BLOOD curdling screams of terror reverberated through the dark maze of tunnels and corridors, themed rooms and scares as thousands made their way through this year’s House of Horrors.
Living up to its petrifying reputation, those who were brave enough to enter were left hyperventilating, in tears or completely shaken by the experience. One unfortunate soul briefly fainted when approached by gruesome zombies along the way.
The 11th year of Ireland’s premier Halloween attraction was held at Unit 43 in the Waterford Business Park, featuring 10,000 square feet of scares, the ‘Horror Express’, darkened corridors, themed rooms, plenty of surprises and not so friendly faces.
Brendan Halligan of Children’s Group Link said that while it’s expected that its €20,000 fundraising goal has been realised, this year’s event proved the most petrifying yet.
“We had several satisfied customers as I like to call them,” said Brendan. “There was plenty of screaming, hyperventilating and one girl fainted with the zombies approached her. She was fine shortly after. There was at least 20 from each night who didn’t make it past the first few rooms,” Brendan explained.
He added: “Among the highlights was the Horror Express train, which everyone loves. The Demon’s Den worked really well with the animatronic demon. We had a barn yard that led to a swamp and two clown areas. The zombies were brilliant. It was absolutely terrifying.”
Three out of six nights sold out and Brendan said that they could have sold an additional 500 tickets had the attraction stayed open for Halloween, but it wouldn’t have been fair on the huge body of committed volunteers.
“Demand exceeded what we could provide,” he said. “Groups spent 20 to 30 minutes inside and we were sending groups of nine in at intervals of three to four minutes. On a busy night 500 to 550 entered the House of Horrors from 6.30pm to 11pm. We are going 11 years now. It’s hard to reinvent it but people keep coming back each year.” Huge numbers also attended the no scare afternoons.
“In terms of the event and the event offering it probably was the best one to date,” he said.
Brendan praised the cast of 125, 70 of whom were between the ages of 14 and 20. Any given night, 90 of the cast got into character to deliver their best performance to those who came their way. Meanwhile, 34 adults also gave their time to oversee the proceedings.
Without the financial support from business and corporate sponsors, Brendan said it wouldn’t be possible to host the annual event due to the rising insurance and production costs. He also thanked the media, including the Waterford News & Star, for their support.