HALLOWEEN HAUNTED ATTRACTION OR DARK ATTRACTION
is a venue which simulates the experience of visiting a structure or outside space that is inhabited by what appear to be supernatural such as ghosts or spirits. They can also be venues featuring other frightening subjects such as crazed animals or loose murderers. The illusion, created by actors, animatronics, theatrical sets, sounds, lighting, and other special effects, is designed to frighten patrons who typically purchase tickets for the privilege. These events are open to the public and commonly held throughout the month of October, leading up to Halloween. However there is a small sub-set of dark attractions that are open all year long. Over the years, dark attractions have expanded their scope beyond the “haunted house” format to include any place that is either ominous or foreboding, such as abandoned factories, old prisons or early 1900s-era hospitals/asylums.
Haunted hayrides are haunted attractions set in farmers’ fields, primarily across the US. There is no definite record of where the first one was held. As popularity increased entrepreneurs began to view the haunted hayride as a legitimate family attraction, and helped to create a new Halloween tradition.
A haunted trail or spooky trail is usually held at night in a public park, garden, or preserve, although it may be held at any outdoor venue. They are often included as one of the attractions at a Halloween carnival. In most instances, a trail or walkway is used. When said trail or walkway does not exist, one is cordoned off through use of ropes or barriers. Along this trail are displays or exhibits representing cemeteries, crime scenes, and the like. Also along this trail are human subjects dressed up to resemble mummies,vampires,werewolves,ghosts, and various other scary characters. These actors frequently jump out at guests along the trail, or they may walk back and forth in silence and make threatening gestures with axes, chainsaws or other sharp garden equipment. Some haunted trails may have a maze near the end. A variant of the haunted trail that has gained popularity over the past few years has been the cornfield maze, in which patrons follow a path cut through the dense foliage of a cornfield and encounter various creatures.
An American Halloween tradition is to decorate a house, yard or garage and open it to other members of the public. For some, the yard is something created specificially for Trick-or-treating and is in place for one night only. For others, the decorations are done more in the tradition of Christmas decor and appear a month or so before the actual holiday.
Common motifs for Halloween yard are settings resembling a cemetery,a haunted house, or a specific monster-driven theme built around famous creatures or characters.
Typical elements of decoration include Jack-o’-lanterns, fake spiders and cobwebs, and artificial gravestones and coffins. Coffins can be built to contain bodies or skeletons, and are sometimes rigged with animatronic equipment and motion detectors so that they will spring open in reaction to passers-by. Eerie music and sound effects are often played over loudspeakers to add to the atmosphere. Yard haunts can also be given a more “professional” look, now that such items as fog machines and strobe lights have become available for easily affordable prices at discount retailers.