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The Daily Tar Heel

Your guide to celebrating spooky season — but from a distance

Dennis DeFrancesco places a sign at the Haunted Hills Terror Drive on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. DeFranceso and his wife, Christie Cook, host the Haunted Hills Terror Drive.

With each new spooky season comes a new wave of fear-seekers hoping for a ghastly adrenaline rush at haunted attractions. The pandemic, however, has caused temporary closures for many haunted houses in the Triangle area, so some haunted house operators have found a way to protect the spirit of Halloween and provide safe — yet haunted — attractions at the same time.

Granville Haunt Farm Oxford, N.C.

This haunted attraction, which is about a 30-minute drive from Chapel Hill, will bring popular horror films to life with its haunted drive-in movie theme. Grey Blackwell, owner of Granville Haunt Farm, said this attraction is doing a cross-promotion with Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre to make this experience possible.

“We’ve got a big screen set up showing trailers of old horror movies,” Blackwell said. “Then the movies come to life in the different scenes as you pass through.”

Blackwell said he decided to try something new to give people the spook that they desire despite COVID-19 restrictions. He said he was pleasantly surprised by the public’s response to the announcement of the haunted drive-through.

“People really embraced the idea and were excited about it,” he said. “It’s something new and different and safe.”

The drive-through will take about 15 to 20 minutes, and the required speed limit will be three to five miles per hour to keep the actors and patrons safe and to avoid vehicle collisions. 

Actors will also be required to perform six feet away from all vehicles as an additional precaution.

The Granville Haunt Farm will open Friday and will operate every Friday and Saturday until Oct. 31.

For tickets and more information, visit its website.

Haunted Hills Terror Drive – Pittsboro, N.C.

While journeying through the woods at the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, thrill-seekers can expect 15 minutes of terror with multiple scene sets and special effects at the Haunted Hills Terror Drive.

Christie Cook, owner of Art of Motion Events, said this partnership with the community arts center was done to give the community a way to join in the Halloween fun while being safe.

“Indoor haunted houses are not permissible this year, so we hope that it will give people a chance to get out,” she said.

Cook said this drive-through will be scary but safe, as vehicles will be required to drive at three miles per hour and actors are required to not touch anyone’s vehicle.

She said this attraction will give the effect of driving through a haunted house and will be suitable for families.  

“We likened it to a PG-13 kind of movie,” she said. “We hope it’s something that will create a memory for families during a year that has been extremely challenging for everyone.”

Haunted Hills Terror Drive will be open on Friday and Saturday, and it will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the final three weekends of October.

You can purchase tickets here

Phillips Haunted Farms – Cary, N.C.

Phillips Haunted Farms offers a variety of haunted, COVID-19-safe fun with their Halloween and fall theme attractions. 

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Michael Phillips, manager of Phillips Farms, said haunted attractions have been offered in a greater quantity in the past, but COVID-19 placed restrictions on their typical operations. 

“We’ve had four attractions for the past three years. We had to close two of them because of COVID,” he said.

Phillips Haunted Farms offers visitors two safe haunted attractions: the “Rebellion Trail” wagon ride and the “Field of Lost Souls” haunted corn maze walkthrough. The wagon ride will take visitors on a 15-minute haunted journey around the farm, through the corn maze and by haunted cabins. 

Phillips Farms also offers daytime events such as a pumpkin patch, fall market, vendors, games, fall activities, corn maze and local beer vendors.

“We want people to be able to come out and escape the stress and panic of what’s been going on to just have fun,” Phillips said.

The haunted attractions will run until Halloween. You can find more information here