cooper Stadium until the stadium was closed.

Located at 6765 Dublin Center Drive in Dublin, Ohio, about 20 minutes away from OSU’s campus, the Scare-A-Torium is made up of two haunted houses, “Frightmore’s Manor” and “RIP Stinkers Funhouse and Lyncon Laboratory in 3-D.”

The combined haunted houses are a compilation of 55 scenes and a “collection of fears” that takes about 30 minutes to go through, said director of operations Kelly Collins.

“You’re gonna go through a sanitarium,” Collins said. “You’re also going to go through a hillbilly shack. There’s a morgue and there’s a cemetery.”

The Scare-A-Torium opened Sept. 28 and is scheduled to run Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Nov. 3. Tickets are $20 for general admission.

For a cheaper, closer option, there is the Walking Dead Mansion, located at 625 E. Jenkins Ave., a little more than 15 minutes away from OSU’s campus.

The Walking Dead Mansion, a haunted house that gives it proceeds go to the Vassor Village Civic Association, which is a charitable organization that supports the people of the Columbus Glass District, according to its website, has been in business for three years.

The house’s theme is based on a fictional story of a 6-year-old girl who accidently burned her house down, killing both of her parents and sister, which led to the rumor that the family haunts the house.

Owner of the haunted house and an OSU alumnus Beau Bayliss said although the story is completely fictional, it is convincing and creates the atmosphere of a horror movie.

“It’s not actually true, but it’s pretty believable,” Bayliss said. “And it’s kind of like you’re in a horror movie, you’re the star of the show. All of the actors basically revolve around whatever guest is in the haunted house at the time and we limit groups to about two or three – that way everyone gets a great scare – versus letting large groups through.”

The Walking Dead Mansion opened for the season on Sunday and is slated to be open until Oct. 31, running on Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 and VIP tickets, which allow you to skip the general admission line, are $7.

Haunted tours

If “staged” haunted houses with actors aren’t enough, haunted tours can also be found around town.  

The Columbus Landmarks Association runs annual ghost tours, which include walking, bus and tavern tours around Columbus. However, tickets for both the Haunted Historic Tavern Tours and the Halloween Lantern Walking Tours are sold out for the rest of the season.

“What’s most popular are our tavern tours, which are tours that start at a historic tavern location and then people are there for about an hour where they hear stories and history of the building, and during this season they go to taverns that have ghost stories associated with them. Then a bus takes them to a second and then a third tavern that has ghost stories associated with it, and then they return to the original destination,” said Kathy Mast Kane, the executive director at the Columbus Landmarks Association. “Those tours are almost always sold out.”

Kane also said this year marks the first time the Columbus Landmarks Association is collaborating with the German Village Society for a new tour.

“(It’s) a new walking tour that is also (a) ghost story connected, and that tour we are doing for three different nights for the season, and that is sold out as well,” Kane said. “So (there are) maybe a handful of seats out of 10 tours that we have available.”

Tickets are still available for the Gables, Gargoyles & Ghosts Bus Tours 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

For those willing to travel for haunted tours, there is Halloween on the Hocking, an event organized by the Hocking Valley Canoe Livery, which includes a half-mile canoe ride on the Hocking River, a hayride and a bonfire.

“We go out and decorate the river and when people get back we have a haunted hay ride, and we have a Native-American who tells a few good ghost stories around a fire once they get done with the hayride out on our campground,” said Shane Barbini, manager of the Hocking Valley Canoe Livery.

The event is held the last three Saturdays of October and starts at the Family Fun Center at 22663 Main St. in Rockbridge, Ohio, about an hour from campus, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 per canoe, which fits two adults and two children.

“There’s a lot of haunted houses, but not many haunted river trips,” Barbini said.

Additional haunts

A few students said they won’t be opting to pay for a spook this Halloween though.

“I’ve never been to a haunted house (and) I don’t have a desire to go,” said Jenna Beavers, a third-year in radiation therapy. “I hate Halloween actually, which is weird because I like scary things, just not a fan of haunted houses.”

But some students, such as Daeron Wilson, a third-year in English, said they enjoy the haunted houses around Columbus and other parts of Ohio.

“I used to go to haunted houses around Ohio a decent amount but I got sort of bored, so then I started going to places that people said were haunted for more fun,” Wilson said. “The Mansfield (Prison) – I didn’t go to their (seasonal tour) around Halloween, but year round they have tours. It was pretty cool. There were some things that people, friends or family members, had said that happened when they were in there. I didn’t really notice anything, but it’s a cool old building.”

The Haunted Prison Experience, located at 100 Reformatory Road in Mansfield, Ohio, is held inside the Ohio State Reformatory. Described as “The Supernatural meets the Special FX” on its website, it is open on Thursday through Sunday through Oct. 28 and is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 31. Tickets for all dates are $17.

Wilson also said Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres is another haunted house in the area he has visited.

“It was pretty cool. A friend’s band plays out there every Halloween and they do ‘flesh suspensions’ during the shows,” Wilson said. “It’s pretty interesting. It’s just a weird subculture.

It’s kind of hard to find things that people get grossed out by, so the Haunted Hoochie was cool.”

Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres is located at 13861 E. Broad St. SW, in Pataskala,
Ohio, and is open through Nov. 3 on Thursdays from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, and Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 and VIP tickets are $30.

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