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It’s time to get scared: Plenty of attractions around the region will bring Halloween to life

Halloween is making a comeback. A year after the global pandemic put a damper on the scary season, this year’s Halloween is looking a lot like old times.

Well, with a twist.

“COVID necessitated a lot of changes in the way we do things,” said Randy Bates, the owner of the famous Bates Motel haunted attraction in Glen Mills. “I think it’s really changed for the better.”

The Bates Motel was able to open during the COVID fall of 2020, thanks in part to be a mostly open-aired attraction. One of the big changes instituted last year was making the Haunted Hayride a walk through the woods surrounding Arasapha Farm.

“Guests overwhelmingly enjoyed walking through the forest instead of the hayride,” Bates said. “Everybody can now see all the exhibits instead of riding through on a hayride. Plus, it is a lot scarier when you are walking through the woods.”

The Bates Motel team had some big plans to celebrate a 30th anniversary in 2020, but had to put a lot on hold.

“We didn’t find out we would actually be able to open until August,” said Bates. “We quickly put together a few new props and felt very fortunate we could open.”

This year, there are more substantial changes.

“We updated the first three rooms of the house and added a lot of new props throughout everything, so it will be a whole new experience,” Bates said.

The biggest change is in the first room of the Bates Motel house.

“When you think of a haunted house, you think of dingy, dirty rooms,” said Bates. “We totally redid the opening room into an art-deco, 1920’s hotel lobby. We have beautiful wallpaper, a marble welcome desk and it looks very bright, clean and tidy. Then the elevator opens and you get back to the grime and dirt.”



The first three rooms of the house have been redone with new props and characters.

“We are following all the safety rules and keeping things clean,” Bates said. “We are keeping groups together for a better experience.”

A few miles away at the Eastern State Penitentiary, things are going to be quite different.

Having cancelled the annual “Terror Behind the Walls” haunted prison in 2020, this year is more like a party.

The renamed “Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary” is a little less scary and filled with 15 different attractions.

“We took a year off from Halloween. It feels good to be back,” said Brett Bertolino, Eastern State Penitentiary Vice President and Director of Operations. “I think if the global pandemic had not happened, we would have done what a lot of businesses would have done and kind of continued in the direction we were going.

“We are changing a lot this year. Anytime you change that much, I think it’s a big risk and I don’t think we would have been willing to take that risk without the kind of opportunities the pandemic has afforded us. It really gave our creative team a chance to sit down and to think about how we could do things differently.”

That’s how Halloween Nights came to be. This year, visitors will be able to roam around the old prison. While most of the attractions are less scary (from S’mores making to a flashlight tour of the prison), there are a couple of opportunities to get frightened.



There is the ever-present Machine Shop with dead and undead roaming through the halls. If you dare, there is also ‘The Crypt’ where vampires roam the prison hoping to find some new friends.

“We realized we could achieve things we always wanted to do,” Bertolino said. “Giving visitors the freedom to pick-and-choose what they wanted to do. Giving visitors a chance to stop and get something to eat or drink between attractions. Giving people who don’t like scary a chance to see the the Speakeasy (in Al Capone’s Cell). We didn’t want to do what we always have done.”

While the rest of us are just starting to get into the fall, the planning here and other “haunted places” around the region has been ongoing for a couple of years.

“We are really proud of what we think is going to be a great time for everybody,” Bates said. “We are really a family friendly place and we look forward to seeing all our friends.”

Click to access 2.-The-15-Attractions.pdf

Source: Berkshire mont

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