Get ready for Fright in the Night

Local haunted houses will provide frightful delight this Halloween season

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
Visitors to the State Street Theater’s “ScaritageFest” will be greeted by this spooky figure.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Visitors to the State Street Theater’s “ScaritageFest” will be greeted by this spooky figure.

NEW ULM — Halloween is right around the corner and everyone is entitled to one good scare during the holiday. Fortunately, there is no haunted house shortage in New Ulm.

State Street is the most popular haunt for ghouls and goblins during Halloween. Both State Street Theater and Turner Hall are hosting haunted houses within a few blocks of each other. The hope is haunted house enthusiasts will visit one and then check out the other.

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The State Street Theater haunted house is operating under the ScaritageFest banner. Instead of a single haunted house the theater will host two spook-filled attraction. First there is the Haunted Theater and later the Haunted Door Maze.

Vickie Kuehn is the director for the two attractions. Kuehn and about 30 volunteers have been working since August to setup the haunted house and all its scares. This is an improvement since last year.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
Turner Hall will be dressing up as an Orphanage this Halloween.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Turner Hall will be dressing up as an Orphanage this Halloween.

In 2016, the theater was unable to hold a haunted house on State Street since the power was off. They relocated to the Marktplatz Mall, which limited space and access to the site. With complete access to the theater, Kuehn and her team could begin their terrifying work a month earlier.

This is the 9th haunted house Kuehn has put together and the third for State Street Theater. For Kuehn the trick is to not hold back and go for the best scare possible, even if that means sending in the clowns.

Last year a string of scary clown sightings around the country created controversy, in which many communities attempted to restrict clown activity around Halloween. The concern over clowns is still high since the new film “It” came out, but Kuehn ignored the clown protests in 2016 and she is ignoring it this year too.

“We have clowns whether they like it or not,” Kuehn said.

In addition to clowns, visitors will need to pass by several iconic horror monster ranging from Dracula to Chucky as well as disturbing tableaus like the haunted forest and creepy morgue. State Street will also take advantage of local urban legends about an evil janitor and haunted cemetery statue.

File Photo
The Middle School Youth Council and Students Performing On Tough Situations (SPOTS) volunteers pose after the 2016 Haunted House. Many of the same students have returned for the 2017 Haunted House.

File Photo The Middle School Youth Council and Students Performing On Tough Situations (SPOTS) volunteers pose after the 2016 Haunted House. Many of the same students have returned for the 2017 Haunted House.

In another section of the theater visitors can try their luck at the Haunted Door Maze. A full labyrinth has been constructed in the theater. Visitors will have to pick the correct series of doors to escape the maze. Those that pick the wrong door will face unspeakable terror.

The State Street haunted house runs two weekends starting on Friday, Oct. 20 and running through Oct. 28 with a final opening on Halloween night (Tuesday, Oct. 31). The hours of operation are 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for each attraction.

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A few blocks down, Turner Hall is premiering its Haunted Orphanage. Doug Hughes, creator of the Haunted Orphanage, is tight lipped about what visitors will see, but gave assurance it would feature all new scares. Hughes has directed a short video preview that is available at the Turner Hall website.

The story goes that Turner Hall previously ran an orphanage, despite no one ever seeing children on the grounds. The mysterious director of the Orphanage is allowing visitors a chance to tour the facility and see for themselves what has been happening.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
Kyle Goblirsch poses in full costume outside his haunted house located in the family garage.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Kyle Goblirsch poses in full costume outside his haunted house located in the family garage.

This is the third annual haunted attraction at Turner Hall. The Haunted Orphanage will served as a fundraisers for the Dynamites Gymnastic Organization. All proceeds go to the gymnastic club. Each year Hughes chooses a new theme. He chose orphanage his year because most of his volunteers were children involved with the gymnastic group.

Hughes has been working on constructing props for the Orphanage since the summer with assistance from Dean Gulden, Andy Miller, Tim Storms and Elizabeth Anselmo and other family members along with the gymnasts and their families.

“I just want people to have fun, dress up, hand out candy, go to local haunts and not lose the Halloween fun like I had as a kid,” Hughes said.

Hughes gave assurances the Haunted Orphanage was creepy, but not gory.

“We want them scared in the house and laughing after,” he said.

Hughes recommends visitors be 13 years or older to enter the Haunted Orphanage alone. Kids 10 and younger must be accompanied by a parent.

The Haunted Orphanage is open from 6 p.m. to midnight, Friday Oct. 27, 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday Oct. 28 and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Halloween night. Admission to the Orphanage is $5.

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The Youth Council and SPOTS program of Healthy Communities Healthy Youth of Brown County will be hosting their own Haunted House at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 125. S. Broadway. Unlike the State Street haunted houses, this one is aiming for elementary age kids in second and third grade. The volunteers for the haunted house are mostly middle school and high school age students. Nick Schultz, student and veteran volunteer for haunted houses, said the goal was not to scare little kids.

“Anyone could do that,” he said. “We want them to have fun. We don’t want anyone crying when they leave.”

With that in mind, there will be no creepy clowns at this haunted house, but there might be scary things from the “Goosebumps” series.

The cost of admission is $1 or a canned good for the Food Shelf. This haunted house is open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28.

Not all haunted houses are backed by an organization. Some are built by dedicated individuals and families. Kyle Goblirsch has spend the better part of last four to five months building a haunted house in his parent’s garage.

Goblirsch is in high school, but he already has years of experience building haunted houses. Last year he created a smaller scale haunted house and managed 200 visitors. He’s hoping to do better this year.

Utilizing dozens of props, many of which are home-made, Goblirsch and his friends have created an impressive garage of terror filled with just about every kind of nightmare scenario a person can manage. Goblirsch has amassed many terrifying items over the years and whatever he couldn’t find he built from scraps he found. Goblirsch has perfected his scare-craft from years of attending haunted houses and using Youtube videos for inspiration.

Goblirsch is pro-scary clown. He is currently working on an evil Jack-in-the -Box prop. It should be ready for opening night.

Goblirsch haunted garage opens from 6:30 to 9: 30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 and Halloween night and will be located at 1011 Lower Lane.

There are countless other Halloween events scheduled throughout the next few weeks. The good news is New Ulm residents do not have to choose. None of the haunted houses are in direct competition with each other. Visitors are encouraged to attend the other attractions in and around New Ulm to get in the Halloween spirit.

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