Haunted Houses Implement COVID-19 Regulations
October 29, 2020
With Halloween fast approaching, haunted houses are open nightly to bring terror to individuals through skilled actors, horrifying sets, and the use of light and dark. In the past, many haunted houses have also relied on the ability for the actors to touch the visitors, adding yet another layer of fear. However, in this day and age, touching people in general is frowned upon, as it could put them at risk of COVID-19.
While not every haunted house has attractions that allow actors to touch guests, there have still needed to be changes made to the rules and regulations throughout the houses overall.
Three of the highest ranked haunted houses in Utah are Nightmare on 13th, Asylum 49, and Fear Factory. According to a student at Skyline High School who has visited two of the three (Nightmare on 13th and Fear Factory), there are many precautions being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You have to order tickets online for Nightmare on 13th, which are booked for specific times of night, and the workers that are spread throughout the houses make sure that groups are staying six feet apart. Guests are required to wear masks throughout the whole experience. For Fear Factory, things are quite similar. Required masks, separated groups, crowd control in lines with time slotted tickets, and they even included hand sanitizer throughout the house.
One recurring theme throughout each of the haunted houses was the restrictions for actors. They are not allowed to touch you, which can be a major part of the scares for some attractions. In Asylum 49, one of the main features is the actors’ ability to strap you to a mental hospital bed and detain you there for hours on end. On their website it specifically states “Don’t have somebody waiting for you in the car for you while you go through thinking you will be right out we are open for 3 hours on weekdays and 5 on weekends you could get detained the entire time and we won’t send anyone in to look for you [sic] you got your dumb *** into this mess get yourself out.” However, with the new implementation of COVID regulations where actors are not allowed to touch you, Asylum 49 seems to have lost its most appealing experience.
However, there have been no rules stated explicitly on the website that actors within the haunted houses are required to wear masks, just that they will be staying six feet away from you. From the experience of the student mentioned earlier, she says that not all actors are wearing masks in either Nightmare on 13th or Fear Factory, and not all of them have been staying distanced.
Overall, it has been difficult for people that rely solely on large groups of people attending their activities to implement rules that will keep people safe but also keep the experience fun and frightful, and actors are often trained to get up in guests’ faces, and old habits die hard. They do seem to be working their hardest towards a safer future while still striking fear in the hearts of everyone that walks through the doors.