Trying to make a living off of Halloween can be a nightmare, but not for Eddie "Bone Daddy" McLaurin, owner of Woods of Terror in Greensboro.
After watching his friends try and fail to make a profitable haunted house, McLaurin decided to try his hand at the Halloween business.
In 1991, his first haunted house attracted a total of 184 people. This season, he anticipates a whopping 35,000 visitors.
But the rise in attendance didn't happen overnight.
McLaurin only dabbled in the haunted house industry until he met people who had found a way to turn Halloween into a full-time job. Then he was inspired to do the same. So he took to the road and toured some of the nation’s best haunted attractions.
“On a Saturday night, I would get on a plane," McLaurin said. "I went to New York’s Headless Horseman, went to Netherworld in Georgia, went to Niles, Michigan and saw the Niles haunted house."
He took some of the elements he liked as a spectator and incorporated them into his master plan for Woods of Terror. McLaurin’s final product includes eight themed segments of one seamless haunted trail. The themes range from specific fears such as arachnophobia to mainstream horror movies like "The Purge."
Each segment contributes to an atmosphere of terror rooted in overall sensation, which is much more unnerving than the atmosphere so common in haunted houses created by simple jump scares. Walkways are narrow and winding, contributing to a feeling of claustrophobia and a dread for what could be lurking around the corner.
Even walking between the different attractions, you don’t have a moment to relax. You feel immediately immersed in every new theme, regardless of which fear each segment confronts you with.
We both came into the Woods with little haunted house experience. Horror movies are not exactly up our alley, either.
So naturally, we decided it would be a great decision to review one of the top haunted attractions in America according to Buzzfeed, Haunted Attraction Magazine, MSN.com and more.
Even without an interest in horror, we still enjoyed the Woods. It provides a moderately intense experience, so you can still enjoy the feeling of fear without being so overwhelmed that you cannot appreciate the spooky surroundings.
Approximately 100 actors and 75 makeup artists commit a large amount of time to perfect makeup and costuming, so we liked that we could take the time to notice and enjoy their efforts within the Woods.
The Woods are open on the following dates: Sept. 29-30, Oct. 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31.
If you just can’t accept the fact that Halloween is over, the Woods of Terror is also open Nov. 3-4. For these post-Halloween shows, the Woods ramps up the intensity by featuring a total darkness experience.
For details on times, ticket prices and directions, visit http://woodsofterror.com/.
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