It’s Halloween season, and the area’s two haunted houses are gearing up to scare the bejesus out of you. Every weekend starting Sept. 27 and running until the end of October, The Haunted Graham Mansion and Helheim Haunted Attraction will lure thousands of people into their frightful webs of blood, gore, dead and undead.
Haunted Graham Mansion
This year, the mansion celebrates its 10th year of terror. Officially designated as haunted by the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters in 2012, the house promises lots of scares.
“We are legitimately a haunted house,” said Kevin Sword, who has worked at the haunt since the beginning. “We are the only place that has a haunted house inside a haunted house.”
This year, the mansion welcomes back The Bloody Barn, which has been down several years for renovations. Four years ago, a fire damaged it, followed by flooding after back-to-back storms.
“Now it’s back and bloodier than ever,” Sword said.
In all, the mansion has six haunted venues, including the home, cemetery, barn, trail, silo and psych ward.
“It almost takes an hour to go through all of it,” Sword said.
Ten years ago, the tour only included the mansion, but more has been added every year. On average nearly 10,000 people visit each season, Sword said, including a group from Boston who comes every year as part of a multi-state haunted house trail they travel every year.
The Haunted Graham Mansion, 2115 Major Grahams Road in Max Meadows, will be open every Friday and Saturday night, starting Sept. 27 and running through October. Gates open at 6 p.m. and tickets go on sale at 7 p.m. The terrifying tours begin at nightfall. Tickets are $20 per person. Fast passes are available online for $30 each; the pass lets you bypass the line to go to the front of the mansion. Parking is $5. The parking lot closes at 10:30 p.m.; you have to be on the property by then to take the last tour.
“Rain or shine, we’ll be there,” Sword said.
For a sneak peek at the haunted mansion, visit the Haunted Graham Mansion Facebook page, where you can watch a promotional video, “There Will Be Blood,” which has been viewed nearly 40,000 times.
This year at the mansion, there will be blood, and even scarier for some – clowns.
For more information, visit online at www.hauntedgrahammansion.com.
Helheim Haunted Attraction
Helheim is preparing for its second year of frights and delights. The haunt is located in the old Galewinds Amusement Park at 3081 Chapman Road, a perfect spot to have the Helheim scared out of you. With their otherworld shenanigans, owners Carter Pennington and Jock Songer promise to put the evil in Wytheville.
“We have a lot of new, exciting things we are changing and adding,” Songer said. “We are expanding and adding a trail this year, and we have changed over 50 percent of the inside of the haunt.”
Songer said one of the old go-kart tracks has been turned into a haunted trail with scares along the walkway. Plus, he and Pennington have remodeled the entire basement, completely gutting the area to add five rooms.
“There are more scares that way; plus it’s a longer walk than last year,” Songer said.
In addition, Helheim is partnering with two other area haunts for a cross-promotional adventure. Helheim, Terror Manor in Roanoke and Hexed in Christiansburg will offer $2 discounts per ticket if you bring in a flyer from one of the participating haunts.
“It’s something that has never been done in this area,” Songer said.
Helheim - the Norse word for hell or land of the dishonorable dead - is a post apocalyptic world with characters that have survived the unimaginable and enjoy scaring people into cold sweats and heart palpitations.
“It’s Halloween season; that’s what Halloween is all about,” Songer when the haunt opened last year. “But we want people to have fun in a safe atmosphere.”
A trip through Helheim will take about 40 minutes.
Helheim Haunted Attraction begins Sept. 27 and runs on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 2, and will be open Halloween night. Tours run from 7:30 to 11 p.m. The parking lot and ticket booth open at 7 p.m. and close at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 with free parking.
In addition to the haunt, Songer and Pennington have turned a former go-kart garage at the Helheim location into a music venue called The Pit that features metal bands. The monthly concerts run from early spring through September. The last one of the year, which will also celebrate the Helheim opening, will be held Sept. 27. The shows are for all ages and start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and admission is $7 per person. Bands include Inferior Design, Murder Maiden, Push The Attack, Sever The Wicked and Late Night Zero.
For information, visit the Helheim Haunted Attraction Facebook page or online at www.helheimhaunt.com.
To reach reporter Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 35, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.