This weekend we're shooting both Friday & Saturday. That leaves next weekend as the last weekend before Halloween weekend, and the only real time available for a crawl... and it's dicey. The only saving grace is that the following weekend is Halloween, so most of the folks might wait until that Friday, but it's a bit risky to consider. And it's likely that I'll be shooting next weekend as well, so I'm not going to be able to head up a crawl.
Here are some recommended possibilities if anyone wants to take up the mantle this year:
The Soap Factory $15.00 (expensive for the size)
Fright Farm $7.00 (non-profit)
Screamtown seems like it might be a decent bet. It looks poised to take on the mantle that Poopyworld (Spookyworld) had until they closed after '02 as being a haunted theme park. Then again, Poopyworld wasn't that great.
Edgecomb estates is closed this year.
Trail of Terror was pretty bad last year, and is getting a "skip it" recommendation.
ValleyScare (at Valleyfair) I've never been to but the reviews I've heard haven't been all that glowing. There seems to be a general trend around here to make Halloween all about kids, trick-or-treating, and making things less scary instead of more. It's very similar to the "cartoons and comic books are for kids" mentality that's been around for so long, but seems to be actively getting worse instead of better.
Partial listing of haunts here
even bigger list here
Over the past several years that we've been doing the haunt crawl, the choices have dwindled, and it's been harder and harder to find good haunts... ones that are reasonably scary, have decent sets & lighting, and have some thought and passion behind them. Easy to find: hayrides, corn mazes, and "kid friendly" events.
I've been to Kansas City twice for the haunted houses, in 2002 and again in 2004: it's absolutely unreal compared to what you will experience around here. I don't think that you could build a new haunt like those anymore considering how much the fire codes alone have changed, and around here you just will not find large multistory abandoned warehouses that haven't been converted into prime condos. We also don't really have an area equivalent to The Bottoms; the closest that we have is the mill district, and that's pretty much been taken up by the new Guthrie and Mill City Museum. And condos.
Even KC has had it's share of downturns, and now all of the haunts in KC are owned and operated by the same company. They do it well, so no complaints, but it's endemic of the industry as a whole, not just around here.
So I don't know whether my heart is in it anymore.
I've thought about getting involved with a haunt, but since the Dead Zone kakked, I've been less enthusiastic about playing in that sandbox. Paul was a big fan of the KC haunts and understood where he wanted to go, much the same as Mark is with Fright Farm. And the whole filmmaking thing gives me a good avenue for doing scary illusion stuff pretty much year round if I want to.
But I miss Halloween. I miss when I used to dress up the old front porch and scare the crap out of trick-or-treaters (that dwindled in number year after year until finally none came anymore). I miss making scary props and creatues that hid in the shadows. I miss following groups of teenage girls through the haunted houses and laughing at their screams of terror and herd behavior as they would be frightened by each other in the dark.
Maybe it's time to let it go and move on to someting else. Maybe I should just take next year, do up the Big Broken Box™ and have a Halloween Haunted Bash, and I can make all the creatures I want to. It's not quite the same, but maybe it's enough.