HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE
A free public service from the
ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION in Detroit, The Haunted House Capital of the World.
WELCOME TO THE ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE, your insider fast track to the HOTTEST HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in Michigan and the whole nation! We attend as many haunts as possible each year, and post reviews that are archived for future reference.
Our mission is to give you an authentic feel of what each haunt is like, but without giving away too much. It's a challenge we're up to, because we don't want to spoil the experience for you!
Don't think of us as judges, but as storytellers. Every haunt has a story, and we'll bring it to life right here. It's almost like going to a haunted house without going to a haunted house!
You'll also find info on off-season haunt events as well as alternative entertainment, so stay tuned. Stuff like fireworks displays in the winter, free concerts, and where to see amazing automated Christmas light displays.
WE ARE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PROFIT. The website has large type and is dial-up friendly for maximum accessibility to all. Localities appear in red for easy identification. And the original, one and only Free ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP that started the ball rolling in 1986 is still available 24/7 at (313) 274-1111.
History - in the mid-90's, we started adding stories at the end of the Dial-A-Trip episodes in October about the coolest haunted houses we went to. So much interest was generated that in 1999 the decision was made to start a separate service, and the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE was born!
NO ADVERTISING! NO COOKIES! JUST THE GOODS._____________________________________________________________________
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 11 PM - THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER DISASTER
Okay, maybe it wasn’t purple. And it was actually a chicken, not people.
Every year, killer haunts come and go. It’s just the way it is, fair or not.
Even putting together a FIRST CLASS SHOW is no guarantee you’ll make a go of it - SINISTER in UTICA and ABANDONED in MELVINDALE come to mind...
SINISTER featured strolling performers from beyond, including their Trademark CRAZY CHICKEN MAN, who comes back to haunt us to this very day!
CANNIBALISM IS YOUR FRIEND
A strolling actor wearing an elaborate realistic chicken costume roams around, mimicking a chicken with uncanny realism. It’s DINNER TIME, and he proceeds to chow down on a FRESH COOKED ROTISSERIE CHICKEN from the local KROGER STORE.
It is indeed fresh & wholesome fowl, juicy & delicious...so he offers a generous portion for you to eat! We gladly accepted the tastiest treat we’ve ever seen at a queue line.
PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE
It was a long time ago, but best as we recall he rambles about deleterious mental problems caused by unresolved CANNIBALISM ISSUES, and complains about mysterious mishaps of local psychiatrists who failed to help him. He insists he had nothing to do with it, while giving details only the perpetrator could know.
He takes frequent breaks to retrieve and eat more chicken, then scolds himself for such horrible behavior. After all, CANNIBALISM IS WRONG, RIGHT? Apparently not for the LEGENDARY CHICKEN MAN from SINISTER.
Inside SINISTER, the final room was a STROBE LIGHT ZEBRA STRIPE ROOM featuring an amazing acrobatic actor that appeared to FLY ACROSS THE ROOM!
We gave MULTIPLE AWARDS to SINISTER, and we were not alone. Across the board, multiple haunt rating services throughout MICHIGAN & OHIO gave TOP RATINGS to SINISTER.
And yet, they failed to be economically feasible and had no choice but to close up shop.
What a crying shame! One of the best DETROIT HAUNTS...gone...but not forgotten. Thanks for the memories, SINISTER.
Rats! Where is my magic wand when I need it? If I could just wave it just so...I’d bring back this haunt...oh yeah, I’d also have to wave it again to ring back another haunt WE MISS SO MUCH...
(STILL BEING WRITTEN)
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 2 PM - IN THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS
Tah dah! The results are in of our very unscientific study. HAUNTED HOUSES do not cause nightmares~!
We slept just fine, thank you. If anything, we slept even better than after a boring night of sorting pocket lint and staring out the window like usual. haha
Now the big question is: Will we be able to sleep tonight if we DON’T go haunting?
If we miss out on all the BIG FUN TO BE HAD TONIGHT at the many quality haunts open, we shall punish each other with a thousand lashes of a wet noodle. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying.
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 6 AM - NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP
Do HAUNTED HOUSES cause nightmares? It depends...
I’ll let you know after we wake up later. ;)
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 3 AM - SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
We got the fever!
And so do the MASSES OF MICHIGANDERS we saw haunting last night at THE HOWLING in FENTON and HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN.
We hit THE HOWLING first with a feeling of great urgency because Saturday was their final night for the season. We discovered this gem last year, from the fine people at ADOPT A PET who speak for animals with no voices in need of new homes.
THE HOWLING is not only a primo forest walk, but a night club too! Sorta...
They have tents with tables & chairs set up with beverages and munchies available...cool music jamming. One tent has a TWISTED KISSING BOOTH PHOTO OPP that had lots of people sharing their fun to the world on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK and such.
In short, THE HOWLING is a FIRST CLASS VOLUNTEER HAUNT!
OVER THE TOP & DOWN THE BLOCK
Next we were off to BIRCH RUN for the all new HYSTERIA HAUNT to see what all the buzz is about...the search light patterns in the sky...dancing & directing you to the OUTLET MALL where this haunt has set up shop. www.hysteriahaunt.com
The moment you enter HYSTERIA it’s a BLAST OFF TO NEVER NEVER LAND! Primo rock band SHINEDOWN set the mood on the PA during our visit, along with lots of special lighting and JUST the right amount of fog.
Of course, no amount of great tunes & technology alone can make a great haunt. You need great actors, with the creativity to mix things up on-the-fly to match wits with the sometimes witless patrons. HYSTERIA HAUNT hits the nail on the head in this department. VENUS was one of our favorites, with her dubious motives & obvious taste for the bizarre. GREAT STUFF!
It’s a clever setup at HYSTERIA HAUNT that’s given them the flexibility to stretch their creativity to the limits of their twisted brains! haha After all, you gotta be crazy to think that putting on a haunted attraction is a smart thing to do, right? haha
SO NEAR & SO FAR
Our apologies to FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL for missing them Saturday night.
FACTORY OF THE DEAD has delivered the goods big time on every visit, while SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES is new this season. Rats! We just didn’t have enough time...ah, time...my cruel keeper...jerk!
OCTOBER 23, 2021 SATURDAY 9 AM - TRIPLE TREAT
Hooray! We made it to all 3 of our targets last night: ROTTEN MANOR, FRIGHT VILLAGE & TILLSON STREET. All 3 were jammin’ big time!
And we ran into an old friend at FRIGHT VILLAGE. We don’t usually give names here* but we have to make an exception for the very cool LEONARD PICKEL from HAUNTED ATTRACTION MAGAZINE who we last saw at HAUNTCON in DEARBORN. Great to see ‘ya, buddy!
LEONARD PICKEL is a familiar name to some of you out there...and if so you’ve probably heard of JOHN POE and KAREN MURPHY too...but that’s more than enough name-dropping...haha https://hauntrepreneurs.com/pickelbio/leonard-pickel-bio/
So our first stop was ROTTEN MANOR...what an amazing place this is! They now have THREE MAJOR ATTRACTIONS - ROTTEN MANOR, ROTTEN FOREST, and the all new ROTTEN HAYRIDE. www.rottenmanor.com
Much as we love ROTTEN MANOR and ROTTEN FOREST, we had to pass on those for this visit and just do the ROTTEN HAYRIDE. The MANOR & the FOREST can each take up to 45 minutes, and with two more destinations on our schedule we had to make this difficult decision.
ROTTEN HAYRIDE is an INSTANT HIT! It’s like taking a journey into an old time village with a General Store, Saloon, and much more. The design is top-notch, and despite being KID FRIENDLY is big on excellent scares.
With this addition ROTTEN MANOR joins the ranks of what we’re now calling an ULTRA HAUNT.
It was then a short drive to FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION...WOWSER! The mere appearance of the massive building grabs you, and the quad searchlights let anyone nearby know something big is happening here.
The exquisite decor of the ticket lobby belies the many hideous scenarios that await you here in 3 indoor haunts and an outdoors journey. The lobby features giant skeletons and spiders, an absolutely beautiful chandelier, unusual photo opps, and some way cool LED HALLOWEEN MASKS for sale.
The FRIGHT VILLAGE actors seemed to be everywhere and were all spot on! This can make or break even the most sophisticated haunt. One of our favorites was the HIDEOUS BLOODY PIG MAN who strolls around, looking for the most vulnerable victims. GREAT STUFF! www.frightvillage.com
After a MASSIVE DOSE OF CRAZINESS, you can change gears totally and BUST A MOVE ON THE DANCE FLOOR in a nightclub-like setting and (responsibly) enjoy adult beverages.
Or you can enjoy your tasty beverages and trade stories with other haunters outside at a fire pit. This is one of the oldest haunting traditions, and the source of many evolving “urban legends” that usually start something like “Oh yeah? That’s NOTHING! I heard about this one haunt where they...”
One such legend, that’s not actually a legend, is the story of a small Michigan town where HALLOWEEN IS THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR!
You may already know we’re talking about ROMEO, MICHIGAN where TERROR ON TILLSON STREET has been WOWING HALLOWEEN FANS for many moons. And so this was our final destination for Friday night. More later about this, but in the meantime click here: www.terrorontillson.com
* = We generally only give people’s initials, i.e. DS from THE HAUNT.
OCTOBER 22, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - GOLDILOCKS’ PERFECT DILEMMA
Not too cold. Not too warm. And no rain.
Ahhh, the perfect night for OUTDOOR HAUNTS. And a slew of them to boot!
SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLVERVILLE has a killer hayride & a haunted maze as well as their indoor haunt...
SHAWHAVEN FARM in MASON also has a wild hayride...
But of course so does NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI...
BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON always comes through...
DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS is a young outdoor haunt on the move...
And we can’t forget BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP...
These are all quality shows we’ve been to in past years, and we wish we had time to hit all of them this season!
But there’s only 2 weekends left...and there’s outdoors NEW BLOOD awaiting at the new ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY and FRIGHT NIGHTS in LAKE ORION.
Decisions, decisions...but as they go this is a very nice problem to have!
OCTOBER 21, 2021 THURSDAY 4 AM - NEW BLOOD
We’re always anxious to check out new haunts, like ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND which blew us away! See 2021 Reviews - click on left tab or here: www.zioptis.com/html/2021.shtml
And there are lots more new haunts: CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW in FLINT, FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN, ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY, and SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL.
We hope to visit all of these new haunts, and to them we say WELCOME TO THE MITTEN!
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - NEW LISTINGS
Just updated: the NOT IN FF/HG section. (FF/HG stands for FEAR FINDER & HAUNT GUIDE) Click tab on left or here - http://www.zioptis.com/html/not_in_ff_hg.shtml
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - MINIMUM OVERDRIVE - VISIONS IN THE AIR
Before the haunt season started, we visited GLENLORE TRAILS in COMMERCE TWP. It’s an ILLUMINATED FOREST that changes stories / themes to fit the time of year. www.glenloretrails.com
We saw the PRE-HALLOWEEN SHOW, which was still spooky but not high intensity and no live actors. The actors all appear on rear-projected scrims which are screens made of gauze cloth that appear opaque until lit from behind.
Interactive scenes double as educational tools as well, which reminds us of a special KID FRIENDLY side attraction ERWIN’S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON used to have. MR. BEE’S ADVENTURE was an educational BLACK LIGHT FLUORESCENT FANTASY WORLD that was visited off-season by tens of thousand of local students.
Some haunts are just too intense for small children, but we still want them to join in the BIG FUN OF THE SEASON!
This year has a NEW KID FRIENDLY show with the debut of ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY on the grounds of ROTTEN MANOR & ROTTEN FOREST. Also, ROTTEN MANOR has announced A BLOODY CHRISTMAS which will be in December! www.rottenmanor.com
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
Somehow we got talking about a FLASH-IN-THE-PAN HAUNT that ran for only 2 years in 2001 and 2002. THE HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT blew us away with some unique high intensity gags.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
We started recalling innovative details, including a DOG ACTOR that were not mentioned in the original review. They’re now added, click here: www.zioptis.com/html/cities_a_thru_s.shtml
OCTOBER 19, 2021 TUESDAY 10 PM - IMPORTED FROM NEW YORK
Looking through the website for FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, we learn this outfit has been haunting people in upstate New York for years.
Their decision to enter the DETROIT HAUNT MARKET wouldn’t have been made unless they were READY TO HIT THE BIG TIME.
FRIGHT VILLAGE has 3 indoor haunts, and a haunted forest walk. We can’t wait to check them out, NEW BLOOD is always welcome! www.frightvillage.com
OCTOBER 18, 2021 MONDAY 4 AM - BUCKEYE BIG TIMERS
Who remembers TERRORTOWN in TOLEDO? It was a PREMIERE OHIO MEGA HAUNT that quickly captured the heart of my partner becoming her FAVORITE HAUNT IN OHIO!
It was a multi-building haunt, with the biggest building reinvented every year.
One time they had you choosing a leader for your group, who then is handed a lantern to “guide your way.”
You enter the haunt, and it’s PITCH BLACK except for the light coming from your lantern. There are no lit displays of any kind. Random strobes and fog confuse things further.
Your lantern starts to flicker...then it goes out completely! Now it’s PITCH BLACK and monsters attack from out of nowhere...the lantern finally lights up again, but then it starts flashing like a STROBE LIGHT as monsters run across the room appearing in stutter motion...then it blacks out again...until just at the right moment a monster appears with a flash of your lantern...and so on...the timing is uncanny!
The lantern itself becomes both your friend and enemy, guiding you way...sometimes...until it feels like tormenting you again! They’re playing a WICKED GAME with you. HOW EXACTLY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING?
The “lantern” you’ve been given is anything but ordinary. It’s a HIGH TECH LED FLASHLIGHT, radio-controlled by the monsters on-the-fly insuring perfect gag synchronization. And the monsters are equipped with NIGHT VISION VIEWERS so you can’t see them but they see you! It is SO unfair...and SO effective...we’ve never seen anyone else do this.
TERRORTOWN also custom built their own GIANT ANIMATRONICS that were one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
TERRORTOWN also had a BURIED ALIVE GAG with a twist - everyone sits on a bench before the masses of small plastic balls fall down and fill the room / compartment.
But nothing lasts forever and eventually ROB ZOMBIE swallowed up TERRORTOWN...sorta. (details somewhere in the Archives - sorry don’t know which one if we find it we’ll post it later)
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The only constant is change, and one of the big ones we’re anxious about is what’s coming next from HAUNTED X in OHIO.
HAUNTED X is the outfit that blew our mind with the HAUNTED PRISON EXPERIENCE in MANSFIELD, OHIO. (See Reviews 2015_B) It was in a REAL FORMER PRISON at the massive MANSFIELD REFORMATORY building! **SIDEBAR** This is also where the movie THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION was filmed. The ambiance at this place was off-the-charts...super intense.
The prison is gone...and now there’s rumblings about the NEXT TOLEDO MEGA HAUNT to take over now that TERRORTOWN is gone. BOO HOO! (Miss ‘ya, MR...say “HI” to ROB ZOMBIE for us) haha
HOLY TOLEDO, BATMAN!
Wait a second, what if we nix the Batman and change it to UNHOLY TOLEDO??!! And what if it became an INSTANT HIT and the NEW PREMIER TOLEDO MEGA HAUNT?
Then we’d say that HAUNTED X accomplished its’ mission to create A NEW PLACE WHERE NIGHTMARES ARE REAL. We can’t wait!
Stand by, my little monkeys...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
OCTOBER 18, 2021 MONDAY 2 AM - DOUBLE THE PLEASURE / DOUBLE THE FUN
No, not the gum.
Just thinking... we have TWO MICHIGAN CITIES THAT HAVE TWO HAUNTS!
In ASHLEY we have TERROR ON 27 and HINTERLAND. Then in WESTLAND it’s ELOISE ASYLUM and HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION.
But there’s another major coincidence. Both HUSH & HINTERLAND are geared towards off-season entertainment.
You may recall that HUSH was previously ready to stage their first MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATRE...all the arrangements had been made, the actors knew all their lines, tickets announced...
Then SCREECH to a halt came everything, as a horrible worldwide pandemic caused extreme sorrow to all sectors of society regardless of class, creed, or color.
We were SO disappointed! All that time and effort from HUSH - what a crying shame to see it go unrealized.
You know, there used to be a wildly popular MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER on the MICHIGAN STAR CLIPPER in WALLED LAKE. (It was often referred to as THE MYSTERY TRAIN.)
But nothing like this to our knowledge has been done in the DETROIT MARKET since then, so the market seems ripe for a new production in this unusual genre. HUSH was smart enough to see this and take action.
And there’s even more with HUSH that you’ll be hearing about later. It seems like it’s fate, because this property was formerly an ENTERTAINMENT MULTIPLEX called SKATELAND WEST.
Back in the day, this place was hopping year round! How cool to see it moving towards that direction again...there’s just so many good vibes that have accumulated here through the years...and many more to come based on what we’ve seen from this dynamic young haunt on a mission! www.hushdetroit.com
But HUSH isn’t alone in expanding into the off-season. Consider, Haunted Attractions are in the entertainment business...and people want to entertained year round, right?
Check this out: HINTERLAND first opened during the 2014 CHRISTMAS SEASON with A HOLIDAY FRIGHT to coincide with the Grand Opening of the VILLAGE OF ASHLEY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS which looks fabulous (and reminds us of CHRISTMAS IN IDA) https://www.facebook.com/villageofashley/
HINTERLAND is open on select seasons throughout the year with different themes and shows with high thrills, scares, and set detail around every corner. www.hinterlandhaunt.com
Also lest we forget, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY have staged off-season shows. KUDOS!
OCTOBER 17, 2021 SUNDAY 4 PM - STRONGER THAN A SPEEDING TORNADO
Imagine you’re a haunt operator, on summer holiday up north enjoying nature and whitefish dinners...
You come home, only to find that a TORNADO HAS DESTROYED the main building of your haunt! The biggest tree was ripped out of the ground and pulverized it.
You have no choice but to take a year off, then with dogged determination rebuild the place from the ground up.
This is the fateful story of HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS.
This a haunt that has an unbelievable variety of haunt scenes, including a primo new addition of DEMON FURY by renowned DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED in COLORADO! www.hauntedgarageproductions.org
SERVING SUGGESTION - TRAVEL TIP DELUXE
As luck would have it, HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS is only about a 15 minute drive from AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS. www.AzraHaunt.com
We’ve hit both haunts the same night several times, and it was a POWER PACKED HAUNT COMBINATION! Both haunts have great new stuff for 2021, we feel confident in giving THIS COMBO A VERY HIGH ZIOPTIS RECOMMENDATION!
OCTOBER 17, 2021 SUNDAY 3 PM - MORE MEDIA MAGIC
Thanks to GN from DEARBORN for letting us know about AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS being featured on WDIV TV-4’s LIVE IN THE D segment: www.clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d/2021/10/13/have-a-frightening-good-time-at-this-award-winning-haunted-house/#//
We’ve been closely following this young haunt since their impressive debut in 2018, and we can’t wait to see the new show. They’ve added 13 rooms for 2021 including a 3D CLOWN ROOM!
BTW, we’re not alone in recommending AZRA. According to our friends at THE SCARE FACTOR, AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS IS MICHIGAN’S #1 HAUNTED HOUSE! www.thescarefactor.com
OCTOBER 16, 2021 SATURDAY 2 AM - COSPLAY ALERT!
MOTOR CITY COMIC CON is in full swing - www.motorcitycomiccon.com/ /
OCTOBER 15, 2021 FRIDAY 4 AM - IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Yesterday we gushed about THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS, and rightfully so. The place is incredible, totally WORLD CLASS.
But you know what? WORLD CLASS comes in big and small packages and in all shapes and sizes.
WORLD CLASS is what won, for example, THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR its’ TWO 2019 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including BEST JAW DROPPING GAG.
We also earlier gushed about the natural ambiance being off-the-charts at ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. It’s so authentic you feel like you’re in a time machine, this truly is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
But so is the EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY. It’s a haunt literally BUILT ON A DESTROYER WAR SHIP so it too has natural ambiance off-the-charts. It also is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
Then we gushed about HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND with its’ TOP NOTCH SCARES in exotically artistic settings. This too is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
But ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY also has TOP NOTCH SCARES with high artistic standards, so it too is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
We could go on, but the point is: THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN is the one you’re at! EVERY haunt is trying their best to DELIVER THE GOODS.
Just go to the closest haunt, and you should have a great time.
If you’re eastside in MACOMB COUNTY, we suggest SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP. and of course BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA.
Maybe you’re west of Detroit in WASHTENAW COUNTY...head to NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI or a little farther west to DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE.
Are you in or near SAGINAW? THE FACTORY OF THE DEAD blew us away!
What about JACKSON? JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD...WOWSER!
Near the middle of the mitten? TERROR ON 27 also blew us away, and there are now TWO HAUNTS IN ASHLEY with the more recent addition of HINTERLAND.
Yes, it’s a highly competitive market and every haunt owner should be in the mindset that they are going to BE THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN...or OHIO...or PENNSYLVANIA, etc.
OCTOBER 14, 2021 THURSDAY 7 AM - THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN
Hold on, Zioptis! How in the world can you say that, after all the talk about NOT comparing haunts to each other?
Yeah, we get it. We’ve said that for years, but there’s an exception to every rule so listen up.
Never mind what all the RATINGS SERVICES say, we’re going to reveal THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN!!!
It’s a little off the beaten path, and we’re willing to bet most of you have not been there...
And we are actually not breaking our own rule of not comparing haunts to each other, as it was again another haunt operator that told us this.
Okay, now that we’re off the hook here’s the story. This goes back a few years, but we have full confidence this is still valid.
We were chatting with TL from a long running haunt, trading stories about haunts we liked and such...
He asked if we’d been to GRAND RAPIDS, and we said no. With great enthusiasm, he said we really should go there and check out THE HAUNT.
Yup, that’s the name of the haunt...just THE HAUNT!
Anyway, TL told us: “THE HAUNT is the best in Michigan!”
We just talked to DS, the operator of THE HAUNT and this year THEY’RE KILLING IT with numbers far exceeding last year...
It seems there was a CLOWN REVOLT that saw TINKLES fall from power, as the DIABOLICAL CLOWN FRENZY staged a coup and took over THE FAMILY CIRCUS.
FRENZY THE CLOWN went on an INSANE SPENDING SPREE and redecorated the place in 3D. Nothing but the best could satisfy the impulsive urges of the eccentric clown, and he brought in CUTTING EDGE 3D ARTISTS including the legendary STU SMITH, KYLE VEST, and JOSHUA NISLEY.
This is a veritable WHO’S WHO of the 3D HAUNT ART GENRE, with the end result goal being THE MOST HIGHLY DETAILED 3D DISPLAY AT ANY HAUNT!
BTW, other haunts have also recognized THE HAUNT as being A TRULY AMAZING HAUNT! One time we were talking with a local mega haunt operator about who had won the HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD from another unnamed haunt info service.
A neophyte small haunt had won the big award. In frustration, the mega haunt operator said “If we had lost to THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN I would understand. If we had lost to THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS I would understand...”
THE HAUNT has essentially been in a class of their own. In their very first year, 37,000 happy patrons went through THE HAUNT. We’re confident that if you make the pilgrimage, you’ll be glad you did. www.the-haunt.com
OCTOBER 14, 2021 THURSDAY 12 MIDNIGHT - GPS TO THE RESCUE
Where the heck is LYONS, MICHIGAN? We know where Lyon TOWNSHIP is, because as home to ERWIN’S ORCHARDS it was a FAVORITE STOMPING GROUNDS when we were YOUNG & FOOLISH. Ah, memories...to be YOUNG & foolish instead of just foolish...
Anyway, here’s yet another haunt in Michigan we just spotted. www.facebook.com/TerrorOnBridgeSt/ No idea where that is yet...
WITH NO APOLOGIES TO BARRY MANILOW
The voice in our TOM TOM GPS unit belongs to a gal named MANDY. We often talk to her as if she was ALEXA, and sometimes we even serenade her with bad singing:
“OH MANDY, we’re so lost and you cost us a bundle,
Will you show us the way? OH MANDY, you came and you gave
Us directions telling when to turn right
(modulation up one key) OH MANDY, you saved us from going astray
Please never ever go away, OH MANDY,
You kissed us and stopped us from shaking, AND WE NEEEEED YOU!”
We used to get lost at least once every year, but no more THANKS TO MANDY!
There’s nothing like some kind reassurance as we forge new trails, sometimes on dirt roads with no street lights. To the ENDS OF THE EARTH we will go in search of NEW HAUNT EXPERIENCES!
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 11:11 PM - BEAM ME UP SCOTTY
CAPTAIN KIRK is in the news again, with some kinda BLUE ORIGIN space flight thingie. Live long and prosper, and all that stuff...
And science fiction is no stranger to haunting. We saw a UFO AND ALIENS at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY in BELLEVILLE with their hayride back as far as 2006. (see Reviews 2006) www.facebook.com/ThePumpkinFactoryBellevilleMI/
More recently we saw ALIENS AT ELOISE ASYLUM in a whole new way, unlike any haunt we’ve ever seen! The juxtaposition that it happens in such an old building is EVEN MORE MIND BLOWING! www.eloiseasylum.com
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 9 PM - DANCING IN THE STREETS
No, not the Motown song...it’s the GIANT HALLOWEEN PARTY in ROMEO, MICHIGAN on TILLSON STREET.
This annual event has become a legend in its’ own time! Check out the amazing pictures here: www.TerrorOnTillson.com
From their website - By Matt Ponke:
For those who are not familiar with Halloween on Tillson Street, here is some info. We are a dedicated group of homeowners that take Halloween to the next level, while providing a safe environment for children as well as an opportunity to give back to the community.
Romeo Michigan is a small, quaint village made up of historical homes dating back to the 1850s. Tillson Street has become the go-to Halloween destination for all residents of Romeo, as well as thousands of other visitors from the area. We have had visitors from all over Michigan, Ohio and as far as Mississippi to come and visit during Halloween. Each year, the crowds get bigger and bigger. Last year, each homeowner handed out over 2,000 pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. With about 30 houses that participate, that's over 60,000 pieces of candy in just a couple of hours. And that's just the kids who trick-or-treat on Halloween.
We’ve been hearing about this for many years! Maybe this is the year we finally see this for ourselves.
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
No, not all the rain we’ve been getting...it’s the staggering amount of money being spent this year on Halloween. Americans will shell out over an estimated TEN BILLION DOLLARS in 2021, up from a measly 8 billion last year. www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/09/22/halloween-costumes-2021-candy-decorations-spending-record/5816767001/
And it’s not just for humans. Cats and dogs are in on the action too! Check out these offerings from DISNEY: www.shopdisney.com/halloween-shop/costumes/pet-costumes/
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 3 PM - DEAD IN THE WATER
No, not all the rain we’ve been getting...it’s the new show at LAKE EERIE FEAR FEST at GHOSTLY GROVE THRILL PARK in SANDUSKY, OHIO.
Check out this video: www.facebook.com/BCSNErie/videos/266139672067405/
Rats, the right video doesn’t come up with this link. Time to investigate.
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 2 PM - BOW WOW WOW!
Attention DOG LOVERS - here’s an event that you and your four-legged friends can get behind. It’s the MUTTSTER MASH (no apologies to Bobby “Boris” Pickett) and looks like a lot of fun! www.clickondetroit.com/all-about-ann-arbor/2021/10/11/humane-society-of-huron-valley-hosting-family-friendly-muttster-mash/#//
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 4 AM - A MATTER OF TRUST
There are lots of people out there telling you go to this haunt, go to that haunt...
But who are they, and what makes them qualified to say which you should go to? Who can you believe?
Well, what if the person saying you REALLY must go to a certain haunt was somebody who owned another haunt? Now THAT is an opinion you should listen to, right?
STEPPING INTO THE WAYBACK MACHINE
Many moons ago we were at a (now defunct) fabulous haunt called THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN talking to the Master Magician Stuart MacDonald who created the place.
Stuart would perform an outdoor mind-blowing magic show, then twist your brain in the haunt with stuff that absolutely could NOT happen...but did! No other haunt has ever equaled this level of confusion to our knowledge.
Anyway...Stuart was eager to suggest that we should go to a competing haunt, GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, OHIO.
We took his advice AND WOW! It became an ANNUAL MUST SEE for us, and for many years we made the BUCKEYE PILGRIMAGE. The facade is incredible...IT’S ALIVE!
“#1 HAUNTED HOUSE IN OHIO” - HAUNTED ATTRACTION MAGAZINE
Now GHOSTLY MANOR has evolved into LAKE EERIE FEAR FEST. There are 5 haunts and it’s $25 for to do everything. From their website:
Experience the #1 Haunted House in Ohio
Looking for the best haunted house in Ohio?! Lake EERIE Fearfest @ Ghostly Manor Thrill Center is the one haunted house in Ohio you don’t want to miss this haunted house season!
Find out why Haunted Attraction Magazine ranked us the #1 Haunted House in Ohio, Forbes Magazine lists us in its Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the country, and The Scare Factor rated us #3 Must See Haunts!
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, we’re just minutes from Cedar Point’s Halloweekends, Kalahari Waterpark, and the Great Wolf Lodge Hotel. We are located within an hour of other GREAT Haunted Houses: Seven Floors of Hell, Bloodview, Hauntville, Factory of Terror, Spooky Ranch, Haunted Hydro, Fear Forest, the Mansfield Penitentiary and soo many more!
Lake EERIE Fearfest is one of Best Haunted Houses near Toledo! Lake EERIE Fearfest is one of Cleveland’s Best Haunted Houses too!
Need a place stay this weekend? Stay nearby at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites in Sandusky, Ohio. We look forward to seeing you this Haunted House season!
OCTOBER 11, 2021 MONDAY 3 PM - DOCTOR’S ORDERS
Trick-Or-Treat is back! According to Dr. Fauci, kids can hit the streets again this year for Halloween: www.nbcnews.com/now/video/dr-fauci-says-outdoor-trick-or-treating-is-perfectly-safe-this-halloween-123242053804
OCTOBER 10, 2021 SUNDAY 3 AM - SUNDAY, FUN DAY!
Lots of excellent haunts are OPEN SUNDAY NIGHT including:
AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS, BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA, DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS (18+ RAW NIGHT!), ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND, EREBUS in PONTIAC, EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI, ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP., and TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY
In addition to this, AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS is open every day of the month of October! Not only is it a killer haunt (WINNER OF MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS), they have lots of other FUN STUFF like RAGE ROOMS, an AXE THROW and ESCAPE ROOMS. www.azrahaunt.com
OCTOBER 10, 2021 SUNDAY 1 AM - EIGHT THOUSAND WORDS
It’s been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
If so, we’re about to save you eight thousand of them as we release 8 high resolution pictures from HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, taken last Friday Oct. 8: www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/
This only scratches the surface of what you’ll experience at HUSH! www.hushdetroit.com
OCTOBER 9, 2021 SATURDAY 4 PM - HAZELNUT WITH CREAM
After a really late night, it’s JAVA TO THE RESCUE!
Our only regret last night is we couldn’t also hit DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS, a young outdoor haunt on the move. www.derangedhaunt.com
ROMULUS is very close to WESTLAND, and for that matter so are TAYLOR and INKSTER where THE SCREAM MACHINE and HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME are.
So we have A WHOPPING FIVE HAUNTS within a radius of probably less than 10 miles - DERANGED HAUNT, ELOISE ASYLUM, HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, & THE SCREAM MACHINE. You can’t go wrong at any of these haunts!
OCTOBER 9, 2021 SATURDAY 4 AM - THE BIGGEST SLAM DUNK?
WOW! We had an INCREDIBLE FRIDAY NIGHT with THE NEW DETROIT DYNAMIC DUO of HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and ELOISE ASYLUM.
If you go to either one of these haunts, you absolutely must go to the other! They are that good. They’re totally different, but totally fabulous too!
We started at HUSH & WHAT A RUSH IT IS! This place will scramble your senses in a one-of-a-kind artistic assault from a small army of TOP NOTCH ACTORS with incredible makeup.
The scares were all spot on, fast and furious yet dark and ghoulish. You can’t look away; each scene is expertly crafted to be visually compelling. One of our favorites is the STUNNING DOLL ROOM. (we have high resolution pics to be released soon)
Now throw in a PRIMO PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR and you can see why many consider HUSH to be MASTERS OF THE CRAFT. www.hushdetroit.com
Next we traveled LESS THAN 10 MINUTES to ELOISE ASYLUM... *
There’s several amazing stories here, and one of them started in MANCHESTER, ENGLAND of all places! (details later in their upcoming Review)
Thousands of HAPPY HAUNTERS descended onto ELOISE ASYLUM...it was A GLORIOUS SIGHT!
Naturally, you want the NEW KID IN TOWN to do well and WOW DETROIT HAS RIGHTFULLY DELIVERED A GREAT WELCOME TO ELOISE ASYLUM!
First of all, the place is haunted. For real. You don’t want to know the details.
All you need to know is they worked their butts off starting last June to make this haunt, bringing in the HIGHEST TECH PRO LIGHTING EFFECTS EVER. We’re talkin’ SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE level stuff...wait a second this place is ancient yet I JUST SAW ALIENS!
The ambiance at ASYLUM is OFF THE CHARTS because much of what you see was ABANDONED LONG AGO and left to collect dust.
The scenes run A STUNNING GAMUT FROM MEEK TO MAMMOTH. One that totally knocked our socks off was the STUNNING CAVE SEQUENCE. www.eloiseasylum.com
* = There’s lots of free parking - USE THE HENRY RUFF ROAD ENTRANCE. It’s slightly confusing as the haunt address is on Michigan Ave. but the entrance is on Henry Ruff. Do not try to park on Michigan Ave.!
OCTOBER 8, 2021 FRIDAY 3 PM - THE MORE THE MERRIER
Here’s yet another resource for finding haunts! www.michiganhauntedhouses.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - MAGIC DUST AND PIXIE STIX
Where’s my magic wand when I need it?
MOTHER NATURE is threatening to mess things up for the many fabulous outdoor haunts on Friday with rain in the forecast. SHAME ON YOU, MOTHER NATURE!
Sigh, scolding her won’t do any good.
Actually, if it’s just light rain no problem. And at BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON, they have a unique SELF-DRAINING PATHWAY they pioneered...
Probably best to wait until Saturday for outdoor haunts, and ANSWER THE CALL that’s been beckoning us big time Friday Night.
You guessed it - HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and ELOISE ASYLUM both conveniently located in WESTLAND near DETROIT!
We’re like little kids on Christmas Eve, who just heard sleigh bells as we’re futilely trying to go to sleep. ***SIDEBAR*** This is something my own dad used to do. On Xmas Eve he’d drive around the neighborhood in the family station wagon, open the window and shake a set of sleigh bells to pour some gas on the fire of the SANTA CRAZE!
OH BOY...OHHH BOY! We can’t wait - between the NEW SHOW AT HUSH and the new kid on the block ELOISE ASYLUM we’re in for a FABULOUS NIGHT OF HAUNTING! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 10 PM - LEAVE IT TO BEAVER & MOM
Many of you are too young to know about an old black & white TV show called LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. It was set in another time and place, where telephones were mounted on the kitchen wall and the worst thing brought to school was a Chihuahua stuffed into a shirt.
But all of you have moms, or you wouldn’t be reading this now!
So HOORAY FOR THE MOMS out there, and especially the OAKLAND COUNTY MOMS who as it turns out are big-time haunt fans as well.
They’ve compiled a list of FAMILY FRIENDLY HAUNTS: www.oaklandcountymoms.com/kid-friendly-haunted-houses-metro-detroit-25214
The only thing we saw missing was the new ROTTEN HAYRIDE (at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY), which is specifically advertised as being “KID FRIENDLY.” www.rottenmanor.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 9 PM - WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
Here’s an innovation for a haunt operating during a horrible pandemic that has killed over 700,000 people in the USA alone. *
It’s a DRIVE THROUGH HAUNT at HAUNTING IN IRISH HILLS in IRISH HILLS. They have 2 walk through haunts as well.
We checked this out for the first time in 2017, and they did a great job! We hope to visit again this year.
You can get a $5 discount if you bring a donation for the HUMANE SOCIETY from the WISH LIST on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/traincarofterror/
* = Sadly, our beloved Webmaster Bill Godwin (R.I.P.) was one of the masses lost to Covid-19.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - OH WHERE, OH WHERE CAN THEY BE?
Yes, we’re excited about the MANY NEW HAUNT EXPERIENCES that await.
But we’re sad too. KRAZY HILDA’S is gone, along with HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR, SLAUGHTERED AT SUNDOWN, THE REALM OF DARKNESS, THE HAUNTING, ERWIN’S, DEADLANDS, DEADLY INTENTIONS, SINISTER HH, DARK LEGACY, THE BONEYARD, ST. LUCIFER’S HAUNTED ASYLUM, THE CRYPT, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, McCURDY’S REVENGE, and so many more...
To fully appreciate the haunt scene its’ core roots can not be forsaken. To see a comprehensive list of HAUNTS GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN click on the “Closed” tab.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - A SPOONFUL OF PUMPKIN HELPS THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
Yum...sipping on some TRADER JOE’S PUMPKIN SPICED COFFEE that my partner got for me. Any other JAVA FANS out there? haha A rhetorical question, of course.
Remember, you can ask questions by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG QUESTIONS
JL from TRENTON asks a loaded question. She says: “hey zioptis which haunt is better hush or the asylum??? and there not in detroit doofus FRIGGIN WESTLAND! git yer facts straight jack luv ya anyway idiot” (Editor’s note: the last word was changed to stay family friendly!)
Thanks for the question JL!
First of all little sister, I should scold you for misusing a homonym. haha It should be “and they’re not in detroit”
As to which is better - HUSH OR ELOISE ASYLUM?
Actually, we haven’t been to either one yet. We’re doing the “delayed gratification” thing. You should try it yourself someday.
But I can tell you without even looking into THE CRYSTAL BALL what the deal should be.
THE ULTIMATE EPICUREAN DILEMMA
Let’s say you go to the restaurant and the SURF & TURF looks fabulous!
The friendly waiter brings the FEAST ON A PLATE.
There’s STEAK & LOBSTER. What’s best? (the waiter is not one of the choices)
And so it is with your question, JL. HUSH & ELOISE ASYLUM are both HOLLYWOOD GRADE HAUNTS, but beyond that are dramatically different from each other.
But you know what? We’re thinking that just like the steak and lobster, they probably go best together! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
As to the city being “DETROIT,” we understand the confusion. And YES, you are correct. They’re really in WESTLAND just like you said.
Here’s the deal JL: the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE is on an international platform. Haunted house enthusiasts and operators from all over are logging on.
To help them locate things “on the hand” when we say DETROIT we mean the Detroit MARKET AREA, which encompasses the so-called QUAD COUNTY AREA which is WAYNE, OAKLAND, MACOMB & WASHTENAW COUNTIES. Even WIARD’S in YPSILANTI can be called a DETROIT HAUNT by this thinking.
So we’re cool, JL?
Say “yes” or your pumpkin will explode. Thank you.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - A DEMON OF A DEAL - WHAT PRICE YOUR SOUL
Let’s say you had a big stash of money...in the 5 figure range...burning a hole in your pocket.
Most people would probably buy a house or a fancy car.
THE DEVIL MADE THEM DO IT
But what if you’re A MANIAC THAT LOVES HAUNTED HOUSES?
It’s a no-brainer. You call DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED in COLORADO!
That’s exactly what HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS did, and they’re the proud new owners of DEMON FURY.
This is a haunt that has so many props your head will spin, but with this new addition takes it to a NEW LEVEL OF CRAZY! www.hauntedgarageproductions.org
HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS has won MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS in the past, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve done for this season.
This is a haunt that was on forced hiatus last year. Not due to COVID, but because of a FREAK SUMMER TORNADO that hit them in the worst possible spot. They were UP NORTH IN THE MITTEN when it happened. Can you imagine coming home to that? HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!
But with dogged determination they rebuilt the place from ground up. The guy who runs this amazing place is retired GROSSE POINTE SCHOOL TEACHER G.W. who is giving back big time. WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL!
OCTOBER 5, 2021 TUESDAY 10 PM - THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG NEWS
Huh?! How can you say exactly what’s THE BIGGEST NEWS IN THE DETROIT HAUNT MARKET?
Sure, there’s lots of big haunt news this year in Detroit...and not just THE NEW SHOW AT HUSH & ELOISE ASYLUM!
Granted, ELOISE ASYLUM seems to have garnered the MOST DETROIT TV COVERAGE, and we understand. They have a TESLA COIL & COLD SPARK PYRO, some wickedly cool effects for a haunt!
BUT, hold on...there’s ANOTHER NEW KID IN TOWN THAT’S A MONSTER...it’s THE ALL NEW ROTTEN HAYRIDE at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. This is a haunt so good it’s critically acclaimed even by other haunts!
ROTTEN MANOR (& ROTTEN FOREST) stormed onto the scene in 2015 and quickly became the INSTANT STAND-OUT NEW DETROIT MEGA HAUNT. The operator here does things BIG & BAD...or not at all. Production values are off the chart!
2021 brings ROTTEN MANOR into A NEW DIMENSION with their ROTTEN HAYRIDE, a hayride that promises to be “KID FRIENDLY.” Don’t let that fool you, this will be anything but lame. All indications are that this is GONNA WOW THE MASSES who love hayrides! www.rottenmanor.com
We’ve lost 2 near-and-dear hayrides this year - HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR in LENOX TWP. has sadly closed and they had what many considered to be the PREMIERE HAYRIDE of its’ time. And PHANTOM TRAILS in GROSSE ILE has announced they’re done with the hayride, which was a KID FRIENDLY show with mostly original art that was exquisite.
The only constant is change!
Speaking of which, stand by for another ZIOPTIS SCOOP...soon we’ll tell you who got their hands on a new DISTORTIONS BRAND figurine that’ll KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! You may recall that JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD also has DISTORTIONS figurines. You can see them on our photo collection of “Haunted Attraction Stuff” here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157650409830035
OCTOBER 5, 2021 TUESDAY 2 AM - WILD WEEKEND ROUNDUP
We had a great start to the season! There were many creative wondrous spooky adventures awaiting...
At TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY we saw the TABLES TURNED ON AN EVIL CLOWN who’s been secured in a dental chair. It seems his fate includes DENTAL SURGERY GONE SERIOUSLY AWRY. Clown haters will love this!
This truly is a MAGICAL FOREST! The amount of work they’ve put in is astounding! There’s zero lag in the action between scenes, and countless spooky creatures on trees and posts keep vigil. There’s a KILLER LIQUID SKY SWAMP & a UNIQUE CLOCKWISE/COUNTER CLOCKWISE TWIN SPIN BLACK HOLE, and so much more. You wanna see a KILLER HAUNTED FOREST? This is how it’s done! www.terrorfiedforest.com
Then we had our souls SHAKED, RATTLED & ROLLED OLD SCHOOL AT AN ACTUAL FUNERAL HOME! The House Director / Mortician greets you, impeccably attired in his finely tailored suit. But his pleasant demeanor is shattered moments later as a FREE-FOR-ALL FREAK OUT breaks out! https://www.facebook.com/The-Haunted-Funeral-Home-368707953461056/
Capping off Saturday was THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR. They’re baaack, with a vengeance! The setup is all new, and the many actors were spot on with tons of great scares. One awesome high point was near the end with an ESPECIALLY FABULOUS SCARE where...nope, sorry no spoiler-alert...you’ll just have to go yourself to experience this for yourself! www.TheScreamMachine.com
OCTOBER 4, 2021 MONDAY 10 PM - NOTHIN’ BUT THE FACTS MA’AM
THE HAUNT GUIDE and FEAR FINDER are looking sweet this year! THE HAUNT GUIDE is in print and online, and FEAR FINDER is online only this year, but with a PRINTABLE PDF FILE. www.fearfinder.com
THE HAUNT GUIDE sponsor is again PAPA ROMANO’S PIZZA, so there’s pizza coupons. PIZZA & HAUNTED HOUSES? Sounds like a winner-winner pizza dinner! www.thehauntguide.net
OCTOBER 3, 2021 SUNDAY 7 AM - THE APPLE FALLS AGAIN
Last Friday night we took a chance, chasing a NEW HAUNT THRILL. It didn’t work out, but it reminded us that sometimes taking a chance is the best thing to do.
It goes back many moons, before the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE existed...
My partner and I were at ERWIN’S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON, getting our haunt on. This was an annual pilgrimage for us, and we SORELY MISS ERWIN’S. But as we noted earlier nothing man-made lasts forever.
Anyway, after the cider and donuts were gone it started raining...a torrential downpour! The rest of our group decided the night was over. But my partner and I borrowed a line from BLUTO and said, “Nothing is over until we say it is! There’s one more haunt we could probably make it to before they close. C’mon, follow us there.”
Our stick-in-the-mud friends missed out big time. We made it to THE GREAT FENTON BEAN COMPANY HAUNT in FENTON 5 minutes before closing time, and it was killer! They had a vibrating floor which we had never yet seen. And it was their Swan Song...it was the last performance before the haunt closed forever.
Nowadays, we have a loose unwritten rule that we don’t visit a haunt without talking to them first. And yes, we were breaking our own rule when we raced to get to this new haunt we hadn’t been able to reach. Even worse, it meant we didn’t make it to GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY. (We again apologize for missing them.)
But would we do it again? Probably. Being impulsive is part of our nature. Several times we canceled our BIG CITY HAUNT PLANS FOR HALLOWEEN to instead celebrate with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in tiny WEBBERVILLE (which is sadly gone) and had the time of our lives.
Don’t be afraid to change your plans. It might be the best decision you ever made!
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 11:11 PM - DOUBLE SLAM DUNK!
The actors at both the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER and THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR were on fire Saturday night!
Their passion for freaking out the customers shines on brightly, sometimes even in pitch black passageways. The timing of the gags was spot on throughout at both haunts.
Also at both haunts, the show starts before you even get in with special lighting and spooky music / sound effects blasting through unseen audio systems for primo ambiance.
Both haunts have been revamped too, keeping repeat customers from past years happy / scared poop less. It’s a fine line between the illusion of tranquility and sudden mayhem, straddled with ease by performers in perfect character right from the get-go of the season.
KUDOS TO BOTH HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME AND THE SCREAM MACHINE!
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 5 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS
It’s a nice problem to have! There’s so many incredible haunts in the area, and only so many hours they’re open...
We’re SUPER STOKED to see the new show at HUSH and then GO INSANE & BLOW OUR MINDS AT ELOISE ASYLUM!
PAPER BAG & A FLASHLIGHT
But you know what? We’re gonna wait...right now we got us a SERIOUS HANKERING FOR OLD SCHOOL...getting back to the ROOTS OF HAUNTING...I’ll never forget the FIRST BIG SCARE I EVER HAD at a haunt: Dad took us to a JAYCEE’S TRAILER HAUNT behind the Dearborn Recreation Center. In a dark passageway, an actor suddenly appears with a BANG! for a great gag. But it’s just some kid holding a flashlight and he pops a paper bag - total cost about a buck yet priceless!
Yes, we LOVE LASERS & LIQUID SKY EFFECTS...and MAN-MADE LIGHTNING is nothing to sneeze at...but we’re feeling nostalgic tonight...to make it even better let’s go to a place where DEAD PEOPLE...FOR REAL HAVE BEEN.
Yup, it’s a road trip to INKSTER for the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME! This is probably the closest thing to the ORIGINS OF HAUNTED HOUSES OUT THERE. https://www.facebook.com/The-Haunted-Funeral-Home-368707953461056/
Then it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to TAYLOR for the much anticipated TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE SCREAM MACHINE!
Our anticipation to GET OUR SCREAM ON IS OFF-THE-HOOK, because they were on COVID HIATUS last year and we missed them sorely...
WE CAN’T WAIT to see the new show! They’ve won MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS in prior years. (see Awards) www.TheScreamMachine.com
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 4 PM - WORD ON THE STREETS
Between printed media and radio / TV, every year we see and hear lots of advertising for haunted attractions. It’s not cheap!
But you know what? The hands-down most effective advertising doesn’t cost a dime because it can not be bought.
WORD-OF-MOUTH can be more powerful than all the radio towers and searchlights out there!
For example, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP. actually stopped all media / broadcast advertising in recent years. With the money they save they can invest in more upgrades...SMART. Happy haunters are their best advertising, as friends tell other friends of fabulous haunt experiences! www.scarefestscreampark.com
That’s why we often conduct “clandestine” impromptu interviews with people we see at haunts, asking about their best haunting experiences. We don’t always reveal who we are, and if we do we wait until they’ve finished telling what happened.
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 3:30 PM - MORE NEW BLOOD!
Here’s another NEW HAUNT FOR 2021. It’s NIGHTMARES FROM HELL in IMLAY CITY which is near FLINT. Being a new haunt makes it a priority! www.nightmaresfromhell.com
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM - MOM TO THE RESCUE!
Make that MOMS, as in OAKLAND COUNTY MOMS who as it turns out are big time haunt fans too. They’ve done their homework, including research on the status of haunts that closed and much more! www.oaklandcountymoms.com
Also of interest is the Halloween section of the local TV News website from WDIV TV-4. www.clickondetroit.com/topic/Halloween
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 4 AM - A FOREST TOUR DE FORCE LIKE NO OTHER
We decided to start our tour this year at TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY. In a word it was...PHENOMENAL!
We’ve been going to this haunt for decades, and they’ve never failed to amaze us. The new show at TERRORFIED is a relentless, bonkers off-the-chart feast for the senses! (review under construction in Reviews 2021)* www.terrorfiedforest.com
From there we went to the ZUKEY LAKE TAVERN for proper haunting sustenance...soo yummy...NOW OFF TO THE NEW HAUNT, WHOOPEE!
G P S, HO!
Wait a second. Where’s all the cars? Shouldn’t there be searchlights and such beckoning us to a haunted paradise?
They paid for advertising, so here we are - ANXIOUS PATRONS ON A MISSION FROM GOD! Where is the haunt?
Bummer. We found it all right...but there’s nobody here...just leave a couple Zioptis cards for them to find.
Sheesh...ending with not even a whimper or whisper after a GANGBUSTERS START to the evening...never mind which haunt it was.
It doesn’t matter and like we talked about earlier, preparing for the first night of a haunt is no small task.
Making a haunt is something most people should never try! You’ll lose your money, you’ll lose your mind! KIDS - DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME - TRAINED PROFESSIONALS ONLY! haha Step right up folks, and have CRAZY BOB TURNER tell you all about it and tell your fortune too at the totally whacked-out HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO. www.thehauntedhydro.com
Our apologies to GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY for missing them last night! We liked them in 2019 which was their first year - see the full review in Reviews 2019_B.
* = To access the 2021 Reviews you must select from the years listed on the LEFT SIDE. The BLUE TABS on the right only go to 2020 and I don’t know how to add more of them. Sadly, our Webmaster Bill Godwin died of Covid last March.
OCTOBER 1, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - AT MOTHER NATURE’S PLEASURE
In the article A PIECE OF CAKE below, we discussed factors that can affect indoor haunts.
But what if a haunt is outdoors as many are?
They’re literally at the mercy of Mother Nature.
She could decide to make it rain cats and dogs, or even to send rain so quickly it travels in horizontal sheets of liquid disaster.
What then? Closing down is often the only choice. With only so many nights to operate per season, it can ruin the balance sheet of expenses versus profits. ***SIDEBAR***BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON has a special self-draining pathway they pioneered!
And we saw one especially dismal season a few years ago when it rained every weekend in October.
CARPE DIEM, BABY!
But tonight is looking just right for outdoor haunts.
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT
Tomorrow? Sure enough, some forecasts are calling for rain. We encourage you to support outdoor haunts...tonight!
OCTOBER 1, 2021 FRIDAY 3 AM - A PIECE OF CAKE
HAPPY OCTOBER! Our favorite month has finally arrived, and lots of haunts are opening tonight.
Haunt operators have been planning and toiling...many of them beginning last spring...all leading up to Opening Night.
There’s lots at stake. Social media chatter and countless phone calls between haunters will shape peoples opinions as to which haunt is the best.
And all eyes are on the NEW KID ON THE BLOCK, a monstrous high-tech marvel taking up residence in an actual former mental hospital where countless human atrocities occurred.
We’re talking of course about ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. They took an old building and converted it into a haunt with high-tech outer space level electronic wonders like a TESLA COIL and COLD SPARK PYRO...we can’t wait to experience them! www.eloiseasylum.com
***SIDEBAR - GIVING CREDIT WHERE DUE*** This will be the 2nd time a MICHIGAN HAUNT has featured a TESLA COIL. EREBUS in PONTIAC was first to debut this at a haunt. www.HauntedPontiac.com
THE MITTEN CONTINUES TO GROW & EVOLVE
Other new haunts such as FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL, HYSTERIA HAUNTED HOUSE in BIRCH RUN, and CREEPY CARNIVAL in FLINT are preparing for their Opening Nights too.
THE BEST LAID PLANS
Certainly every haunt is doing their best to be ready for Opening Night. After all, they’ve had a whole year to prepare for it, right?
Imagine for a moment that you’re the MASTER MIND YO-YO that decided putting on a haunted house would be a smart thing to do.
There’s only about a thousand items on the check list...
So what could go wrong?
OF MICE & MEN
DISCLAIMER WARNING - THE FOLLOWING IS A FICTITIOUS HYPOTHETICAL HAUNT - NOT DESCRIBING ANYONE ANYWHERE!
You worked your butt off, designing and constructing room after room...
The lighting angles are perfect in the LIQUID SKY DISPLAYS...
Sound and lighting tweaked for each room with optimum scene-to-scene isolation...
Fog machines are topped off...
The final walk through dress rehearsal went great. No worries, right?
It’s Opening Day with 3 hours until Show Time, and you’re sipping on a COLD REFRESHING DR. PEPPER.
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH
Oh no! The Stage Manager is on the talkie - it’s big trouble in the final room with the NEW BIG WOWSER GAG. The new centerpiece prop WENT POOF and isn’t working. What next?!
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH AGAIN
RING! RING! Your cell phone starts vibrating...got the MONSTER MASH RING TONE...
It’s the final room lead performers’ wife calling from the hospital ER. He tripped over the new family pet down the stairs and has a broken leg, sprained ankle, and dislocated shoulder.
RATS! Time for Plan B - call the back-up performer.
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH YET AGAIN
ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER WARNING - THE FOLLOWING IS A FICTITIOUS HYPOTHETICAL HAUNT - NOT DESCRIBING ANYONE ANYWHERE!
RING! RING! The back-up performer has just tested positive for Covid-19!
You’d do the part yourself, except the costume is way too big...
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH YET EVEN AGAIN
KNOCK KNOCK! Who’s at the door? Just the over zealous city inspectors with “additional safety concerns.”
Or perhaps some key new equipment just can’t be shipped by Opening Night due to supply chain problems.
We could go on, but here’s the point: If you go to a haunt on its’ Opening Night and things seem off, don’t dismiss them or diss them on social media. There’s so many variables, it’s mind boggling! Consider going again later in the season, things can change.
Indeed, we’ve seen haunts fine-tune things as they go along.
And inspiration doesn’t always come before Opening Night. We saw one haunt develop a WHOLE NEW KILLER SCENE one mid-season at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S HAYRIDE in YPSILANTI. WAY TO GO, WIARD’S!
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 5 PM - NEW BLOOD
Here’s more new haunts for 2021. DEADLY CHOICES HAUNTED HOUSE in HOWELL enters the highly competitive MICHIGAN HAUNT MARKET. It’s located at CASTAWAY PLAY CAFE, 1800 North Burkhart Road in HOWELL. Opening night is Oct. 1, 2021. (517) 545-7386 or https://facebook.com/castawayplaycafe/
Also new for 2021 is CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW in FLINT. Every haunt has a story, and theirs is a doozie! It’s a troupe of carnival workers gone rogue who have a dubious new mission. We won’t “spill the beans,” but be advised you may be offered some SPECIAL KOOL AID! Opening night is Oct. 1, 2021 and the first 20 patrons will get in for half-price of only $10! After that, admission is $20.
CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW is located at 3166 Comer Street, Flint. (248) 535-9558 or www.CarnivalCreepShow.com
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 4 PM - WILD HORSES COULDN’T STOP THEM BUT MOTHER NATURE DID
It’s more good news / bad news. The good news is that HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS is back in action for 2021!
The bad news is they fell victim to some especially vicious weather when a giant tree fell on their main building, causing massive destruction and a forced hiatus last season.
But with dogged determination and a passion for presenting haunted excellence, they’re baaack and we can’t wait to see them again! Opening night is Oct. 8, 2021. www.HauntedGarageProductions.org
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 3 PM - GOOD NEWS / SAD NEWS
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY stormed onto the haunt scene in 2015, and quickly established itself as a PREMIERE MICHIGAN HAUNT. It became an INSTANT MUST SEE for us, and we’ve been there every year since...
Not one to rest on past laurels they’ve expanded yet again, adding THE ROTTEN HAYRIDE for 2021. They have FIVE tractors ready to go, and we can’t wait to see what these MASTERS OF THE CRAFT have come up with!
That’s the good news of course, but we have sad news too. Last Saturday night somebody stole a GREEN GOBLIN FACE wooden carving from them, part of a three piece set. Besides being part of their show, it has sentimental value.
A reward is being offered for info leading to its return, with NO questions asked. They don’t want to get anyone in trouble, they just want their beloved GREEN GOBLIN back! This is a custom-made one-of-a-kind art piece. PLEASE call or email them if you can help. (248) 930-2835 or RottenManor@gmail.com
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 11:11 PM - KID IN A CANDY STORE
Holy moly! Here’s yet another new haunt for 2021 at CANTERBURY VILLAGE in LAKE ORION. It’s FRIGHT VILLAGE featuring 4 haunted attractions, 3 of them indoors and a forest walk to boot. www.frightvillage.com
The setup looks to be a big winner! Besides the haunts they have the C-PUB, an outdoor patio with fire pits, drinks, food & music. And indoors is their PHYRTE CLUB featuring crafted brews/spirits, dancing & food.
Parents could wait for their kids to go through the haunts, while enjoying themselves like in a nightclub! We predict this will be wildly popular, and ticket sales end soon...CARPE DIEM BABY!
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - DESTINATION ASHLEY!
Here’s another Michigan city that just can’t get enough haunting. It’s ASHLEY, right in the middle of The Mitten with a population of only 563 as of the 2010 Census.
People are scarce there, but not so haunted attractions. TERROR ON 27 has been there for many moons, and now has a companion haunt with HINTERLAND. www.terroron27.com www.hinterlandhaunt.com
We visited TERROR ON 27 2010 - 2014 and they never let us down. (see archived Reviews) But we’ve never experienced HINTERLAND which makes it a priority.
Thank goodness for GPS! We used to get lost at least once every year, often on dirt roads with no street lights. Ashley is big enough to have street lights however, and if you go we’re confident you’ll be glad you did!
SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 TUESDAY 2 PM - DESTINATION DETROIT!
Every year, haunt fans travel far and wide to get their haunt on. It’s a pilgrimage, and nothing stops those on a serious mission to have the kind of BIG FUN THAT ONLY HAUNTING GIVES!
But with so many haunts to choose from, where do you go first?
Many times we’d start our season in FLINT, driving up and down DORT HWY. until we found the next haunt. ST. LUCIFER’S HAUNTED ASYLUM, 13 FEET BELOW, THE CRYPT, LOCH LOMAND TRAIL PROJECT. You just couldn’t go wrong at any of these. And then nearby to CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE and EXIT 13...
Sadly, EXIT 13 is the “last man standing” out of these haunts, a rude reminder that nothing man-made lasts forever.
And once-upon-a-time, there was a whopping SIX haunted attractions in TAYLOR. We actually made a submission to the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for the most haunts in a city (which was foolishly rejected).
Alas, the only remaining haunt in TAYLOR is THE SCREAM MACHINE which has been delivering the goods for many moons.
It seems the only constant is change in the haunt industry, which brings us to this season and our dilemma of where to start?
New haunts are always a priority, and we have some promising new entries like HYSTERIA HAUNTED HOUSE in BIRCH RUN and ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND.
BURGER KING OR WENDY’S?
We’ve made this analogy before, but it’s worth repeating now:
Have you ever seen, for example, a BURGER KING take up residence next to a WENDY’S? It may seem crazy, but they end up benefitting each other by bringing more total business of that kind to the area.
And now we have two haunts in WESTLAND: HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and the brand new ELOISE ASYLUM.
HUSH has established itself as a PREMIERE DETROIT HAUNT, and the ELOISE ASYLUM looks like a monster!
So which one will be best? It’s probably the old “apples and oranges” deal, where both are excellent choices.
Based on prior experience, we already know that HUSH will blow the roof off the place. And the ELOISE ASYLUM will have to deliver a world-class experience to compete with HUSH!
But are they even really competitors?
When haunters arrive from, for example OHIO, they’ll probably go to both haunts making them supporters of each other.
And these haunts may even arrange for actors to visit each other, as we’ve seen many times before with haunts like THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS and NILES SCREAM PARK in NILES.
DETROIT is long established as being the HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, so let the party begin! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 MONDAY 10 PM - GOING TO THE DOGS
In a moment, we’ll tell you about a haunt that has gone to the dogs...literally!
We found this gem last year, and it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our four-legged friends. Many haunters are also dog lovers we’ve found, and we’ve even seen dogs “performing” at haunts going back as far as the HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT many moons ago...
So it’s no big surprise that a large group of dog-lovers would come together to create a killer volunteer forest haunt to benefit ADOPT-A-PET with THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON near FLINT. www.thehowlinghauntedtrail.com
“What are your greatest fears?” is the question posed, then answered in ghoulish scenarios galore with a promise to add more each year. This place was a giant party zone! They had a carnival atmosphere complete with a beer tent and tasty treats with crazy names like Crimson Chili, Wicked Wiener, Clamp Based Puppy Dog, Demon Chips, Batty Bottled Water, and Cadaver Cupcakes.
Clearly, these people are wacky which qualifies them to attempt such a convoluted creation as a haunted attraction in the woods! We can’t wait to see them again this year, and be warned it’s only for 3 weekends.
BURTON HAUNTED FOREST is gone, boo hoo! But HOORAY for THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL.
Editors note: We are actually seeking to adopt a female Doberman to add to our family pack. If anyone can help, please email us at email@example.com
SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 SATURDAY 5 PM - BIG NEWS FROM MISS PIGGY
Nope, that’s not a typo. It’s MISS PIGGY with THE MUPPETS from the amazing world created by the legendary JIM HENSON (R.I.P.). For the first time ever, THE MUPPETS will celebrate Halloween as GONZO is dared to spend a night in the MUPPETS HAUNTED MANSION.
Will he survive? We’ll find out on Halloween, when the latest MUPPETS SPECIAL drops exclusively on DISNEY +. It looks like a sure winner! https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/muppets-haunted-mansion-halloween-disney-plus-1234968419/
SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM - NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
We just had a great half hour conversation with the operator of the all new HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN whose Grand Opening is next weekend.
New haunts are always a priority for us, as new blood is spilled onto the unsuspecting public! The haunt is new, but the creator has extensive experience in the industry.
They have a small army of workers/actors, and spent a small fortune (in the 6 figure range) converting a 10,000 square foot building into a mayhem of madness and a feast for the senses. We can’t wait to check this out! www.hysteriahaunt.com
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 FRIDAY 3 PM - A PERFECT COMBINATION
Some things just go better together, like fresh cider and donuts. So how about this - ALICE COOPER & MICHIGAN HAUNTED HOUSES?
ALICE COOPER had previously been involved with the now defunct HOMER MILL which burned down, then with JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD.
And yesterday the legendary DETROIT SHOCK ROCKER helped at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the brand new ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. Check it out: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/alice-cooper-visits-eloise-asylum-experience-for-sneak-peek-at-this-falls-terrorizing-tours
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 FRIDAY 1 PM - LET THE MADNESS BEGIN
OPENING TONIGHT: HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS, THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR, TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY, AWAKEN in LESLIE, PAST TENSE AFTER DARK in LAPEER, EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY, NILES SCREAM PARK in NILES, VILLAGE OF THE LIVING DEAD in ST. CHARLES, and WICKED WOODS OF TERROR in CARO.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE ADVENTURE in FOWLERVILLE opens tonight, but it’s the indoor haunted house only. They also have a killer hayride and maze opening later, but it’s worth going just for the walk through haunted house. SLAUGHTERHOUSE is an amazing haunt that will crack you up with comedic story lines and amaze you with illusions usually only seen in top-notch magic shows.
AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS also opens tonight, but FYI it’s a special “LIGHTS OUT SPECIAL EVENT.” The regular show opens tomorrow SEPT. 25, 2021. We’ve been following this young haunt since their opening in 2018 when they started with a bang, and instantly became A MUST SEE for us!
BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON opens tonight, but it’s the maze only. Their also highly popular TRAIL OF TERRORS opens next weekend. It may sound boastful to call yourself BESTMAZE, but it wasn’t their idea. Many highly satisfied patrons insisted that should be the name! BESTMAZE pioneered a SELF-DRAINING PATHWAY, meaning no more muddy shoes and slipping. Not only that, human psychology has been engineered into the presentation. The operator showed us some examples, all cleverly designed to enhance the experience.
Other primo haunts including ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP., BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA, EREBUS in PONTIAC, NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD’S in YPSILANTI, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE, and EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS have already opened for the season.
DERANGED HAUNTED ATTRACTION in ROMULUS opened last weekend with their “PREVIEW WEEKEND” and opens tonight full force!
You can’t go wrong at any of these haunts and the lines will only get longer and longer as the season progresses, so here’s your chance to save time!
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - FOLLOWING THE LEADER
Earlier, we wondered what was happening with EREBUS in PONTIAC who many regard as the PREMIERE MICHIGAN HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Local TV news previously reported a possible real estate shakeup in Pontiac.
Well, we’re happy to announce that indeed EREBUS is operating this year! www.hauntedpontiac.com
Also, we’re relieved to report that THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR is back for 2021 after being on Covid-19 hiatus last year. They won 2 ZIOPTIS AWARDS in 2019, the last time we had awards. www.thescreammachine.com
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - FALL IS HERE
Oh boy, fall is here! We’ll be seeing many Halloween / haunted attraction stories in the media as we enter the favorite season for many of us.
Here’s one we just spotted, about the new ELOISE ASYLUM we just talked about: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/alice-cooper-to-help-open-eloise-asylum-a-haunted-house-in-a-haunted-house-in-westland?utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=faceboo k&fbclid=IwAR2pHy7IR0n5x3VkKcxu_HRmxgJXe_kzUECqW-ILp_xPPu_4zs2QNp5yxaE
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - HOLLYWOOD INVADES DETROIT... AGAIN
We’ve watched in wonder through the years as the state-of-the-art continues to grow by leaps and bounds in the haunt industry...
Haunts like ROTTEN MANOR, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, and AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS have been delivering HOLLYWOOD LEVEL PRODUCTION VALUES. And THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS is a category of its own...
That said, there’s always new blood coming into the scene even as legends from the past continue to be told and re-told in countless conversations and queue line chatter.
One such “urban legend” revolves around what was certainly a truly scary place for many moons...and is now being resurrected in what looks to be a most impressive way.
We’re talking about the old ELOISE MENTAL ASYLUM HOSPITAL on MICHIGAN AVE. in WESTLAND. The facility was decommissioned long ago, and became a clandestine destination for thrill seekers.
It became an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up, and this year what looks to be a SPECTACULAR NEW ENTRY into the DETROIT HAUNT SCENE as ELOISE ASYLUM officially becomes a haunted attraction!
From their website: “Michigan’s newest, multi-million dollar haunted attraction emerges at Eloise!
Eloise has transformed. Now you can experience two walk-through, state-of-the-art, fully immersive haunted attractions at a truly haunted location! With cutting edge production technology, and over 30,000 sq ft of horror-themed immersion, Eloise is paving the way to the future for haunted attractions and Halloween events across the globe.
The professional team behind the new, multi-million dollar attractions at Eloise have spared no expense! The scare technology within this world-tour level production is astounding! Cold Spark Pyrotechnic Simulators, a Tesla Coil, Advanced Projection Mapping Technologies - Eloise Asylum is swiftly positioning herself as the Disney of Haunted Attractions!”
We can’t wait to check this out! www.eloiseasylum.com
SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 THURSDAY 10 PM - OH NO, NOT AGAIN / JUMP STARTING THE SEASON
This is crazy! Last year we wanted to check out GLENLORE TRAILS EXPEDITION in COMMERCE TWP. which is a mile long outdoor spooky trail with elaborate lighting displays. Somehow, we missed them by just one day and they were closed for the season.
Guess what? It almost happened again! This year they’re open only through September 12th. We’ve heard good things about them, and their reviews are excellent. CARPE DIEM, BABY! www.glenloretrails.com
Editors note: GLENLORE TRAILS is back with a new HALLOWEEN THEME. We enjoyed our visit to the earlier show, and hope to return for the more spooky presentation.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 FRIDAY 8 PM - DROPPING LIKE FLIES
We’re disappointed to report that the WEST HOLLYWOOD CARNAVAL has once again been canceled in 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic issues. Many consider this to be the premiere Halloween event in the world.
If the world’s largest Halloween street party can get canceled, where does that leave haunted attractions? Some of them feature pint-sized actors below age 12, which is the minimum age to get vaccinated. They’re most at risk when in the presence of unvaccinated adults.
Will we see haunts only accepting vaccinated patrons? Some people are militant in their refusal to get vaccinated, falling victim to a plethora of misinformation.
One of the falsehoods running rampant is that the Messenger RNA vaccine changes your DNA, converting your body into a GMO or Genetically Modified Organism leading to “total vaccine rejection” resulting in sudden violent death about a year later.
Who makes this stuff up? Get the straight dope here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html?s_cid=10506:does%20the%20covid%2019%20vaccine%20change%20your%20dna:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21
And if you don’t trust the CDC, ask your family doctor or Primary Care Physician. It shouldn’t matter who you voted for - this is science, not politics!
SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES...OR DON’T
Rats! We were hoping that by now that pesky pandemic would be over and that we’d be planning to hit every haunt possible starting in a few weeks.
But the DELTA VARIANT threatens to make that impossible, with all 50 states reporting high community transmission rates of Covid-19 which took the life of our web master last March.
So many questions remain for the upcoming season. Will THE HAUNT GUIDE and the FEAR FINDER be published this year? Will THE SCREAM MACHINE, HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and others that weren’t open last year be back? What about the iconic EREBUS? We saw on local TV news that a Downtown Pontiac real estate property shakeup was in the works there.
We could call them all and ask, but we’ve decided not to go this route and let the cards fall where they may.
Either way, we’ll do as much as we safely can! Stay tuned...
JUNE 5, 2021 SATURDAY 2 PM - A MILESTONE TO CELEBRATE
BLAKE FARMS in ARMADA is celebrating their 75th Anniversary this weekend, and it looks like a blast! www.blakefarms.com/event/75/
There’s live music, train rides, pig races, FUNLAND, cider & donuts of course, and FIREWORKS at dusk tonight, Saturday June 5th!
BLAKE’S has multiple facilities in Armada, and has been a haunt industry giant for many moons! HOORAY FOR BLAKE’S!
APRIL 5, 2021 MONDAY 3 PM - COVID-19 HITS HOME
We have sad news to report. Our wonderful webmaster, BILL GODWIN, passed away on 3/21/21 from Covid-19 after being on a ventilator for a month.
It’s intensely frustrating because the vaccine was in Michigan since at least January 2021, yet inaccessible to us.
Take this as a reminder of how serious this pandemic is, and to mask-up and get vaccinated ASAP. We’ll get through this together, but only if we take the steps needed as recommended by Dr. Fauci and CDC officials.
The full impact on the ZIOPTIS WEBSITE remains yet to be seen, as Bill took care of all technical/hosting issues. We’ll try our best, but there are no guarantees at this point.
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - HEARTS ON FIRE!
Valentine’s Day will be here soon, and you could get some flowers for your sweetie and have a quiet dinner staring at each other...
OR, you can throw out the boring cookie cutter plans and have some BIG THRILLS instead!
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE in WYANDOTTE are all having VALENTINE’S DAY EVENTS!
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 FRIDAY 1 PM - ON SECOND THOUGHT
After talking to just a few haunts, we’ve decided to skip the STATE OF THE HAUNT INDUSTRY report this time.
No sense sugar coating it, 2020 was an especially challenging season for the haunt industry. Hopefully, next season will find things back to normal. But even that is not guaranteed, as the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
DECEMBER 29, 2020 TUESDAY 4 PM - LOIS LANE & JIMMY OLSON
Be sure to tune in after the New Year for a special report on the STATE OF THE HAUNT INDUSTRY.
We’ll be putting on our news reporting hats, calling haunts shortly after January 1st to ask various things.
HAUNT OPERATORS: Be thinking of what you’d like to tell the public about your haunt. Perhaps you’re working on some new things that could be teasers. You can be specific or vague, it’s up to you!
As always, our goal remains to promote the entire haunt scene. We’re averaging about 700 hits per day right now.
DECEMBER 19, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - MAJOR MEGA HAUNT IN POSSIBLE REAL ESTATE SHAKEUP
The only constant is change. We’ve said this many times about the haunt industry, and this time it’s a doozie!
According to WXYZ-TV NEWS, the buildings that contain EREBUS may be sold to developers. (We have not yet independently verified this.) It was a short blurb, and here are the words that appeared on the screen verbatim: “EREBUS BUILDINGS MAY BE SOLD - OWNER OF HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS IN PONTIAC APPROACHED BY INTERESTED PEOPLE.”
Okay, it may be a typo that it said ATTRACTIONS as there’s just one haunted attraction in Pontiac to our knowledge and that’s EREBUS.
If the buildings are sold, EREBUS may move. And if that happens, we can’t wait to see what MR. HAUNTED HOUSE has up his sleeve! This is a guy who started with a trailer haunt (still in operation with a different name) and later created a haunt so giant that for years it was the largest walk through haunt with a GUINESS BOOK WORLD RECORD!
Whatever the future has in store for EREBUS remains to be seen. But we’ll be checking up to see, and reporting what we can. Sometimes haunt owners ask us to keep a lid on things, and we always honor those requests. On the other hand, sometimes they’re anxious to tease the public with thoughts of crazy new experiences yet to be had.
For comments and/or questions, email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
DECEMBER 17, 2020 THURSDAY 10 PM - HITTING THE BIG TIME
We just saw that tonight (at 11:35 PM) PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN and FIRST LADY TO BE DR. JILL BIDEN will be the guests on THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT on CBS TV. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
It might be interesting to see how funny guy Colbert gets along with the NEW PRESIDENT & FIRST LADY.
Regardless of anything political, you have to admit you gotta be pretty cool to get on this show!
DECEMBER 12, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - FIRST LADY FREAKOUT - HUSH, NOT A WORD!
Pssst, over here! Don’t tell anyone...they might get mad or say it’s fake news. But America recently decided, on November 3rd to be exact, that it’s time for a change of leadership in the USA.
Essentially, America said “YOU’RE FIRED” to a guy who became famous largely for telling people “YOU’RE FIRED” on TV.
The incumbent candidate lost by 7 MILLION VOTES nationwide, and by 160,000 VOTES in Michigan. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
“But Zioptis, what does that have to do with haunting?”
Patience, my little monkeys...listen up...
THE BETTER HALF - FIRST LADY FIRSTS
A new president also means a NEW FIRST LADY will soon grace our wonderful nation. Her husband is the MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD, so she has lots of clout too.
The outgoing FIRST LADY has some interesting firsts for the position she has most gracefully held for the last 4 years. She’s the FIRST FIRST LADY to speak with a heavy Slavic accent. And she’s the FIRST FIRST LADY to have POSED FOR NUDE PHOTOS IN A GIRLIE MAGAZINE. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
The incoming FIRST LADY also has some interesting firsts, but they’re just a tad different.
Just as no two (unrelated) men are identical, no two (unrelated) women are identical either. You become what you think about, and no two brains think alike.
TEACHERS IN THE MITTEN SMITTEN WITH JILL
It just so happens that we know several teachers, and they’re thrilled that JILL BIDEN will be the FIRST FIRST LADY to continue working her day job as a school teacher!
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
FIRST LADY TO BE JILL BIDEN is a doctor, but not like with syringes, spleens and such. She earned her Doctorate in Education, and this qualifies her to be addressed as a doctor.
ELLEN DEGENERES CONTRACTS COVID-19 AFTER REJECTING ZIOPTIS OFFER TO GO HAUNTING WITH HER!
This may seem like a gratuitous SENSATIONALIZE HEADLINE, but it’s technically true. Some time ago, we invited ELLEN DEGENERES to go haunting with us in MICHIGAN after years of haunting only in HOLLYWOOD. She foolishly declined our generous offer.
And then just a few days ago comes the announcement that Ellen has Covid-19.
***SIDEBAR***We sincerely wish Ellen a quick recovery. And my partner is a MASSIVE ELLEN DEGENERES FAN, with hundreds of shows on her DVR.***
So Ellen stiffed us on haunting and later got stricken with the virus. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
Could history have been kinder to Ellen, if only she hadn’t so unwisely snubbed Zioptis? History does not reveal its’ alternatives, so we’ll never know...this will remain one of the many mysteries surrounding Zioptis.
THE FIRST FIRST LADY OF THE USA TO GO HAUNTING WITH ZIOPTIS?
The purpose of the ZIOPTIS HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE has always been to promote the entire haunt scene. And we’ve been known to use the press/media and whatever clout we can to make that happen. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But persistence is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait patiently.
THE ZIOPTIS MASTER PLAN TO CONQUER THE UNIVERSE, CHANGE HISTORY AND HAVE FUN DOING IT
Here at Zioptis we’re always working on something new...something unique that you’ve never heard.
Okay, it was actually one of the teachers within the Zioptis Circle of Influence that suggested this one. Why not invite both ELLEN DEGENERES and FIRST LADY DR. JILL BIDEN to join ZIOPTIS for a fabulous night of haunting?
Will it actually happen? In all honesty probably not, but there’s nothing to lose by trying! If you don’t think big, you’ll never do big things and you become what you think about.
NOVEMBER 13, 2020 FRIDAY 11:11 PM - WALKING UNDER THE LADDER
Today is FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, and some say that’s bad luck.
Sure enough...we had hoped to go to HUSH tonight for a special Friday The 13th Event but it was canceled in late October for safety’s sake.
We commend them for putting the well being of their patrons first.
COVID-19 INFECTIONS are out of control, with 140,000 new cases nationwide yesterday and almost 160,000 today.
But vaccines are coming, and hopefully next year the madness of haunting will be unencumbered!
NOVEMBER 11, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11:11 AM - ANY WAY YOU WANT IT
HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN!
The date is 11/11. The time is 11/11.
Eleven Eleven is a most versatile number. It’s the same forwards and backwards & upside down and right side up.
No matter how you spin it, Eleven Eleven is your friend just like ZIOPTIS!
So let’s celebrate, and also observe VETERAN’S DAY too. Remember, FREEDOM ISN’T FREE! You’ve got to pay a price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 11:11 PM - THE THREE YEAR ITCH
What a difference just a few years can make in the often volatile haunt industry!
For example, here’s the list of haunts we visited in 2017:
1. CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE, CLIO
2. ST. LUCIFER’S, FLINT
3. 13 FEET UNDER, FLINT
4. HAUNTING IN THE HILLS, IRISH HILLS
5. JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, JACKSON
6. ROTTEN MANOR, HOLLY
7. REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, ROMULUS
8. HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, WESTLAND
9. TERRORFIED FOREST & MANOR, PINCKNEY
10. SLAUGHTERHOUSE, FOWLERVILLE
11. HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME, INKSTER
12. NIGHTSTALKERS, SAGINAW
13. GOREGROUNDS / HAUNTED ELEMENTARY, BRIDGEPORT
14. WILD WOODS OF TERROR, KOCHVILLE TWP.
15. PHANTOM FOREST HAYRIDE, GROSSE ILE
16. THE SCREAM MACHINE, TAYLOR
17. HOUSE OF DAMNATION, MAUMEE, OHIO
18. HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE, TOLEDO, OHIO
19. KRAZY HILDA’S, YPSILANTI
20. THE PUMPKIN FACTORY, BELLEVILLE
21. NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S, YPSILANTI
22. THE HAUNT, GRAND RAPIDS
23. EDSON INCIDENT, BAY CITY
As you can see, a lot has changed since 2017. Which begs the question - what will 2021 bring to the ever-changing yet always enduring haunt industry?
Will we see, as we once predicted, a ROLLER COASTER incorporated into a haunted attraction? It was already done once on a small scale, at the long defunct HERSHEY HAUNTED HOUSE in DEARBORN. It was an insurance building temporarily fashioned into a haunt.
DING! There was another roller coaster of sorts at HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO. They put you in a coffin that slid down a small hill on a mechanism! But you couldn’t see what was about to happen...you got in the coffin, they spun it around, and then down the hill on metal tracks. Another time the HYDRO gave haunters their own golf cart for part of the tour...
Oh yeah, GOLF CARTS were also used in CLARKSTON at the HAUNTED FOUNTAINS GOLF COURSE / BANQUET FACILITY. They won WACKIEST ACTOR for a silly clown who kept sticking her GIANT FAKE BOOBS in your face!
THE EXTREME SCREAM in TAYLOR had a strange coaster gag. They had you crawling in a large rectangular carpeted structure. Then, a crew of guys spun the whole thing around and around as it also travelled the length of the room on a metal track.
THE HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT had a final room that made for a great finale. They led you into a small circular “room” in the dark, directing you to hold on to hand rails. The entire room began to spin around, powered by an inverted golf cart drive mechanism while ghouls popped up and down in the middle of the cart waving flashlights sporadically.
Will we again see LARGE SCALE MIND BLOWING GAGS like THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN used to come up with? There was an amazing expanding room, that magically grew from a cubby hole to an auditorium in a flash! Or a room you simply could not avoid coming back to no matter which path you chose to go. It was truly WORLD CLASS! ***SIDEBAR*** Creator Stuart MacDonald was so good he got a lucrative EAST COAST TV CONTRACT he couldn’t refuse, and that was the end of THE HAUNTING. He also appeared on the TV SHOW PENN & TELLER’S FOOL US, where he DID fool Penn & Teller!
Or with the PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR - will we ever again see anything as wild and intense as MONGOOSE MONSTER TRUCKS in LANSING when they produced what we think was the first MONSTER TRUCK HAUNTED EXPERIENCE?
The ultimate ever PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR had to be DEMONIC DEMONS on WYOMING in DETROIT.
We went on a lark one night, trying to find any haunt still open. We paid no attention to the warning that is was only for “the most physically fit patrons.” My companion JT never made it past the first obstacle, which was a very steep metal surface to climb with pieces of cardboard on it.
They kept her captive in the first room totally pitch black until I made it out the end. This spooked her big time, but it was nothing compared to what they put me through. After finally making it to the top of the first obstacle, I found myself tumbling down an even steeper surface.
The rest of the journey was often pitch black with shrinking rooms galore. Occasionally, a slot in the wall would open up and you’d see a tiny red flashing light offering a glimmer of hope and then BANG, it was slammed shut!
Even all this was nothing compared to the final challenge: crawling back and forth your way up a large structure that eventually dumped you out of a window onto a steep slide at the top of this hell hole. I still can't believe I made it through - I was battered and bruised with torn pants and shirt by the end!
So who will create the next DEMONIC DEMONS-like haunt?
The future is wide open...
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 5:30 PM - ANOTHER HAUNT OPEN TONIGHT
DERANGED in ROMULUS is open tonight, with their “18 + RAW” show.
From their website: “Not for the weak of heart, or for the easily offended. It’s the final night at Deranged Haunt and all hell has broke loose. Come and witness a haunt like no other. Scream, Laugh, and Gasp as you stroll through this unique forest and ask yourself, is this even a haunted attraction?!” www.derangedhauntedattraction.com
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 5 PM - CREEPY RELICS FROM BEYOND
What’s the creepiest thing you ever saw at a haunt?
For us it was probably CROAKIE’S PARTY ISLAND in MONROE many moons ago, where a very special actor blew us away with a surprise reveal never since equaled.
It was a scene with a live human “prisoner” on a table, about to face his punishment of being sawed in half. A chain saw is fired up for the task, and a gleeful warden celebrates the ghastly deed as it rips through his torso spraying blood in every direction.
But instead of falling dead, the “prisoners” top half falls off the table and starts screaming and “running” towards you using his arms to propel himself. It’s a REAL LIFE AMPUTEE!
***SIDEBAR*** About a week after this, JT who was with us for this astonishing stunt was at Wyandotte Hospital. She was in the ER, and saw a forlorn looking patient waiting with NO LEGS. Was it the same dude? CREEPY IS AS CREEPY DOES!
So what’s the CREEPIEST THING you ever saw at a haunt? Email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 4 PM - ABOVE AND BEYOND
Special thanks to all the awesome haunt operators for helping us accomplish our goal of promoting the entire haunt industry.
It’s been a difficult situation. You were given lemons, but turned them into lemonade.
You are literally THE STUFF THAT MAGIC IS MADE OF!
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 2 PM - THE FAT LADY SINGS
WOWSER, HUSH was totally off the hook for Halloween last night! We can’t imagine a better way to have ended our 2020 haunt tour.
The new show with VOODOO BAYOU is a big winner, and has produced the biggest crowds we’ve seen this season. KUDOS TO HUSH!
If you haven’t seen HUSH yet this year, you have one more chance tonight as HUSH IS OPEN NOV. 1st! www.HushDetroit.com
A handful of other haunts are open tonight too, including NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
Also, AZRA has a special LIGHTS OUT EVENT tonight. www.azrahaunt.com
Our only regret from last night was trying unsuccessfully to squeeze in GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY too.
PINCKNEY now has TWO FOREST HAUNTS! We did make it to TERRORFIED FOREST earlier, and they had an excellent show.
***SPECIAL ATTENTION!*** The FRIDAY THE 13th EVENT AT HUSH scheduled for later this month has been canceled, so tonight is your last chance this season to see this exceptional haunt!
Another lock down has been announced by BORIS JOHNSON in the UK starting next Thursday, and Michigan’s Governor Whitmer has an upcoming press conference where she may be forced to enact more restrictions in Michigan due to COVID-19 spikes.
NONE OF THOSE SPIKES occurred as a result of haunting to our knowledge. KUDOS to all the haunt operators who stepped up to the plate and made safe haunting possible!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 6 PM - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
Be sure to tune in again at the end of the year for an EXCLUSIVE REPORT you won’t want to miss!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - RANDOM REFLECTIONS
Who remembers THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC? It’s the only haunt we know of that was ACTUALLY HAUNTED! Even verified by a major MEGA CHURCH PASTOR, Jeremy at METRO CITY CHURCH...REALM was among the first haunt to pay AMAZING ATTENTION TO DETAIL...
How about THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN? It was produced by a magician who eventually FOOLED PENN & TELLER. STUART MacDONALD was a specialist in creating MIND BENDING IMPOSSIBLE GAGS...
NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE was made from an old BOB-LO ISLAND BOAT, largely left intact with crew quarters just as they were for off the hook ambiance...
EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY is a fabulous SHIP HAUNT still in business!
ANXIETY ALLEY in LINCOLN PARK has been pit to rest permanently, as we reported last year. This was one of the oldest original haunts from the 60’s. It’s now part of a landfill, somewhere in NEVER NEVER LAND...
And what about THE REAPER’S DUNGEON in REDFORD? It was a modular trailer haunt that the YPSILANTI JAYCEE’S eventually bought...
SINISTER in UTICA amazingly was too good for their own good, critically acclaimed by multiple haunt services...
The list goes on and on... (also see “Closed”) Every haunt has a story. And every haunt has an opening night, and eventually their swan song...
So it is. So it will always be.
Special thanks to all haunt operators for making it happen, and of course all you haunters too who absorb THE MAGIC AND MADNESS OF HAUNTING!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Here’s a Halloween story I came up with in 2013:
NOVEMBER 2, 2013 SATURDAY 2 PM - PULL UP A CHAIR...
PIGTAILS & PUMPKINS €- BLESSED BY A GOURD by Zioptis
Inspired by Crazy Bob (Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio) & adapted from a story by Bennet Cerf in “Chicken Soup For The Soul”
Melissa counted out the last pennies of her fare, on a small bus in rural Wisconsin in 1967.
She was 14, and it was the day after Halloween. The kids in front of the bus were still celebrating, bragging about how much candy their pillow cases held and such.
Near the back of the bus was mean Mr. Turner.
Nobody knew much about him, except that he used to give each Trick-or-Treater a small packet of candy on Halloween.
That stopped a few years ago, but a bright Jack-o-Lantern still appeared on his front porch every Halloween.
He sat on the bus with no expression on his face, and in his feeble hands was said Jack-o-Lantern.
The crudely carved crooked teeth in the pumpkin resembled his own, and his clothes were ragged with the shirt buttoned wrong.
Strangely, Melissa walked right past her friends, and sat down across from mean Mr. Turner who continued to look forward with an empty stare.
Then suddenly he spun the pumpkin to face her, with its' silly face as he yelled "BOO!" and went back to his empty stare.
Melissa shrieked just as she had the weekend before at the local Jaycee's Haunted House, but then grinned a grin like the Great Pumpkin Himself.
At the next stop, the not-so-mean-after all Mr. Turner got up to leave.
But he hesitated for a moment, and then thrust the jolly Jack-o-Lantern into the girl's hands. He said, "The pumpkin made you smile, I think my wife would like you to have it. I'll tell her I gave it to you."
The old man hobbled out of the bus...and just before he disappeared from sight, Melissa saw him walk through the gates into a small cemetery.
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 2 PM - IN WITH A BANG, OUT WITH A KABOOM!
It’s been an abbreviated season for us, so we had to choose wisely which haunts to visit.
Our first haunt this year was ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. Last year, they won 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD. ROTTEN MANOR blew us away so much, we actually went 3 TIMES last season!
So the question now is which haunt will we visit on Halloween this year?
It’s gotta be an absolute killer haunt, one that is a SURE WINNER. A haunt so good that in 2019, like ROTTEN MANOR, we visited it multiple times.
DING, it’s a no-brainer! So tonight we’re off to HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND. Last year we went to HUSH early in the season on Oct. 5, and were so impressed we went again ON HALLOWEEN. Last year, HUSH won 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.
Years ago on Halloween nights, we found ourselves drawn to an out-of-the-way haunt in the tiny city of WEBBERVILLE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD. We blew off our BIG CITY PLANS to spend our Halloween with them at least 3 times!
NIGHTMARE is gone now, but HUSH isn’t going anywhere and could easily become a NEW HALLOWEEN TRADITION for us. www.hushdetroit.com
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 1 PM - IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN...SORTA
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY! It’s the big day, except not really...
With TRICK-OR-TREATING being officially labeled a HIGH RISK ACTIVITY by the CDC, many kids will not be filling plastic pumpkins, pillow cases and such with candy tonight. It’s so sad...
On the other hand, we’re so thankful that last year we did give out candy before going out haunting. We threw together an impromptu light show, and fired up the TOD DOCKSTADER on the Klipsch La Scala speakers and TA-DAH! Grab an earful of WATER MUSIC by TOD DOCKSTADER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zaSzHqVrLA
It goes to show you never know how good you’ve got it, until you don’t. Make the most of the moment, whatever that may be.
Our sincere apologies to AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS for missing them last night. This is a highly dynamic young haunt we’ve been following closely since Day One, and they won 3 ZIOPTIS AWARDS IN 2019!
OCTOBER 30, 2020 FRIDAY 2 PM - DEVIL’S DUE
Oh boy, tonight is DEVIL’S NIGHT and there’s lots of fun to have!
We’re going to a private party, and hopefully haunting as well if it doesn’t go too late.
OCTOBER 28, 2020 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - THE FINAL STRETCH
BOO HOO! It’s the last weekend coming up, and there are so many awesome haunts we’d love to visit. But those darned logistics are forcing some hard decisions...
Our wish list includes: AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS, BESTMAZE & TRAIL OF TERROR, BLAKE’S, DARKSYDE ACRES, DERANGED, EDSON INCIDENT, EREBUS, FACTORY OF FEAR, HAUNTING IN THE HILLS, THE HAUNT, HUSH, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, and SLAUGHTERHOUSE.
OCTOBER 27, 2020 TUESDAY 10 PM - SLIPPING THRU THE CRACKS
There’s a MAJOR MEGA HAUNT that we haven’t mentioned this season, yet was the very first haunt we visited last year on opening night.
It’s JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, which changed hands and is now under new management. www.jxunderworld.com
Last year they added some major new gags, but they weren’t ready on opening night. We hoped to go again, but it didn’t work out. Rats!
We had gone for 10 years in a row! Alas, it’s looking like we’ll miss them this year. Sigh...
So much has changed this season, but we’re hopeful things can get back to normal next year after an effective vaccine is released!
OCTOBER 25, 2020 SUNDAY 2 PM - Just added: A new tab for Reviews 2020.
OCTOBER 24, 2020 SATURDAY 11 PM - PURE MAGIC
WOW, what a great Saturday night we had at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI! The crisp, clean air away from the big city...cider and donuts of course...people being way cool, keeping socially distant...
The hayride wagons have been re-vamped, featuring plastic barriers between every two spots to sit. But the show did not suffer at all, and there’s lots of new goodies.
And the walk through haunts have adjusted too, squeaky clean but still scary and spooky. KUDOS TO WIARD’S!
New roaming performers included an amazing swamp creature-like dude who is freakishly tall and a delightful fairy ballerina girl. PRIMO!
What a joy it was to bask in the glow of an AWESOME FALL EVENING WITH LOTS OF HAPPY HAUNTERS!
NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S is OPEN SUNDAY TOO - Oct. 25th and Nov. 1st. www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
OCTOBER 24, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - BIG FUN TONIGHT!
Tonight we’re off to NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. There’s just so much to do there, we actually went twice last year! (See Reviews 2019_B) And they won multiple ZIOPTIS AWARDS in 2019! (See Awards)
This is one of those iconic haunts, the stuff that legends are made of.
Last year they had a pair of special roaming performers hard to miss, as they were EIGHT FEET TALL! And they GLOWED, thanks to their LED bedazzled costumes. They had a Fairy Princess and a Knight in Shining Armor, both fabulous!
OCTOBER 22, 2020 THURSDAY 9 PM - LAST MAN STANDING
No, not the TV show. It’s EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS near FLINT. There used to be so many haunts in the FLINT AREA, it took at least two nights to hit them all. Now only EXIT 13 remains...
The only constant is change, and eventually all haunts sing their swan song.
But that day won’t be anytime soon for EXIT 13, judging by their wild success! This is the haunt that made INTENSE PHYSICAL CONTACT a hallmark winning strategy. (See reviews in Reviews 2019_A and Reviews 2018_A.)
So what will they do this year, with the COVID-19 WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC RAGING? We haven’t spoken to them yet, but have every confidence they’ll step up to the plate and HIT A HOME RUN! www.exit13HauntedHouse.com
OCTOBER 22, 2020 THURSDAY 6 PM - MAKING HENRY HAPPY
That’s Henry FORD, as in the FORD MOTOR COMPANY that bought the MICHIGAN CENTRAL TRAIN STATION DEPOT which soon will feature a DRIVE THROUGH HALLOWEEN SHOW, on Oct. 30 & 31. https://www.mlive.com/life/2020/10/how-to-see-michigan-central-stations-halloween-drive-through-light-show-experience.html
It’s a FREE EVENT, but they want people to sign up on Facebook to estimate the crowds: https://www.facebook.com/events/339769673759219/?event_time_id=339769680425885
This isn’t their first HAUNTED EVENT. Check this out: https://www.mlive.com/news/erry-2018/11/c06834d2c97999/its-alive-detroits-former-trai.html
Meanwhile, $350 MILLION of renovations continue on the building towards making it a mixed use facility. HOORAY FOR THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY! And remember, as an acronym FORD stands for: First On Race Day !
OCTOBER 18, 2020 SUNDAY 5 PM - OF BOW WOWS & BASEBALL
Last night after THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL we couldn’t help but reminisce about another haunt who had their SWAN SONG many moons ago, PAPP PARK in TAYLOR.
It was a hayride, and nothing like THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL.
But still they had two big things in common: both being outdoors and volunteer haunts of exceptional quality.
PAPP PARK was created to benefit the local Little League Baseball, and THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL benefits ADOPT-A-PET.
That just goes to show that whether you prefer BOW WOWS or BASEBALL, birds-of-a-feather flock together when it comes to that SPECIAL THRILL that only haunting can deliver!
OCTOBER 17, 2020 SATURDAY 11 PM - A HOWLING GOOD TIME
Wow, THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON is awesome! They have tons of actors and lots of great gags, all to benefit ADOPT-A-PET.
It’s an all volunteer haunt in their 4th year, yet every bit as slick as a top pro effort. KUDOS!
OCTOBER 17, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - THE 8 MILE WOW!
No, not the Eminem song and movie. It’s how far you drive to get from AWAKEN in LESLIE to SHAWHAVEN in MASON.
We started at AWAKEN last night, then finished with a BANG at SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM which BLEW US AWAY with a new ethereal lighting effect in their walk through haunt and lots more action and goodies on their hayride.
SHAWHAVEN has significantly upped their game since last year, when they won 2 ZIOPTIS AWARDS! And they might have done it again this year, except for a decision we just made...
There will be no awards given this season.
Due to a variety of factors affected by COVID-19, we’re on an abridged schedule this year. Usually by now we’d have been to at least 15 haunts. Sadly, we might not even make a total of 15 haunts this year.
Giving awards wouldn’t be fair to haunts not even in the running due to OUR reduced schedule. The haunts aren’t letting up at all...it’s US that’s letting up on our usual aggressive touring schedule.
That means we probably won’t make it to what many people have called THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN...THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS! If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out. THE HAUNT WON 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS IN 2019!
There’s some tough decisions to make. For example, SLAUGHTERHOUSE and HUSH have always been on our MUST SEE LIST...wait a sec’ can’t forget BESTMAZE, NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, AZRA, BLAKE’S, EXIT 13...just SO many FABULOUS HAUNTS IN MICHIGAN, THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
(So far this year we’ve visited AWAKEN, ROTTEN MANOR, TERRORFIED FOREST, and SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM. They were all excellent!)
p.s. We miss you, KRAZY HILDA’S, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, ST. LUCIFER’S ASYLUM, and CLIO MANOR HH...and of course THE REALM OF DARKNESS & THE BONEYARD! For an extended list of Haunts that are CLOSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN click on “Closed.”
p.p.s. The webmaster will be adding new sections for 2020 Reviews soon!
OCTOBER 16, 2020 FRIDAY 3 PM - CALL OF THE WILD
The woods are beckoning, and we’re off to the wilderness tonight to AWAKEN in LESLIE and SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM in MASON.
These haunts are only about 15 minutes away from each other, and feature indoors and outdoors haunting.
AWAKEN is a relative newcomer, and SHAWHAVEN is an established haunt industry giant now in their 15th year. (See reviews for both in Reviews 2019_A)
OCTOBER 15, 2020 THURSDAY 6 PM - CHECKING IN
Just called AWAKEN and AZRA - left voice mail with AWAKEN but talked briefly with AZRA...and YES their AWESOME CLOWN ROOM has been tweaked! Other new goodies have been added too...
Both AZRA and AWAKEN are dynamic young haunts with sky-high production values...and next to each other alphabetically too, how ‘bout that? THEY ARE BOTH KILLER HAUNTS! www.azrahaunt.com www.awakenhaunt.com
OCTOBER 13, 2020 TUESDAY 11 PM - DOGGIE MADNESS!
Here’s a haunt in their 4th year we haven’t seen yet, making it a priority - THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON. www.thehowlinghauntedtrail.com
This one is right up our alley - animal lovers at ADOPT-A-PET volunteer to produce this 2 WEEKEND ONLY HAUNT. Oct. 9 & 10 was the first, so there’s only 2 MORE DAYS this coming weekend Oct. 16 & 17.
Weather permitting we’re going this weekend!
We’ve seen some TOTALLY AMAZING ALL VOLUNTEER HAUNTS through the years. Who remembers BURTON HAUNTED FOREST, HAUNTED HALLOWS in WESTLAND, or McCURDY’S REVENGE in CORUNNA?
OCTOBER 13, 2020 TUESDAY 3 PM - SUMMERTIME BLUES
Huh? Last summer something horrible happened to a haunt that was making our MUST SEE STATUS ever since we first saw them a few years ago...
HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS suffered major damage during a violent storm that snapped a giant tree like a toothpick, landing directly on the main building.
This made the local TV news: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2020/10/12/popular-halloween-attraction-in-grosse-pointe-farms-closes-due-to-storm-damages/
But there’s a silver lining too, as this gives them more time to prepare for a major surprise next year!
We had developed a new tradition we sadly won’t be able to continue this year - going to HAUNTED GARAGE and then AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS HAUNTED HOUSE in MADISON HEIGHTS on the same night. They’re only about 15 minutes away from each other. www.azrahaunt.com
AZRA blew us away last year with all kinds of new stuff, racking up an IMPRESSIVE 3 ZIOPTIS AWARDS! One awesome thing they had was what appears at first to be just part of a wall. **SPOILER ALERT** But it’s actually a very special thin fabric, and suddenly a ghoul appears reaching out to grab you from the other side! It’s like a 3 dimensional rear projection of sorts, and the detailing is uncanny.
OCTOBER 10, 2020 SATURDAY 10 PM - TOUCH & GO / TESTING OUR FAITH
Dad had brain surgery today, still in ICU...
OCTOBER 9, 2020 FRIDAY 5:30 PM - WHEW!
We finally found my partner’s dad, and he said to go haunting tonight...
After missing GHOSTLY GROVE last weekend, we’re thinking of trying again. It’s only their 2nd year, and we always try to help new haunts in any way we can! (See their review from last year in Reviews 2019_B.)
OCTOBER 9, 2020 FRIDAY 5 PM - FAMILY PRIORITIES
I can’t believe it! My partner’s dad was rushed to the hospital from his apartment after they talked on the phone and she called 911.
When she got there, he had already been taken to the hospital. And now they won’t even tell her which hospital due to “HIPPA RULES.” WHAT???!!! After calling the 3 main hospitals in the area, we still can’t find him. He doesn’t have his phone with him.
Her brother is on his way from Ohio...looks like we’re taking the weekend off from haunting.
But the weather is perfect for outdoor haunts like GHOSTLY GROVE and TERRORFIED FOREST both in PINCKNEY and hayrides like at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. We encourage you to go!
OCTOBER 7, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11:30 PM - DRIVE THRU MADNESS
FLASH! HAUNTING IN THE HILLS in IRISH HILLS has a drive thru haunt this year: www.facebook.com/traincarofterror/
OCTOBER 7, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11 PM - A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER
We’re SO glad to be haunting again, but we can’t help but feeling sad that HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR in LENOX TWP. isn’t open this season. It was a MUST SEE HAUNT that had some new things planned. Rats!
Also, TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY is closed for 2020 but says they’ll be back in 2021. And THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR is on hiatus this year.
But there’s good news too: THE HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO is open for 2020, celebrating their 31st Anniversary! We were afraid that last year was their swan song, but CRAZY BOB is not done doing what he does best! If you’ve never seen this amazing haunt made from a hydroelectric plant, you’re missing out. Look for the monolith thingie with giant fire blasts spewing! www.thehauntedhydro.com
OCTOBER 4, 2020 SUNDAY 4 PM - BLOOD, SWEAT, & GUTS
WOW! So much has been added at TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY since our last visit in 2018 we hardly recognized it.
Full review coming later, but one new thing that we loved was an elevated illuminated jack-o’-lantern display that is to die for!
The new owners have put massive amounts of effort into revamping this legendary haunt, and it’s paying off big time.
Crowd reaction samples were overwhelmingly positive, although we didn’t talk to as many people as we have in past years due to social distancing.
So yes, haunting has changed this year...but TERRORFIED FOREST delivered the goods in spades!
Our apologies to GHOSTLY GROVE also in PINCKNEY- due to time constraints we missed them last night. But we still feel confident in recommending them, as they impressed us with their grand opening last year. (see Reviews 2019_B)
We were on schedule, but then our dinner plans changed when we arrived at WOOLY BULLY’S only to find a private party had booked them for the evening. So we hit the ZUKEY LAKE TAVERN instead which also was hopping. It’s always something...rats!
We hope to reschedule GHOSTLY GROVE later in the season.
OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY 3 PM - HOW SOUTH CAROLINA SAVED HAUNTING in MICHIGAN, SORTA
This is an unlikely story, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction...and this one is a doozie!
It all started over 20 years ago when a now legendary haunt was thrilling the masses, and a boy in South Carolina was growing up who knew nothing about haunted houses.
At the same time, a little girl growing up in Livingston County, Michigan was a haunted house enthusiast. Her mom’s birthday is Halloween day, and every year she made costumes for her daughter to go trick-or-treating in.
Mom’s handmade costumes were so good that as she got older, the girl would dress up in them and scare people on her parents porch on Halloween.
She had the bug. She had just put on her own “haunted house” of sorts!
She went to as many haunted houses as she possibly could every year, and found herself paying close attention to the details that went into creating this experience that she and her friends craved so much.
The die was cast. This girl had haunting in her very blood and DNA.
Then a family friend moved to South Carolina, and introduced a guy from there to the girl still in Livingston County. They only spoke on the phone for a year, yet a deep connection emerged.
They started dating in 2008, with the boy in a program to become a Paramedic and the girl going to college in Michigan to become a graphic designer.
For 4 years they maintained a long-distance romance, until the boy moved to Michigan and they were married in 2012.
In 2014 with Halloween still in her blood the girl got involved in haunted houses, working behind the scenes volunteering with building sets and such.
She got so good at it that a local haunt operator invited her to create a Frankenstein’s Laboratory for them and it became a smashing success!
CUT TO THE CHASE
This is the story of the new operators of TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY! www.terrorfiedforest.com
Original owners Dean & Cindy have passed the torch onto Byron & Marie, and the proud tradition of this TOP NOTCH HAUNT continues to this day.
OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY 12 AM - OF GUINEA PIGS & THE NEW ABNORMAL
So what is haunting like now? Things changed a lot since last season...in fact the world has gone crazy! We’re practically swimming in hand sanitizer and yet even the President of The USA JUST GOT INFECTED WITH THE DEADLY COVID-19 VIRUS!
“So Zioptis, if even The Donald isn’t safe, what makes you think I can be safe...going to one of those wild & crazy haunted houses? Aren’t you taking your life in your hands? I mean, Monsters breathing all over you...pus-faced Zombies, guts oozing, dripping blood...”
Listen up, that’s all fake news!
We know because we just went Friday night to a PREMIERE DETROIT MEGA HAUNT, and were as safe as milk from start to finish. You could say we made them our GUINEA PIG OF THE YEAR to dip our feet in, sampling what the new haunt season looks like...
So with a multitude of choices for our inaugural haunt we finally decided to hit ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, and yes the place was rockin’ big time... www.rottenmanor.com
We even survived what could have been an DEADLY ALIEN INSECT INVASION in the forest walk, which totally blew the mind of our neophyte guest!
***SIDEBAR On occasion, we bring someone with us who has never been to a haunted attraction. It’s fabulous getting their reactions when they fall victim to staples like drop-panels, animatronic displays triggered with pressure sensitive floor switches and such.***
OCTOBER 2, 2020 FRIDAY 4 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS...
Tonight is opening night at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, and we’re anxious to see what’s happening with them.
But we’re also anxious to check out ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY.
On the other hand, tonight should be fine for outdoor haunts...no rain and not too cold. Who knows what the rest of the weekends will be like this season? There’s no guarantees, so it could be time for Plan B.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN
No, not the chewing gum...it’s PINCKNEY which now has TWO way cool outdoor haunts!
TERRORFIED FOREST now has some very good company in PINCKNEY, with GHOSTLY MANOR taking up residence there last year.
As a new haunt last year, GHOSTLY GROVE was a priority for us and we were impressed with their opening. (see Reviews 2019_B)
OCTOBER 1, 2020 THURSDAY 3 PM - HAPPY OCTOBER!
Finally, October is here and many more haunts are opening this weekend.
Sadly, many haunts aren’t open this year due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and we understand.
Just as many haunts are on hiatus, we’re scaling back this year with a less aggressive travel schedule.
Usually by now we’d have been to THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR for example, but they’re not open this season.
We encourage you to support the haunts that have stepped up to the challenge of safely opening this season. Remember, many haunts donate funds to charities like children’s organizations and animal welfare groups.
So much time and effort goes into putting on a haunt that the public never sees. But that’s okay, because the parts you do see provide the BIG SCARES AND WOWS that are the bread and butter of the haunt industry.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 FRIDAY 4 PM - A NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE
There are many other haunts operating tonight besides THE HAUNT!
ROTTEN MANOR www.rottenmanor.com in HOLLY is open tonight, as well as SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK www.scarefestscreampark.com in LENOX TWP. JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD www.jxunderworld.com in JACKSON, FACTORY OF THE DEAD www.factoryofthedead.com in SAGINAW, NIGHT TERROR’S AT WIARD’S www.hauntedhousemichigan.com in YPSILANTI, and DERANGED www.derangedhaunt.com in ROMULUS.
We went to all these haunts last year, as well as THE HAUNT. We feel confident in recommending all of these as worthy efforts!
Things are different this year due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, so be sure to check each haunt’s website before going.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 FRIDAY 3 PM - ONCE IN A LIFETIME
No, not the TALKING HEADS song...but that’s a great tune...
We’re talking about driving over to GRAND RAPIDS to hit the MEGA HAUNT GENERATING THE BIG BUZZ , THE HAUNT!
What’s it called?
THE HAUNT... that’s it... just “THE HAUNT!”
But what’s the name of the place?
Never mind...just get on I-96 WEST and fire up the cruise control and put on some jams...
**SIDEBAR** The Halloween Anthem Rock song “DRAGULA” by ROB ZOMBIE is based on the hot rod appearing in THE MUNSTERS TV show!**
THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS OPENS TONIGHT - FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 www.the-haunt.com
If you haven’t experienced this haunt, you’ll flip when you see what they’ve got! Their DETAIL & DECOR ARE OFF THE CHART FABULOUS! One of our favorites last year was a masterpiece of a miniature spinning MERRY GO ROUND. Hollywood grade makeup and actors round out the show at THE HAUNT.
In case you didn’t know, a new operator took over at THE HAUNT a few years ago. Amazing amounts of effort have gone into continuing the well deserved reputation of this PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT!
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 THURSDAY 2 PM - FAQ’S CONTINUED
QUESTION: Hey Zioptis, you messed up! Last season, both HUSH in WESTLAND and ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY received the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.
That sounds like the top award, so how can TWO haunts receive it?
ANSWER: First of all, there were actually THREE haunts that received this award. THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS also received the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.
Many haunt rating services out there give a “HAUNT OF THE YEAR” award, and we have too in previous years.
This implies that the haunt receiving this was better than the rest of the contenders. But when multiple haunts reach a World Class Status with truly exceptional shows, saying one is better than the others is akin to saying oranges are better than apples.
In our opinion, HUSH, ROTTEN MANOR, and THE HAUNT were standout favorites last year. So to name only one of them “HAUNT OF THE YEAR” would be unfair to them and the public which looks to us for advice as haunt experts.
We believe this can be easily validated. Ask any haunt operator from these 3 haunts what they think of the other 2, and you will find mutual admiration and respect.
For example, the attention to detail and decor at THE HAUNT is staggering...and that’s just for starters. Just ask ANY haunt operator who has seen it! It’s totally worth the trip from Detroit.
**SIDEBAR** Another haunt that fits this situation is SCREAM PARK in NILES. We did not visit them last year, but trust us the place is totally amazing and any other haunt operator who’s being honest will tell you so. SCREAM PARK is a multi-attraction haunt that features unique self-draining outdoor carpeting throughout the grounds. Their main haunted house has many different possible pathways though! We had a behind the scenes tour; actually it was an ABOVE the scenes tour on the many catwalks above everything.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 MONDAY 6 PM - NOTHING BUT THE FACTS, MA’AM
QUESTION: Hey Zioptis, who made you guys the judges?
ANSWER: First of all, we do not “judge” haunted houses / attractions. Judging implies there’s faults to be found and penalties to be imposed. That’s not how we roll.
If we find a fault we bring it to the attention of the haunt operator, not the public. Maybe a fog machine ran out of fog juice, or an animatronic display isn’t deploying. There’s a thousand things that can go wrong, and eventually they will. But what good does it do anybody to tell the public these things?
As to who brought us to do this, it was the ZIOPTIS callers that motivated us to expand upon our haunted house reports that originally played after Dial-a-Trip episodes.
QUESTION: What exactly qualifies you to rate haunted houses when you never even ran one yourself?
ANSWER: First of all, we do not “rate” haunted houses / attractions. Rating involves numerical values applied to various categories, with deductions for each and every imperfection found.
We write REVIEWS which tell the story of each haunt, emphasizing the best qualities without revealing too much so we don’t “spoil” the surprise.
Once upon a time when we were young and foolish, we DID rate haunts on a scale of 1-5 STARS. We emphatically stated the ratings did NOT compare haunts to each other. Rather, they were intended to indicate how well a haunt accomplished what it set out to do.
That meant that a tiny haunt could get 5 STARS just like a major mega haunt, and that further confused the issue.
Even worse, this diminished the value of a 5 STAR rating on a major mega haunt that toiled all year, compared to a 2 week setup operation that also could theoretically receive 5 STARS.
Try as we might, our pleas fell on deaf ears and the “How many STARS? mentality persisted.
So in 2009 we abandoned the useless and counterproductive star ratings that were getting in the way of our purpose which was, and continues to be, promoting the entire haunt scene that we love so much!
With the focus shifted to each haunts story and strengths, we repositioned ourselves to a noncompetitive stance.
As to the question of us never actually running a haunt...
Well, actually we have...sorta.
It started when my dad converted the family house into an improvised haunted house on Halloween. He put giant speakers on the roof, and played stuff like Tod Dockstader’s Organized Sound “Luna Park”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hydIpd0RLw4
He turned the front yard into a blaze of colored lights, ever changing behind rotating wheels of colored gels. He rigged a homemade Frankenstein to “breathe” when the kids stepped on a mat hiding a pressure sensitive switch. We had the wildest house in the neighborhood, and the biggest crowds.
As I grew older, I started doing light shows for school dances and such. Having graduated to blacklights, strobe lights made from kits by Southwest Technical, and an EICO color organ kit I soon earned the nickname of “Strobe Man.”
Soon enough, I took over duties of converting our house into a Halloween fantasy land and the crowds grew and grew...
Then I bought my own house in 1985, and moved the Halloween show there. With a much expanded sound and lighting system things went from crazy to totally bonkers!
I brought in actors from the (now defunct) MAXWORLD haunt, and constructed an improvised rear-projection double screen. We used a white fabric suitable for rear projection called FELT which comes in rolls 30 feet long and 3 feet wide. We bought two rolls to create a screen 30 feet long and 6 feet high, placed in an outward V shape to make 2 projection surfaces and secured by wooden supports in the middle and both ends.
We used Kodak Ektagraphic dissolving slide projectors as well as strobes and 2 PEACOCK by SHOWPRO gobo projectors, all in rear projection. Sometimes the actors danced behind the screen, doing strange shadow dances with themselves.
The Halloween display took on a life of its’ own. One time we went through 700 pieces of candy halfway thru the show, and a trip to the store was needed.
Then came the 90’s, and we bought our first handheld GREEN LASER which was a big investment at the time. With 6 fog machines filling the area, we created the FIRST LIQUID SKY display at a yard haunt to our knowledge.
Waving it in a swirl creates a segmented series of beams, and the kids danced with glee as Dr. Plasmodius (from MAXWORLD) danced around in his white “clean suit” and hat made from a bunch of white Styrofoam cups lined with Xmas lights.
Later we added a lighting truss bar and DMX controlled scanners and moonflowers that were aimed at treetops, creating a massive LIQUID SKY DISPLAY in the air.
Finally, the police came and said to cool it. There was so much fog it hindered traffic, as mini vans and cars from neighboring areas came in to join the fun.
With this background, we found ourselves “talking shop” to haunt operators during our many trips to haunted attractions.
We were there at THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR when operator TL opened a box just received from UPS containing a brand new air compressor to replace a busted one. “Murphy’s Law” can strike anytime, and sure enough the brand new air compressor did not work!
We’ve spoken in private to many haunt operators about various difficulties, situations and such that arise...
So you could say we’ve come as close as you can to running a commercial haunted attraction without actually doing it!
Between my haunt partner and I, we have about 90 years of collective haunting experience. That’s NOT a typo or “alternative fact”...yup NINETY YEARS and still going strong!
SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 THURSDAY 10 PM - SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
The next few entries will answer the big FAQ’S (Frequently Asked Questions) swirling about the haunt scene this year:
First of all, will there be a FEAR FINDER this year? And what about THE HAUNT GUIDE?
The short answers are “NO” and “YES” but there’s a lot more to it, and we agree with both decisions...
THE FEAR FINDER established itself as the go-to comprehensive haunted attraction guide for Michigan and Ohio many moons ago. Preparation for this begins in the summer, and it’s released usually in mid-September.
So usually by now we’d all be eagerly thumbing through its’ pages like kids on Christmas Eve looking for new thrills and experiences that surely await...every year there’s new haunts as well as established favorites...so many choices, all of them good...
But this year THERE’S DANGER OUT THERE AND IT’S REAL, thanks to the COVID-19 WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC in progress as we speak...
Many haunts haven’t yet determined if they can open this season. So logistically, THE FEAR FINDER was simply impossible this year.
The story is a little different with THE HAUNT GUIDE.
For the same reasons, they were thinking of going on hiatus this year.
But sponsor / promoter PAPA ROMANO’S PIZZA couldn’t let that happen. They have a discount pizza coupon printed on the back cover, and large quantities of them were redeemed last year.
It’s a no-brainer, haunters love pizza...so a scaled-down version of THE HAUNT GUIDE is being distributed all over, including the discount pizza coupon of course!
Pick one up, and get a great discount on some super tasty hot fresh pizza dripping with cheese and near-endless varities of toppings...
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 FRIDAY 6 PM - WILD HORSES
Doors open at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY at 7 PM tonight! www.rottenmanor.com
We talked to them earlier, and there are changes from last year in both the MANOR and FOREST.
Family obligations including a birthday party are keeping us away, but we urge the rest of you to go. An awesome “haunt fix” awaits!
BTW, there are 2 phone numbers for them appearing on their website. Here’s the one to use: (248) 515-9041.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 THURSDAY 12 NOON - OFF TO THE RACES
Finally...after much anticipation, the haunt season starts tomorrow!
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY opens Friday, September 11, 2020. www.rottenmanor.com
In case you’re just tuning in, ROTTEN MANOR won a whopping FIVE ZIOPTIS AWARDS last year including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD!
If you haven’t yet seen ROTTEN MANOR, we urge you to go right away tomorrow.
This haunt is so amazing we actually went 3 times last year!
You might be sorry later if you don’t go to ROTTEN MANOR, because there’s a possibility the State of Michigan may impose restrictions on haunted attractions in the coming weeks.
LOS ANGELES has pulled the plug on Trick-or-Treating and haunted attractions for this season, and there’s no guarantees about Michigan which is still under a “State Of Emergency.”
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 FRIDAY 7 PM - MAGICAL FOREST LIGHT SHOW
Special thanks to DN from LIVONIA for telling us about “something strange happening in the forest where a new type of creature has been spotted. It’s adorable, vibrant, and often mischievous!”
This looks like big fun: www.glenloretrails.com
AUGUST 26, 2020 WEDNESDAY 7:05 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN, AGAIN!
Now playing - another HALLOWEEN EPISODE of a major TV show. This time it’s on COMET TV, the science fiction channel. The show is QUANTUM LEAP, with the episode “The Boogieman: October 31, 1964.”
The plot synopsis: “Sam is brought back to Halloween 1964 as a horror novelist who has his own share of scary experiences, including an encounter with the devil.”
AUGUST 9, 2020 SUNDAY 9 PM - TO HAUNT OR NOT TO HAUNT?
That’s the big question we’re hearing, as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.
School openings have already been disrupted by virus outbreaks despite their best efforts. A bar in Lansing caused a “super-spreader event.”
So what about haunted attractions? Haunts are mostly designed to feature close-up encounters between performers and patrons, especially at indoor haunts.
Some haunts have already announced plans to be open or closed, while others are still deciding.
As the season grows closer more changes seem likely, but here’s an early look at the status from our friends at The Scare Factor: www.thescarefactor.com/haunt-blog/2020-list-of-haunted-houses-in-michigan-open-or-closed-for-covid-19/
AUGUST 9, 2020 SUNDAY 8:35 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN!
Now playing on FOX TV - A Halloween episode of the animated show BLESS THE HARTS. We haven’t seen this show yet, watching it now.
JULY 23, 2020 THURSDAY 11 PM - ENCOUNTERS OF THE CLOSE KIND?
In Germany they already canceled Octoberfest, but they can’t cancel October!
Large events have been postponed or canceled due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and gatherings of more than 100 people are banned in many places in America.
Vietnam and many other countries with less resources than the USA have beat the pandemic, and are back to business as usual.
But in the USA, over 140,000 people have already died. And we’re still only in the first wave of this insidious thing! The virus sets its’ own schedule, not us.
So what will happen to the haunted attraction scene this year? Usually by now, the haunts have done lots of work getting ready for the upcoming season.
Does Vietnam have haunted attractions?! ;)
MAY 10, 2020 SUNDAY 6 PM - TO BE OR NOT TO BE
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Thank you so much, for all that you do. A mother’s work is never done, but you always rise to the task.
Furthermore, we owe our very existence to you!
So without moms, there wouldn’t be any haunted houses because there would be nobody to create them!
And special blessings to moms not able to be with their kids today due to the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.
Speaking of which, we’re sad to see that HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND had to postpone their MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATRE event that was scheduled for later in May.
What a crying shame! Here’s a young, dynamic haunt on the move...adding a whole new dimension to their business model...everybody was anxious to see what they’d do...
And then out of the blue from China comes a virus that just doesn’t quit.
HIATUS HORROR SHOW / WHEN THE DANGER TURNS FROM FAKE TO REAL
Even worse, this puts the upcoming haunt season in jeopardy.
The very nature of the haunted attraction genre involves lots of close up interaction with actors.
We’ve joked in the past about being so close to the monsters we could smell their minty-fresh breath!
Will there even be a haunt season for 2020?
We’ll be calling a top haunt industry insider to ask that very question. Stand by...
MARCH 10, 2020 TUESDAY 5 PM - ALL EYES ON THE MITTEN
It’s hard not to think about politics today. The nation is eager to see what happens with the Primary Election in 6 states, with 125 delegates up for grabs in Michigan.
We’re going out on a limb with a prediction. Actually, 3 of them:
1. Joe Biden will sweep Michigan.
2. Biden will get the Democrat nomination to run for President.
3. Biden will choose Kamala Harris as his running mate for Vice President. In case you don’t know, Harris is the Senator from California that was running for President until recently when she suspended her campaign.
WORD ON THE STREETS FROM DETROIT
Speaking of women in politics...
I had an encounter yesterday, waiting in the checkout line at the store.
An African American young woman, mid-30's I'm guessing, was in front of me looking real sharp. The conversation went something like this:
"Hey, I like your style...nice outfit!"
"Mind if I ask you a political question?"
"Do you have an opinion of Kamala Harris?"
"She was running for President and had to drop out."
Oh, now I remember her...
"Well, the primary election is tomorrow and she just endorsed Joe Biden."
Hmmm...I was thinking of voting for Biden, but now I'm sure I will!
"You could help make history!"
"If Biden gets the nomination, I predict he will choose Harris as his running mate for Vice President. And then we could have the first-ever WOMAN Vice President...and black to boot!"
Hmmm...an older white guy and a younger black lady...could be just the ticket!
"Goodbye, glass ceiling! Nice chatting with you, God bless you."
Do you think this gal told her friends about our conversation? There are literally millions of African American women that could vote President Trump out of office.
All eyes will be on The Mitten tonight, as we have the most delegate points of all the states having primaries today.
Will Biden walk away with the win? Will he choose Harris as a running mate if he gets the nomination? Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking loudly right now...
MARCH 10, 2020 TUESDAY 11:11 AM - OH LUCKY DAY!
No, not the Primary Election today.
It’s the LUCK OF THE IRISH coming next weekend starting on FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH at FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW.
It’s CHAPTER V: SLAY PATRICK’S CURSE, an interactive ST. PATRICK’S THEME HAUNTED HOUSE SPECIAL EVENT!
If you think you have the Luck of the Irish to survive the ST. PATRICK’S LEPRECHAUN CURSE, click here: www.factoryofthedead.com
If any other haunts are having FRIDAY THE 13th events, please email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
FEBRUARY 28, 2020 FRIDAY 2 PM - AWARDS FINALIZED
The last of the AWARDS have been filled in now. Many factors went into much careful consideration.
But we would still like to commend haunts that didn’t receive awards, as ALL HAUNTS we visited did a great job!
Michigan is the most competitive haunt market, and you can’t survive without having a quality presentation.
And even if you do have a quality presentation, there’s no guarantee you will survive!
KRAZY HILDA’S in YPSILANTI, SINISTER in UTICA, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS in ROMULUS, THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE, PAPP PARK in TAYLOR, and ABANDON in MELVINDALE are but a few examples of high quality haunts that didn’t survive.
FEBRUARY 16, 2020 SUNDAY 4 AM - HEART FULL OF SOUL
Wow! The VALENTINE EVENT at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION was a giant success.
1,400 happy haunters packed it out on Friday night, and Saturday looked on track to at least equal Friday’s crowd.
The actors were all totally on point, and the new dining room is fabulous! It’s like stepping into an elegant mansion from many moons ago.
It looks and feels totally authentic because it is authentic! HUSH made a smart choice in buying props from REAL MANSIONS up for sale.
We took some excellent photos, including the new dining room to be posted soon on the HUSH Facebook page and also on our Pro Flickr account.
Our apologies to the WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S BLOODLUST for missing them.
FEBRUARY 15, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - AVOID FUTURE REGRET & DISAPPOINTMENT!
Tomorrow it will be too late.
If you don’t get off ‘yer butt and go haunting tonight, you will put yourself in the clear and present danger of wondering “What if?” and “What did I miss out on?”
But Zioptis, it’s cold and nasty out there! I don’t know...
Forget that. Your car is warm, and the HAUNTS ARE HOT & SIZZLING WITH WILD ACTION!
It’s the EXHILARATING FEELING OF DANGER & ADVENTURE, but without the risks they usually come with. That’s the MAGIC OF HAUNTING, don’t miss out...be there or be square!
FEBRUARY 15, 2020 SATURDAY 2 PM - TRIFECTA OF TERROR
There are THREE HAUNTS OPEN TONIGHT!
HUSH in WESTLAND presents a ONE-OF-A-KIND VALENTINE EVENT with 3 VALENTINE HAUNTS! You’ve GOT TO see the trailer for this: www.valentinehauntdetroit.com
FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW has CHAPTER IV: REIGN IN BLOOD VALENTINE MASSACRE, and it looks like A SURE WINNER! www.factoryofthedead.com
And finally, THE WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE presents BLOODLUST. www.facebook.com/events/1232680000413737/
FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 10 PM - BLOODLUST LIVE!
Whoopsie, we failed to list yet another SPECIAL VALENTINE’S WEEKEND HAUNT EVENT presented by a group largely responsible for the origin of the haunted house genre itself!
That would of course be THE JAYCEE’S, and the Wyandotte Chapter’s PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE proudly presents BLOODLUST on Feb. 14 & 15.
Click here for details and discount tix: www.facebook.com/events/1232680000413737/
We apologize for the late listing, shame on us! A thousand lashes with a wet noodle. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying.
FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 7 PM - THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE
After much analysis and soul searching, we’ve come to a final decision about THE HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD.
There are 3 HAUNTS that, in our opinion, were obvious standout candidates for this award: HUSH, ROTTEN MANOR, and THE HAUNT.
ANY one of these haunts could be HAUNT OF THE YEAR, and the other two would not complain. We know all three haunt operators quite well, and know for a fact they have mutual respect and admiration for the others.
Of course, every haunt thinks they have the best haunt. And that’s as it should be - you can’t put on a world class haunt without believing you can!
That said, if we were to give any of these HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD we’d be essentially saying the others fell short of the award-winning haunt’s performance.
But that simply is not true. Each haunt accomplished exactly what they intended to in spades. Every haunt has its’ own mission, and all three of these nailed the coffin shut!
It’s like what if we asked, “Which is better, Golden Delicious or Northern Spy apples?”
So the decision was made that all 3 haunts receive the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD!
One more point of interest about these 3 haunts: ALL of them were assisted by the same premiere haunt industry designer / advisor. Her initials are DS, but we affectionately refer to her as the SCREAM QUEEN.
SCREAM QUEEN was the creator of the famed HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES in WARREN, and later THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC. Both haunts reached legendary status, especially the REALM which had lots of GENUINE spooky stuff happen there. (see various city of Pontiac archived reviews)
This was verified by multiple paranormal investigators and even a prominent pastor of the rock & roll mega church METRO CITY CHURCH. They recorded a sermon there when video cameras caught paranormal action that caused major goose bumps! (see review in Reviews 2015_C)
FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 1:30 AM - READ THE TRANSCRIPT!
Join us as we jump into THE WAYBACK MACHINE, and revisit a VALENTINE’S CLASSIC, “FIN-TIN’S PANCAKE PRINCESS.”
This previously released unabridged, fully unredacted document now appears at the top of the page in News. ***WARNING!!***DO NOT READ, PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE MAY OCCUR - WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE!
FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY 12:45 AM - HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Now we have FIVE HAUNTS WITH 3 AWARDS, with HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and ROTTEN MANOR joining the list. Fabulous!
Also we have multiple haunts with 2 AWARDS EACH including JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, SHAWHAVEN FARMS in MASON, THE SCREAM MACHINE, and NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S. Wow! Not too shabby... ;) haha
FEBRUARY 13, 2020 THURSDAY 3 PM - AND THE WINNERS ARE...
At last, the first of the awards have now been announced! (click on Awards)
So far, AZRA, HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS, and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK are leading the pack with a WHOPPING THREE AWARDS EACH!
Additional details to be filled in later, and still a MAJOR decision to make regarding the HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD.
More coming tonight, stand by...
Coincidentally, for the last two years we went to AZRA and HAUNTED GARAGE on the same night. Travel time between Madison Heights and Grosse Pointe Farms is minimal, about 15 minutes.
AZRA and HAUNTED GARAGE are as different as night and day, yet both are truly world class presentations!
FEBRUARY 13, 2020 THURSDAY 2 PM - GETTING CLOSER TO TERROR WITHOUT GETTING LOST
It’s only 1 DAY AWAY FROM HAUNTING this weekend!
TWO PRIMO HAUNTS are open both Valentine’s Day Feb. 14th & Saturday Feb.15th in SAGINAW & WESTLAND. (see details below)
So like, Saginaw and Westland are about 100 miles away from each other...98.6 to be exact if what Mister Google says is right...travel time of 1 hour and 31 minutes...
How far would you travel to go to a killer haunt?
Or how about making it A SURPRISE JOURNEY for your sweetie?
One of my best SURPRISE JOURNEYS ever was a trip to a private tour of AMERICAN MUSEUM OF MAGIC in MARSHALL and then TURKEYVILLE for the dinner mystery theatre. Unforgettable.
So here’s your chance to create an unforgettable VALENTINE’S DAY SURPRISE EXPERIENCE! For the ultimate effect, use a blindfold so they have no idea where you’re going. You might want to prepare a small hand-written sign to show any concerned fellow drivers. Something like, “VALENTINE’S PRANK IN PROGRESS - GOING TO HAUNTED HOUSE!”
Just stick SAGINAW or WESTLAND in your GPS, and I’ll bet you find it’s not too far to pull this off and be the Valentine Bandit to their heart! ;)
FEBRUARY 12, 2020 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - ULTIMATE DATE FRIGHT NIGHT
Here’s another FABULOUS HAUNT OPEN for Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 14 & 15.
It’s CHAPTER IV: VALENTINE MASSACRE at FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW, and it looks like A SURE WINNER! www.factoryofthedead.com
We went to this haunt in 2019 and they blew us away! (see full review in Reviews 2019_B) It’s part of the SCARE SAGINAW TRIANGLE OF FEAR, and includes the legendary crew from the former BRIDGEPORT HAUNTED ELEMENTARY.
In other words, these guys really know what they’re doing...they put on an impressive slick show last October and then had a highly successful FRIDAY THE 13th off-season event too.
And one last thing about FACTORY OF THE DEAD...they have benches to sit on in the queue line area. That’s rare, but we also saw benches at THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS.
FEBRUARY 11, 2020 TUESDAY 10 PM - BLOODY AWESOME ROMANTIC DATE
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which begs the question of how do you give your sweetie AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER for the biggest day of romance on the calendar?
That’s simple. You just go to the MOST AMAZING HAUNT IN DETROIT!
Huh? Like don’t you have to wait until October for haunted houses?
Okay, and it’s not actually in Detroit...but only a couple minutes away in Westland.
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION is open for Valentine’s Day weekend! (Feb. 14 & 15)
HUSH IS HOLLYWOOD SLICK & DETROIT RAW!
You’ve GOT TO see the trailer for this: www.valentinehauntdetroit.com
This promises to be a ONE-OF-A-KIND VALENTINE EVENT with 3 VALENTINE HAUNTS.
If you’ve never been to HUSH do yourself a giant favor and do whatever it takes to get there.
Or even if you have, you should go this weekend...they’ve been busting their buns to create lots of new magic to unleash on the passionate and adventurous fun seekers out there!
Stand by for the awards...
JANUARY 9, 2020 THURSDAY 11 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS...
We’re still deliberating the Awards, thank you for your patience!
DECEMBER 31, 2019 TUESDAY 11 AM - NEW THIS YEAR
A new AWARD CATEGORY is being added: BEST JAW DROPPING GAG -
Who will it be for? It’s a no-brainer to us, stand by...
DECEMBER 30, 2019 MONDAY 2 PM - NO RUSH TO JUDGEMENT
In past years, we’ve announced the ZIOPTIS HAUNT AWARDS on the last day of the year which is tomorrow.
However, we’re running late this time and may have to delay until the New Year comes.
There’s just so many factors to consider, and we take seriously who gets what awards.
Stand by my little monkeys...
DECEMBER 30, 2019 MONDAY 1 PM - NEW PHOTOS JUST RELEASED
Now posted: pictures from HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND - www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/
DECEMBER 25, 2019 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Here’s hoping that SANTA CLODS still fits down your chimney, and that he doesn’t burn his buns in your fireplace!
And please remember to leave lots of tasty treats for him to enjoy. We suggest smoked salmon, chocolate chop cookies, and vanilla flavored almond milk.
DECEMBER 18, 2019 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - THE BIG TWO OH!
How long would you say a haunt has to be around until it’s considered to be an industry leader?
AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS is only in it’s 2nd year, but is making a very big splash! They’re young and highly motivated...many industry leaders are like that.
Or what about...
HUSH HAUNT in WESTLAND who stormed onto the scene in 2013, and took a giant step forward in 2019 to MEGA HAUNT status with their move from Ford Road to Cherry Hill in Westland...so that’s 7 years and running...
What about if a haunt makes it to TWENTY YEARS?
Well, next year that’s exactly what they’ll be celebrating at BESTMAZE in MASON! Hmmm...they must be doing something right...we went in 2019 and loved it! It’s a dual attraction haunt, with industry leading self-draining trails in the maze and their TRAIL OF TERRORS.
DECEMBER 16, 2019 MONDAY 2 PM - TIMELESS FUN
Last weekend was a GIANT SUCCESS, as AWAKEN, EXIT 13, FACTORY OF THE DEAD, and ROTTEN MANOR opened their doors to celebrate FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH as only world class haunted attractions can!
We don’t have the exact figures, but are confident attendance was in the thousands.
And it’s not over yet, as FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW will be open next weekend too - Friday & Saturday Dec. 20 & 21. www.factoryofthedead.com
DECEMBER 14, 2019 SATURDAY 9 AM - THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD
We went to ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY last night and it was packed to the gills! That alone was awesome eye candy for us but it gets better...
We lucked out, and the couple next to us in line had never been to any haunt before! They’re locals, living about 2 minutes away who wanted to see what all the hoopla is about.
So we went through with them, and got to see first hand what happens when neophytes experience a WORLD CLASS HAUNT like ROTTEN MANOR. It was fabulous!
As usual, the entire show was spot on but with lots of CHRISTMAS THEME characters and story lines added. Kudos to WF and crew!
We got some excellent pictures with a DSLR too, stand by...
DECEMBER 13, 2019 FRIDAY 2 PM - HOLIDAY NIGHTMARE COMES TO LIFE
A BLOODY CHRISTMAS at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY has attracted TV COVERAGE: www.nbc25news.com/news/local/a-bloody-christmas-is-a-holiday-nightmare-come-to-life
DECEMBER 12, 2019 THURSDAY 2 PM - KRAMPUS GOES KRAZY!
We just talked to the operator of ROTTEN MANOR, and we can’t wait to go to A BLOODY CHRISTMAS!
Lots of big fun with special goodies you didn’t see during the haunt season will be in action. Last weekend was a big success for them, with many attending for the first time.
A giant heated tent will keep the queue line warm, and more than one SANTA will make appearances. Everyone knows that SANTA CLAUS has helpers, but the likes of these helpers will NOT be found at your local mall!
Heaters are in place inside the MANOR so there’s no excuse not to go on account of the weather, which is actually looking better than today anyway.
In addition to THE MANOR, the midway will also be operating. One of our favorites there is the EXTREME 3D VORTEX, which takes the classic BlackHole effect to a new dimension with an optical illusion we’ve never seen before with this gag. www.rottenmanor.com
DECEMBER 12, 2019 THURSDAY 3 AM - CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE ACCEPTING NEW CAMPERS THIS WEEKEND
Tomorrow is FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, and JASON IS BACK!
FOUR AWESOME HAUNTS will be open for FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH weekend.
AWAKEN in LESLIE presents the cleverly named Jingle HELLS - YULE DIE! www.awakenhaunt.com
And ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY will again open the doors to their own special breed of HAUNTED MADNESS & MAYHEM in A BLOODY CHRISTMAS. They promise to show “what happens when you end up on SANTA’S NAUGHTY LIST!” www.rottenmanor.com
EXIT 13 in MOUNT MORRIS is known for being a highly physical haunt, and here’s your chance to experience it without waiting until next October! www.facebook.com/pg/Exit13HauntedHouse/events/
Finally, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW will be open with their EVIL CHRISTMAS. From their website: “This chilling event brings to life the story of a Christmas demon, known as Krampus, that helps Santa deal with anyone that is naughty. Visitors who loved getting spooked during Halloween can get scared all over again for this holiday season. The new attraction will also swap out Santa for photos with Krampus.” www.factoryofthedead.com
The weather is looking good too, as the forecast is significantly warmer Friday & Saturday with a high of about 43.
More pics of ROTTEN MANOR and also of HUSH coming...
DECEMBER 5, 2019 THURSDAY 3 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN AGAIN!
Well, sort of...because ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY is open with A BLOODY CHRISTMAS this weekend! It runs December 6 & 7 and also next weekend December 13 & 14. www.rottenmanor.com
Don’t let the cold weather keep you away, as they have a heated waiting area.
Also this coming weekend is the 37th Annual CHRISTMAS IN IDA, a massive 3 DAY OUTDOORS FESTIVAL that’s the biggest event of the year there. www.christmasinida.com
There’s 2 free country music concerts on Saturday starting at 4 PM, fireworks at 6:30 PM and then an amazing parade that runs about 2 hours.
HOLIDAY HOUNDS ON PARADE is part of the parade silliness, with CANINES DECKED OUT IN HOLIDAY GARB by their shameless owners!
There’s more doggie fun on Friday too, with the POOCHES IN LIGHTS PARADE at 6:30 PM.
Also, on Saturday you can take a HELICOPTER RIDE or CARRIAGE RIDE.
There’s plenty of food trucks, but you can also get great chow on the cheap in the library building just to the right of the concert area.
NOVEMBER 30, 2019 SATURDAY 2 PM - GROWING UP IN A HURRY
Imagine for a moment that you have some friends with a child who is 4 foot tall.
A year goes by until you see them again, and now the child is 24 feet tall!
Well, that’s sort of what happened to HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION for the 2019 season.
And they’re still not done, with an incredible 40,000 square feet to work with. We can’t wait to see what they do, and for their MARDI GRAS STYLE PARTY coming up as they turn the interior of their brand new building into BOURBON STREET.
Coming soon: info on AN EVIL CHRISTMAS you won’t want to miss and much more!
NOVEMBER 28, 2019 THURSDAY 11:11 AM - HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
TOM TURKEY SEZ: “Pardon me! Be thankful, and enjoy a delicious fish dinner today. Thank you. Very Much.”
NOVEMBER 24, 2019 SUNDAY 8:30 PM - Now posted! More pics of the amazing ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY - www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/
NOVEMBER 24, 2019 SUNDAY 8 PM - ”THANKSGIVING OF HORROR”
THE SIMPSONS episode playing right now on FOX TV has halloween and sci-fi twists . IT’S ULTRA WACKY!
NOVEMBER 17, 2019 SUNDAY 10 PM - AND IT ALL STARTED IN WESTLAND
No, not HUSH.
We’re talking about a ranch style house in Westland from long ago, a replica of which now stands in downtown Detroit.
PALM SPRINGS COMES TO DETROIT IN MIXED MEDIA MASHUP DELUXE
It’s a trip through a psychedelic carnival of the mind called ROBOLIGHTS, and they just moved from PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA to DETROIT for 2019! www.desertsun.com/story/news/2019/03/08/robolights-2019-will-be-held-in-detroit-not-palm-springs/3107700002/
And here’s an article from the FREEP: www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/2019/10/25/detroit-robolights-mocad-lights-kenny-irwin-jr/4082738002/
This sounds way cool! We’re going soon...
NOVEMBER 15, 2019 FRIDAY 10 PM - THE 2019 HAUNT OF THE YEAR
If you had to pick just one haunt to be HAUNT OF THE YEAR, which would it be?
“That’s a no-brainer” many would say, “it’s the one where Little Johnny pooped his pants” or “Suzy Q peed on the clown” or “Freddie fainted when the tree came to life and attacked,” etc.
Is it even possible to say Haunt A is better than Haunt B?
These questions, and many more are swirling in our brains!
Be sure to check back at the end of the year...
Coming next: It’s PART HAUNTED HOUSE / PART CHRISTMAS DISPLAY and it’s right in Detroit!
NOVEMBER 15, 2019 FRIDAY 6 PM - TRICK OR TREAT TONIGHT IN FENTON
Whoopee, it’s Halloween again!
Well, not exactly...but that’s what it looks like in Fenton right now.
My partner just called telling me there’s lots of women wandering the streets of DOWNTOWN FENTON right now, all carrying blue bags that say STATE BANK on them.
They’re all collecting goodies, and wine too from various businesses.
She had stopped at EL TOPO (where we ate earlier on a haunt night) and women with the blue bags were enjoying margaritas there.
But the biggest surprise came next, as familiar voices yelled at my partner from the street. It was her stepsister and niece, inviting her to join them for wine to which she replied “Thanks anyway, I just had tequila!”
The festivities continue until 9 PM. Details: www.facebook.com/events/fenton-michigan-ladies-night-out/553146172101347/
NOVEMBER 14, 2019 THURSDAY 5 PM - RANDOM MOMENTS OF GREATNESS
We saw so many amazing things in the 2019 HAUNT SEASON our heads are still spinning!
A few highlights, in no particular order:
At SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE - a nightmarish encounter with the AMAZON LADY “ALEXA” who reacts in real time to each group. FABULOUS!
At THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS - the miniature merry-go-round room with crazy out of their mind circus characters. SUPREME WACKINESS!
At AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS HH in MADISON HEIGHTS - the GIANT EYEBALL ROOM near the end with colorful crazy clowns freaking out.
At HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND - the BIG MANSION FEEL, the exceedingly prim and proper HOTEL CONCIERGE, the incredible GIANT BUCKING HORSE on your left, and the HIDEOUS SILVER GIANT on your right.
NOVEMBER 11, 2019 MONDAY 11:11 AM - LEST WE FORGET
Happy ELEVEN-ELEVEN ELEVEN-ELEVEN!
IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF FALLEN HEROES
And of course we recognize VETERANS DAY and REMEMBRANCE DAY for the Canadians out there...you hosers! haha
We’d like to remind you that freedom isn’t free! You’ve got to pay a price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.
NOVEMBER 7, 2019 THURSDAY 4 PM - DO IT TO ME ONE MORE TIME
FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW is open this weekend, Friday & Saturday Nov. 8 & 9! www.factoryofthedead.com
It’s billed as a BLACKOUT EVENT, but not totally as glow sticks are given and limited lighting will be on for safety’s sake. The actors and sound will all be in place!
General admission at the door is $16, or free if you’re a haunt operator and 1/2 off ($8) if you’re a haunt worker.
If you’re a haunt operator or haunt worker, you must pre-register by calling CHRIS ASAP at (616) 666-1190.
FACTORY OF THE DEAD will have various off-season events too, along with other haunts which we’ll list as the time grows near so stay tuned...
NOVEMBER 7, 2019 THURSDAY 6 AM - DEAD MAN’S PARTY
Every year as FAT TUESDAY approaches, many people attend one of the BIGGEST PARTIES OF THE YEAR...
It’s a GIANT CELEBRATION you may know by another name, MARDI GRAS which takes place in NEW ORLEANS.
Problem is, NEW ORLEANS is quite a distance from THE MITTEN and it’s prone to flooding and hurricanes...what to do?
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION will be THROWING A BOURBON STREET PARTY right at Cherry Hill & Newburgh in Westland!
We don’t know exactly what they’ll do, but if we know HUSH it’s gonna have a SUPER SPOOKY EDGE!
There’s incredible amounts of good vibes associated with this location, as it’s the site of the former SKATELAND WEST where so many people had so much fun for many years.
Not only that, but the original decrepit building has been replaced with a brand new structure so there’s no infrastructure problems.
The new building is massive, and they own it giving them the flexibility to do almost anything.
Date & details yet to be announced, stay tuned...
NOVEMBER 4, 2019 MONDAY 3 PM - WHY WE CHOOSE TO GET SCARED
This question is at the very root of haunted attractions, and sociologist MARGEE KERR has lots of the answers.
She recently appeared on TV in CANADA on CBC-TV’s THE NATURE OF THINGS: www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/the-science-of-the-scare-designing-the-perfect-haunted-house
MARGEE KERR also appeared on NBC-TV NEWS in the USA: www.youtube.com/watch?v=91bJ1UnzH7E or www.nbcnews.com/now/video/the-science-behind-being-scared-72546885905
Stand by for more later with big news about HUSH in WESTLAND.
NOVEMBER 3, 2019 SUNDAY 3 PM - CALIFORNIA DREAMING
We just saw something on CBS NEWS that looks way cool, and has interactive elements reminiscent of the haunted attraction experience to boot. www.cbsnews.com/news/enter-the-immersive-world-of-sante-fe-art-collective-meow-wolf/ and www.meowwolf
NOVEMBER 3, 2019 SUNDAY 2 PM - EAT THE CAKE
We finished off our season last night with a BANG with a group that’s been haunting for 43 YEARS!
PURGATORY by the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES delivered the goods from start to end, with no weak spots whatsoever.
Unique interaction is their hallmark, starting in the queue line with a request for you to confess your sins.
Having a specific story line makes for a more interesting haunt experience, and each actor has a quirky idiosyncrasy they’re proud to display. After all, when you’re insane it’s the rest of the world that’s mad!
Review coming later, but here’s some highlights:
Just before entering you receive conflicting advice: one actor says when offered the choice, DON’T EAT THE CAKE and another says to EAT THE CAKE!
Of course we played into the gag and did eat the cake, and it was delicious!
This haunt is as old as the hills, yet is up to date with modern lighting techniques starting with a double-sided GREEN LIQUID SKY ROOM that nailed it. And we loved their BLACKLIGHT ROOM with colorful poles and such.
High flying acrobatics keep the action coming from every possible location, and a good amount of disorientation and dark passageways round out the experience.
Our apologies to DARKSYDE ACRES, EREBUS, GHOSTLY MANOR, HAUNTED HYDRO, HAUNTING IN IRISH HILLS, and TERROR ON 27 for missing them this season.
NOVEMBER 2, 2019 SATURDAY 6 PM - THE LAST HURRAH
Haunts open on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019:
AWAKEN - LESLIE
AZRA - MADISON HEIGHTS
BATE’S HAUNTED SAWMILL - MILLINGTON
BESTMAZE CORN MAZE & TRAIL OF TERRORS, WILLIAMSTON
CORN MAZE ADVENTURE PARK & PUMPKIN PATCH - CASCO TWP. www.cornfun.com
DARKSYDE ACRES - JONESVILLE
DERANGED - ROMULUS (RAW 18+ PART 2)
EDSON INCIDENT - BAY CITY
EREBUS - PONTIAC
EXIT 13 - MT. MORRIS
FACTORY OF THE DEAD - SAGINAW (ALSO OPEN with BLACKOUT on Nov. 8 & 9, 2019)
THE HAUNT - GRAND RAPIDS (BLACKOUT)
HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME - INKSTER
HAUNTED HYDRO - FREMONT, OHIO
HUSH HAUNT - WESTLAND (GLOW STICK FRIGHT NIGHT)
JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD - JACKSON
MORROW ROAD HAUNTED TRAIL - ST. CLAIR TWP.
NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S - YPSILANTI
NILES SCREAM PARK - NILES (BLACKOUT)
PURGATORY BY WYANDOTTE JAYCEES - WYANDOTTE
ROTTEN MANOR, HOLLY
THE SCREAM MACHINE - TAYLOR
SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM - MASON
TERROR ON 27 - ASHLEY
THE VILLAGE OF THE LIVING DEAD - ST. CHARLES
WICKED WOODS OF TERROR - CARO
NOVEMBER 2, 2019 SATURDAY 4 PM - ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES PART 2
Earlier we discussed how haunted houses came to be, and that THE JAYCEES were largely responsible.
Well, THE WYANDOTTE JAYCEES are still at it!
From their Facebook page: "Hell is empty and all the devils are here." - William Shakespeare
Descend into the depths as the Gates of Purgatory are open for wretched souls......willing or unwilling.
For 43 years, the Wyandotte Jaycees have hosted a haunted attraction. Expanding 6000 square feet, Purgatory is entirely indoors and offers free parking. Fall further and further from grace as you explore 13 horrifying chambers of the Devil's deepest depravity and punishments. What unspeakable evils do you have staining your soul? The wickedness that you dare not speak aloud or even think upon? Can you face your demons AND his? Enter Purgatory....and see if the Devil lets you back out.
The Gates of Purgatory will be open every Friday & Saturday evening from 7pm to midnight and Sunday evenings from 7pm to 10pm, starting September 27th through November 2nd.
A SIMPLE “YES OR NO” QUESTION
Politicians are famous for evading these questions, but here’s one we’re sure you can answer easily: can you name ANY other haunt that’s been around for FORTY THREE YEARS??? www.facebook.com/events/796272760770823/
Hmmm, they must be doing something right and they’re open tonight! Decisions, decisions...
NOVEMBER 2, 2019 SATURDAY 3 PM - STEP INTO MY TIME MACHINE
Flexibility is a virtue, as well as persistence.
And as we mentioned earlier this season, gravity is proof that the earth sucks. That’s why your plans don’t always work out, like last night.
The original plan was to hit TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY, or HAUNTING IN IRISH HILLS and DARKSYDE ACRES. No go.
So where’d you go, Zioptis?
We stepped into the HAUNTED TIME MACHINE...
Oh cool... you mean EREBUS the time machine disguised as a haunted house, right?
Actually, no...although EREBUS is on the wish list. We ended up going to a primo OLD SCHOOL HAUNT that has never let us down...the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER.
NOTHIN’ FANCY, STRICTLY FAMILY
HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME is big on basics while being perhaps physically the smallest haunt we went to this year. It’s jam packed with OLD SCHOOL GOODNESS, with great surprises / interaction.
NOVEMBER 1, 2019 FRIDAY 6 PM - ALWAYS SOMETHING...
Rats! Those darn logistics problems, getting in the way of our haunt plans again.
Time to work on PLAN B...
NOVEMBER 1, 2019 FRIDAY 8 AM - AND THE UNLIKELY CANDIDATE IS...(drum roll)
It’s the final stretch, and plenty of BIG CITY HAUNTS to choose from. (see list of haunts open in “What’s next.”
But check out the population of where we’re considering going to tonight: As of the census of 2010, there were 563 people, 195 households, and 133 families residing in the village.
In years past, we’d changed our BIG CITY HALLOWEEN PLANS to head to the tiny city of WEBBERVILLE for the now defunct NIGHTMARE ON ELM.
So what city, wait make that VILLAGE, with a population of well under a thousand could be worth going to for great haunting?
The answer is ASHLEY, MICHIGAN, home of TERROR ON 27. www.terroron27.com
ASHLEY? Never heard of it, where is it?
Hold out your hand, and point right to the MIDDLE OF THE MITTEN. There you go, that’s where you’ll find the centrally located ASHLEY...and perhaps us too tonight!
NOVEMBER 1, 2019 FRIDAY 2 AM - HALLOWEEN MAGIC!
After much deliberation, we decided to celebrate Halloween at HUSH...after passing out candy to local Trick-or-treaters of course.
The rain was incessant and the wind was howling like a thousand wolf men, but the Trick-or-treaters still came. The lure of fantasy, fun and candy outweighed minor distractions like gale force winds.
With the last stragglers gone, it was time to decide where to go...
HUSH is one of three obvious standout LEADERS OF THE PACK of the 2019 MICHIGAN HAUNT SCENE, and we already went to another one of them twice...GRAND RAPIDS is too far for tonight...
So HUSH it was, our second visit there this season and the perfect way to FINISH WITH A BANG on Halloween night! We noticed things we missed during our first visit, like a miniature LIQUID SKY BOX the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
We got some cool pictures too, and we’ll be posting them later on our Flickr photostream. Stay tuned...
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 5 PM - The start of a NEW HALLOWEEN STORY came to me recently, but it’s long from finished.
So in the meantime, here’s a repeat from 2013:
NOVEMBER 2, 2013 SATURDAY 2 PM - PULL UP A CHAIR...
“PIGTAILS & PUMPKINS €- BLESSED BY A GOURD” by Zioptis
Inspired by Crazy Bob (Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio) & adapted from a story by Bennet Cerf in “Chicken Soup For The Soul”
Melissa counted out the last pennies of her fare, on a small bus in rural Wisconsin in 1967.
She was 14, and it was the day after Halloween. The kids in front of the bus were still celebrating, bragging about how much candy their pillow cases held and such.
Near the back of the bus was mean Mr. Turner.
Nobody knew much about him, except that he used to give each Trick-or-Treater a small packet of candy on Halloween.
That stopped a few years ago, but a bright Jack-o-Lantern still appeared on his front porch every Halloween.
He sat on the bus with no expression on his face, and in his feeble hands was said Jack-o-Lantern.
The crudely carved crooked teeth in the pumpkin resembled his own, and his clothes were ragged with the shirt buttoned wrong.
Strangely, Melissa walked right past her friends, and sat down across from mean Mr. Turner who continued to look forward with an empty stare.
Then suddenly he spun the pumpkin to face her, with its' silly face as he yelled "BOO!" and went back to his empty stare.
Melissa shrieked just as she had the weekend before at the local Jaycee's Haunted House, but then grinned a grin like the Great Pumpkin Himself.
At the next stop, the not-so-mean-after all Mr. Turner got up to leave.
But he hesitated for a moment, and then thrust the jolly Jack-o-Lantern into the girl's hands. He said, "The pumpkin made you smile, I think my wife would like you to have it. I'll tell her I gave it to you."
The old man hobbled out of the bus...and just before he disappeared from sight, Melissa saw him walk through the gates into a small cemetery.
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 3 PM - HALLOWEEN HAVOC TONIGHT
DERANGED in ROMULUS is closing out the season with special events tonight and November 1 & 2. www.DerangedHaunt.com
Tonight is HALLOWEEN HAVOC, then on Nov. 1 it’s RAW 18+ PART 1 and Nov. 2 it’s RAW 18+ PART 2.
Hmmm...RAW EIGHTEEN PLUS?
We’re not sure exactly what they mean by that, but we have a good idea...
Anybody remember the long-gone FOUR BEARS WATER PARK HAUNT in UTICA and what happened?
Never mind that, we trust that DERANGED has more sense than they did. Then again, haunt operators can be a little weird sometimes... ;-)
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 2 PM - Y’ALL COME BACK, HEAR?
Be sure to check back at the end of the year for A SPECIAL ANNOUNCMENT!
We’ll be reviewing our notes and recordings, and then...TA-DAH!
Also, stay tuned for off season events like HAUNTED CHRISTMAS EVENTS, FRIDAY THE 13th HAUNTED EVENTS, A WINTER OUTDOORS COUNTRY CONCERT with FIREWORKS and more!
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 1:30 PM - DON’T LET ME DOWN
No, not the Beatles song.
Today is Halloween...hooray!
Also today is some really lousy weather forecast for Trick-or-Treating tonight. BOO HOO!
But that won’t stop the kids from venturing off with their costumes, clutching pillow cases and such to fill with treats.
Provided that people are still ready to supply those treats.
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
We urge you to GIVE LOTS OF CANDY to the Trick-or-Treators tonight, and help keep alive the wonderful mystique that’s at the very core of haunting!
Yes, we’re going haunting tonight as we always do on the big day. But not until the last SNICKERS BAR has been given to the last straggler in a HALLOWEEN COSTUME that comes to our door.
Just as at Christmas time many people say “Jesus is the reason for the season,” we say KIDS, CANDY & FUN are the reason for the season at Halloween! Please don’t let them down.
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 1 PM - HOCUS POCUS
Today is Halloween...hooray!
But did you know that today is also NATIONAL MAGIC DAY? www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-magic-day-october-31/
And did you know that we have the WORLD’S LARGEST MAGIC COMPANY right here in Michigan? It’s ABBOTT’S MAGIC COMPANY in COLON, MICHIGAN. My brothers and I used to drool over their amazing catalog, and they have an annual magic get-together that’s legendary! www.abbottmagic.com
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 7:30 AM - BLINDED BY SCIENCE
Coming up on NBC’S THE TODAY SHOW: “Halloween on the plaza; a look is taken at the science behind fright and why people like to be scared.”
So there’s science behind all this? Who would’ve known... ;-)
OCTOBER 31, 2019 THURSDAY 2 AM - THE GREAT PUMPKIN ARRIVES
We had a great DEVIL’S NIGHT with lots of other happy haunters, at FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS.
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
No, not the phone company ad.
It was the monsters and clowns at EXIT 13, the HANDS ON HAUNT where they touch you, grab you, and...well, you’ll see what else! We’re not about to give it all away...
FACTORY OF THE DEAD is by the crew that formerly did GOREGROUNDS, and the new building they have has lots of room for expansion. They had a rushed setup schedule, but you’d never know it. The show was excellent, from sets and sound/lights to actors that were all spot on with their cues.
One more cool thing about FACTORY OF THE DEAD: they will be open November 8 & 9, 2019 with BLACKOUT NIGHTS. (sound & actors will be in place) They’re inviting all other haunts to visit gratis!
OCTOBER 30, 2019 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - DEVIL’S NIGHT FUN!
We’re off to FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS (near FLINT) tonight.
FACTORY OF THE DEAD is now run by CH who did GOREGROUNDS previously, and we can’t wait to see what’s up! The building they’re in on LAPEER AVE. is massive, and was formerly NIGHTCRAWLERS. www.factoryofthedead.com
EXIT 13 is the haunt that gives you a unique choice of whether or not TO BE TOUCHED BY THE MONSTERS! We said YES when we went last year...in fact we loved it so much we went twice in 2018! www.exit13hauntedhouse.com
OCTOBER 30, 2019 WEDNESDAY 3 AM - ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES
Everything starts as a thought.
But who had the first thought to put together what would become THE VERY FIRST HAUNTED HOUSE EVER?
We asked MR. GOOGLE and found this: “The first verifiable Jaycees haunted attraction as recognized by the Jaycees national office was The WSAI Haunted House in Cincinnati, Ohio operated by the Sycamore-Deer Park Jaycees in 1970. In 1974, The Haunted Schoolhouse, located in Akron, Ohio, opened to the public and is still in operation to this day.”
Wait a second...
MUTILATION MANSION in MADISON HEIGHTS ran from 1966 to 2006. It too was started by THE JAYCEES, and who remembers ANXIETY ALLEY in LINCOLN PARK...also JAYCEES late 60’s I think...they even have a memorial FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/AnxietyAlley/
Okay, all of this supports the notion that HAUNTED HOUSES STARTED NOT IN OHIO BUT IN MADISON HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN!
Wait a second...
MR. GOOGLE also says to check Wikipedia and another story emerges that’s hard to dispute: “Halloween-themed haunted houses in America seemed to begin emerging during the Great Depression, about the same time as trick-or-treat. But the haunted house as an American cultural icon can be traced to a single event. The Haunted Mansion opened in Disneyland August 9, 1969. The attraction became a near-instant success. A single-day record of 82,516 guests was established soon after it opened. In 1973, Knott's Berry Farm began hosting its own Halloween night attraction, Knott's Scary Farm, which soon became the gold standard of Halloween events. Evangelical Christians became early adopters of alternative Halloween attractions. Jerry Falwell and Liberty University introduced one of the first "hell houses" in 1972.
Two sides to every story...at least.
(Editor’s note: while checking the links in the Wikipedia article above we clicked on “trick-or-treat” and they show a cute picture of a child in a skeleton costume from REDFORD MICHIGAN in 1979!)
OCTOBER 30, 2019 WEDNESDAY 2 AM - THE DEVIL’S DUE
Here we are already at DEVIL’S NIGHT...so many haunts we want to hit...and we must be crazy, some haunts we went to twice...and might even do it again with HUSH HAUNT...have you seen it this year?
If not, you’ll freak!
HUSH moved in 2019, expanding by a factor of 6 to become the newest DETROIT MIGHTY MEGA HAUNT. www.HushDetroit.com
The attention to detail, both in sets and characters/costumes, is staggering. Hollywood grade production values tie up the whole thing into a MASTERPIECE OF MAYHEM!
Hollywood...hmmm, that reminds me of something with THE ELLEN SHOW...
My partner is a fan of THE ELLEN SHOW, and they had a Halloween episode including a visit to the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS haunted attraction. (HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS?)
We watched it, and the haunt was okay...but we think THE ELLEN SHOW should come to DETROIT and see HUSH instead! Just sayin’...
OCTOBER 29, 2019 TUESDAY 8 PM - GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
Just released: the complete list / dates of remaining haunts open in “What’s next”
OCTOBER 29, 2019 TUESDAY 4 PM - THE HOME STRETCH
We’re working on the list of haunts open on Devil’s Night, Halloween, and Nov. 1 & 2...
And open tonight...here’s the MIGHTY MEGA HAUNT from MR. HAUNTED HOUSE himself...EREBUS! www.hauntedpontiac.com
Also open tonight is another MIGHTY MEGA HAUNT that’s been creating quite a buzz on the streets this year...it’s HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND. www.hushdetroit.com
HUSH blew us away earlier this season!
Also open tonight is another MIGHTY MEGA HAUNT, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD IN JACKSON. This was the first haunt we visited this year which marks their 10th Anniversary. If you haven’t seen this you’ll flip! Their amazing massive building creates its’ own spooky environment, setting the stage for two strong indoor attractions. www.jxunderworld.com
Also open tonight is the amazing AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS HH in MADISON HEIGHTS. It’s only their 2nd year, and they’ve expanded inside and out to great effect. The queue line is not only heated and covered now, but it’s also been converted into a DANCE CLUB with special lighting and great sound! www.AzraHaunt.com
Also open tonight is the new DECADES OF THE DEAD in YALE. www.facebook.com/decadesofthedead119
OCTOBER 29, 2019 TUESDAY 2 AM - URBAN LEGEND NOT FAKE NEWS?
Every year we hear variations of a story about a disgusting haunted house that costs $100 to get in. Supposedly you get $10 back for each room you make it through, each room worse and worse...
But nobody can tell you where it is, because it doesn’t exist.
Or does it?
This time we kept hearing TENNESSEE as the location for the BIG MONEY BACK HAUNT. Some said it was to raise money for dogs...
So we asked MR. GOOGLE and what do you know? Click here and see for yourself: www.travelpulse.com/news/entertainment/win-20000-if-you-make-it-through-this-haunted-house-that-nobody-has-ever-finished
OCTOBER 28, 2019 MONDAY 4 PM - Just updated: What’s next
Some haunts are done for the year, but later we’ll be releasing the list of haunts still open! Stay tuned...
OCTOBER 28, 2019 MONDAY 3 PM - STILL IN HIGH GEAR
We had a great Sunday night haunting, first with a new haunt then at what has become a big favorite of ours...
First was THE HAUNTED FOREST in ROCHESTER and then ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY.
THE HAUNTED FOREST has a really sweet twist! Everyone is given a paper bag to collect candy in, but first you’ll need to “earn” it. A series of creative challenges leads to the candy rewards.
ROTTEN MANOR was again spot on throughout the MANOR and FOREST! We got some fabulous photos too, including still shots and LIGHT PAINTING PICS of the fire juggling performers and the 3D VORTEX.
We’ll be releasing them on our Flickr photostream later. In the meantime, we already have 3 pics from ROTTEN MANOR in 2017 posted: www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/
OCTOBER 27, 2019 SUNDAY 6 PM - ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH
Some haunts are so cool that you wanna go twice if at all possible.
And if some or all of it is outdoors you want good weather, like tonight which is a 180 from last night with warmer temps and no rain...
That means it’s ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY again tonight! We already went earlier this season, but their new FABULOUS GINGERBREAD HOUSE is beckoning...
Also in Oakland County is THE HAUNTED FOREST in ROCHESTER which we’ve never seen yet, and what fun it’s at a ZIPLINE PARK!
OCTOBER 27, 2019 SUNDAY 4:30 PM - HEAD FOR THE HILLS
We’re in the final stretch of haunting...BOO HOO!
Before you know it, DEVIL’S NIGHT & HALLOWEEN will be here...where’s a killer place to celebrate?
EREBUS is beckoning...but somehow we often find ourselves on Halloween at smaller haunts like NIGHTMARE ON ELM in WEBBERVILLE that sadly is gone now.
Last year we finished at MEGA HAUNT DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE and they delivered the goods big time...
Hmmm...just noticed that HAUNTING IN THE HILLS in IRISH HILLS is open on DEVIL’S NIGHT and HALLOWEEN!
We hit HAUNTING IN THE HILLS for the first time in 2017 which was their 3rd year open. The place is awesome, and like stepping into a TIME MACHINE FROM THE PAST with an authentic train car and much more. www.facebook.com/traincarofterror/
OCTOBER 27, 2019 SUNDAY 4 PM - DIE HARD FANS FLOOD THE HAUNT
Hey Zioptis, how’d it go in Grand Rapids at THE HAUNT last night?
It rained horribly for hours, a torrential downpour...
That must’ve put a damper on things.
Not at all...over a thousand people stood in the pouring rain for hours!
We had a behind the scenes look at the operation in THE HAUNT, and the detail and precision of the setup is mind boggling!
The inner pathways create a grid much like a city street map, helping about 110 actors quick access to makeup rooms and such...
The end result is a sophisticated interconnected network that makes for smooth operation, starting with a series of GREEN LIGHTS above entrances that signal the next group to enter.
Pacing is key at haunts so everyone gets the gag. But at the same time, you want to move the queue line overflow as fast as possible to get them into the comfortable waiting area for 500 people. There’s even benches to sit on too, something we’ve never seen at any haunt before.
Amenities at any large facility can make or break the experience, and THE HAUNT NAILS IT!
Review coming later...
OCTOBER 26, 2019 SATURDAY 3 PM - OH BOY!
There’s still lots of great haunting to do, and tonight should be a monster! www.the-haunt.com
OCTOBER 26, 2019 SATURDAY 4 AM - FREAKY FRIDAY!
We hit three awesome haunts Friday night, all fairly close to Lansing.
First was BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON, then SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM in MASON, and finally AWAKEN in LESLIE.
This year the maze at BESTMAZE seen from aerial view is SMOKY BEAR who turns 75 in 2019.
We didn’t do the maze but we hit their flipped out TRAIL OF TERRORS, a top notch forest haunt teeming with CREATURES FROM BEYOND!
SHAWHAVEN was PARTY CENTRAL FRIDAY NIGHT, with a LIVE DJ crankin’ the jams...prizes including pizza giveaways from FATBOY’S PIZZA if you conquer any of the 3 ESCAPE ROOMS they have... and there’s the primo hayrides...roaming mischievous actors in full costume, a massive walk thru haunt called SAMARA’S RETIREMENT HOME and lots more.
One room we loved in SAMARA’S features a DAZZLING RED TUNNEL, you can’t miss it!
We haven’t been to BESTMAZE or SHAWHAVEN for several years, and it felt so good to go back.
Main mission accomplished.
Wait a second, how far is LESLIE from MASON?
Only about 10 minutes away...
Time to FINISH THE NIGHT WITH AWAKEN!
AWAKEN...that’s the name of this young haunt in LESLIE...we saw their 2nd year last season and they blew us away...wonder what they’re up to now... set the GPS to take us there...
WOW! This haunt has expanded big time since last season with both indoor and outdoors sections to great effect...one of our faves is an AMAZING MULTI-ROOM LIQUID SKY DISPLAY to die for...you can SEE the air currents at the edge of the GREEN LASER BEAMS this effect uses like never before!
So we pulled off a THREE BANGER after all...thanks to Jill...
But now get ready, get set, and GO GO GO TO GRAND RAPIDS we will, to finally check out what many haunt operators have told us we HAVE to see...THE HAUNT!
OCTOBER 25, 2019 FRIDAY 2 PM - THE WORLD IS YOUR HOMETOWN
Wow! We invited you all to send us an email, and one arrived all the way from Australia! Keep ‘em coming...
OCTOBER 24, 2019 THURSDAY 3 PM - TELL US YOUR STORIES
Every happy haunter has a different story...a unique viewpoint...
And we’d like to hear YOUR HAUNT STORY now!
What was the most amazing thing you saw? What surprised you the most?
Whatever it was, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER 24, 2019 THURSDAY 2 PM - COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN!
The big day is only one week away, and we’re scrambling to pack as much haunting as possible into the home stretch.
We heard this year is the SWAN SONG for CRAZY BOB at the HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO...and it’s been too long since we hit GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, OHIO...
It’s also been too long since we hit BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON and SHAWHAVEN FARM in MASON...
AWAKEN in LESLIE, TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY, and WICKED WOODS OF TERROR in CARO are also on our wish list for this season...
And THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS is a priority as we missed their new beginning last year...
HUSH HAUNT in WESTLAND had an amazing growth spurt, transforming itself from neighborhood local haunt last year to a MAJOR DETROIT MEGA HAUNT in 2019. They impressed us so much we’re hoping for a second visit...
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY also impressed us so much we’re hoping for a second visit...
Also on the MEGA HAUNT scene, it’s been too long since we hit the mighty EREBUS in PONTIAC...
And then AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS HH in MADISON HEIGHTS isn’t too far from PONTIAC, and they upped their game so much this season that we’d love to hit them again...and HAUNTED GARAGE in GROSSE POINTE FARMS isn’t far from MADISON HEIGHTS and they have so much it’s hard to take it all in during a single visit...
OCTOBER 23, 2019 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - SAY WHAT?!
How many rooms would you say a haunt needs to reach MEGA HAUNT status? 50? 60?
Well, we just talked to the new owner of THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS and this year they have 152 ROOMS! www.the-haunt.com
OCTOBER 22, 2019 TUESDAY 11 PM - Just updated: the CLOSED section where we list haunts gone but not forgotten. The count is up to 94 haunts now!
OCTOBER 22, 2019 TUESDAY 10 PM - Now posted: full review of ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. See Reviews 2019_A.
OCTOBER 22, 2019 TUESDAY 12 NOON - SPOOKS A PLENTY
Here’s some local haunted events of interest:
The City of Southfield presents their first-ever GHOST WALK tonight at 6 PM and 7:30 PM. www.wxyz.com/news/city-of-southfield-getting-spooky-with-first-ever-ghost-walk-tonight
Also, the Ford Piquette Plant brings back its’ GHOSTS OF PIQUETTE TOURS on Oct. 27 & 28. www.wxyz.com/news/detroit-s-ford-piquette-plant-brings-back-ghosts-of-piquette-tours
OCTOBER 21, 2019 MONDAY 3 PM - IS IT COINCIDENCE OR MEMOREX?
Do you believe in coincidences? Or is what happens to us just destiny?
Either way, the coincidences keep piling up for us this season...
BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DETROIT
Who uses that phrase? Nobody around here, in everyday conversation anyway.
And yet we heard it again for the second time last night this season, and both times it was at a PRIMO APPLE ORCHARD MEGA HAUNT!
NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD’S in YPSILANTI and BLAKE’S HAUNTED BIG APPLE in ARMADA both have karaoke...
Last night we hit NIGHT TERRORS, and sure enough on the karaoke stage somebody chose the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey which contains the lyric “Born and raised in south Detroit.”
Just like at BLAKE’S, when the SOUTH DETROIT LYRIC came the crowd joined in with great enthusiasm and gusto!
IS JOURNEY THE NEW ROB ZOMBIE?
Earlier this season we hit BLAKE’S and heard the same song, and yet not even once have we heard the sweet lilting strains of “Dragula.” A sign of the times, or just coincidence?
OCTOBER 21, 2019 MONDAY 2 PM - “OFF NIGHT” IS ANYTHING BUT AT WIARD’S
Most haunts are not open on Sunday, so it’s an off night.
And even if they are open Sunday it’s usually considered an “off night,” meaning things will be scaled-down from Friday and Saturday.
Not so at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S!
We went last night and it was jammin’ big time. What a great way to spend a lazy Sunday day evening!
Our only regret was we didn’t get to see the ALIEN CAGED CLOWNS part of the haunt as we arrived too late and it was closing. But we did everything else, and it was all totally spot on! KUDOS TO WIARD’S.
Rest In Peace, Adam T. Ladd
June 19, 1974 - May 30, 2014