Screamboat Haunted House returns with zombies, ghosts, tech for 21st year |

Screamboat Haunted House returns with zombies, ghosts, tech for 21st year

Haunted house opens Friday, Oct. 25, for only 3 days

Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs student Will Cashmore poses with some creepy dolls as part of the Screamboat Haunted House.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — This year, the Screamboat Haunted House at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs is turning 21 and is eager to show off all its gained and learned this semester. 

“We started to tailor a different feel to it in the past year,” said haunted house organizer and engineering professor Stephen Craig. “There are fewer skits and more visual effects.” 

Craig integrates his engineering projects class into the creation of the haunted house, where the students explore ideas and techniques of engineering in a fun, hands-on way. This year, the newest features of the haunted house include work with video, lasers and the software Arduino, a fairly new open-source electronic prototyping platform that allows users to create interactive electronic objects. 

“It’s a way to program computer chips to do whatever you want,” Craig explained.

In the haunted house, the software has allowed for more flashing lights and mobilized objects, among other surprises.

“A lot of these haunted houses are all gory props, but we’re about trying to make it more artistic,” Craig said.

When discussing CMC’s engineering program with potential students, Craig describes the annual haunted house as a cornerstone of the program.

Alongside Craig and his engineering students are physics professor and the Sky Club’s faculty adviser Paul McCudden, Sky Club members, a student in the culinary program, a nontraditional student and several high school students who are taking classes at the college. Craig estimates there are 50 people helping out with various facets of Screamboat, with about 40 in acting roles within the house’s 20 rooms.

“It’s a chance for (students) to learn how to take on a big project and see it through, start to finish,” McCudden said.

If you go

What: Screamboat Haunted House
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25, 26, 31
Where: Allbright Auditorium, 3rd floor of Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs’ Academic Center, 1275 Crawford Ave. 
Cost: $15

As important as the technical skills and real-world practice students gain from their work on the haunted house is the camaraderie and teamwork that accompany the production.

“We have a lot of amazing student volunteers who show up and help out because they enjoy it, and it’s fun,” Craig said.

“It’s a chance for (everyone) to get to know each other, learn how to collaborate and come up with something that’s artistic and fun,” McCudden added. “It’s kind of like a school play.”

Screamboat’s target age group is for those in middle school and high school, Craig said.

“We’re not trying to go full-on gore,” he said, “but if our actors know (the participant is) older, they can turn it up a little bit.”

A ticket to the haunted house cost $15, with proceeds supporting future field trips for the Sky Club, ranging from Seattle to Mauna Kea, Hawaii. 

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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