Centre Region’s haunted attractions respond to fear, vary scare tactics

Charles Yang, left, a Penn State student from Taiwan, is surpirsed by a ghoul in the Haunted Miners Maze at Penn's Cave on Oct. 18. The 4,800 sq. foot haunted maze has four stations that visitors must find before leaving. According to organizers, the haunted maze was designed for both young and old and is family friendly.
Charles Yang, left, a Penn State student from Taiwan, is surpirsed by a ghoul in the Haunted Miners Maze at Penn's Cave on Oct. 18. The 4,800 sq. foot haunted maze has four stations that visitors must find before leaving. According to organizers, the haunted maze was designed for both young and old and is family friendly. For the CDT

Even though Lemont’s Haunted Granary is off-limits to ghouls for good and the Towers of Terror stayed shuttered this year (there was just no time this year, said Towers organizer Denise Shultz), there are still plenty of events for all of Halloween’s big fans, regardless of terror threshold.

Penn’s Cave’s flashlight tour and Haunted Miners Maze, Oct. 24-25: How do you make a dark cave even eerier?

“Our tour guides share stories and legends not told during the reglar tour,” said Terri Schleiden, Penn’s Cave’s marketing director. “As far as lighting goes, we use very little lighting, other than the guide’s spotlight. There’s only one room that we slightly illuminate, which is why we invite people to bring flashlights.”

The 2-year-old, 4,800-square-foot maze is dark enough to unnerve any visitor, but the themes are no ttraumatizing, Schleiden said.

“This is family friendly, so it’s not violent; there are no gruesome or bloody characters. The characters we do have are ghosts, but we explain to parents of young children that they will not touch you or come close to you,” Schleiden said. “There’s nothing worse than having a child so frightened that he will not sleep for a week. We give them a special code to say to ghosts to stay away.”

Reservations for the flashlight tour are encouraged.

Serial Killers Haunted House, Oct. 30-31, Nov. 2: On the other hand, Penn State’s Forensics Club members make it their goal to spook visitors to the Serial Killers Haunted House.

“Last year, someone peed themself. (An event volunteer) was walking around in line scaring people and (the patron) didn’t even make it inside. We’ve had a lot of people get terrified,” club President Matt Curran said.

“Everyone has a story about when they scared someone so good something happened,” he said. “Especially if you recognize someone, people go all out to try to scare them as much as possible to get the best response out of them.”

The house’s scenes include popular names among serial killers, including Jigsaw, of the “Saw” movie franchise, and Jack the Ripper, fitting because forensic science students are taught to assess mock crime scenes and analyze blood patterns.

“One course features setting up mock crime scenes with authentic blood spatters, and a lot of volunteers have taken that class or a demo version of it, which helps them with setup and making the scenes look scary and realistic,” Curran said.

Curran said he’s not afraid that people will decide instead to haunt Penn State School of Theatre’s Dead State, at the Pavilion Theatre.

“I know there’s another (haunted attraction at Penn State)every year,” Curran said. But this year, the club is collaborating with engineering students. “We’re hoping they give us an edge. ... (but) we’re finding that both haunted houses can exist.”

Fourth annual Murarik Motorsports free haunted house, Oct. 31, Nov. 1: Bub Murarik and his brother, Nick, “pretty much do it all.” The annual fundraiser is the fear-factor middle ground.

“I walked my grandma through last year and she’s in her 90s,” Bub Murarik said. “Some kids freak out the whole way through. Some laugh and giggle, some turn around halfway and leave. We give younger kids Glow Sticks so we can see them coming” and know not to chase them with a (fake) chainsaw.

For families whose younger ones get cold feet, there will be a supervised play area with games and treats.

Murarik said 100 percent of any monetary donations will benefit a local cause. This year’s event will benefit veteran and Philipsburg resident John Kennedy, who sustained a back injury in a fall from a roof, but past years’ beneficiaries include the Rowland Theatre, the Centre County Youth Service Bureau and cancer survivor Emily Whitehead.

With Murarik’s event gaining word-of-mouth traction, the event is “definitely getting bigger. Last year we had 1,600 people in two days. It has to be the best free haunted house around,” he said.

Halloween events

Haunted Hallows Eve, 5-8 p.m. Oct. 29, Bellefonte Youth Center, 114 N. Spring St., Bellefonte. 353-3456.

Ghost tour, every 15 minutes starting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and 31, Mishler Theatre, 1208 12th Ave., Altoona. www.mishlertheatre.org.

Trick-or-treating, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Halfmoon Township. www.halfmoontwp.us.

Halloween on the Green, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30, Village Green, Lemont. 238-1288.

“Let It Shine” Halloween alternative event, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30, Mount Nittany United Methodist Church, 1500 E. Branch Road, State College. 237-3549.

Carn-“Evil,” 6-9 p.m. Oct. 30, Centre Region Senior Center, 131 S. Fraser St., State College. www.crpr.org.

Trick-or-treating, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30, State College borough and College, Ferguson, Harris, Patton, Marion, Spring, Walker townships. www.crpr.org.

Serial Killers Haunted House, 8-11 p.m. Oct. 30-31 and 7-10 p.m. Nov. 2, Spruce and Pine cottages, University Park. http://forensics.psu.edu/news-events/events/2014.

“Dead State” haunted attraction, 8-11 p.m. Oct. 30; 6:30-11 p.m. Oct. 31; 4:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 (child-friendly), Pavilion Theatre, University Park. drkside77@gmail.com.

“Truth and Treat” Halloween alternative event, 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 30, Halfmoon Christian Fellowship Church, 1776 Halfmoon Valley Road, Port Matilda. 692-8727.

Community Halloween party, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Baileyville Community Hall, 210 Deibler Road, Pennsylvania Furnace. www.baileyvillecommunityhall.com.

Family Halloween at the YMCA, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 31, YMCA of Centre County, 125 W. High St., Bellefonte. 357-8000.

Trick-or-treating, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31, Gregg Township, Millheim borough.

Freedom Life’s “Light the Night” Halloween alternative event, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31, Bald Eagle Area Middle School, 751 S. Eagle Valley Road, Wingate. 355-4947, www.freedomlife.tv.

Trick-or-Treat Night, 6 p.m. Oct. 31, Nittany Mall, State College. www.facebook.com/nittanymall.

Free haunted house, 7-10 p.m. Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Murarik Motorsports, 1410 E. Presqueisle St., Philipsburg. 342-3773, http://hauntedhouse.murarik.com,.

Halloween party, 7 p.m. Nov. 1, American Legion, 432 S. Main St., Pleasant Gap.

Tara’s Angels Relay for Life Halloween Party, 8 p.m.-midnight Nov. 1, Black Walnut Body Works, 1620 Zion Road, Bellefonte. tararipka@yahoo.com.

Ghosts and Goblins 2014 Haunted Caverns, Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1, Lincoln Caverns, U.S. Route 22, Huntingdon. www.lincolncaverns.com, 643-1358.

Spook Haven Haunted House, 7-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1, 100 Water St., Mill Hall. www.spookhaven.com.