Many haunted attractions open this weekend in Utah as Halloween season kicks off

Sep 15, 2023, 11:34 AM | Updated: 11:54 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Most outdoor pools recently closed and summer still lingered in the air, but Friday marked the official beginning of ‘spooky season’ with many haunted attractions in the city and around the state of Utah officially launching their Halloween shows and offerings.

On Thursday more than 100 cast and crew members gathered at Nightmare on 13th, 320 W. 1300 South, to make their final preparations for Friday’s opening.

Excitement was in the air for the actors, makeup team, and stage crew members as they loudly cheered and applauded during the team briefing.

“This is my 5th year working at the haunted house,” actor Kylar Hansen said. “I love it so much, I just keep coming back every year.”

Hansen said he loved the ability to get into character—whether as a creepy clown or some sort of ominous or evil creature—and do what he wanted while doing his best to entertain and scare visitors.

“One of my favorite things is scaring somebody so bad, they go, ‘oh!’” Hansen told KSL 5. “There’s no better feeling than that!”

Sept. 15 marked the opening date of numerous haunted attractions, from Haunted Forest in Utah County to Fear Factory  in Salt Lake City to Haunted Hollow in West Haven.

Castle of Chaos on its website noted a Sept. 8 opening in Midvale.

Asylum 49 in Tooele planned a Sept. 22 opening, according to its site.

Nightmare on 13th marketing director Phillip Wright said the Nightmare and Institute of Terror attractions featured new areas this season he hoped customers would appreciate.

“Every year is bigger and better than the year prior,” Wright said. “This year we have two new areas inside the main haunted houses—one called, ‘The Howling,’ which is werewolf and vampire themed, and then one called ‘The Possession,’ which is kind of a demonic, possessed area.”

Phillip and others who run haunted houses know very well how big of a business Halloween has become in Utah.

“Utah loves Halloween,” Wright said. “Utah is typically in the top 3, if not the number 1 state every year for overall spending and just like overall Halloween fans.”

Starting Friday, Nightmare on 13th plans to be open on Friday and Saturday nights through September before expanding hours and nights in October.

Wright said preparing for the season is a year-round process at a haunted attraction between repairs and upgrades made at the site and then with the process of hiring seasonal workers during the summer.

He said the end result is the real payoff for everyone involved.

“Seeing the screams, the smiles, the laughs of people when they come through here—it’s rewarding as it can get,” Wright said.

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Many haunted attractions open this weekend in Utah as Halloween season kicks off