INDIANAPOLIS — Haunted houses are finding ways to open this Halloween season by making modifications to follow COVID-19 guidelines and precautions.
The Thirteenth Hour Haunted House in Indianapolis opened at the end of September.
Owner Benjamin Gagne said he started planning a year ago — before the coronavirus was even a thought.
So when COVID-19 hit, he was forced to pivot and spend thousands of dollars to make the attraction COVID-19 friendly.
“We did everything from signage to changing the layout of certain areas of the attraction to doing some different mask things with our actors,” Gagne said. “It was a learning curve for not just us, but all haunted houses.”
The CDC and state leaders declared haunted houses “high-risk” for COVID-19, but Gagne said he believes his haunted house is safe.
“I say you are safer here than in a grocery store or Walmart. You are not going in aisles that people are in. You are with your group. You are by yourself. You are walking through with very quick interaction,” he said.
He said it also helps that his haunted house is outside to allow for more airflow. His team also adjusted high-touch areas like curtains and pulled them back.
“Anywhere where we have curtains that were in your way and weren’t necessary, we pulled them back or changed the way they were set up so they still look like they fit, you just don’t have to touch them anymore,” Gagne said.
The attraction is also keeping groups separate, and attendance is limited.
They also altered their ticket options where you can secure a 30-minute window to enter for your group. Everyone is required to wear a mask, and actors will not touch guests in the haunted house.
There is extra cleaning every night in high-touch areas.
If you are worried about crowds, Gagne recommends coming on Friday or Sunday night when it is less of a crowd.