With Halloween just around the corner, teenagers are flooding the lines of the various haunted attractions across the Triad area. Students willingly wait in line for hours to be surrounded by over 100 masked figures, whose sole job is to scare them as much as possible.
“It took my friends and me over an hour and a half just to get a parking spot at Spookywoods, and that didn’t even include the wait time to buy the tickets or to enter the actual attraction itself,” junior Linden Fisher said. “I don’t know what it is that makes me come back each year, but it’s always worth it in the end.”
Not many people realize just how much work is put into the haunted attractions. In particular, Woods of Terror is a haunt created by Eddie McLaurin in 1991 to earn some extra money with his friends.
After visiting the Transworld Halloween conference in Chicago, McLaurin decided that he wanted to “do Halloween” for a living. Today, 25 years later, Woods of Terror has been rated one of the best haunts in the country by MSN.com, and was rated by Buzzfeed as one of the 19 most insane haunted houses.
McLaurin claims that this year has been the best show in Woods of Terror’s history. The actors have extremely high energy, and each of the 13 parts of the haunt are highly detailed and well put together. McLaurin will work for hours a day to make sure that each part of the haunt is just right to ensure that his attractions are better than those of his rivals. Some parts of the haunted house take nearly half a year to assemble and perfect.
“We try to keep (Woods of Terror) fresh,” McLaurin said. “We do it good, we do it right, and we do it better than Spookywoods.”
Taking care of Woods of Terror and ensuring that it be the best quality experience possible is no easy task for McLaurin. Already, he has planned out 70 percent of the set up for next year’s haunted house, but there’s more to his job than the money.
“It’s been a tough year,” McLaurin said. “The county tried to shut me down and I had to finance everything I own to open this year. It’s not the money I do it for, it’s the kids.”
Sophomore Matthew Taylor drove to Greensboro with a group of friends to experience Woods of Terror, and he claims that it was much scarier than he expected.
“It was an adrenaline rush the whole time. It was just madness,” Taylor said.
McLaurin expects 30,000 visitors to Woods of Terror this Halloween season.
“To see the kids reactions, to see the people’s reactions, that’s what keeps me coming back,” McLaurin said.
Photos provided by Eliza Carlton, Megan Curling and Richard Spangler.