Scarier Than a Pandemic: Haunted Attractions During COVID-19

By: Amelia Kimberling

With the spooky season upon us, it’s hard to get excited when COVID is keeping most of us quarantined and indoors. However, some haunted attractions are braving the pandemic, and still putting on their scares with certain limitations. The Torch researched and visited some of these attractions in hopes that haunts are an option this year. 

None of these will be reviewed on scare factor, but rather if they are safe to attend during COVID. I will answer two simple questions for each. How did their website or marketing say they were handling the pandemic and how did they really handle the pandemic.

Insanity Farms

How did their website say they were handling COVID?

The short answer is they didn’t. The website had little to no information, but considering the haunted attraction is owned by a popular pumpkin patch, it was hard to believe the staff was not at least wearing masks. My companions and I decided if we got there and masks were not present, we would simply not buy tickets and leave. 

How are they actually handling COVID?

Poorly. My advice would be to just not come here. 

The people we bought our tickets from wore their masks, and since we bought them from the Pumpkin Patch check-in, not the Insanity Farms check-in, we had no way to see just how they were handling things. We spent our money, went to the haunt area, and instantly, I regretted the waste of my $25. More than half of the staff either wore their masks over their mouth, on their chins, or just simply not at all, and almost every guest was maskless. Not to mention that the line to get in was just like any other line — no distancing markers or any attempt to keep guests apart. 

Since we were wearing masks, we decided to brave it out, and at least try some of the three attractions Insanity Farms offered, but once again, we were let down. None of the actors wore masks, and while they pulsed people through, meaning you only experienced the haunt with your group, we were still exposed to maskless actors. Many of the pathways had tunnels of hanging props you had to maneuver through, props that certainly were not cleaned between each group.

Overall

My group and I all took showers and changed our clothes as soon as we got home. That is how exposed we felt. I do not recommend coming to Insanity Farms this October.

PSYCHOPATH 

Me and my party posing in front of a post as we prepare to go on Psycho Path’s haunted trail. 

How did their website say they were handling COVID?

Upon opening the website, a link comes up to a pdf detailing all the precautions Psycho Path is taking to ensure safety during the pandemic. While that link can be found here, here is a small summary of what it lists.

  • 6’-8’ distance in queue line
  • Hand sanitizing stations
  • All staff and actors will be in masks
  • Guests are required to wear masks
  • Tickets only sold online
  • Sold in either group of 8 or group of 2
  • Given a time slot to arrive 
  • No walk-up guests

How are they actually handling COVID?

Almost as well as their listing said. All staff wore masks and wore them properly, lines were socially distanced, and hand sanitizer stations littered the haunt. There were also considerably fewer actors than usual, but for good reason. For the most part, I did feel safe, and so did the rest of my party. However, there were some hiccups. 

Not all of the actors wore face masks, and while most did, those few still need to be mentioned, especially because some did not keep their distance. Also while guests are supposed to wear masks, it was not enforced, but since we were kept distanced, minus while we waited for the first attraction, it made me feel better than the crammed lines of Insanity Farms. 

Overall

I am still wary to tell people to go to this one. Because while Psycho Path handled things significantly better than Insanity Farms, there was room for improvement. I would say this haunt really depends on your comfort level and your willingness to be alert and ask for distance when needed. 

Other Unvisited Haunts

So there are two other fairly popular Tulsa haunts I did not visit: Nightmare and Hex House. Nightmare decided to not open its doors for the 2020 season, an understandable decision, so obviously, I did not attend. Hex house, on the other hand, is still at full operation.

Here is a quick link to how Hex House is handling COVID, and while it is very similar to Psychopath (masks required, distancing, etc.), there was one huge downside to the experience that deterred me from visiting: they are still touching their guests. Many Tulsans know the allure of Hex House is its promise that upon entering, guests WILL be touched by the actors, and while that is an exciting feature, it is not the most assuring during the pandemic. 

The Real Question

Is 2020 fit for haunted attractions? This answer is subjective, but for me, I would say no. It is not. As much as this revelation breaks my heart, I spent more time being uncomfortable than actually enjoying the thrill of the scares. Even though most of these places promised safety, it was not always met to their proposed standards, and for that reason, it is hard to trust any attraction to do everything they promised. My suggestion is to just stay home, bake some spooky Pinterest-inspired treats, and watch a good fall movie. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s