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.