Heaping helping of haunts this Halloween

A look into some of this October’s haunted events in New Ulm

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau “The Witch’s Parlor” is just one of three rooms SSTC will present for Scaritagefest.

NEW ULM — October might be known for its cool breeze, falling leaves and playoff baseball, but it’s also famous for its month-long slate of movies, stories and activities of haunts, scares and things that go bump in the night.

For those in the New Ulm area this month, the second half of October will present several opportunities to get out and enjoy a good scare with friends and family as State Street Theater Co. (SSTC), New Ulm Nightmares each show off its own festivities of fear.


For SSTC, Scaritagefest returns to New Ulm this year and with a new twist that will surely leave an impression. This year, “Locked and Lost” means exactly what it sounds like: there will be a chance to be locked inside a room, lost in a haunted maze or both, depending upon how brave one is.

This year, three new escape rooms will be ready for the brave souls who step inside SSTC. The first two rooms are titled “The Witch’s Parlor”, and “Dr. Frankenstein’s Library”. These rooms will be more family-geared and kid-friendly. Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult to SSTC.

Staff photos by Travis Rosenau Come into the New Ulm Nightmares’ sanitorium cellar for more fun and surprises.

Finally, a more advanced room that is only for ages 16 on up is a little bit more mature. It is titled “The Serial Killer’s Lockup.” People who choose this room will start out handcuffed and blindfolded.

So before escaping the room, one will have to escape the conundrum of being cuffed and blindfolded first. Identification will be required for entry into this room.

Each room is a half hour long with 4-8 people being able to complete the room.

Jennifer Deutz, the designer and executer of the escape rooms, said that this will be a great chance to meet new people and also a good team-building experience.

“I’m a big escape room aficionado myself, I’ve done several,” Deutz said. “They’re very popular and it helps people to kind of put their minds together to try something new. I think they’re so popular because they’re really good at team-building exercises or family fun. You have to work together, it’s not just a haunted house to walk through, get scared, it’s something a little different.”

Staff photos by Travis Rosenau Above: A look at Scaritagefest’s escape room titled “Dr. Frankenstein’s Library”. First right: A sneak peak at the 3rd annual Halls of Horrors, which is open and free to the public on 1011 Lower Wallachei Lane in New Ulm.

Deutz said that when the idea of escape rooms came up on the board, she was happy to take on the challenge. Deutz has had past experience designing several escape rooms when she worked in the Twin Cities for a before-and-after school care program.

The haunted door maze returns this year, a popular event that began last year and costs just $5 per person at the door.

The escape rooms and maze both begin on Oct. 19 and run from 7 to 10 p.m. After that, Oct. 20, 26, 27, 30 and 31 will also be dates when the escape rooms and maze will be up and operating. There are four times per night for the escape rooms and each group booked must be there 15 minutes before their scheduled time in order to receive instructions. There will be a 45-minute block total for each group, with 15 minutes of pre-room instruction and 30 minutes of in-room activity.

The escape rooms cost $12.50 per person, per room. There will also be a college night this year on Tuesday, Oct. 30. with tickets priced at $10 per student with student ID.

All escape rooms must be booked and paid for online before the events. Tickets can be purchased by heading over to www.statestreetnewulm.org, so make sure to scoop up tickets before they sell out. Check out State Street Theater Co. on Facebook for more information.


This year, New Ulm Nightmares will take its show on the road from Turner Hall to a new location downtown between the American Legion and The Backerei on 21 S. Minnesota Street in New Ulm.

The fourth annual event is recommended for ages 13 and older with children 10 and under being required to have an adult with them. This sanitorium will not be for the faint of heart and it’s highly recommended that one brings someone to hold on to or hide behind.

Doug Hughes, brains behind New Ulm Nightmares, said that this haunted house should be scary enough without having to rely on blood or gore.

“It’s pretty scary, but it’s not bloody-gory scary,” Hughes said. “There might be a few scenes that way but it’s more of an entire theme to feel like you’re immersed in a theater like a movie … you literally go through the whole building. It’s not just like we have witches here and ghosts there.”

Staff photos by Travis Rosenau Above, first to left: More looks inside of New Ulm Nightmares Haunted House: The Sanitorium. See what the mad scientist is up to, but we warned of imminent frights that await.

As one walks through, they will walk by rotting walls on their way past offices, bathrooms, rec rooms and experiment rooms, just to name a few rooms. Dean Gulden is the master constructor behind all of the haunted house’s walls and rooms, while Andy Miller is the man behind the lights and sound.

Elizabeth Anselmo is also helping with set design, while the building space for the sanitorium was donated by Craig Dale and Missy.

Hughes will have family, friends and also his past and present Turner Hall gymnastics team members from The Dynamites helping him for this event.

Admission is cash only and $8 for regular entry, $15 for a fast pass and $3 for the kids tour. The Sanitorium is open Oct. 19-20 from 7 p.m.- 11 p.m., Oct. 26-27 from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. and Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. On Oct. 27 from 10 p.m.-midnight, lights will go out for a blackout scare. The kids tour is on Oct. 31 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. with lights on, where kids will be able to see what goes on behind the scenes with parents so they can prepare themselves for more scares down the road.

Hughes assures that this local haunted house will surely be fun and worth the time and money.

“It’s definitely worth the money to come down,” Hughes said. “You don’t have to drive to the cities or somewhere to Mankato to go to a haunted house. It’s right here in town, keep it local. The big thing is, when I was a kid, we went out on Halloween all night trick-or-treating all over, all throughout town. So I want to have something that’s safe for everybody, so that they can come and enjoy it and celebrate Halloween again like when we were kids.”

Some of the proceeds will benefit the non-profit Turner Hall Gymnastics Programs.

For more information, see newulmnightmares.com or visit the YouTube page at New Ulm Nightmares 2018.


Also in New Ulm this year will be the third annual Halls of Horror Haunted House, which is free for all ages. Kyle Goblirsch and Caleb Kirchberg are operating this spooky haunted house on 1011 Lower Wallachei Lane and there will be ample opportunity to check it out. The two have worked on the haunted house since this past July.

The haunted house will be open to the public from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. on Oct. 26, 27 and 31. Check out the official trailer for Halls of Horror Haunted House: The Backwoods Institution on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEmLe01AOb0&feature=youtu.be or type “Halls of Horror New Ulm” into the search bar on YouTube to find the video.