Hauntatorium event: frighteningly good time
on October 31, 2010
On the eve of Halloween screams and hollers echoed from the Richmond Memorial Auditorium on MacDonald Avenue.
As patrons entered the annual event, coined, “Hauntatorium” creepy music welcomed them to the “fright of their lives.”
“Muh…. ha ha ha ha ha” boomed loudly through the area, adding another dimension of fear to the dimly lit, foggy space.
The area, normally a stage for the city’s Recreation department, was transformed into a haunted house maze for the weekend.
It is a metamorphosis that staff said they anticipate every year.
Kris Lofthus, event director, said the old stage is unrecognizable and that he enjoys witnessing the jolting reaction of people as they enter.
“There are a few rooms in there that will definitely scare you,” he said laughing. “We have some adults that won’t go in there.”
Lofthus said he gages the events’ success by what he hears and sees.
“We get a lot of screams, a lot of yelling and running and trying to escape from the live people we actually have playing the characters,” he said.
The maze begins with a slow walk-through cemetery. Dead bones rise from coffins and scare unsuspecting visitors from every angle.
Later, aliens and goblins pop out of corners. Followed by popular horrific characters like Pinhead from the movie ‘Hellraiser,’ Jigsaw from the movie ‘Saw’ and The Predator.
But for those who don’t want nightmares, the annual project doubles as a carnival, with games, jumphouses and popcorn for the kids.
Smoke and darkness disappear and kids can run around and play, said Kymberlyn Carson-Thrower, recreation program coordinator for the Richmond Memorial Auditorium.
“Our goal is to always make our events family events, not only for the parents to enjoy, but for the kids to come out and play in a safe environment,” she said.
Point Richmond residents Liz Engan and Mark Mueller said they enjoy the wide variety of activities at the event for their kids.
“It’s nice because my younger son was debating, do I want to go, do I not want to go,” Liz Engan said.
It is great that the event offers choices, she said, as her nine-year-old opted to stay outside and play games while her 12-year-old braved the horrors of the haunted house.
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