Skeleton’s Lair reopens for its winter event

Andrew Critchelow

Skeleton’s Lair in Scottsville brought Halloween scares in the middle of winter for a rare, one-night event. The haunted house temporarily re-opened Wednesday, providing horror enthusiasts with an off-season tour of the attraction.

The event was held in conjunction with HAuNTcon, an annual trade show and convention for haunted house owners that took place in Nashville this year. HAuNTcon participants visited Skeleton’s Lair as part of a tour of haunted houses around the Nashville area. A limited number of tickets were available for the public as well.

Amy Burge, spokesperson for Skeleton’s Lair, said  the convention is a great way for haunted house owners and enthusiasts across the country to connect.

“It’s very difficult for us in the industry to get to visit other haunted houses,” Burge said. “And I know that this is something that a lot of the haunters love about this particular convention.”

HAuNTcon takes place in a new city each year. Started in 2004, the convention has also been held in cities such as Denver, Detroit and Orlando, Florida. HAuNTcon event coordinator David Pickel said  the goal of the convention is to bring the haunted house community together.

“There’s a lot of people out here that don’t even realize there is a haunted house industry,” Pickel said. “They may be doing a haunted house in their small community and maybe even doing good numbers and doing a good job with it, but they don’t even realize that there is a larger community of people who do haunted houses around the country.”

In addition to the haunted house tours, HAuNTcon 2017 features business seminars, creative workshops and a costume ball.

“People in the haunted house industry are really the best people on earth,” Pickel said. “Possibly it’s because they get all of their anxiety out by scaring the crap out of people.”

Some of the things taught during the convention include how to create realistic prop eyes, how to use fog machines effectively and a zombie teeth workshop. Despite these various haunt techniques, Pickel said  the quality of scares from a haunted house is often subjective.

“There are so many different ways to scare people,” Pickel said. “There’s probably more ways to scare people than there are people willing to be scared. So, it really comes down to what your personal preferences are.”

Skeleton’s Lair was fully operational for the one-night event with features such as the Doomsday Doll Factory, Haunted Hayride and 3D Zone. Usually operating during weekends in October and late September, Skeleton’s  Lair has rarely held events in the off-season.

“This is a chance to stand up for our peers in the industry and to show off what we’re really about,” Burge said.

The event also featured a full staff of actors, including WKU junior from Portland, Tennessee, Alexandra Hunter. Hunter, who has now acted for Skeleton’s Lair for three seasons, said  she had no difficulty getting in the Halloween spirit on a winter night.

“I love the idea of working in January,” Hunter said. “Skeleton’s Lair is the definition of a fun and exciting college job. I would honestly do it year-round.”

Acting in the Haunted Hayride section of Skeleton’s Lair, Hunter said taking part in the attraction is always a thrill.

“Every time I drive out I’m just as excited as my first time I made that drive as an 18-year-old freshman at PFT,” Hunter said.

In addition to visiting Skeleton’s Lair, HAuNTcon will also tour attractions such as Haunted Hell in Nashville, Slaughterhouse in Hermitage, Tennessee and Bloodshed in Franklin, Kentucky. Pickel said attractions like Skeleton’s Lair that open in the off-season for HAuNTcon are helping the industry grow.

“Skeleton’s Lair are a great bunch of people,” Pickel said. “They’re really doing it out of the goodness of their heart to give other haunters from around the country the opportunity to see what they do and really to show off and show them what a quality event that they have.”

 Reporter Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]