Local haunted houses work to keep the spooky season safe

Jackson's Underworld opens for the spooky season.
Jackson's Underworld opens for the spooky season.(WILX)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 10:04 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - While trick-or-treating may be up in the air this Halloween, haunted houses are beginning to open in Mid-Michigan.

Local haunted houses say they are ready for a safe...and spooky season.

At the popular Jackson’s Underworld, a 4-story haunted house in Jackson County, the actors won’t be the only ones masked up this year.

“Remember to bring in a mask. We cant let you come in without it,” said Taylor Kuehne, the assistant manager.

From face masks on zombies....

“It kind of takes away from their make-up, but we made it work,” said Kuehne.

To jump scares from a distance....

“In a room like this, an actor would come from a different corner as a opposed to being close up,” described Jessica Hughes, the co-operations manager.

And sanitizing the spooky rooms.....

“Heavily touched surfaces have either been removed and screens that separate different rooms are being cleaned every 30 minutes," said Hughes.

These are all the new realities of opening a haunted house in 2020.

“We have spent countless hours reading through the executive orders and creating our COVID response plans, so we are able to open and operate safely,” said Hughes.

This means re-imagining their scares and spooky spots.

“We definitely have put in a lot more animatronics this year to fill some of those spaces,” said Hughes. “I would say we still have the same amount of actors on staff, but they are spread out.”

Guests will also be spread out more this year....while waiting in line and while walking through the house.

“We have three minute spacing, so they will keep going and three minutes later we will send another group in. That way people don’t catch up with another group,” explained Kuehne.

Jackson’s Underworld has been open for the past two weeks. Staff says they are surprised by the overwhelming response.

“The community seems to be ready to participate in things, but safely,” said Hughes. “We are monitoring our numbers and tickets are being sold online so we can follow capacity guidelines.”

The Jackson County Health Department says keeping capacity low is key-especially as Halloween attractions get more popular as the holiday approaches.

“Places like these...while they may seem large, wearing the mask, keeping the 6 feet, keeping the crowds out of those buildings are the key pieces there,” said Rashmi Travis, the Jackson County Health Officer.

Jackson’s Underworld says it would work with the health department and follow recommendations if a guest or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

The Health Department adds that when going to attractions like this, it’s important to be mindful of who you go with. They say that even if you go with friends or others outside your household, you should try to keep your distance.

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