Well after much fuss and debate, I had decided that things just were not going to work out in PA, so I reluctantly packed my bags last week and headed back home. I’m of course let down that things didn’t work out, however after announcing my departure from PA, I was contacted by a couple friends of mine who may have a place for me in their operations.
While I am unable to speak publicly about the opportunities, I will say that I feel very strongly that something may come to fruition. However, with that said, I’m trying my darnedest to not get my hopes up. If I’ve learned anything the past couple years it’s that nothing seems to go as planned – especially in the haunted house industry!
I will update this blog with any news or updates regarding getting involved in another show. Turns out the phrase “When one door closes, another opens.” stands true and I am extremely excited and eager to see how things pan out!
Just thought I would update you all on my progress out in Pennsylvania. While I’m still not officially an employee (working on getting paperwork ironed out) I have been able to be down at the haunt play a part in the whole process.
Earlier this month some of our crew and I attended Transworld’s annual Halloween & Attractions show in St. Louis and while this was my fifth time to the show, it was great going as a part of a haunt crew again! The entire time was a blast as always. It’s the one time of a year I get to see so many friends of mine from all across the map. It was so great! It’s was amazing how much a few short years can change things. From going to a kid who didn’t know hardly anyone in the industry, to running into old friends constantly in the hotel lobby and on the show floor.
While the show was a blast, by the end of our six day visit, I was definitely glad to be heading back to PA! We made off while quite a haul from the show and I was able to meet several other people in the industry. In all, it was a fantastic experience and can’t wait until next year!
As far as things at Hundred Acres Manor, as mentioned, things are still getting ironed out. However, things should be fully ironed out here in next few weeks. It’ll be quite a weight off my shoulders once things are finalized!
That’s all for now. As far as video/photos from the haunt show, I decided not to take any. There are hundreds of others (with better cameras and filming techniques) that took plenty of video and photos for everyone else to view. If you’d like to learn more about the haunt I’m working with, check out the Hundred Acres Manor website or for information on the haunt show, visit the Transworld Halloween & Attraction Show website.
When first getting involved in the haunted house community, there’s one haunt that always had a special place in my heart. It was the very first big pro haunt I visited and proved to be an amazing inspiration for not only myself, but countless other haunters and enthusiasts who were able to visit their show. Sadly, after 13 years, Dream Reapers Haunted House in Melrose Park, IL has closed its doors for good.
What made DR so different than so many other haunts was their amazingly strong acting troop. Each actor had their own character with full costume and Hollywood quality makeup making the interaction between customer and actor a very entertaining and convincing experience.
For years Dream Reapers (DR) was rated one of the best haunts in Illinois, and was recognized nation wide as one of the best in the industry. When the Transworld Halloween and Haunt Show took place in Chicago, DR would open its doors allowing haunters to tour the halls of their legendary haunt. When hearing of its closing, several haunters on social media sites and forums mentioned how much they enjoyed DR the 13 years it was open and how inspiring it was. It was truly a legend and will truly be missed by many.
For the past two years I have been searching for ways to get back into the haunted house industry. I have done quite a bit of networking (as mentioned in previous posts) and gotten to know other people in the community across the map. I’ve done all of this in hopes of finding a new place to call my haunting home.
I have thought about trying to do another attraction here in Waverly, but have decided that getting out and working for other attractions will be better for me later on down the road. It will allow me to further grow and understand the industry all while not having the stress and responsibility of owning it all which is something I feel I will greatly appreciate! Running my own show was a ton of fun… I loved every minute of it. However, I’m quite looking to be an “underdog” and not be the one responsible for everything.
Anyhow, after talking to several friends, whom live all over the US, I have decided to pack my bags and move to Pennsylvania. While there, I will be working at one of the top rated haunted attractions in the US known as Hundred Acres Manor located in Bethel Park, PA. I have known the operator of this attraction for a few years now and have visited a couple times and had such an amazing time every time. While their show is already one of the best in the US, I’m quite looking forward to being able to help make it that much better this coming Halloween season.
This move has a lot of mixed emotions behind it. I will obviously miss my family who all live here in the Midwest but I am simply ecstatic about this amazing opportunity that has been offered to me. Also, in some way, I feel as if the move will serve as the official good-bye of Front Yard Fright which is just absolutely gut-wrenching. I so desperately wanted to get another show up and going here, but in the back of my mind I knew it was highly unlikely and unrealistic. However, as I said, this opportunity should prove to be a fantastic learning experience and who knows… Perhaps I’ll return to Iowa and be in the right place at the right time and be able to open up my own show. Only time will tell. Until then, I can’t wait to get out to PA and be able to get back to my one true passion… Haunting and scaring the pants off of unsuspecting patrons!
I want to thank my family and friends for being so incredibly supportive of this weird and zany life style. I’ve enjoyed the adventure so far and am extremely excited to start a new horrifying chapter.
As many of you may know, not only did we do Halloween big, we’re also known for our Christmas light display we put on every year. When we were doing our haunted house, tear down would start right after our last patron went though our doors. All in preparation for the area’s largest light display around.
We’ve always been really into both Halloween and Christmas, however we always seemed to have more Christmas lights and decorations. My dad, John, started decorating in the early 90′s with a few strands of lights and and a couple plastic lawn ornaments. Over the years, our display grew drastically including adding large inflatable characters, plywood cartoon cutouts, as well as more lights and plastic ornaments.
While our display was quite large, it was also quite static. With hundreds of Santa Clauses and snowmen covering the lawn, after a few years, it needed some freshening up. In 2008 we made the leap into computer controlled displays using Light-O-Rama software. It was a huge undertaking requiring months of programming as well as the typical weeks of actual set up of the display.
While we called it quits for our haunted house in 2010, we still continue to put together our Christmas display every year. Adding new elements to the show as well as changing up the program from year to year. We put a great deal of work into our display every year but it all becomes worth while when you seen the dozens and dozens of cars drive by every night.
If you’d like to learn more about our holiday display, or would like to see video, be sure to visit www.WaverlyLights.com. Also be sure to like Waverly Lights on Facebook or follow Waverly Lights on Twitter.
The past two years that we haven’t ran our own attraction, I have spent networking with several haunted attraction owners across the map. Some I’ve just chatted with online, others I’ve met at trade shows, and some I’ve actually visited during haunting season to check out their attractions. One of these attractions being Oblivion Haunted House in Menasha, Wisconsin.
Oblivion Haunted House was started in 2009 by Erick Gyrion, Aaron Dobberfuhl, and Dan Doble and right from the start they offered a unique and frightening experience for their unsuspecting victims. They were able to make amazing quality sets and scares with little to no budget – something admired by most haunters!
I was fortunate enough to visit Oblivion not once but twice the past two seasons. My favorite part of the show was their amazing attention to detail in their sets. With Erick working in theater, it was no surprise how convincing their show ended up being! From the gritty rusted pipes breaking through the wall to the glistening piles of bloody body parts, he had it down to a science which was something I always admired.
As with most haunted attractions, Oblivion had to be torn down (for one reason or another) after every season and stored. However, they were fortunate enough to at least secure the same location from year to year. After four years of building and tear down, it was relieved that they would no longer be able to use the same space for their 2013 season. With talking with Erick, there was talks of trying to rent a different space for next season but after much debate, they have decided to get out of the business and sell all their assets at an upcoming sale this Sunday.
Many Oblivion volunteers (whom I have befriended on my visits) were shocked and disheartened after hearing news of the haunts demise. I’m sure they were excited to see the haunt move to a new location much the way I was.
After briefly talking with Erick after the announcement, it is my understanding that he will remain in the industry through one way or another and is looking forward to a season off to visit friends and other haunts in the area – Something I can closely relate to!
In closing, I’d like to wish the guys from Oblivion the very best of luck with their future endeavors. I have no doubts that they will be making another appearance back into the haunt scene maintaining their reputation of making incredible works on a shoe string budget!
Hello and welcome to the new Front Yard Fright webpage! Please excuse our mess as we continue working on getting things up and running 100%. As you may already know, Front Yard Fright was put to rest after its six and final season in October of 2010. However, I have hopes of keeping the memory of Front Yard Fright around for some time! Who knows – Maybe we’ll be back sometime later on down the road. Only time will tell.
In the mean time, I am quite enjoying having free time to relax and enjoy life. With haunted house season in full swing, and Halloween just around the corner, I’m extremely excited to be able to travel and see other haunts around the US as well as visit friends who run haunts across the map. Though, in the back of my mind, I know running my own show is something I so desperately need to do sooner or later.
I intend to use this site to keep all Fright Fans updated on any possible plans for a future show. I also plan on uploading news articles, pictures, and videos of previous years as some what of a memento to the first six years that got me started in this crazy, yet exciting industry. Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!
Creator of Front Yard Fright