The owners of Livingston County’s four haunted attractions confess that they all love to scare people.
They also agree that to be successful in the ghost industry, an industry worth more than a billion dollars, according to the Haunted Attractions Association, you have to keep the scares fresh and change the scares year after year.
Chris Schell is co-owner of Ghostly Grove, a nearly 1-mile haunted trail in part of the Schell Family Farm, located in Pinckney and Putnam Township.
Schell said the attraction has grown and changed each year, adding several new scenes and about a quarter-mile to the trail this year.
“We changed probably 50% of the way (from last year),” Schell said. “We even change it from weekend to weekend. We take people down different paths. We like to keep people on their toes.”
Livingston County’s newest haunted attraction, Slay Nights, debuted in Howell Township last year.
Local businessman and building owner Dwayne Combs said he wanted to bring a different kind of haunted attraction to the county. Slay Nights is an indoor retreat across two stories and around 10,000 square feet.
Combs said he hired professional ghost designers, who helped create this year’s theme of a haunted video store.
“This area really needed it, an indoor haven, and it’s a really fun industry to be in and bring back to the community,” he said.
Slaughterhouse Adventure and Grand River Corn Maze creator Ken Evans is celebrating his 20th ghost season near Fowlerville. The haunted attraction features a haunted house, escape rooms and corn mazes, and Evans said he hopes to offer haunted carriage rides again later this season.
“I always change rooms (in the haunted house) every year,” Evans said.
He said he likes to write original haunted scenes, like stage productions, and some of his biggest influences are Universal Studios theme park and magician Chris Angel, and people have enjoyed his version of “evil Colonel Sander.”
Terrorfied Forest co-owner Marie Butler said she changes the Pinckney Haunted Trail every year since she and her husband Byron Butler took over ownership in 2019. They added a haunted structure at the entrance in 2020, and the trail will feature more new scenes this year.
“There are a lot of people who just walk by,” for the scare, Butler said. “Then there are the die-hards who are looking for the little extras, the 10% who see the details that I do, the time I put into it, and they look for those little changes. And those people are big on word of mouth, they are the big reviewers.” “.
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Where to Find Haunted Attractions in Livingston County
The county boasts two haunted trails, a new indoor haunt that opened last year, and a longtime haunted site with multiple attractions. They all feature monsters, demons, jump scares and creepy scenes, which are not for the faint of heart.
- 10055 Dexter-Pinckney Road on the Pinckney-Putnam Township line
- An outdoor haunted trail with actors and haunted scenes
- The shelter will be open until October 30. It is open from 7:45 pm to midnight on October 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30.
- Tickets are $25 per person
- More information is available at www.ghostlygrove.com
Chris Schell and his wife Dea Greer Schell have been transforming their 250-acre farm and woods into an agritourism and entertainment destination since 2019.
The Schells have added new scenes, structures, and trail lengths to the refuge each year.
“It’s super dark and thick forest,” said Chris Schell. “It’s twisty. I mean, we’ve got nice clean trails, but on the sides it’s twisty and as dark as it gets.”
He said that Ghostly Grove is scary and not for the faint of heart. Monsters, scares and haunted structures lurk in the forest.
The shelter also offers a less scary version for those who request it. Guests can pick up glow-in-the-dark lollipops at the locker.
“If they have a pacifier, then the actors goof around with them, play with the kids, so they can still enjoy the scenes.”
Schell Family Farm also offers other family activities like pumpkin and apple picking and a free 5-acre corn maze. The farm is also full of moms and offers fresh donuts.
Ghostly Grove will host a trick-or-treating event for kids and their families from 2-4pm on October 9th.
“Local businesses in the community set up shop down the road and handed out candy,” Schell said.
- 1800 N. Burkhart Road, Howell Township; the shelter is at the north end of the building
- Indoor shelter of approximately 10,000 square feet in a two-story building
- The venue runs through October 30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Ticket sales are open from 7:30 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and guests must be in line by midnight; and Sundays from 7:30 to 11 p.m., and guests must be in line by 11 p.m.
- Tickets are $20 per person.
- More information is available at www.slaynights.com
Combs said the inner haven is set up in a series of rooms and the actors can change performances throughout the season.
“Every year we change our theme, this year our theme is ‘nightmare hookup,’ and the backstory is that a video store goes out of business, as it lies in ruins over the years, it becomes haunted,” he said. “The movies that are left in there come to life and the only section left is the horror section.”
Co-owner James Hogg, his brother Robert Laughlin, and haunted places designer Trevor Petherbridge created the scary scenes.
“What I want to do, I want to create something new every year, if a client spends one year and he spends the next year, it’s something different. It’s not the same haunted house,” Hogg said.
He said this year’s haunted video store theme is also a throwback to the 1980s and 1990s, with scenes featuring Freddy Krueger, Chucky and other famous horror movie characters brought to life in the haunt.
Combs also owns Castaway Play Cafe, an indoor playground at the same address, and said haunted houses are a fun but totally different form of family entertainment.
The shelter is a separate business from the inner courtyard, with its own entrance, but takes visitors through the laser tag area.
“In the family entertainment industry, a big part of it is haunted houses,” Combs said. “It’s a fun side of the industry.”
“This year, we are bigger and better,” he said.
Slaughterhouse Adventure and Grand River Corn Maze
- 5781 West Grand River Avenue, Fowlerville
- The haunted site includes the Slaughterhouse haunted house, a haunted corn maze, and escape rooms called Hillcrest Asylum and Jigsaw’s Escape Room; It also features an unhaunted corn maze; Haunted carriage rides are expected to be announced later this season.
- The refuge works on weekends until the end of October. Current information about which attractions are open is posted on the shelter’s website and Facebook page.
- Shelters generally open at dusk and close “when the last body falls.”
- Tickets are $20 for one event and $35 for two events; Non-haunted corn maze tickets are $7 and are sold separately; Escape room tickets are $15 for 30 minutes and $20 for an hour on Fridays and Saturdays, and groups of 10 or more can reserve seats. Escape room shifts start at 7pm and run by the hour.
- More information is available at www.slaughterhouseadventure.net
Evans said he comes up with ideas for haunted house scenes throughout the year. He is also a stand-up comedian, always collecting material.
He said that the scenes in Slaughterhouse are based on performances and are theatrical.
“I like to create tension, and then there are some entertainment factors,” he said. “I want it to be a mix of Chris Angel’s ‘Mindfreak’ twists and some jump scares.
“It’s also inspired by Universal Studios, because (at the theme park) you go through ‘Terminator,’ ‘Jaws,’ ‘King Kong,'” he said. “What I built this house for is that you’re walking through a scene, like you’re part of a movie or a play.”
He said people should check the website or Facebook to see which events are open which nights.
“We’re picking two events and we’ll put it on the website, the first two weeks, it’ll be the field (haunted corn maze) and the haunted house, and we’ll try to open up the hayride the last three weeks,” he said.
- 145 Swarthout Road, Pinckney
- A nearly 1-mile haunted trail with structures and monsters in the woods
- The shelter is open until October 30.
- The shelter is open on Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 pm; 7:30 pm to midnight on Fridays; Saturdays from 7:30 to midnight; 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sundays
- General admission is $25 per person; VIP passes are $35; Groups of 20 or more receive a $3 discount per ticket.
- More information and online tickets are available at www.terrorfiedforest.com
The Haunted Trail features a variety of scenes and monsters, as well as an overall theme that changes from year to year.
“This year, the story is about the professor and the professor’s girlfriend, who died, and he’s trying to bring her back to life,” said Marie Butler, who also works as a special effects makeup artist when she’s not helping out. her father’s dental office.
He said that, in the story, the professor practices on other people, turning them into different creatures released into the forest.
“We have different scenarios, but it still relates to a story,” he said.
Some nights, Butler’s character, Red Rex, shows up at the shelter.
“Red Rex shows up on Fridays and Saturdays and is a post-apocalyptic character who survives and becomes the boss of everyone he meets,” he said. “She’s a bit sassy and when you meet her, she’s loud and crazy and she carries around a bat covered in her victims.”
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Eberbach at [email protected]