The haunts will still be -- well, haunting -- at both Fear Farm's and 13th Floor's haunted houses this year. But, because of the coronavirus pandemic, both haunted houses have added some extra precautions and safety measures to protect their guests and actors.
"Haunted houses are not concerts, sporting events or theme parks. The nature of a haunted house is all about physical distancing; it always has been, it’s what we do normally. The attractions are linear and very seldom would you ever come within 6 feet of other patrons," read the safety guidelines on their website.
"We do everything we can to make you feel 'alone.' But this year, we’re going above and beyond our normally safe and distanced methods of operation, and taking it to the next level."
Both haunted houses opened for the season in September.
The most noticeable changes:
- Capacity will be limited each night and tickets have to be bought in advance. This year, tickets will be booked for a specific time and date. Once a date sells out, tickets will not be sold at the door.
- Masks are required. Actors will wear a mask under their theatrical mask and undergo temperature screenings. Guests will have to wear a mask inside the haunted house.
- Clear bag policy: Only clear bags no larger than 4.5" X 6.5" will be allowed.
- Groups will be limited to the people you arrived with and will be separated from other groups throughout the haunt
- Any decorations that would normally hang from the ceiling or require someone to push through them have been removed.
Markers and signage about social distancing will be placed around the venue, as well as hand sanitization stations (it will reportedly be pumpkin spice scented), the website said. The attractions are cleaned at the beginning and end of each day.
Admission varies by night, but generally ranges from $20-$33 per person. Prices are higher on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.
One note, the timed reservation that is booked online is when you and your group will be allowed on the property, not the specific time that you will be allowed inside either of the haunted houses, the website states.
To not wait in line as long, people can purchase a "FastPass" or "Skip The Line" ticket for $10 or $20 extra, respectively.
"The show may seem a little different this year, in a good way. More time and more space (both from other groups and actors) will allow us to try some interesting storyline tactics that we normally wouldn’t be able to try," a note on their websites reads.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER VALLEY HAUNTED HOUSES?
For most of the other haunted houses around the Valley, organizers have decided to forego the 2020 season. However, Scarizona Scaregrounds will have its yearly haunt with some changes.
OPEN FOR 2020
Scarizona Scaregrounds: Scarizona will limit groups to no more than 10 people and groups will be separated from other groups by at least a minute inside the haunted house, according to its website. Tickets will also be sold online and reserved for a specific time and date. Scarizona will also have a drive-thru option, according to its website. However, specific details were not let listed on the website. More information.
CLOSED FOR 2020
Gauntlet Haunted House (Golfland Sunsplash): Golfland Sunsplash will not have its yearly haunted house for the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns. Instead, they hope to add some of the props used in the haunted house to the mini golf course or perhaps do something in an open-air environment, said Tony Jones, marketing director at Golfland Sunsplash.
Golfland Sunsplash will not have its annual Halloween house
Sanctum of Horror: Sanctum of Horror will also not have its haunted house outside Superstitions mall because of concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. "In hopes of protecting our team’s health and well being, protecting our community’s health, protecting ourselves financially, and protecting our reputation as a safe and considerate family-owned business, we have made the tough decision to skip the 2020 season," a post on the haunt's Facebook page read.
Terror Nights: The free Tempe haunt has canceled its show for 2020, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. "We’re sorry for the disappointment, but we fully expect to return next year in 2021," a post on Facebook read.
The Crypt: According to Facebook posts, the Mesa haunt will remain closed in 2020 "to revamp and make even better for 2021." The attraction remained closed in 2019, as well.
IF YOU GO:
2814 W. Bell Road, Phoenix AZ 85053
2209 N. 99th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85037
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the location of Sanctum of Horror's haunted house. It is typically built at Superstition Mall, not Paradise Valley mall.