I’m not a big fan of scary things. I don’t like being afraid, so going into a haunted hotel was something that I normally wouldn’t do. However, I like being spontaneous, and I’m always up for an adventure, so I figured I should go for the experience – and what an experience it was.
Located downtown Huntington on North Jefferson Street, the haunted hotel is a prime spot for attraction. It was quick to get to, and I had no problem finding a parking spot (although parking may be limited depending on the time and day of visitation).
One you arrive and pay the $12 admission fee, you are ushered to the entrance and lined up on the stairs to enter the 13th floor. People are admitted in pairs or small groups, allowing for each person to get the full experience without catching up to other groups.
When you first walk in, you are greeted by the “receptionist” of the hotel. She calls for the bellhop to escort you to your room, and then you begin your descent through the 13th floor.
Instead of just walking through the hotel and having people jump out at you, the Haunted Hotel utilized mini-stations in each room, often incorporating an interactive element. For example, in the doctor’s lab, I had to play the role of the patient as the doctor and his nurse experimented on me. (None of the monsters are allowed to actually touch you, but they do get very close and in your face.)
The monsters and characters asked for a participant in the group to do something in multiple rooms, such as playing the organ or picking which door to open which lead to something cheesy jumping out at everyone. This was the case for most of the experience — something, or someone, would pop up out of nowhere in an attempt to scare people. Sometimes it made me jump. Other times, it just made me annoyed that there was someone screaming in my ear and following me around.
Aesthetically, the monsters and characters looked fairly realistic. The makeup was incredibly well don and made the actors look creepy and disturbing. The actors had blood stains, bullet holes, scabs, oozing bodily fluid and other “goo” covering their faces and costumes. The set was small scale and the props were minimal. It was basically what you would see in every other haunted attraction. Neither were very impressive, but for a haunted hotel in a small town like Huntington, I think the space was utilized as best as it could be. The actors played their roles well, and most were fully committed to their character.
While I wasn’t exactly “scared” during this experience, I was filled with an overall sense of anxiety and dread. I don’t like not knowing where I’m going, what’s behind me or having people invade my personal space – all of which happened throughout my time at the hotel. I also have this irrational fear of clowns, and there was an entire room dedicated to them, complete with two people in creepy clown suits, who got right in my face and blew their horns in my ears. This lead to a mini-breakdown, complete with tears right there in the clown room. (Fortunately for me, this was the last stop on the floor.) That was essentially the only part of the hotel that actually scared me.
Would I recommend making a trip to the Haunted Hotel? It depends. If you’re a thrill-seeker and looking for something that will genuinely scare you, then the 13th floor is not for you. But if you scare easily, and are looking for something to do with your friends on a Friday or Saturday night, then brace yourself for the 13th Floor
Just beware of the clowns!
Rating: 2/5 stars
Tickets are $12 for a 20 minute scare. The next available dates are Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 29-31. Visit www.hauntedhuntington.com for more information.
Chelsea Tyler is a sophomore journalism and English major. This review reflects the opinion of the author only.