SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Haunted Houses may not seem socially-distant friendly in the age of COVID-19, but at least one local venue is finding a new way to bring the thrills.
Screams, thrills and chills are taking a different tone for thrill-seekers this Halloween season.
“Every year I go to about 30-40 haunts. This year I’m down to about twelve,” said Susan Shinkai.
In Rancho Cordova, Heartstoppers is ditching haunted house scenes and hosting a drive-thru zombie laser tag. While popular Sacramento haunted house Scream Park is inviting Halloween fans this year to what they call a Museum of Horrors.
“I’m glad we get to go, I’m sure it’s going to be a little different than normal,” explained Afton Papesh.
Papesh came to the Museum of Horrors to enjoy some Halloween fun Wednesday night. Museums are allowed to be open in Sacramento County but theme parks like haunted houses are not under current health orders.
“I kind of think everyone is finding loopholes right now just to try to stay open and operate,” Papesh said.
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Susan Shinkai drove two hours away in Sonora to come to the haunted museum.
“It is sort of is a museum. That’s really what I want to see. I want to see the showmanship of the sets, the lighting and the sound,” she explained.
Safety measures at the Museum of Horrors include required face coverings, limited capacity, physical distancing and contactless enhancements. That means no creepy characters sneaking up to scare you. Instead of actors, automated sensors with voice boxes deliver a storyline as people walk through several different exhibits, according to an employee.
“I’m not sure they are jumping out at us for this so that is going to be kind of disappointing,” one patron said.
But are these changes enough? In a statement, county public information officer Brenda Bongiorno said the county is looking into the event.
“Sacramento County will be scheduling a meeting with Scream Park this week to evaluate their operations and advise next steps,” she said.
“Halloween is on a Saturday this year so we thought it would be really lit but we can’t do anything. So we are just doing whatever we can,” Papesh said
It’s a Halloween treat, those coming for a scare hope will keep the thrill alive.
“It’s valid to say it’s not a haunted house because you’re not going to have the traditional scares,” Shinkai said.
Scream Park declined an interview, however, an employee of the company tells CBS13 they are going beyond social distancing regulations, keeping groups at least 25 feet apart. On their website, they warn customers of the potential risk of COVID-19 exposure in public places.