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!