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SLC haunted house prepares to open during pandemic

(Photo Credit: Nightmare on 13th)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- The owner of Nightmare on 13th says this actually might not be the most complicated time to run a haunted house. 

“We opened 10 days after 9/11, that was very… interesting,” says Mike Hendrie, who has operated the Salt Lake City attraction for 30 years.

He says his business was also in the spotlight of the Olympics in 2002.

“[Now], it’s been a little complicated to be sure, but with the way, the haunted house runs it works well with the situation,” Hendrie said.

SCARY MASKS and FACE COVERINGS

Nightmare On 13th will open two Fridays from now, on September 11th, amidst a gamut of the now-usual regulations. Customers and staff must wear masks, the number of tickets will be staggered through a timing system every 30 minutes, and groups must stay at least six feet away from each other. 

But isn’t one of the things that makes haunted houses so scary that unexpected moment when a “scare-er” pops out and screams in your face?  Now, that aspect seems even scarier than ever before.  

WHAT ABOUT “SCARE-ERS”?

Hendrie says all the actors in the house will be six feet away from patrons… and they won’t get up in your face.  

“Most of our scaring where we have to have a scream is done through a sound effect,” Hendrie said. 

They’ve actually been doing this for a year because he noticed his actors who did that night after night got hoarse. 

“[The actors] have a button that they push when they jump and the scream comes through a sound system,”  Hendrie said.

Nightmare on 13th has plenty of animatronics and automation that don’t require people for scares. 

Hendrie says the process is safer than grocery stores with two-way traffic because the haunted house’s route is “linear.”

“People go in one entrance, follow the way through the house one way, and leave through another exit,” Hendrie said.

He did a trial run for one night in June, with the same show and same precautions, and people loved it.  

His overall goal is for people to escape, figuratively.

“We want people to forget, and maybe get away  for an hour or so from this crazy world we’re living in here,” he said.

Nightmare on 13th opens Sept. 11, and will be open every Friday and Saturday after Sept. 11, and every Monday through Saturday in October.

Reserve your tickets and times for Nightmare On 13th here.