►Two sensational local Halloween attractions!
Written by Mike Sharpe
Photos by Mike Zotos
Someday someone needs to explain to me exactly how Halloween became more of an adult rather than a kid’s holiday! Take a look at every store around you at this time of year and see how much merchandise is actually being marketed to adults versus kids. My Facebook invite list is over-loaded with Halloween themed club nights and hoards of special events. The kids get to go out for a few hours for one evening. The adults are celebrating for more than a week!
To be honest, I personally think it’s a great thing. For a little while each year we get to be kids all over again. We get to dress up and have a lot of fun. Many females now plan on more than one look/costume each season. Some prepare as many as four or five. I’ve also noticed that females really love stretching their normal clothing boundaries at this time of year!
To many people the city of Salem, MA is Halloween central. Thousands of people flock to the city on October 31st looking to be a part of the fun and merriment. The city sets up a nice spread for the visitors and certainly welcomes the influx of cash that comes with them. In the past few years, however, the business of Halloween has gone into high-gear and many major corporations have taken this holiday to a new level.
Last year I had the great pleasure of going to Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA to attend their “Halloween Horror Nights”. It was not only a super fun experience but one of the most memorable nights I’ve had in ages thanks to the people I went with. It was an eye opener to say the least. Seeing tens of thousands of people getting scared and laughing at the same time is very entertaining!
I thought that my visit to Universal would spoil me in regards to other similar attractions. After all, how many attractions can actually duplicate the sets from “The Walking Dead” in perfect detail? Well, much to my surprise, in our own backyard we’ve come very close to the multi-million dollar operations created by Universal Studios and Six Flags. There are now quite a few haunted houses and scary attractions in the local Boston area.
This year one town in particular has become even more of a focal point during the Halloween season. Just a short drive from Boston in Abington, MA we found not one, but two amazing Halloween attractions!
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion has been a destination for many years for the lovers of the macabre. The attraction is a family owned business. Jen Barrett, who handles public relations for the attraction states, “Each year we try to do even more than the previous year.” Barrett continues, “We amaze ourselves sometimes at the things we come up with!”
My last visit to Barrett’s was about nine years ago and I have to say they really have made some remarkable improvements. Each guest is treated to different rooms and passages that challenge their senses and bring to life some of their biggest fears. Terrifying clowns, zombies and even the axe murderer in the woods you were warned about at summer camp, they’re all here! In addition to the Haunted Mansion, this year they added a second attraction called The Cell, an indoor maze that confuses the guests with strobes and interesting misdirection!
Barrett’s also goes one step further now. On two special nights during their run they have an event called “Darkness Unleashed”. The attraction is nearly pitch black and all the residents of the mansion are allowed to grab you! This is definitely not for the faint of heart! The popularity of these special nights is clearly evident as they now have to take reservations for these blackout dates.
The total cost for both the Haunted Mansion and The Cell is $23 and you can find a $3 off coupon on their web site for Sunday through Thursday dates. Additional information including directions and their schedule can also be found on their web site at www.BHMansion.com.
Now for the second half of our double creature feature! Literally up the road from Barrett’s is a brand new attraction that opened up just a few weeks ago and has become an instant fan favorite. Zombies have invaded another area in Abington and the guest’s mission if they choose to accept it is to repel their attack and send them to their final destination!
The Abington Zombie Apocalypse is the brainchild of Pat Tarmey who along with creative & events director, Krisoula Varoudakis, came up with this idea rather quickly. Varoudakis designed the sets located inside the former Gravity nightclub. She wanted to create an, “interactive scare adventure!” Well apparently based on reviews, she certainly has accomplished that feat.
Upon arrival you are given a realistic looking gun or rifle that utilizes CO2 cartridges which simulate gun fire. No actual projectiles are shot from the gun which keeps the action very safe. A zombie guide takes you and up to nine potential victims through the city and warns your group of the impending danger which you all must guard against. When the attacks begin the action becomes intense as the zombies can actually get a hold on you!
Varoudakis explained that all the zombies are real actors. About 100 actors were cast by her assistant Paul Macalarney at the beginning of the season. “Each actor goes through up to two and a half hours of makeup.” She explained further, “We use prosthetics to make our zombies look as real as possible.”
The cost for the trip through zombie land will run you $20 and if you want to get to the head of the line you can buy a VIP ticket for $40. For more information you can visit their web site at www.AbingtonZombies.com.
The reality is no one will confuse the attractions in Abington for Universal Studios, BUT for about half the cost you can have almost the same amount of fun at both of these attractions plus they’re a short ride away! I highly suggest you get to Abington early so you can go to both attractions in the same evening. Both attractions are family friendly but please check their web sites for age restrictions. Enjoy these attractions while you can because all of the creatures on these two properties will be crawling back into their usual places of residence very soon and won’t appear again until next September! Happy Halloween everyone!
Model: Jessenia Veras
Latex Design: Dawnamatrix