The Halloween season is upon us.
The pumpkins have ripened, the costumes are assembled, the dead have awakened and the area’s numerous haunted houses have opened their doors.
Because haunted houses - and being scared - are such a fun part of Halloween, we decided to visit a few and pass along some of our impressions.
Keep one thing in mind: In your search for fright, don’t expect big Hollywood productions. Most of these houses were built on limited budgets. But even with the lack of funds, many of the haunts are quite imaginative and definitely worthwhile.
West Valley High School opened its haunted house at the Walk in the Wild zoo. This haunted house, assembled on a shoe-string budget, is one of the best in Spokane and it carries the cheapest admission price, $3.
Visitors walk through numerous horrific rooms with themes like execution (electric chair and guillotine), mad scientists and “Jack the Ripper.”
There’s also a maze with plenty of spider webs to get tangled in. And the big scare awaits guests behind the final door.
To get the full effect, this haunted house should be seen at night. But if you have young kids, West Valley High School turns the lights on in the haunted house for the Sunday matinee between 3 and 5 p.m.
At the Pavilion at Riverfront Park, the eastern building has been transformed into an insane asylum.
KZZU’s “Escape From The Asylum” takes people through a dark, smoky maze of padded cells and bloodied rooms littered with deranged lunatics.
Scares mainly come from the asylum’s residents engaging in the oldest tricks in the book: The old jump-up-and-yell stunt and the grabbing-hands-out-of-the-walls trick. Both worked, however.
“Escape From The Aslyum” appeals to children ages 12 and under, but will likely give older kids and adults a few spine-tingling chills.
Be forewarned, it’s very dark inside, so walk gingerly.
The old Union Gospel Mission, Spokane Falls Boulevard and Bernard, is now haunted with the “Tunnel Of Screams.”
Upon entering the main floor of the building, guests are invited to participate in a brief game show called “Slay Your Neighbor.”
In the next room, an old ghoul wakes from the dead, dusts himself off and courts his old flame as they perform “The Masochism Tango.” A sickly humorous skit, indeed.
The true horror supposedly awaits in the rooms below. Nothing downstairs, however, was shocking; it was like wandering through a zoo of freaks, ghosts, goblins and severed heads.
After you’ve been to a few haunted houses, you know exactly when the ghouls will jump out to scare you. If you were to leap and yell at them first, you might actually give them a scare.
Young kids, however, will probably find “The Tunnel Of Screams” terrifying.
Like a herd of cattle, both children and adults have flocked to KZZU’s “Slaughter House,” 4103 E. Mission (under Virtual Assault), since it opened. But this one is sort of a disappointment. First, you only spend about five minutes inside.
It’s dark and there’s not much to look at, mostly because the lack of lighting hides decorations such as a wheelbarrow full of animal innards.
We hear animals being slaughtered but we don’t actually see anything.
The big scare at “The Slaughter House” occurs at the end. Just when you think you’ve escaped, a guy with chainsaw comes running after you. However, after standing in line for 20 minutes, you know exactly what to expect.
This one will likely scare young children, however.