In a world where the spectre of all-out war can out-spook any hooded goblin, it might seem that the old Halloween haunts can no longer hold a flickering candle to the horrors of the day’s headlines. If anything, the cobwebbed corridors of a walk-through “haunted house” can creak with a reassuring nostalgia, as its familiar fiends create a welcome momentary refuge from the edgy uncertainties of the real world.
As if on cue, the fearless crew of Brookdale Haunted Theater is ready to serve with the return of the annual attraction that transforms Brookdale Community College’s Performing Arts Center into an indoor flesh-and-blood fright factory that runs for three big weekends, beginning — wait for it — Friday the 13th.
A gory corollary to the school-year activities of the Theater Club program at BCC, the installation offers up a shiversome showcase for the performing and design skills of some 100 local actors, technicians and members of the BCC student body. Boasting a labyrinth of manned dioramas and scary skits, the Haunted Theater tour “also features an interactive 3-D blacklight maze and other obstacles designed to scare even the bravest of Halloween adventurers” — with family-friendly “no scare experiences” also offered for four of its scheduled sessions.
In recognition of the Haunted Theater’s 15th anniversary, its creators have fasdhioned all-new sets and monsters, as well as “the longest and most immersive experience we have ever offered,” said PAC coordinator Sherri Vanderspiegel.
Beginning at 7 p.m. this Friday, October 13, spookhouse spelunkers in groups of 10 to 15 patrons will be invited to navigate a sprawling haunted maze stretching throughout the PAC complex and “brave an army of zombies, evil clowns, mad scientists and other creatures, she said.
Haunted Theater hours are from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays (October 13, 20, 27), Saturdays (October 14, 21, 28) and Sundays (October 15, 22, 29), and general adult admission is $12. Seniors, Brookdale alumni and staff can attend for $10, while ages 17 and under can attend for $8, and current Brookdale students can attend for $5. Large groups are welcome.
Young children and their adult caregivers are welcome to visit a friendlier version of the haunted house, complete with interactive games and trick-or-treat giveaways, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Admission to the “no scare” tour is $5 for everyone, with attendees of all ages invited to arrive in costume.
Tickets for all tours are available at the creaking door, and more info can be had by visiting the website or calling the PAC box office at (732) 224-2411. Parking is in lots 1 and 2 at the campus off Newman Springs Road.