2013 Halloween Events for Columbus & Southern Ohio

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EVENTS

10/19 Columbus Zombie Pub Crawl, Columbus, OH382696_266177973419911_29353265_n

10/19 Run Like Hell Costume 5K, Athens, OH

10/19 The Vampires Ball, Columbus, OH

10/25 HighBall Halloween (Day 1), Columbus, OH

10/26 HighBall Halloween (Day 2), Columbus, OH

10/26 Athens Halloween Block Party, Athens, OH

10/31 TRAUMA Halloween. Fetish. Party, Columbus, OH

11/1  TRAUMA Halloween. Fetish. Party, Columbus, OH3

HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS

Haunted Hoochie / Dead Acres, Pataskala, OH

The ScareATorium, Columbus, OH

The Creep Haunted House Festival, London, OH

Wicked Forest, Logan, OH

 I’m always on the lookout for more Halloween events or Haunted Attractions.  If you know of any in the Columbus / Southern, Ohio area, please leave a comment below and I will gladly add it to this list.

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What exactly is Monster For Rent?

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What exactly is Monster For Rent?

He’s a stilt-walking monster, standing at just under 9’ tall.  In his younger days, he worked at various “haunted houses” and “haunted hayrides”.   Now as a more seasoned monster, he spends the Halloween season, hiring himself out to deliver balloon-a-grams, entertain at birthday parties, Halloween parties, grocery stores, farm markets, and different companies who want to draw some attention to their business during the Halloween season.

Originally from Rochester, NY, the monster spent a number of years residing in West Palm Beach, FL.  Currently, he resides in the quiet town of Athens, OH.

 So what does the monster do?

Really that depends on the specific event.  The overwhelming majority of the time, he’s called into action to shake hands and pose for pictures with party-goers and customers of the various events that he’s hired to perform at.

At company functions, he’s been used to pass out advertising literature, march in parades, draw attention to certain displays within a store, or even stand by the side of the road to help draw in business.

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Can the monster talk?

Sadly, no… The mad scientist who created the monster neglected to give him the ability to speak.  However, he’s become quite adept at communicating with folks through hand gestures and head bobs.

There will be lots of young children at my event.  Will the monster be too scary for them?

While it is true that a 9’ tall monster might seem pretty intimidating, the monster very rarely scares any little ones.  In his experience, children who are afraid of Santa Claus, clowns, or the Easter Bunny may also be afraid of the monster.

The monster has become quite adept at scanning the crowd for signs that any of the little folks are looking a bit uneasy.  When he detects this, he avoids eye contact and focuses on the folks who are close by, shaking his hand and posing for pictures.  Generally, this allows any timid youngsters to move along and not suffer any frights.

The monster is so big.  Will he fit in my home or business?

Aside from being just under 9’ tall, the monster is able to fit just about anywhere that an event might be held.  He’s easily as maneuverable as any “normal” person.  As such, he’s able to duck through regular doorways, climb stairs, and pretty much go anywhere required, doing what needs to be done.

There will likely be big crowds at my event.   Will this be a problem for the monster?

Not at all.  The monster is very sturdy on his feet and has full peripheral vision.  Whether he’s indoors with merchandise displays or outdoors in a throng of people, the monster is very adept at moving about in tight spaces.

Could the monster hold a sign to promote my event/business?

Yes, absolutely.  The monster would be able to hold/carry any sign that any other “normal” person could.

mfr3Any chance we could dress the monster up in one of our uniforms?

Sure.  Aside from being rather large, the monster would be happy to.  Over the years, he’s worn t-shirts, aprons, hats, & buttons from those who have used his services.

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The Nightmares Fear Factory “Fear Pics Remix” contest

Shortly after I started my blog last year, I wrote a post about Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Having spent the past 25 years catching every haunted attraction I could find, Nightmares has always remained my favorite.  I wanted to spread the word about this spooky little gem, in hopes that other folks could share in the chills.  I had no idea at the time that my favorite haunt was about to become an Internet sensation.

Over the years, Nightmares has taken to snapping some rather amusing pictures of their patrons and posting them to their Flickr feed.  If you’re familiar with the way that big theme parks take photos of roller coaster riders, you’ll have a general idea of what they do.  The difference here is that instead of bracing for a big fall, Nightmares customers are photographed while having their wits scared out of them.  The resulting “Fear Pics” are often quite entertaining, if not downright hilarious.

Well, in early October of last year the currents of social media picked up on the Nightmares Fear Pics and they went viral.  All types of media started buzzing about the pictures and Nightmares was even featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and ABC News.

Building on all of this publicity, the folks at my favorite haunted attraction have come up with a new idea which is sure to be entertaining.  From April 9th-June 8th of this year, Nightmares Fear Factory is holding a “Fear Pics Remix” contest.  Entrants are asked to break out with their Photoshop skills and transform one of their existing Fear Pics into something even more fun and creative.

The first place prize will be a 8GB iPod Touch, 4 Tix to 4 premier Niagara Falls Attractions (Nightmares & 3 Ripley’s), & Nightmares T-Shirt.  Voting will be in the hands of the fans, so you’re welcome to enlist the help of all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Full contest rules may be found here.

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As always, thank you for reading.  If you’ve ever visited Nightmares Fear Factory, please share your experiences.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Midwest Haunters Convention

Calling all monsters!  If you’re a Halloween enthusiast who is counting the months until your favorite holiday, the Midwest Haunters Convention (MHC) may be just the ticket.  From June 8th-10th, the MHC will be coming to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH.

The MHC is the largest Halloween show of its kind in the US serving Haunted Attraction Industry professionals and enthusiasts.  The MHC features a tradeshow, education, chartered bus tours and entertainment.

Nearly 8 years have passed since the original MHC was held at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, OH.  Now, this event has grown from a few hundred attendees to host thousands of haunt owners, actors, workers and enthusiasts to celebrate Halloween and Haunted Attractions.

The MHC Trade Show will feature a 60,000 square foot show room floor with over 100 vendor booths.  Educational seminars and workshops as well as networking activities are offered.  The 2012 MHC features a 2-day bus tour of Ohio/Michigan haunted attractions, a Monster Masquerade Costume Party featuring the Body Art Fashion Show and contests including the Bloody Mary Monster Makeup Wars Competition, Ms Midwest Scary Pageant & the Scariest Character Contest.

While many of the events and seminars are geared toward operators or staff of haunted attractions and home haunters, there is plenty of fun available for even the most casual of Halloween fans.  For example, for the ridiculously low price of $5, trade show registration gives you weekend access to vendors offering the latest in costumes, props, and all sorts of Halloween goodies.

If you’re looking for a bit of spooky fun to get you through the summer, consider paying a visit to the Midwest Haunters Convention.  You can read more about the event here.

 

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Dublin, OH haunted house features unusual holiday display

Howdy folks.  I hope that your holiday plans are coming along nicely.  Typically, the holiday season is about as far away from Halloween and other spooky festivities as you can get.  However, if you happen to be in the Columbus, OH area and need a little fix of the macabre, I believe I may have scared something up for you.

The ScareATorium haunted attraction, in Dublin, Ohio features an unusual holiday themed window display lighted from 6-10 pm nightly through December 31, 2011.

Growing up in Worthington, Ohio; it was a holiday tradition for ScareAtorium Producer Kelly Collins to travel to downtown Columbus with his family to see the Christmas window displays at Lazarus.  They would spend hours looking at the windows and then drive around town to see the festive lights on local buildings.  It’s those memories that inspired Kelly to decorate the windows at the Scare-A-Torium; their Halloween haunted attraction in Dublin at the Dublin Village Center.

ScareATorium Actors spent two weekends decorating the Castle façade with garland and lights and creating several window displays.  Of course; since it is a haunted attraction, they needed to keep some of the attraction slightly on the macabre side.  “I guess the zombie and clown toy workshop teeters towards the Nightmare before Christmas theme” said Kelly Collins;  “and the Christmas trees are adorned with pumpkins, spiders and a few skulls” he added.  Additional window displays include a giant Sock Monkey in one window and holiday pigs in another.  Collins noticed dozens of people driving by were stopping to observe the decorators in action; with some walking up for a closer look and picture-taking.

The Scare-A-Torium is closed until next Halloween season, but the window displays will be up providing holiday cheer on a dark side of the shopping center through the end of the year.  So if you are driving around the Dublin/Sawmill road area at night, be sure to swing by the Dublin Village Center and spend a few moments enjoying the Halloween themed Christmas displays!

About the Scare-A-Torium:  Located southwest of I-270 and Sawmill Road (exit 20) in the Dublin Village Shopping Center at 6765 Dublin Center Drive, Dublin Ohio 43017.  The Scare-A-Torium is a 30,000 square foot haunted house open in October (Thursday through Sunday evenings) which hosts the Scare Store gift shop featuring Halloween makeup artistry provided by Funhouse Faces.  For more information, email Info@ScareATorium.com or please call 614-433-9343 or visitwww.ColumbusHauntedHouse.com.

Haunted Attractions

As a child, I was scared of my shadow.  While I loved Halloween and spooky things of all sorts, I had no stomach for them.

Every Saturday afternoon, Rochester had its own version of a “Creature Feature” after the children’s cartoons were over.  Each week a different monster movie would be featured and each week I would faithfully tune in.  However, also each week, I would turn the channel within moments after the host would introduce the movie.

I guess my first experience with a “haunted attraction” was the annual “haunted house” at the Dome arena in Henrietta, NY.  I must have been about 5 or 6 years old and had seen the signs along the road as we’d head off to get groceries at Wegmans.  Like a moth to a flame, I begged my folks to take me.

They agreed and off we went.  I was fascinated by the decorations and creepy sounds.  However, when it came to enter, I started to get weak knees.  Ultimately, the “good witch” at the “Scardey Cat’s” exit was my savior and I was back in the safe, light of day.  This ritual played itself out for at least the following few years.

My fortunes started to change when I was around 11.  That year there was a haunted house held at Gillette elementary school in Henrietta (where the School of the Holy Childhood is now).  I successfully managed to make my way through the gauntlet along with a couple of my little buddies.  That little victory changed everything.  lol.

From that point on, I threw myself headfirst into any scary attraction I could find, with great glee.  Ultimately, I guess that’s what lead me to starting to work for the Cobblestone Arts Center’s Haunted House and wearing the Frankenstein (err, monster) suit.

At any rate, I’ve made it into quite a hobby over the years.  As a matter of fact, back in ’97, my ex-wife and I spent a week touring some of the best “haunted attractions” in the country.

One of the best haunted attractions I’ve ever encountered is up in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Open all year, Nightmares Fear Factory is not for the faint of heart.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s not one of the cheesy haunted houses on Clifton Hill, with static displays from the 70s.  This is the real deal.

Instead of being populated with bored teenagers in latex masks, the Fear Factory is run by hardcore folks who pride themselves on making their guests call out “nightmares!” (an act which will immediately lead to them being escorted out of the attraction).  You will find no Spencer’s Halloween decorations or Halloween soundtracks here…Nightmares is a “feel your own way” romp through pitch black corridors in complete silence (aside from the sounds that you and your companions make).

Seriously, I realize that I enjoy this stuff far more than the ordinary individual.  However, if you happen to find yourself up at the Casino or passing through, on the way to Toronto, you should check it out.  I promise that you and your friends will be talking about it all the way home.

Dream Reapers Haunted House presents: Nightmares Before X-Mas

I’ve been a busy monster these past couple weeks.  Between recuperating from Halloween festivities and planning a move, I haven’t had much to report.  However, I caught wind of something today which I had to pass along.

The folks over at Dream Reapers Haunted House have been scaring folks as the #1 haunted attraction in Illinois for 3 years in a row.  Unfortunately, this year, they were the victims of a robbery at the end of their season.  In order to recover some of their losses, they are planning a special event in December.

For 4 days this December, Dream Reapers Haunted House will present a tale of Christmas fear…Nightmares Before X-Mas!

I’m seriously considering a road trip for this one (anybody else interested)?  It would be great if they could recoup their losses.  Beyond that, consider the trend that could be started if a high profile haunt like this has a successful December run.

You can check out their information here.  Spread the word and give me a yell if you’d consider paying them a visit with me.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you’re all making the transition into the holidays nicely.

Horror High School 2011

Today I’d like to feature another charity haunt.  Horror High School in Kingston, OH is operated 100% by volunteers, raising money for Green Township Youth Baseball / Softball League and South Central Xtreme All Star Cheerleading.

The folks at Horror High School have been kind enough to invite my Monster to come and join them in their fun.  Never one to miss an opportunity to get a little spooky, I told them I’d love to!  I will post an update once I figure out when I’ll be there.

Kingston High School was built in the early 1900s.  While it was being constructed, a worker fell to his death near the boiler room.  His name was James Mowery and it was rumored that he may have been pushed.

Over the years, each generation who attended the school had their own stories of odd happenings.  Strange things were seen and a lot of unexplainable things occurred.

The school closed in 1999.  Since then, Schoolhouse Antiques has taken up residence in the building.  The operators of Horror High School have worked with the current owners to re-open the school and allow the public to tour the facility…including the boiler room where James Mowery met his suspicious end.

Proceeds from Horror High School will go to Green Twp Baseball/Softball League and South Central Xtreme Cheerleading.  It is presented by Schoolhouse Antiques.

Location:  Kingston High School, corner of Main & Ing St., Kingston, OH

Times:  October 26th-29th & 31st  7pm-’til

Stop by their Facebook page and tell them the Monster sent ya!

Admission:  Tickets are $13 at the door.  Discounted advanced tickets may be purchased by any SCX cheerleader or at Shear Styles in Kingston, OH (across from the post office).

How do YOU know when it’s Halloween

Every year at about this time, I get very excited because it’s clearly “Halloween season”.  The weather is changing, leaves are falling, Halloween merchandise is everywhere, and just about every community has its share of decorations.  Conversely, November 1st rolls around and *poof*, it’s all over.

During that span, it would seem that there would be a time when everyone (or at least those who chose to) would be celebrating at the same time.  I mean, the obvious answer here is “Hey Monster, it’s Halloween on the 31st!  You know, on Halloween!”

Sure, technically Halloween is the 31st but aside from the young trick-or-treaters, and I suppose the home haunters, I suspect that Halloween night is pretty quiet for most folks.

So there you have it.  How do you know when it’s Halloween for you?  Is there a particular event that you partake in each year which really seals the deal for you?  Is there some “can’t miss” activity, after which you know you can safely pack up the black & orange for another year?

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I have one.  I’m a total Halloween nut, I take in literally every Halloween event that I can find, but I always find myself disappointed on November first.  It’s as if I fell asleep at 9pm on New Year’s Eve and missed the midnight celebration.

Tomorrow I’ll go into some detail about what would be ideal for me and the closest that I’ve managed to come.  For now, I’d love to hear what you folks think.

Nightstalker Manor…where your nightmares begin #Rochester, NY

In my last post I made mention of the passion and good spirited nature of Halloween fans.  Today I’d like to illustrate that by telling the tale of a charity haunted attraction in my hometown of Rochester, NY.

Joe Naber and his family are some of those “Halloween people” I’ve been talking about.  Over ten years ago they started a home-haunt.  As time went by, the creation grew and for the past two years they’ve been a charity haunt for the Henrietta Food Cupboard.

Ultimately, his operation got too big for his little home.  This year, Nightstalker Manor will be held at the Henrietta Moose Family Center.  Best of all, their haunt isn’t the only thing that is growing.  For 2011, all proceeds will go to The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Moose Charities, & the Henrietta Food Cupboard.

This kind of thing just makes me happy.  Considering all of the hard work (not to mention jumping through hoops) which is involved in operating a haunted attraction, going the charity route is very cool indeed.

I’ve been reading Joe’s posts for a couple of months now.  He and his crew are pumped and ready to put on a killer show.

If you’re one of my readers in the Rochester area, I strongly urge you to check out Nightstalker Manor this season.  With an admission of only $6 ($5 with a canned food item for donation), how can you go wrong?  If you’re not in the area, maybe just give them a shout out and some encouragement.  These are the kind of folks who make our hobby so special.

Location:  The Moose Family Center, 5375 West Henrietta Rd., West Henrietta, NY  14586

Ticket Pricing:  $6 (Cash Only) or $5 with non-perishable food donation

Hours & Dates:  7pm-11pm every Friday & Saturday through October

Phone:  585-451-9996

Website:  www.nightstalkermanor.com