LUBBOCK, TX- For haunted houses, “enter at your own risk” takes on a whole new meaning this year.
“Nowhere out there is completely safe, but Nightmare on 19th Street is safer than a trip to the supermarket. It’s safer than a trip to a restaurant,” Wes Nessman, co-owner of Nightmare on 19th Street, said.
At 1.24 miles long, Nessman said Nightmare is the longest continuous Halloween theme park in the world, and that gives them plenty of room to social distance. The park opens up again on Saturday, October 3, and runs through Halloween night.
But even pre-pandemic, he said Nightmare had a strict set of safety measures, so now with a few adjustments, such as mandatory masks, temperature checks at the gate, ticket sales gone online, sanitation stations and social distancing, the park is certified from Lubbock Safe.
“All actors, all patrons, all have to wear masks while in the park, and hopefully people will have fun with that and make it part of the experience of being in a haunted house,” Nessman said.
While the actors at the park may be masters of making you scream, Nessman added that they’re masters of crowd control and timing too, so moving people through attractions while keeping them six feet apart is not a problem.
But how do you still scare in the age of social distancing?
“Everybody seems to have a problem with the guys that have chainsaws. Even with social distancing, they can reach really far with a chainsaw,” Nessman said, chuckling.
And as the actors spook unsuspecting customers, they also hope to give them an escape from the real-world horrors they deal with every day.
“It’s a fantasy scare. It makes people feel more in control of their lives,” Nessman said.