Oct. 21—The coronavirus pandemic — and the reactions to it — have produced a fair share of scares that kinda make you wish for some run-of-the-mill heebie-jeebies.
This Halloween season, several haunted attractions are answering the call.
Operators say they're monitoring public health situations and taking safety precautions prescribed by health officials by including the expectation of face masks and social distancing. The idea is to make their manufactured scares an antidote to the terrors reality is dishing out.
Here's a look at five places around the Chattanooga area where you can chase down a few scares. Just know that eventually you'll have to come back out to face the frights of the real world.
And remember, it's always a good idea to check websites before you go for full details and recent updates.
Email Lisa Denton at email@example.com.
— Where: 321 Browns Ferry Road.
— When: 8-10 p.m. Thursdays, 8-11 p.m. Fridays, 7-11 p.m. Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 31.
— What to expect: This year's theme, No Mercy, details the darkness and evil twisting and writhing through the town of Dread Hollow. Tormented apparitions, black magic, and inhumane secrets await guests. As the story plays out, visitors will encounter the criminals of Ravens Gate Prison, howls, squeals, and giggles near Doc Harper's home and glimpses of gruesome scenes and unimaginable creatures at the Hyde Island research facility. This is an extreme haunt and not recommended for children under age 12.
— How much: $25 (additional charges for Deliverance Escape Rooms and other optional activities).
— Contact: 423-800-0566, dreadhollow.com
THE HAUNTED HILLTOP
— Where: 8235 Highway 58.
— When: 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October.
— What to expect: Over 50 professional actors providing scares, a concession stand, new animatronics and a vortex tunnel. Look for the newly constructed Dark Maze along with a haunted hayride through the woods. You can also watch a scary movie on a large TV screen under a cover and walk by a cemetery.
— How much: $20 for hayride and haunted house, $15 for either.
THE HAUNTED BARN
— Where: 5017 McDonald Road, McDonald, Tenn.
— When: 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays in October.
— What to expect: Now in its 27th year, the attraction offers 16 rooms of frights, changed every year, for self-guided tours that end in a maze where unknown surprises await. Rather than animatronics, The Haunted Barn relies solely on live actors for its scares. "You never know when or where they may pop out," owner Connie Early says. If there's a wait before you enter, you can dance to the music of a live DJ, with a monster as a dance partner, around the bonfire or grab a snack at the concession stand.
— How much: $20.
— Contact: 423-396-9790, thehauntedbarnchattanooga.com
THE FRIGHT GUYS: HARVEST
— Where: 302 W. Willow St., Scottsboro, Ala.
— When: 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 7 (all times Central).
— What to expect: Now in its fifth season, The Fright Guys is open year-round, with haunts that generally change each month (after Harvest closes, the attraction will reopen with a Christmas haunt in December). Fairen Cooley, director of operations, describes The Fright Guys as more of a cinematic, interactive experience than a traditional haunted house. "People come out all the time saying, 'I feel like I've been in a video game' or 'It's like being in a horror movie,'" she says. Visitors should also expect a full-contact experience with possible touching by the actors. All of the characters' costumes and masks are designed and created by sports artist Greg Gamble, and each has an elaborate backstory. The Harvest theme is an original story about an institute for the criminally insane overtaken by a zombie apocalypse. The waiting area includes music with laser lights and a disco ball, theater room playing horror movies, arcade machines, concessions, a gift shop selling horror memorabilia and another selling Gamble's football artwork.
— How much: $25 general, $35 VIP, excluding fees.
— Contact: 256-601-0719, https://www.facebook.com/thefrightguys/
— Where: 592 Sam Ellis Drive NW, Rainsville, Ala.
— When: 7 p.m.-midnight CDT Fridays and Saturdays in October.
— What to expect: The old Rainsville Meat Market has returned to its slaughterhouse roots. Open at this location since 2018, the attraction outgrew the haunted trail owners Brook and Nathan Tomlinson initially did for fun, and then for small admission fees as the crowds grew, at their annual Halloween party at their home nearby. Brook Tomlinson says they completely tear down and rebuild each year, offering handmade props and original characters. With its racks and meat hooks, "the building itself does a lot for our haunt that we don't have to do," she says. About 50 actors staff it each night.
— How much: $15 admission.
— Contact: 256-605-4501, https://www.facebook.com/PVslaughterhouse/