By Giana Scavotto
Whether it’s zombies, vampires, serial killers, evil clowns, witches or even demons, everyone is afraid of something. According to the Haunted House Association, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States, and haunted attractions are on the rise everywhere.
But why would an industry that scares their customers be so popular and successful?
According to Dan Covington, an employee at McCray’s Haunted Hayride, “I work at a haunted hayride because the people that show up genuinely want to be scared, and it’s my job to scare them – and I do my job well.”
When asked why she enjoys haunted attractions, Taylor Tranghese, a student at Worcester State University, said, “I like them because it brings out my true self. You’re not afraid to be scared and you’re not afraid to show it. You can act like a little kid again, and it’s totally acceptable.”
Research done by the Haunted House Association shows that people enjoy being scared as long as it’s in a safe and controlled environment, where they know that nothing bad will actually happen to them.
Ryan Slingerland, a former employee at McCray’s Haunted Hayride, says that he looked forward to this time of year so he could dress up and be someone’s worst nightmare. When asked why he likes scaring people, he replied, “It’s fun. People come here to be scared, and it always cracks me up when the tough guy in the group screams like a little girl”.
There are plenty of haunted attractions to attend. Some are hayrides, which usually last about 30-45 minutes. There are also haunted houses, haunted mazes and haunted woods/walk-throughs with interactive robotics and characters dressed in theme to scare their guests.
Theme parks like Six Flags and Lake Compounce are usually Halloween-themed in October as well, Scary characters walk around haunting guests and haunted attractions are usually available.
According to Six Flag’s website, they expect over 30,000 people to enter the gates for the their annual “Fright Fest,” which offers additional attractions such as a haunted mansion, haunted woods, haunted graveyard and even an Area 51.
Generally, attractions cost around $20 and last about 30 minutes. Don’t miss out on the fun – Factory of Terror in Worcester is located only 20 minutes from WSU and costs only $24 for access to five attractions!