Screamboat Haunted House makes ‘screamful’ return to Steamboat, promising bigger, better scares
This Halloween, be prepared to scream.
The annual Screamboat Haunted House, hosted by Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, is returning this year, and, according to its organizers, it’s bigger, better and scarier than ever.
The haunted house has been a Halloween tradition in Steamboat for the past 22 years. After taking off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff and students who work to put the event together are ready to bring it back.
Co-organizer and engineering professor Stephen Craig said that this year, CMC is enlisting the help of Ric MacNeil, who moved to Steamboat two years ago with his family and promptly began researching haunted houses in the area.
What: Screamboat Haunted House
When: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23, Oct. 29-31
Where: Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs auditorium, 1275 Crawford Ave.
Who: Children 12 and younger should be accompanied by adult
How much: $20
MacNeil has 15-plus years of experience creating semi-professional haunted houses and walk-throughs. He has met many professional prop makers and haunted house owners and has attended industry trade shows, and his knowledge focuses on animatronics and set design.
“I think a great haunted house should give you an experience where you can escape reality, if only briefly, and have some fun,” MacNeil said. “It should hopefully get your heart pumping, be a little scary, a little funny and an experience to share with friends or family. … Hopefully, we get a scream or two out of everyone.”
This year, nearly 50 CMC students and a handful of staff members worked together to get the haunted house up and running. Temporary walls are moved into the college’s auditorium to create over 15 rooms of terror for visitors to walk through — but enter at your own risk; Craig recommends that children under 12 are accompanied by a parent or adult.
Those who have traveled through the haunted rooms before will remember the spider room and the bus room, but this year, new rooms have been added, including a meat grinder room, swamp room and an operating room.
And prepare to be amazed: “The props that we’re using this year really bump us into another level,” said Craig.
Visitors will be placed in groups of ten people to travel through the haunted house and are asked to wear a mask inside at all times. Be prepared to wait in line; Craig said that in the past, on Halloween night, the line has run about an hour long, while on other nights outside of the holiday, the wait time is about 20 minutes.
The haunted house raises money for the school’s astronomy club, Sky Club, as well as the engineering club and the funds allow the students to take trips each year, which in the past have included Seattle to visit Boeing and Los Angeles, where they went to Mount Wilson and rented telescopes for the night.
In over 20 years of haunted houses, the school has sold over 13,000 tickets and raised over $100,000.
“This year feels the way it should,” Craig said. “For a while, we were all remote, which was difficult. Part of a college experience is not just teaching but connecting with our students, and this is just a huge event where everyone comes together and has a lot of fun; there’s lots of laughing and joking around. It’s a great event for both the community and the college.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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