Local haunted attraction voted best in Ohio

BRILLIANT — The Wells Township Haunted House has been named the top haunted attraction in Ohio by the Scare Factor, a national haunted attraction review organization.

Sean Norman, Wells Township Haunted House president, said the group also placed the haunted house at No. 10 in the United States and one of the Top 31 Must See Haunts in the country. The organization has about 2,400 haunted attractions on its website.

About 12,000 visitors come to the haunted house, located on the north end of Market Street, during weekends in October, Norman said. Now in its 15th year, the haunted house is redone every season with the help of more than 200 volunteers, most of whom are teenagers, Norman said.

“That in itself is pretty cool,” Norman said of the teenagers volunteering hundreds of hours to prepare the house and run operations during the season. “The kids came in and wanted to work on it and we saw it as a way to partner with them. It became one of the best operations in the country.”

Norman said the popularity of the attraction is constantly growing, with residents from two to three states away e-mailing the haunted house for information on area hotels and restaurants.

The haunted house generates about $100,000 a season, and Norman said the majority of the money goes back into designing and building the various rooms for next season. The organization also provides scholarships to volunteers who are heading off to college and money for kids to attend various activities, such as band camps and athletic programs, Norman said.

The staff submits ideas in January about the new rooms in the haunted house, and those concepts are developed during the next several months. The volunteers then build nearly everything from scratch.

“There is a lot of pride that goes into it,” Norman said.

The box office opens at 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with tours going from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $14.

Norman said there are live bands performing, with food and drinks available. Norman said many people will come early and socialize, listen to the bands or eat for a couple hours before heading into the building. Tours take about 30 minutes.

“It is a night out for them,” he said.

There are 28 rooms in the haunted house, including a zombie challenge maze at the end. There is a laser swamp room, where scary creatures rise out of the fog, only to disappear again. There is a faceless room, where a play with lighting appears to make a person’s face appear and disappear. Norman said the majority of the people visiting the haunted house are between the ages of 25 and 35.

“It is moms and dads and the rest are high school and college age,” he said.

As for the experience, Norman said people come running out of the haunted house with a smile on their face and usually still a little bit scared.

“They go out of their way to send us an e-mail saying how much they enjoyed it,” he said

The haunted house will be open on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 for a special lights out tour. Groups are limited to five people per tour. They must navigate the house in complete darkness without a tour guide with only one glow stick per tour. Patrons must sign a waiver before the tour, Norman said.