“Haunt attendance is up 50% to 80%. People want to go out and do stuff."
“We are not like other haunts that people are used to because we're not a screaming in your face haunt. We're not, you know, a haunt where they degrade you and yell at you for an hour. We go on the creep factor. We want the creepiness to sink in. The kind of creepiness where you’re at home and you wonder if somebody is still following you. We play off of phobias. And Mother Nature helps us with that because nighttime is just creepy anyway, even if there wasn't all this other stuff. And so we love we love doing it. I just like scaring the crap out of people.
This is our sixth year of doing Sinister Sidney. My wife and I have been haunting since 1979. Then we decided to do our own haunt. Sinister Sidney is a half a mile long haunt, winding through big, creepy trees and going through buildings with sets that raise the hair on the back of your neck. We built most of these buildings. Over there, what's now our gazebo used to be a slaughterhouse and so, you know, we just kind of took those things and then built stuff. And here’s where I shoot the promos for my talk show, Haunt Chat Live. I interview other haunt industry actors, directors. We have a whole crew of actors who come back each year to Sinister to scare the heck out of people. It’s a tradition.
Our haunt is in our small town of Sidney, Iowa, with not many people and lots of wide-open spaces. When they started putting out the COVID guidelines for events, it was pretty simple for us. The event is outside, we don't have thousands of people coming in, and social distancing isn’t a problem. I'm not sure how it’s going to be this year, in terms of numbers, because haunt attendance is up 50% to 80%. People want to go out and do stuff. We are taking special precautions. We're adding queue lines with six foot separators and all that kind of stuff just in case we do get a whole ton of people coming in. All the actors and patrons are required to wear masks. This is an outdoor haunt, so there’s not a lot of touching anyway. We’ve trained the team to keep groups separated and all that kind of fun stuff. So we are looking at still having a good year.” -- Rev Michael, Sinister Sidney and Haunt Chat Live #Iowa