“The Haunted Aud was an idea that the theater class of 2009 had, the idea that we take the Auditorium at MSU and, for a weekend, transform it into a giant haunted house,” said Tim Smela, one of the organizers of this year’s gruesome goings-on. “We are now entering our third year of the project, and it has grown and evolved exponentially in that short time. The main goal of the Haunted Aud is to raise money for our student fund-raising group, Society for Performers and Arts Managers, which sends the senior class to a professional showcase every year.”
The Haunted Aud provides SPAM with a major fund-raising opportunity. “But it is no cakewalk,” Smela insists. “We began planning this year’s Haunted Aud last April, working all summer to research and gather volunteers. Our concept this year is what we like to call ‘The Psychology of Fear.’ We spent most of the summer researching what scares people, and tried to incorporate this research into our design.
“Essentially, we have transformed the auditorium into a giant psychiatric ward, where patrons ‘volunteer’ to take part in the experiments inside. As guests walk through the facility, they will be faced with their worst fears and deepest worries.”
Enter the Aud on the side of the building facing Farm Lane — and runs from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29, with final performances from 8 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30. General admission is $10, and tickets are available at the door.
If you’re looking for a few more thrills this weekend, here are a few other attractions to consider.
BestMaze Corn Maze
Address: 3803 Noble Road Williamston
Hours: 6-10 p.m. Friday; 1-10 p.m. Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday
Open Until: Oct. 30
Prices: $7 per person, Family discounts: three for $20, four for $25, five for $30, Age 5 and under are free.
Features: For the first time in 11 years, the corn maze has a pirate theme -— and a curse on the treasure. “Disturb it and you are cursed to be tossed around in the green sea lost for eternity,” we are warned. There are four towers overlooking the maze, in case help is needed. Those who have small children can bypass harder sections of the maze and enjoy fresh cider and donuts at the end.
The Country Mill
Address: 4648 Otto Road, Charlotte
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. From Nov. 1 to Thanksgiving: 9 a.m.-6 p.m Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Haunted Cider Mill $7; Haunted House for Kids $2
Features: The Country Mill offers a few different spooky Halloween events, such as the Haunted Cider Mill and the Haunted House for kids. The Haunted Cider Mill is held in Orchard Barn.
The Haunted House for Kids is an indoor, family-friendly inflatable play-area.
Shawhaven Haunted Farm
Address: 1826 Rolfe. Rd, Mason
Hours: Tickets sold from 7-10 p.m. Thursday, and 7-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; events run until last person leaves.
Open: Oct. 27-29
Price: $10 per attraction, or $20 for all three attractions; $5 corn maze; $5 for The Last Ride; 3 and under are free.
Features: The farm features several haunted attractions: Wagons of Fear, Dead Maze and Samara’s Boarding House, a grave simulator called The Last Ride and a corn maze. All the events are aimed at families.
“We don’t get into a lot of blood and guts, like some of the others,” said Doug Shaw, who has been running the farm with his wife for six years. They have had children as young as 7 go through without a problem, he said.