Want a good, old-fashioned, scare-your-pants-off experience south of the Twin Cities?
Look no further than the Monster Bash Haunted House. The long-lived Harmony haunt employs professional props, animatronics, blacklights and strobe machines, and fog effects to rattle the bones of its patrons.
The one thing they don’t outsource? The actors.
The no-touch haunt, manned by students, parents, and volunteers, has been scaring the bejeezus out of visitors in the name of arts education at Fillmore Central School District for eight years running -- with themes like “Hotel of Horrors,” “CarnEVIL of Fear,” and “Haunted High.”
This year, that theme is “Night Terrors.” Participants are invited into a “sleep study,” which quickly deteriorates into a collection of universal phobias -- the dark, spiders, common phobias…
It would spoil the surprise (and several jump scares) to say much more. But the initial questionnaire for would-be audience members does inquire about heart conditions, sensitivity to flashing lights, and your willingness to go down a 15-foot slide.
Fear not -- there are workarounds if you still want the eerie experience. And if you’re really a scaredy cat, just let the attendant know so they can give you a glow stick to light your way through.
Founder Jay Masters said the haunted house is committed to keeping things scary.
That means limiting groups to four people and spacing out tours so that no one can see or hear the scares another group is experiencing.
Twelve-year-old Savannah Erickson, in her first year haunting at the bash, walked through the house with a friend last year.
The verdict? Terrifying.
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“I was so scared when I went, I was clinging to the person I was with,” she said. A little training, though, prepared her to freak out Harmony residents in turn.
Chloe LaBonne, 16, joined the haunt at age 9. “Most of us come in with no knowledge of acting at all, and we go along with the week,” she said.
In the past seven years, the fundraiser -- the school district’s largest -- has raised a total of $72,000 for theatre, band, and choir programs.