Thursday, July 27, 2017 This Week's Paper

Haunted houses offer plenty of scares for fright night

T’is the week to wet ones’ trousers in the pursuits of fright. Two haunted houses in Tacoma hope to do just that, while Metro Parks holds a classic, family friendly event for the more genteel to weave in history with ghosts of long ago.


The grand daddy of local haunted houses is clearly the Pierce County Asylum haunted house at Freighthouse Square. The no-restraint fright fest has more blood and ooze than a John Carpenter movie in an effort to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis in memory of a 23-year-old haunted house actress who died last year.

“100 percent above our bills will go to the foundation,” said haunter Robin.

This year’s theme is phobias. The 14,000-square-foot scare fest has rooms for people who are scared of holidays, spiders, needles, clowns, teddy bears and creepy girls as well as a medical book of things that span 32 rooms that also includes three mazes and more than 50 actors.

“You actually have to maze your way through a dark room with bloody sheets,” Clark said.

Tickets are $13. The haunted house runs 6:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and has a family time from 3:30-7 p.m. on Sundays that is toned down from the usual scares.

More information is available on Facebook – type “Tacoma Haunted House” in the search field. Visit


Hell's Gateway along Fawcett Avenue is the first hi-tech, non-commercial haunted house in Washington State. It offers a host of scenes and props designed to gross people out and scare them to the afterlife.

All of the spooks and light flashes are timed for the ultimate scare and are controlled by movement, sound and a central computer.

This second-annual Hell's Gateway offering was built for one purpose – to entertain and scare. It teems with actors, props, technology and truly scary scenes that are more common in the deep South and Midwest than in Washington.

“Washington is way behind everyone else,” organizer Ian Johnson said.

Rather than having a specific theme that ties the whole haunted house together, the layout allows for individual rooms that will tap into the freaky parts of anyone’s phobias. There are hanging stuffed animals, ghosts and ghouls, blood and flashing lights. And of course, a parade of actors to jump out from every corner.

“We are all about mixing it up,” Johnson said. “We are all about anything that gets people scared.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. and stay open until midnight. Tickets are $15, with discounts available at Express Mark in Freighthouse Square. The house is located at 2302 Fawcett Ave. Information is available at


For something more calming, the Fort Nisqually Foundation presents its annual Bonfires, Beaver Pelts, and Bogeymen: Halloween Storytelling on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26, 7-9 p.m. at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. 

The night starts out with mild, kid-friendly stories. After an intermission for complimentary cider and cookies, children are permitted to take home any parents they don’t think can tolerate the more intense stories that follow. Some bleachers are provided for seating, but blankets, tarps, and small lawn chairs are welcome. Dress for the weather, as October nights can be as chilling as the stories.

Advance tickets $5 adults/ $3 children, at the gate $6 adults/ $4 children. This event has historically sold out of clear nights, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended. Tickets are good for either night, rain or shine.

For more information and to purchase tickets on line, visit


For thrill seekers looking for adventure outside of Tacoma, Lakewood is home to a haunted house of note. Tickets are $5 and donations of canned food will be accepted for Northwest Harvest. The scenes are spot-on and detailed to maximize the fright.

“That is just a great, great haunt.” Clark said.

Hell Mouth takes over a residential house at 8415 Lawndale Ave. S.W. and has tours from 7-10 Oct. 25, 26, 30, 31. Visit