Tag Archives: haunted house

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Before heading to haunted houses, check for a permit

Some people go for the adrenaline rush, some go for the Halloween tradition, others are dragged along, but, no matter the reason, when it comes to haunted houses, Phoenix officials say the public’s safety should be a priority.

While haunted houses are a favorite pastime in fall, they can be unsafe with fog, dark corners, loud music and sets that could catch on fire. That’s why the Phoenix Fire Department advises to go only to haunted houses with permits. In fact, all haunted houses that are open to the public in the city of Phoenix are required to have a fire department permit.

“It’s required by the fire code. Anytime you bring people in a maze or an area where they get distracted, you got to have a permit so we know that their safe and that they can actually get out of the haunted house,” Phoenix Fire Department fire inspector and fire prevention public information officer Brian Scholl said.

The major requirements for a haunted house to obtain a fire department permit are an automatic sprinkler system, automatic fire detection system, fire alarm with voice activation, flame retardant construction and decorative materials, visibly marked emergency exits and adult monitors with flashlights who will help lost or disoriented people.
“Were looking to make sure that everything that’s in there is fire retardant…so that if there’s a small fire or spark, the fire can’t travel through the entire haunted house and hurt people,” Scholl said.

In the city of Phoenix, The 13thFloor, Fear Farm Haunted House and Corn Maze and The House of Screams and Haunted Dreams are the only three haunted houses and attractions that are approved and permitted.

“Those are the main three because they spent all the time and energy to get through the permitting process so they can actually open up a safe haunted house,” Scholl said.

Even though the preparation work to get a permit can be long, it’s well worth it for The House of Screams and The 13thFloor.

“Yes, it’s very difficult but understandable why they do it. It keeps the public safe,” owner of House of Screams Susanne Stacy said.

“What the process is there for, it’s not even haunted houses, it’s businesses open up to the public and it’s that safety check that allows another organization that’s not involved in the project to take a look at what you’re doing and is this safe for other people to come through,” The 13thFloor production manager Jacob Redwood said.

The House of Screams and The 13thFloor not only enforce a no-touch policy requiring no waivers but also believe in the public not being put at risk. The actors at The House of Screams are mainly high school volunteers, and actors at The 13thFloor are paid, but both haunted houses train them. They also claim to spare no cost when it comes to having the right equipment and systems to ensure the public and the actors safety.

“Our goal is to always make sure that our guests our 100 percent safe at all times,” Stacy said, “So what that means is there is an evacuation plan in place, there’s emergency back-up lighting to show how they can escape. We have special lights so that way if we lost power they can still see their way out, and they’re guided not only by light and signs and arrows but the actors as well.”

“It’s very easy, especially when your talking entertainment like what we do, to lose sight of the safety factor for sake of giving a good show,” Scholl said, “and there is a ton of things that we can do that are extremely entertaining, but starts to get in that grey area of is this really safe for the public to come through?”

For unpermitted haunted houses, the danger lies in the unknown and possibly non-existent safety measures.

“As the fire marshal, we respond to a lot of the unpermitted haunted houses, because if they’re not safe we can’t let them continue to have people go through them,” Scholl said.

“The main concern is we just don’t know if they are safe or not. Do they have the proper exiting? Do they have a fire alarm? Do they have sprinklers?,” Scholl said, “We want everybody to have fun on Halloween and go to these great haunted houses, but they got to be approved so that we know they can have fun but at least be able to get out of there incase there is an emergency.”


Panic Park partners with St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

Scottsdale’s newest haunted attraction, The Panic Park, announced today it has entered into a partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance to scare away hunger this Halloween season beginning Sunday, October 14.

The Panic Park will be collecting donations of non-perishable food items for the hungry of Arizona each Sunday in October in exchange for $5 off admission to The Park. To qualify for the discount fear-seeking patrons must donate at least three canned or non-perishable items upon arrival on any Sunday during October.

“St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a wonderful organization,” said George Nelson, Director of Operations for The Panic Park. “Unfortunately, though, they are currently about 50 percent behind on donations this year. And, with upwards of 20,000 customers coming to The Panic Park this Halloween season, I’m sure we can help put a little dent into their deficit.”

The Panic Park is open weekly Thursday – Sunday (Thurs & Sun 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Fri & Sat 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.). Tickets range in price from $5 for general admission to $35 for an All-Access VIP Super Pass which includes VIP Parking and a Fast Pass to all three haunts allowing immediate access to the front of the lines. Whether purchasing tickets online or at the door, The Panic Park offers NO ticketing fees and FREE paved parking with all purchases.

The Panic Park, developed by Scottsdale-based Darkside Productions LLC, is located in Scottsdale at The Pavilions at Talking Stick (Indian Bend Rd and Pima Rd.) directly behind Target. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.thepanicpark.com, call (480) 999-0303 or www.facebook.com/ThePanicPark.

Panic Park logo

Zombies And Hellbillies At Panic Park In Scottsdale

It is almost that time of year when children, teenagers and adults alike dress up in their best costumes with the hopes of obtaining a bag full of candy ― all while being chased and frightened by zombies, vampires and goblins as they rise from their slumber. You can almost sense the doom in the air. That’s right folks, Hallow’s Eve is approaching.

During the Halloween season, it’s always fun to try and scare your family and friends. While practical jokes may suffice, one great way to spook your loved ones is to attend a haunted house. I had the great opportunity to preview a new, truly frightening park that is sure to deliver on shrills and chills ― Panic Park.

Legend has it that Panic Park used to be a lovely community pool and park. Things were going well for the owner, until one day he faced financial troubles. In order to solve this problem, he decided to start storing toxic sludge for nuclear companies in order to earn more money. What he didn’t anticipate, however, was that the sludge would change his employees into flesh-eating zombies. The zombies overran the park and to this day, they live there with the hopes of finding new flesh to eat.

As I toured the zombie-filled park, I had the chance to enter three terrifying main attractions. The first was the Toxic Waste 4D maze, where guests are required to wear 3D glasses as zombies and deformed “employees” jump out at you from almost every corner. I was truly afraid during this tour because the 3D glasses make the zombies seem farther than they really are, until you realize it is too late to run as they descend on you for your brain. The second was the Hollywood Back Lot Tour. In this fun maze, guests are able to walk through old movie sets and watch as the actors and directors become manic as they obsess over their murderous roles and try to make you stay for a starring role in their horror films. Beware of this maze because you just may become a victim of their movie!

The last, and most certainly not least (scary, that is), is the Hellbilly Hideout. This was my least favorite only because it was the one that made me the most nervous, scared, jumpy ― and the one that truly made me scream out loud. Upon entering this maze, you walk in-between these large wooden fences and all you hear … is silence. You can’t see anything and already begin expecting the worst. Then you are brought into the maze, where all you see are bushes, small homes and a skinny, black pathway leading you into the darkness. Then “hellbillies” pop-out of nowhere and try to convince you to stay for dinner ― or more like stay and become dinner. The characters and visual settings were eerie and disturbing, providing me with chills, goosebumps and many high-pitched screams.

After finally escaping the “hellbillies” as they tried to chase me down, I was able to tour the rest of the grounds safely. Some other fun attractions include a small Kid’s Zone haunted house, a zombie shoot-out game, where guests can try and fight zombies with a paintball gun, and a “How To Train Your Zombie” show, which teaches guests how to fool a zombie into not chasing you.

The haunted attraction proved to be fun and spooky for people of all ages, and I’m happy to say that I survived the nigh

Panic Park will open for tours starting Friday, September 28 and last until Halloween night. Attend this spine-tingling event with the family if you think you stand a chance against zombies, but beware because you may just lose your brain!

For more information about Panic Park, please visit thepanicpark.com.

Panic Park

8800 E. Indian Bend Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 999-0303
Tickets: $5, general admission; $27, all access pass; $35 super pass