Dublin Villager

Scary extras come from actors at Scare-a-torium

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Kelly Collins operates the Scare-a-torium, 6765 Dublin Village Center. The seasonal attraction will be open for its second year in Dublin through Nov. 3.
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The Scare-a-torium opened for its second season in Dublin last week, with 3D added to its lineup of frights.

The haunted attraction moved from the Northland area of Columbus to 6765 Dublin Center Drive last year and opened for its second Halloween season in Dublin Sept. 28.

Because the scenes were left up in the 31,000-square-foot space in Dublin Village Center, owner Kelly Collins said improvements were made throughout the year.

"Over the winter months and in the spring, we had time to go back and add decorations," he said. "We changed 17 scenes."

Some of the props used throughout the scenes of cemeteries, hospitals, funeral homes and funhouses come from the actors that pop out from corners for a scare.

"About five actors that work for us were 'home haunters,' " Collins said.

Josh Dingledy, of Marysville, said he started a haunted house when he lived in Hilliard and moved it to his new home. "It all started with my grandpa," he said. "He did a big Frankenstein thing. I started having one every Halloween. I like having fun with it."

After a while, the routine of annually putting up decorations, taking them down and storing them began to wear on Dingledy. He started working at the Scare-a-torium last year and is still bringing Collins items from his personal Halloween storage.

"A lot of things we get from people like Josh," Collins said. "They don't want to throw it away. They want to give it to people who will appreciate it."

The Scare-a-torium has a large storage area packed with props. At the end of each weekend, some extra items are added to scenes.

"We take notes and then go back and see what we can add," Collins said. "That's how we grow."

Along with hanging body bags and some other new scares, 3D effects were added to the Rip Stinkers Funhouse portion of the attraction.

Ultraviolet paint viewed with 3D glasses "makes some colors move forward and backward," Collins said. "3D in haunted houses has been around for years, but it's very expensive."

Luckily, Collins' wife, Neena, ran into a 3D artist well known in the haunted attraction world while having a cigarette break at a convention. "They started talking," Collins said, adding that they found out the artist's mother lives in Columbus. When he came for a visit, he stopped by the Scare-a-torium and worked.

"Whenever our new actors walk through it, they say, 'That's awesome,' " Collins said.

If the Scare-a-torium proves to be too scary, guests don't have to run away screaming. Collins said customers are offered flashlight tours that are led by guides and lack the pop-out scares that come from the 55 to 60 actors used each night. The flashlight tours come at no extra charge and can be added in the middle of the experience.

"We have 150 to 300 people per night that leave," he said. "They just cannot go on."

The Scare-a-torium also offers lights-on tours from 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays. No actors are present and people can tour the attraction in the light.

A small costume shop was added this year, selling a few costumes and high-quality makeup. A party room also is offered for $125 from 8 to 10 p.m. Renters must bring their own food and beverages, but when they're ready, they can jump to the front of the line to tour the haunted attraction.

The Scare-a-torium is open 7:30-midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 7:30-10 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 3.

For more information, look online at columbus-hauntedhouse.com.

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