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Lakeside Community Theatre actors make haunted house super spooky: Fear Factor Insanitarium is bigger, darker and scarier than ever before
Photos courtesy of Donna Arnold.
Get ready to get freaked out! The Lakeside Community Theatre’s haunted house opens this weekend.
It's that time of year again: fall colors are sweeping in and pumpkin patches are sprouting up.
If you're looking to add a little spooky fun to your fall weekends, The Colony's Lakeside Community Theatre has a haunted house with your name all over it.
The theater has been sharpening its scary skills since 2008, and with this year being its fifth haunted house, volunteers have made it bigger, darker and scarier than ever before. Beginning this weekend and lasting until Nov. 3, the Fear Factory Insanitarium will be open every Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The haunted house takes about a month to build, said Donna Arnold, vice president of LCT, and volunteers usually start building in the third week of September. Some portions of the haunted house reside in the theater while others resides outside, where crews have constructed buildings to thoroughly creep out spectators.
In all, the haunted house commands about 10,000 square feet.
"It's a very unique haunted house, it's not one that you just walk through and look at stuff," Arnold said. "There's a lot of interaction. There's a lot of darkness. There's a lot of scares. There's a lot going on. If you've got phobias, it's a pretty scary haunted house."
The premise is simple - the doctor of an insane asylum ran out of patients and took over a local hotel. During his time there, he began experimenting on hotel guests, leaving them crazed and wandering the grounds.
"It's pretty creepy - pretty spooky," Arnold said. "There are actors everywhere. The actors are amazing. Most of them are dressed in straightjackets, wandering around outside. It's pretty big and takes about 25-30 minutes to go through."
Arnold said there is no age limit, but does not suggest bringing children younger than 10 years old.
"We have a hash mark at the beginning - we had about 40 people who couldn't get through the first round," she said. "It's pretty scary. We had some teenagers come out screaming and hollering. Last year, we had some teens say it was better than Cutting Edge."
All actors, participants and builders are volunteers, something Arnold said the theater has been lucky to have. The community has gotten behind the haunted house in many ways, such as RaceTrak donating several cases of water to the volunteers and the city of The Colony giving the theater a grant to continue its haunting tradition.
"We normally have about 1,200 people that come through," Arnold said. "What's really unique about the haunted house is that instead of waiting in line to get in, we have a big screen playing movies and chairs for people to wait in."
After tickets are purchased, guests will be called in groups of six to eight, with three minutes separating groups.
"When you have 200 people, we don't do a cattle call," Arnold said. "It's really unique how we do it; it's very community oriented. Every year we have people who come back. We change up the inside of it so that people come through and think they know the way to go, but we always change it. It's never like it was the previous year."
Tickets are $18, but Arnold said there is a $3 coupon online at fearfactoryinsanitarium.com.
"It's a big deal for the city and for Lakeside Community Theatre," Arnold said. "It's another part of our season. It takes a lot of work, a lot of volunteers and a lot of planning."
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