OCTOBER 29, 2011 SATURDAY 1 PM - THE FINAL COUNTDOWN / MAD RUSH TO THE FINISH LINE
Tell me it's not so. We don't want it to be over. But just like death and taxes, it's inevitable. All good things must come to an end. Of course, there's still NEXT SATURDAY AT TERRORTOWN in OHIO to look forward to. (See October 24, 2011 5 PM entry)
But the end of the regular haunt season is creeping up faster than the giant spider that was after us last night. Too bad, so sad, WAH WAH WAH!
Ok, no more whining. Nobody likes a complainer.
Let's focus on all the incredible stuff STILL to come in the next few days.
And if you're anywhere near the downriver area and want to experience a WAY COOL HAYRIDE, get over to PAPP PARK in TAYLOR. You WILL dig it, or I will eat my hat. Take Telegraph to Wick westbound and follow the signs.
OCTOBER 28, 2011 FRIDAY 2 AM - GRAND RAPIDS IS A GAS / LANSING LUNATICS IN THRILL RIDE ROMP (see Reviews 2011 A)
NEW! REVIEW SPOTLIGHT OF THE DAY, appearing at the bottom of the What's Next page. We'll feature one of the newest reviews you might not have seen yet as an added convenience for you to enjoy.
OCTOBER 27, 2011 3 PM - GENERIC IN NAME ONLY
Tonight we're off to the haunt called THE HAUNT. Sounds generic, right?
But in their very first year, the attendance was 30,700! Hmmm...they must be doing something right. So where is this haunt? www.the-haunt.com
OCTOBER 27, 2011 1 AM - Just completed: review of THE REALM OF DARKNESS and SINISTER HAUNTED HOUSE. (Reviews 2011 A)
OCTOBER 26, 2011 2 PM - A KOREAN HALLOWEEN
I've always been a radio buff. In 5th grade I connected a walkie talkie to a 50 foot wire running out my bedroom window, and was able to talk to people in several states. In 6th grade I built a ham radio from a kit.
Anyway, this morning I was giving the dial a spin on my handy dandy wind-up flashlight and shortwave radio...wow, there's those endlessly repeating Spanish numbers again...something in Russian...here's one from Korea in English...
I stopped on the Korean station, and their English was impeccable...better than some people I know! Mostly it sounded like propaganda, and they talked for almost 5 minutes about the highly coveted South Korean snack food CHOCO-PIE. They had all sorts of fascinating factoids like their price on the North Korean black market, and boasted of other secret insider info...awww, aren't they special?
Then, to my surprise, they started talking in detail about HALLOWEEN IN KOREA! They acknowledged the American origin, but the focus was on preparations for the "KOREAN HALLOWEEN FEAST." They said costume stores have popped up everywhere, just like in the¬ USA. The average costume price in US dollars was between 70 and 90, so they had tips for making your own too like bed sheets for a ghost.
So we just have to wonder, who will put up the FIRST HAUNTED HOUSE IN KOREA? The world is a big place, but it keeps getting smaller and smaller. The way we see it, THE WORLD IS YOUR HOMETOWN. A buddy of mine moved to Spain to marry his exchange student high school sweetheart who ended up being a princess! Another friend is going to China next month to work with an LED sign company.
Suddenly...a HAUNTED HOUSE IN KOREA doesn't seem so farfetched after all. They're always latching on to Western culture, especially when fun is involved. AND THAT'S WHAT HAUNTING IS...FUN...BIG FUN!
Ok, who's going to step up to the plate for this MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY? We have a few ideas already of who might just be crazy enough to pull this off!
OCTOBER 24, 2011 8 PM - Now posted: mini reviews for PAPP PARK, HAUNTED HALLOWS, GHOSTLY MANOR and TERRORTOWN.
OCTOBER 24, 2011 5 PM - SPECIAL INVITATION FOR HAUNT OPERATORS, CAST MEMBERS AND THE ENTIRE ZIOPTIS POPULACE!
If you're a haunt operator you'd probably like to see some of the other awesome haunts out there, right? Here's your big chance this coming November 5th, 2011 at 8 PM, when TERRORTOWN in MAUMEE, OHIO near TOLEDO hosts the¬ HAUNTED WRAP UP PARTY 2011!
Haunts from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan will be attending this premiere event.
This sounds way cool! The ALICE COOPER tribute band THE NIGHTMARE (from DETROIT) will play live, and the haunt will be operating for all to enjoy! There will be a special tent for haunt operators and cast members only, with a food spread, pop, beer, etc. But the entire Zioptis Populace is invited to groove with the band and go thru a killer haunt! Normal admission price for populace members.
HAUNT OPERATORS! Please register and get details by emailing here: email@example.com
OCTOBER 23, 2011 11 PM - WILD WEEKEND WRAP UP
Amazing! We saw the longest black hole ever (120 feet). We rode a hayride where the hapless patrons screamed way louder than the monsters and sound effects combined. We rode a space ship. We saw clowns popping out in amazing 3D from every possible direction. Pirates chased us. We munched on exquisitely delicious donuts and cider. We had great vibes totally!
New twists of fate await those adventurous enough to take off...maybe even straight from work...and just GO to your local neighborhood haunt. You never know what wondrous experiences are just waiting for you to discover them, unless you just GO! CARPE DIEM, BABY...
OCTOBER 23, 2011 4 PM - GOING, GOING...GONE!
Have you ever had the thrill of hitting a home run in a baseball game? Maybe even a grand slam? If you did, there's a good chance the Little League was involved. I played in Little League when I was younger (although I'm still a kid now).
I don't remember ever hitting a home run. I even went to a baseball camp in Wisconsin with my brother, but still didn't learn to hit that big home run. But that's ok. What I did learn was far more important. Stuff like never giving up, team work, loyalty...all the things kids don't learn on an iPad or smart phone or video game or...
So isn't it nice to know that even in today's crazy world the Little League is still out there, even in TAYLOR? Some call it the "Great American Pastime." I call it indispensable.
Tonight we're off to PAPP PARK in TAYLOR which benefits the Taylor Northwest Little League with a hayride and walk thru haunt. Super easy to get there: Take Telegraph Road to Wick Road westbound and follow the signs.¬ Dusk until 10 PM on Sundays.
We're also hitting HAUNTED HALLOWS in WESTLAND, which has earned a place on our ANNUAL MUST SEE LIST. This should be a great ending to a great weekend! Stay tuned for all the juicy details...
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT COMING MONDAY OCTOBER 24, 2011
OCTOBER 23, 2011 1 AM - WOW. WOW!
What can I say? Ohio is AWESOME. Those Buckeyes must be doing something right after all...GHOSTLY MANOR'S new setup is off the hook and TERRORTOWN has the newest 3D display by industry leader Stu Smith.
They turned Stu Smith loose in TERRORTOWN for four days...he went into another world...then transformed it into pop off the wall paintings that will stretch your imagination and transport you to the haunted eye candy paradise they call "BIG TOP TERROR."
And there's another MAJOR STORY about TERRORTOWN that you're going to want to know about, especially if you're a haunt operator. In fact, it's going to be the haunt party to end all haunt parties! But I can't tell you now...gotta crash...I'm NOT missing church again tomorrow!
OCTOBER 22, 2011 SATURDAY 2 PM - THE NOT LOST ART OF STORY TELLING
The best haunts usually tell a specific story, both captivating and fascinating. There's some wild concepts thrown around, and it makes for an enhanced experience for sure.
We've seen time machine experiments gone awry, cross-species genetic nightmares, instant medieval journeys, incarceration insanity, alien invasions, and so much more.
But last night, we heard a new one. It's really good. The best tall tales don't start that way. Short. Believable. In context.
Where? McCURDY'S REVENGE in CORUNNA, that's where! It's not in the Fear Finder, you may not have heard of it. But now you have. GO. (see review in 2011 B)
Our apologies to CYCLOPSE in BIRCH RUN for missing them last night!
OCTOBER 21, 2011 4 PM - PERSISTENCE IS A VIRTUE
Ok, last year it was horrible. It happens at least once a year, and this was the night. We got in a traffic jam, and were 5 minutes too late to check out PAST TENSE AFTER DARK in LAPEER. But it sounds way cool, so we're going back tonight. GPS LOADED AND READY TO GO GO GO!
And we missed McCURDY'S REVENGE in CORUNNA last year too, so that makes it a priority! We'll make an appearance tonight; we can't wait to see their new show!
OCTOBER 21, 2011 1 AM - Just watching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and he was reading emails from viewers. One from a girl said her boyfriend bought tickets for a haunted attraction, how can she get out of it? Thing is, she was writing from KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN. That makes sense, since MICHIGAN IS THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!
OCTOBER 20, 2011 10 PM - We had a long talk with HAUNTED HILL ACRES tonight, and the movie being filmed there just finished shooting last week! Reminder: HAUNTED HILL ACRES IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC FOR 2011. There will be a movie preview party soon, and we're hoping to work it into our schedule.
This movie sounds like a SURE WINNER to us. First of all, it's based on a true story involving an Indian reservation at the site of H.H. ACRES! There's an incredible dream/nightmare transition, cool haunt action, and winds up being sort of a HAUNTED PULP FICTION COMEDY!
Forget Hollywood. This could easily BREAK OUT WORLDWIDE. It's a big world, but the world is your hometown!
We'll have a link to the new trailer for this movie as soon as it's posted, probably in about a week.
OCTOBER 20, 2011 3 PM - Format change update: Earlier we said we're going to a new format that would include interactive social networking features. It's good news, bad news.
After much research, the webmaster informed me that we're ready to go. It's by a company named Drupal. However, the system is the exact type teams of hackers in Nigeria try to invade on a continuing basis. Oh wellski, forget that! We'll stick with our old but super secure web format after all.
OCTOBER 19, 2011 3 PM - Just finished: reviews for HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR including info on one of the most spectacular large scale eye candy things you'll ever see on a hayride!
OCTOBER 18, 2011 10 PM - Taking a break from writing reviews to touch on recent highlights. ERWIN'S has revised the BARN OF DOOM, but the big news is the addition of their 3D BARN. The HOUSE OF FEAR and SOUTHFIELD'S HAUNTED NURSERY both delivered great shows. But it gets better because they both give back big time to the community. That's the kind of TEAM SPIRIT we admire so much!
Also, the 2011 reviews are now split into 2 sections, and the columns are wider now so the page is shorter. We've usually listed reviews in ascending alphabetical order, so we're changing it up and will now list cities in REVERSE ALPHABETICAL ORDER. They're all still there, just in a different order to change the "top billing" status.
OCTOBER 17, 2011 9 PM - More reviews just posted! And more coming real soon...
OCTOBER 17, 2011 5:30 AM - CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!
Ok, I don't actually use Calgon. My partner does. Swears by the stuff. I'm not convinced. Ok, I didn't get taken away...I got CARRIED away...writing the review for ERWIN'S that is. And it's not even close to being done. Or maybe it is. Maybe I need to stop rambling so much, and get to bed...
OCTOBER 17, 2011 12:30 AM - Sunday night was perfect. We saw the oldest farm in Michigan, a former motorcycle club hall slated for demolition, and Downriver's longest running Mega Haunt THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR.
Oh...how could I forget? Another yearly ritual we observed Sunday is the consumption of ultra tasty, fall off the bone, melt in your mouth ribs from ZUKINS RIB SHACK in LINCOLN PARK. "Dial-A-Dinner" at (313) 388-1170 (open until MIDNIGHT on SUNDAY!) One year we accidentally (and quite innocently I assure you) discovered their secret to making the ribs JUST so. Details are in the archives...probably about two years ago I think.
OCTOBER 16, 2011 5 PM SUNDAY - Wow, so much to tell but only a few minutes now to type. Dealing with an emergency first...my partner called me all bummed out. Ok, we went to Erwin's last night...which means we stocked up on the multi-grain apple spice cinnamon donuts. We don't eat donuts any other time of the year, we save it all for haunting season!
She put the donuts high up on the kitchen counter and kept an eye on her two dogs, both Doberman rescue dogs. In general, they're fabulous dogs. Rescue dogs are probably the most faithful creatures on earth. www.secondchancedobes.com
But even the best dog can be tempted to stray into the NO-NO Zone. Especially when something smells so good and is beckoning; a dog's nose is HUNDREDS of times more sensitive than ours!
It took her almost an hour to find the ripped and shredded packaging, only a teaser of what once was. Only the pungent scent of cinnamon remained on the basement carpeting, rudely reminding her of the empty space in her hungry tummy.
But that's not what I really need to tell you about Erwin's! No time now though. After an absolutely insane Friday & Saturday, we're spending a more casual, relaxed night tonight close to home.
Did you know that¬ PHANTOM FOREST HAYRIDE in GROSSE ILE is on the OLDEST FARM IN MICHIGAN?
And we just LOVE how the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES always come up with a new building slated for demolition soon! How's THAT for cooperation from the City Government? And why don't more cities adopt this stance? It's one of life's mysteries, and I've always been a dreamer...
OCTOBER 15, 2011 3 AM SATURDAY - We made it to three out of four excellent haunts Friday night - our apologies to KRAZY HILDA'S for missing them. Mini reviews coming soon for THE HAUNTING, CHELSEA FEARGROUNDS, and JACKSON'S UNDERWORLD.
OCTOBER 14, 2011 3 PM - One of our stops tonight is a favorite Mega Haunt that has always impressed us, THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN. This year they've really "stepped up to plate," slashing the admission price to ONLY $5 with coupon. We don't know of ANY other Mega Haunt doing this! www.myhaunting.com
OCTOBER 14, 2011 2 PM - I'm sipping on some super tasty cider right now from ERWIN'S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON which impressed us last year with their BARN OF HORROR. We haven't been there yet; the webmaster's girlfriend brought the cider by after a recent daytime visit. Now to get the apple butter to dip a donut in...yum!
OCTOBER 13, 2011 6 AM - INCREDIBLE HAUNT, OR INCREDIBLE TALL TALE?
The stories are flying again about a haunt so totally insane that nobody has yet made it all the way thru! We overheard the tale spinning itself into yet another variation on this popular story recently at a local haunt. Never mind which one...this urban legend re-creates itself at many locations many times every year!
We decided to check with SNOPES, the internet clearing house for proving or dispelling rumors of all kinds. Here's one of their interesting entries on this subject: www.snopes.com/holidays/halloween/haunted.asp
Just updated: "What's Next" for this coming weekend.
OCTOBER 12, 2011 11 PM - GREAT BANG FOR THE BUCK KICKS IT HARD AND GIVES BACK BIG!
The HOUSE OF FEAR¬ is back in action after a hiatus last year. This haunt TOTALLY BLEW US AWAY right from the start, and is on our MUST SEE LIST FOR 2011. And it's only $6, $1 of which goes to the Hazel Park Promise Zone which allows graduates of Hazel Park High 2 years of paid college!
Now how's THAT for giving back? Awesome, dudes! But seriously, the haunt was KILLER. One thing I still remember like yesterday there...a room looks like the 1940's...way old furniture. On a table is a wooden radio playing music from the era, but something is completely wrong with it! Several of their best gags were SIMPLE YET BRILLIANT. AND IT'S ONLY $6. HOUSE OF FEAR is at 620 W. Woodward Heights in HAZEL PARK, 9 1/2 Mile & I-75 area. (248) 547-5535 Open onSaturdays and Sundays 7 - 10 PM and on Halloween day.
OCTOBER 12, 2011 9 PM - Now posted: partial review of SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK.
OCTOBER 10, 2011 10 PM - Now posted: Full review of THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE.
OCTOBER 10, 2011 6 PM - LIVING LEGEND, OR KID NEXT DOOR?
This is a happy, true story! Earlier we reported that our friend HOWIE ended his run in the biz a tad short of the quarter century mark that he hoped to achieve. See: SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 - SAD BUT PROUD / THE CHANGING OF THE GUARDS
Turns out HE MADE IT AFTERALL! Huh? When we arrived at DEADLAND, guess whose friendly face was smiling at us? YUP! It was SLOBBER HIMSELF, who is still overseeing operations at the County Line Building at Dequindre and 8 Mile Road.
SLOBBER ENTERTAINMENT STILL OWNS THE BUILDING, so that means they have PROVIDED A QUARTER CENTURY OF SERVICE IN THE WORLD'S LEADING HAUNT MARKET. Not too shabby...CONGRATULATIONS HOWIE!!!
Is it too dramatic to suggest that you go here, if nothing else than to say HI! to a living legend? We know Howard pretty well, after all these years. And we're thinking he would probably just want you to think of him as the kid next door...who chased his American dream...and made it come true.
JULY 4, 2010 - HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY...KA-BOOM!
Happy Birthday America, thanks again George!
We'll be back to haunt info soon, but for now it's fireworks time! We went to Grosse Pointe Farms last night and it was awesome.
So many choices for tonight...we're going for the Westland show. We found an alternate route last year that gets you really close, without hitting the police roadblocks at the Ford Road area. Here are the directions, from Dearborn:
Take Cherry Hill west to Wayne Road and turn right. Continue to Marquette and turn left, then continue to North Crown Street, turn right and you're there. You'll be only a few hundred yards from the launch site for great impact!
JUNE 27, 2010 -¬ SMOKE ON THE FERRIS WHEEL, FIRE IN THE SKY
Allen Park NAILED IT BIG TIME last night with an awesome fireworks show at Champaign Park totaling 28 super-charged minutes of pyrotechnic bliss. The Grand Finale had everybody spellbound and with jaws dropped!
Melvindale and Belleville also produced top-notch fireworks displays recently, and tonight you have 3 choices for fireworks shows with Livonia, Madison Heights, and Grosse Point Woods...provided the weather cooperates. And next Tuesday is Center Line's fireworks, which have been excellent in past years.
For the best and most complete fireworks show info, check with our favorite site www.michiganfireworks.com
JUNE 1, 2010 1 PM - FIRE DESTROYS HOMER MILL / FREE NASCAR CAMPING AT DARKSYDE ACRES
A massive early morning fire completely destroyed the HOMER MILL HAUNTED HOUSE on May 17, 2010. What a horrible shame, see the full story here: http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2010/05/homer_ mill_fire_completely_dev.html
We just heard from Rob at Darksyde Acres and they too will offer a chance to get a haunting fix soon! It's part of their NASCAR tie-in, here's the press release:
DarkSyde Acres is Offering FREE CAMPING to all of our Haunt industry friends the weekend Of August 14th, which includes a Friday the 13th.... We are having a huge Nascar extravaganza party featuring Carshow, Hog roast, Mardi Gras party and of course haunted house, be sure to register with Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org Campsites are limited and will fill in fast!
JUNE 1, 2010 10 AM - TOP-NOTCH HAUNTED ATTRACTION OPEN NEXT WEEKEND!
Next weekend marks the 10th Anniversary of the Great Lakes FrightFest, being held at Totem Pole Park in Petersburg, Michigan. We've had a blast every time we went, and next weekend should be no exception. www.greatlakesfrightfest.com
It's a great chance to hang out with some cool haunters, as well as the incredible people behind the scenes of the Leading Haunted Attraction State...that's Michigan of course!
Saturday, June 5th will feature all kinds of great stuff like the secrets of the Zombie Crawler, making foam look just like wood, and even how to make a fog chiller from a kitty litter pail!
And the Haunted House will operate June 5th Saturday night only, but it won't even set you back $15 or $20 bucks like many haunts. In fact, leave your money at home...instead bring as many canned food goods as you possibly can! Haunters Against Hunger and St. Anne's Parish Food Bankwill take care of the rest. Last time we brought over 100 cans, but were humbled when somebody showed up with a PICKUP TRUCK FULL of canned food! We hope they blow us away again...the gauntlet has been thrown down for the challenge.
APRIL 22, 2010 - HAPPY EARTH DAY / BONNYBROOK BUCKEYE BONANZA
It's Earth Day, get out there and hug a tree...after all we owe our breathing ability to them! They TAKE IN Carbon Dioxide and EMIT pure Oxygen. Obama says get rid of Carbon Dioxide emissions...but wouldn't that suffocate our harmless tree friends?!
We heard recently from Diane at BONNYBROOK FARMS in OHIO, and BIG THINGS are happening down there in Buckeye Territory. They've only got 350 ACRES to work with!! (More coming soon)
APRIL 5, 2010 - STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH, RUMORS LAID TO REST
You may have heard there's been a shakeup with THE REALM OF DARKNESS, and YES things are changing quickly! But forget anything you may have heard because here's the real deal, "straight from the horse's mouth":
THE REALM OF DARKNESS IS NOT GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!!
THEY ARE MOVING to a new, improved location right off Woodward in Pontiac which they will own. Given the circumstances, it sounds like the right move to make. Let's see...at the Glenwood Street location they had a next door neighbor from Hell, the landlord was horribly negligent, the place totally flooded TWICE, and the resident spooks (REAL GHOSTS!!!) went crazy wreaking havoc with not only the crew but the patrons too, giving a whole new meaning to the term "haunters"!
Oh, by the way...we're NOT joking about the place REALLY BEING HAUNTED WITH REAL GHOSTS! Full documentation on www.therealmofdarkness.com
Too many people were freaking out at this haunt, they had to do SOMETHING. Even worse, some of the tough guy he-men dudes who delight in "protecting" their vulnerable girlfriends suddenly became whimpering scaredy-cats.
The smart haunt operator understands these dynamics of the patrons' social interactions, but they also know that the¬ haunted attraction¬ should be in control of the scares. Leaving it up to real ghosts is just too risky anymore...last year's casualties proved that.
It's the responsibility of haunt operators to scare the BEJEEZUS out of even the toughest, skeptical haunt patron. And that's why they're busy every month of the off-season concocting new displays and developing concepts from beyond to astonish us all. But it's also their responsibility to have control over the scares!
DECEMBER 28, 2009 - LAST NIGHT FOR FIREWORKS
Hope you all had a great Christmas! And there's one last chance tonight to see FIREWORKS at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. (See December 4th entry for details)
DECEMBER 18, 2009 - LIVING NATIVITY SHOW / FIREWORKS ABLAZE
Just saw a sign for a living nativity scene at New Hope Assembly of God at 14000 Racho Road in Taylor, it runs 630-930 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday. $5 donation.
And don't forget the FIREWORKS TONIGHT! Launch time has been 9:45 PM the last few times, not 10 like they say. The "Holiday Nights" show at Greenfield Village in Dearborn continues tonight straight thru next Wednesday, December 23rd so there's no excuse for missing out! For the Zioptis "Viewing Suggestion" see the entry from December 4, 2009.
DECEMBER 15, 2009 7 PM - "CRAZY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS" is showing right now on The Learning Channel, and will be repeated later at 2 AM. Looks cool!
DECEMBER 11, 2009 - NO RAIN TONIGHT, FIREWORKS INSTEAD
The fireworks continue tonight and tomorrow at Greenfield Village in Dearborn at the end of the "Holiday Nights" show. And there's ZERO PERCENT chance of rain to ruin it. Last Saturday they went off at 9:45 PM, so get there early if you're going. See the posting from December 4th for "Zioptis viewing suggestion."
DECEMBER 5, 2009 - EARLY BIRD IS THE WORD / GAGA OVER CHRISTMAS DISPLAYS
The fireworks show started early at 9:52 PM last night as we predicted, so get there early if you're going! They had some new effects we've never seen before, more details later...
When it comes to decorating homes for holidays, we've noticed people can get carried away sometimes. But we approve! Who remembers the Duncan Street Horror in Taylor 2002? (See "Wayne County - Cities T thru W") It was a full blown walk thru haunt with lots of pro stuff. They had some powerful passion for what they did, and people were blown away at what spectacular entertainment was right in the hood!
That's the kind of passion we look for at ALL times of the year here at the Zioptis Foundation.
The "latest and greatest" new Christmas home display tool is a clever, expandable system called "Light-O-Rama." Reminds me of the PLC stuff a lot of you haunt operators are using. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Well ok, there are those nagging budgets of course too.
Get out your GPS now and set it to this address: 29718 ROBERT DRIVE, LIVONIA, MICHIGAN
That's where you'll find the recipient of our winner for the BEST ANIMATED CHRISTMAS DISPLAY IN WAYNE COUNTY 2009!
You'll hear the music soundtrack on your FM radio in excellent fidelity while you eyes take a journey into Christmas Candy Land Supreme! They have over 65,000 lights controlled by over FIVE HUNDRED CHANNELS of Light-O-Rama. WOW. Now THIS is the kind of powerful passion we're talkin' about!
Like many other awesome shows we've seen evolve thru the years (think SLAUGHTER HOUSE in FOWLERVILLE), this sprang out of one family's creative energy that got too big for its' britches real fast. We approve! The guys daughter always told people, "I live in the house with a BAZILLION LIGHTS!"So their website is www.bazillionlights.com HOW COOL IS THAT?!
DECEMBER 4, 2009 - KABOOM! PAINT THE SKY TONIGHT
What better way to kick off weekends in December than with a PROFESSIONAL FIREWORKS SHOW? If that sounds cool to you, get 'yer butt over to Greenfield Village in Dearborn tonight!
The "Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village" shows start tonight and continue thru the end of the month on Friday and Saturday nights. Show starts at 8 PM, or you can show up for only the fireworks and not pay for the show. They told me the fireworks start at 10 PM, but as I recall they said that last year too and they started earlier.
If you go for just the fireworks, here's our suggestion: take Oakwood Blvd. to the main entrance of The Henry Ford which is Village Road. Continue 6/10 mile to the last possible parking area on the right, and park there facing Village Road. This puts you about 200 yards away from the launching point, giving excellent proximity for the BIG IMPACT - KABOOM!
Coming tomorrow: where to find the ULTIMATE ANIMATED RESIDENTIAL CHRISTMAS DISPLAY in Wayne County!
DECEMBER 2, 2009 8 PM - PUNKIN CHUNKIN TIME!
The Science Channel is repeating the PUNKIN CHUNKIN shows right now, and they'll be repeated later from 11 PM - 1 AM. If you haven't seen this spectacle of silliness, turn on your TV now!
NOVEMBER 28, 2009 5 PM - HAUNTED ENCOUNTERS OF THE GOODFELLOWS KIND / HELPING YOUR COMPETITION
As you know, we at the Zioptis Foundation love fish. To look at and to eat. Twice a week for best mental hygiene
Anyway, so I'm driving to Red Lobster today to meet my partner and another girl for lunch earlier today and I catch a red light. I see the Goodfellows are out selling their newspapers, so I rolled down my window and grabbed my money and let out a cheery "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" The girl started to hand me my paper and said, "Hey, you're the guy from the haunted house website that came to our haunt!"
Fazed but not confused, I asked which haunt she was with. She said it was the WESTLAND JAYCEES, and I suddenly felt a jolt of that strange desire that envelops our yearly quest to experience the finest in Haunted Attraction madness every October in THE HALLOWEEN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, DETROIT!
Oh, by the way Detroit is also THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Just sayin'...but you already knew...the whole world does.
Back to the story...I was going down Plymouth Road westbound when I caught the light at Beech Daly. I probably could've made it thru, but I didn't keep my chauffeurs license at zero points for over 20 years by zooming thru yellow lights!
But here's the thing - I was in REDFORD, not WESTLAND. So here's this girl from the WESTLAND JAYCEES helping out in REDFORD. Cool. Actually, it's WAY COOL. It's the mindset we wish we encountered all the time. But we'll settle for WESTLAND versus, make that NOT versus REDFORD for right now.
Good deeds have a way of spreading. I wonder how far this could go if just ________________________. Fill in the blank when the opportunity arises and act on it...you'll know when!
Coming soon: a review of the Wayne County Lightfest and info on the most amazing residential displays around town!
NOVEMBER 27, 2009 12 AM - AVOID THE CROWDS ON BLACK FRIDAY / 2 SURE-FIRE TECHNIQUES
The crowds are horrendous. Your time is valuable. Do you really need a toaster for $3?
Here's 2 sure-fire ways to avoid the madness, personally tested by our team of mad scientists working at midnight:
1. Sleep in instead, lounge around all day and don't go.
2. Sleep in instead, then catch up on your pocket lint sorting, and don't go.
There. See? We're good for something ELSE besides state-of-the-art insider Haunted Attraction info!
NOVEMBER 26, 2009 1 PM - CAREFUL WITH THAT PUMPKIN, EUGENE
Have you ever lied in bed, unable to sleep because you can't stop thinking about pumpkins as projectiles? Yeah, me too. It's something I've had to learn to live with, and sometimes I wonder if I'll turn into a pumpkin MYSELF at midnight. The legend says it's inevitable, can fate be fooled?
It's an unavoidable consequence of going to as many haunted houses as is humanly possible every year, one of those embarrassing psychological stains that won't go away. Not even after all the Baby Ruths are gone.
So join me tonight for emotional release from this delicious obsession on The Science Channel for TWO BLOCKBUSTER MUST-SEE TV EXTRAVAGANZAS: ROAD TO PUNKIN CHUNKIN and PUNKIN CHUNKIN 2009 will delight your soul with fellow Pumpkin Junkies galore parading across your TV screen with reckless abandon!
A highly trained team of smart-guy engineers' perfect devices to launch pumpkins at Delaware's annual PUNKIN CHUNKIN CHAMPIONSHIP Showtimes are 8 PM - 10 PM and again 11 PM - 1 AM.
DON'T MISS IT, or you'll suffer for another year and we don't want to be responsible for that. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE.¬ There, now it's official. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 26, 2009 1 AM - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
May your turkey be moist, and all your pizza deliveries be on time. I hate cold pizza, don't you?
More goodies coming soon...
NOVEMBER 19, 2009 3 PM - PLEASE LET IT RAIN ON THE PARADE!
What? LET IT RAIN FOR A CHRISTMAS SHOW? I just talked to a girl at the Wayne County Lightfest, and she said her most memorable trip thru the lightshow was on a RAINY NIGHT years ago. The rain produced a mirror-like reflection that's especially effective in the giant tunnel near the start. It gave a "wrap around" feel to the already awesome display! Give 'em a jingle if you want at (734) 261-1990.
The Opening Night festivities start tonight Thursday at 6 PM, and the fireworks go off at about 6:30 PM. FIREWORKS IN NOVEMBER! YAY!! And in December we'll tell you where to see even more professional fireworks displays in the Detroit area. And of course we'll alert you to off-season haunt activities as they approach. Stay tuned as usual, for the unusual...
NOVEMBER 19, 2009 2 AM - FIREWORKS TONIGHT!
The Wayne County Lightfest kicks off the 2009 season tonight, Thursday. Festivities start at 6 PM, including a full-tilt professional fireworks show! We went last year, and it was a little strange watching fireworks thru the snow that was falling. It gave a diffused look we'd never seen before in a fireworks show. You won't see that tonight though as possible rain is in the forecast.
Entrance to the show is off Merriman Road in Westland. Last year, they let everyone go thru free after the fireworks. They really needed to just to alleviate the massive, temporary traffic jam!
If you go, be sure to check out Santa's Workshop near the exit. Santa himself will be on hand, as well as some inspired wackiness packaged cleverly. One we bought was "reindeer dust," to attract Rudolph and crew. Sure enough it worked exactly as described and we had a herd of reindeer join us for Christmas breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were delicious.
But you won't need the reindeer dust at all to see REAL reindeer here! Rudolph and his pals made special live appearances here on certain days last year...think it was Tuesdays. The kids loved it, and had no idea what cruel fate awaited them upon arrival at the trusty Zioptis Foundation. It's not cool to make children cry, unless it's at a haunted house!
CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOWS A GO-GO!
More coming soon about some awesome Christmas light displays in the Detroit area, including one created by a member of the very cool Motor City Haunt Club!
Many of the most advanced shows use a system call Light-O-Rama. It's an expandable system of light controllers, limited only by the number of channels bought.
There was a display on Robert Drive in Livonia that had about 250 channels of Light-O-Rama, and it was the best we saw last year. They had a low power FM transmitter broadcasting music the lights were synchronized to so you could hear it on your car stereo. One night we went it was snowing which diffused the rooftop lights for a different feel until obscuring them completely. Beautiful!
The last reviews are still under construction, and will appear ASAP!
NOVEMBER 17, 2009 2 AM - GUSHING TIME AGAIN / A VERY NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE
Here we go again with more SHAMELESS GUSHING about another haunt we didn't even make it to in 2009, HAUNTED HILL ACRES in SUMPTER TWP. We recommended it to a young family in Wayne County looking for some kid-friendly haunt action earlier this season, and they reported back they absolutely loved it!
Hey, we've been to this haunt a million times...but there's no way we can always make to ANY given haunt EVERY year. THERE'S JUST TOO MANY OF THEM IN MICHIGAN, THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD! And that is A VERY NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE!
New message just for haunt operators now posted on "What's Next."
NOVEMBER 17, 2009 1 AM - CATCH A FALLING STAR AND PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET
How many of you were up at 4 AM last August watching as many as 100 falling stars per hour during the Perseid meteor shower? Well, here's another big chance to wish upon a falling star...actually about 30 of them per hour during the North American peak. Check this out, just posted from NASA:
"This year's Leonid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of meteors over North America followed by a more intense outburst over Asia. The phase of the Moon will be new; setting the stage for what could be one of the best Leonid showers in years.
"We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Our forecast is in good accord with independent theoretical work by other astronomers." (1)
Leonids are bits of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years the comet visits the inner solar system and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its wake. Many of these streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth's orbit. Whenever we hit one, meteors come flying out of the constellation Leo.
"We can predict when Earth will cross a debris stream with pretty good accuracy," says Cooke. "The intensity of the display is less certain, though, because we don't know how much debris is in each stream." Caveat observer!
The first stream crossing on Nov. 17th comes around 0900 UT (4 a.m. EST, 1 a.m. PST). The debris is a diffuse mix of particles from several old streams that should produce a gentle display of two to three dozen meteors per hour over North America. Dark skies are recommended for full effect.
(Zioptis sez - Get at least a few miles away from city lights. They pollute the sky horribly; get OUT of the concrete jungle! We like going to the edge of Wayne County and Washtenaw County where it's all dirt roads and NO street lights, in Sumpter Township or Belleville.)
A remarkable feature of this year's shower is that Leonids will appear to be shooting almost directly out of the planet Mars," notes Cooke.
It's just a coincidence. This year, Mars happens to be passing by the Leonid radiant at the time of the shower. The Red Planet is almost twice as bright as a first magnitude star, so it makes an eye-catching companion for the Leonids.
The next stream crossing straddles the hour 2100-2200 UT, shortly before dawn in Indonesia and China. At that time, Earth will pass through a pair of streams laid down by Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1466 and 1533 AD. The double crossing could yield as many as 300 Leonids per hour.
"Even if rates are only half that number, it would still be one of the best showers of the year," says Cooke.
The Leonids are famous for storming, most recently in 1999-2002 when deep crossings of Tempel-Tuttle's debris streams produced outbursts of more than 1000 meteors per hour. The Leonids of 2009 won't be like that, but it only takes one bright Leonid streaking past Mars to make the night worthwhile.
Enjoy the show!
(1) Leonid forecasters use computer models to track the location of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle and to predict Leonid meteor rates when Earth crosses one of the debris fields. That is the basis for Cooke's predictions. Here are some others: J√©r√©mie Vaubaillon of the Institut de Mecanique et de Calcul des Ephemerides in France predicts 25 meteors per hour over North America and ~200 per hour over Asia.
Another forecaster with a proven track record, Mikhail Maslov of Russia, predicts 20 to 30 meteors per hour over North American and as many as 140 per hour over Asia. Earlier predictions of a "half-storm" of 500+ meteors/hr over Asia have been downgraded."
By Dr. Tony Phillips, Science @ NASA
NOVEMBER 16, 2009 - "Best haunted house in the country hands down." We hear that from lots of fans about many different haunts. But we just heard it from someone who should know, because he runs a WORLD CLASS HAUNT himself, the dauntless DEADLANDS in DAVISON. He made the trip from Michigan to NETHERWORLD in ATLANTA, which was open November 13th & 14th.
We remember seeing NETHERWORLD featured on "America Haunts" recently on The Travel Channel, and it looked awesome! JL from DEADLANDS also said: "They are doing stuff out there that no one else is doing. I strongly suggest you make it down." Thanks for the tip DEADLANDS!
FRIDAY THE 13th, NOVEMBER 2009 2 PM - THE TRIP THAT NEVER WAS / GUSHING TIME AGAIN
Oh wellski. We both have to get up early tomorrow so we're not going to Grand Rapids tonight. But there will be more off-season goodies we'll partake in, stay tuned for details later...
I need to gush again, this time about a haunt we didn't even go to this year, BLAKE'S NIGHTTIME SPOOKY HAYRIDE & 3 LEVEL BARN in ARMADA. :( But a black cat just ran under my ladder and broke the mirror, so I'm going back to bed until it's safe again. Good luck on YOUR Friday the 13th!
11/11/2009 10 AM - MOTLEY CRUE COMES TO FOWLERVILLE, SORTA
Have you ever been to a Motley Crue show? They're big on pyrotechnics as well as notorious bad boy attitudes. They do EVERYTHING BIG.
Kinda like SLAUGHTER HOUSE in FOWLERVILLE. Their new 2009 show has the THE MOST AMAZING THUNDEROUS EXPLOSION WE'VE SEEN AT A HAUNT! How big? How about a blast producing an explosion about 25 feet wide and 30 feet high? Pretty much like we saw at Cruefest last summer at DTE Energy Music Theater (but we still call it Pine Knob). And they conceived, believed and achieved this all on their own. That's why they have gags you won't see anywhere else!
Previously we raved about their "disappearing easy-chair room," which was precision engineered by this bunch of farmers hell-bent on producing the coolest haunt in the county where Hell is!
NOVEMBER 11, 2009 12 MIDNIGHT - HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN FROM YOUR PALS AT ZIOPTIS! Enjoy the big day, more later...
NOVEMBER 10, 2009 - Here's 2 more haunts open this Friday the 13th:
THE DARKNESS in ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI www.scarefest.com
THE BONEYARD HAUNTED HOUSE in DALLAS/FORT WORTH, TEXAS www.theboneyard.com
Both of these haunts were recently featured on "America Haunts" on The Travel Channel. THE BONEYARD is the new Guinness Book World's Largest Walk Through Haunted Attraction at 20% larger than the previous holder of the record EREBUS. It was only a matter of time until someone else decided to "follow the leader," and imitation is the most sincere form of flattery! 'Nuff said.
NOVEMBER 9, 2009 4 PM - Now posted: preliminary review for ERWIN ORCHARDS BARN OF HORRORS & HAUNTED CORN MAZE in SOUTH LYON. 2009 was their first year back after a 5 year hiatus, and it was WELL WORTH THE WAIT. (See Reviews, 2009)
Coming soon - info on 2 more haunts open this Friday the 13th!
NOVEMBER 8, 2009 SUNDAY - TELL ME IT'S NOT OVER / GRAND RAPIDS GALLIVANT
First, I'll tell you it's not over. It's not over. The 2009 haunt season, that is! THE HAUNT will have a special Friday The 13th show next Friday! But the actors have abandoned the place, and I think they forgot to pay their electric bill. So you'll be wandering around alone in the dark which could become truly scary! www.the-haunt.com
I was just talking with my partner on the phone about WHAT A GAS GRAND RAPIDS IS! Then 10 minutes later my phone rang again. It was her again, informing me how she's re-arranging schedules so hopefully we can go! Good girl. Doing her job as usual. No wonder I keep her around, eh? Not just for eye candy, honest. She's the logistics specialist, I'm just the brains of the outfit - right up UNTIL the moment I push the wrong button! ): thanks Mr. Wizard, whew!
NOVEMBER 6, 2009 - TO FEEL LIKE A KID AGAIN
What three simple words conjure up imagery of childlike innocence and magic feelings of role-playing aspiration? That's easy. "Trick or Treat!" Ah, those magic words...are they still echoing in your mind? I hope so.
In childhood we learned how make-believe and fantasy role-playing could enrich our lives largely thru Halloween. And it even tasted good!
My brothers and I used pillow cases on our way to collect our just rewards of laughter and sugar based thrills. Some naughty kids switched costumes and hit the same houses again for extra candy. But we never tried it, we couldn't risk Santa punishing us come Christmas time. He's always watching, you know.
We had a neighborhood costume contest each year. All the kids marched down the block in hopes of winning even more candy and bragging rights that lasted much longer than the Snickers and Baby Ruth bars.
I'm the youngest of four boys, and one year my oldest brother took first place in the contest with his homemade robot get-up. It was made from cardboard boxes, wire, switches, a battery, and light bulbs he flashed as fast as he could.
That was the only time I remember being allowed to tag along with him for Halloween. In fact, all four of us proudly marched to the rhythm of songs children sing in their hearts when happy and free from cares.
But today's world doesn't seem so care free, and is much crueler than when we waited for the next Halloween adventure.
It seems just too far away sometimes... but it's all a state-of-mind. In a world where the only constant is change, I can still experience that same joy and once again hear those same songs in the hearts of the kids on the sidewalks every October 31st.
So if some dreary day before next October you feel down and know that society doesn't care, just remember that the special day will come again. You'll role-play and fantasize without shame and relive childlike innocence. Or dress up like a tramp and get away with it, maybe even be commended and rewarded!
Whatever your little heart desires is ok! And you won't need ruby red slippers or to click your heels together three times. All you need is to keep in your heart and soul the spirit of those three magic and now timeless words: "Trick or Treat!"
And you'll feel like a kid again.
NOVEMBER 4, 2009 - WISH WE WERE THERE
We received an invitation we wish we could've accepted this season to check out the new show at SALEM'S HAUNTED BARN in CAPAC. We saw their debut in 2007, and were so impressed with the overall feel of the haunt we awarded it the BEST NATURALLLY OCCURING AMBIENCE AWARD 2007.
They have a walk thru barn and a HORSE DRAWN HAYRIDE. That's right; a real living creature powers the cart! It's the only of its' kind to our knowledge. The resulting quiet becomes almost deafening without engine noise. But nothing lasts forever, and when you least expect it...
NOVEMBER 3, 2009 - THE HAUNT in WALKER will be open FRIDAY THE 13th, 2009! If you didn't get enough haunting yet this year, here's your big chance to see A KILLER HAUNT. It's WEST MICHIGAN'S LARGEST INDOOR HAUNT! There's some serious attention to detail and an awesome original dance routine in the waiting area. You'll love it!
NOVEMBER 1, 2009 1 AM - ERWIN'S ROARS BACK / SLAUGHTER HOUSE SENSATION
After a 5 year hiatus, ERWIN ORCHARDS BARN OF HORROR & HAUNTED CORN MAZE is back and pumping up happy haunters! We asked a few of them what they thought before we entered, and they all gave it thumbs up.
The entrance area to the haunt is strikingly beautiful, yet strangely seductive. There are tons of tiny blue LED lights highlighted by fog rolling out the door.
15,000 SMILING CHILDREN CAN'T BE WRONG
Besides an excellent scary haunt, there's an awesome non-spooky barn for children. There are no live actors, but lots of clever action with sophisticated animatronics and great artwork throughout. It's so cool, 15,000 area school children have gone thru it this year!
SLAUGHTER HOUSE HAUNTED HAYRIDE has some really impressive new gags this year and you won't see them anywhere else. Why? Because they conceived, believed, AND achieved them all by themselves. No generic haunt-supply stuff you've seen a million times over because this haunt is one-in-a-million!
OCTOBER 31, 2009 6 PM - The History Channel will air "Halloween Tech" from 2008 at 7 PM tonight. Gotta run, much more later...