Now that Kelly and Neena Collins have said a fond farewell to their decades of involvement in the haunted-attraction industry with the sale of the ScareAtorium in Northland Plaza, Neena knows just what she wants to do with her newfound freedom.
She wants to dress in a costume and go to a Halloween party.
When the Lewis Center couple look back on careers spent frightening the heck out of as many people as possible -- from their days running Terror Park at Cooper Stadium, to launching the Midwest Haunters Convention, to having their own attractions in northwest Columbus and in two Northland locations -- they have a great deal of help.
A documentary on the haunted-attraction industry called "Scare" focuses on the work of the Collins. It is available on eBay.
Kelly Collins recalled that nine years ago, as ScareAtorium was being developed in a former Big Bear grocery store on Karl Road, friend and filmmaker Don Patterson approached him about doing a documentary.
Patterson, now retired and living in Oregon, said the documentary contains footage dating back 15 years.
"I think it's instructive," Patterson said of the film. "I think it's entertaining. I think it delves into the entrepreneurial spirit of Kelly Collins and Neena. They're very creative and talented."
Over time, Neena Collins said, Patterson's documentary about what goes into creating a haunted attraction evolved into something more.
"Don started coming to our auditions," she said.
Patterson began to pick up on how many of those who wanted to perform in a haunted attraction were social misfits, goths and others who got a kick out of scaring people and who found a family in their work at the haunted attraction, Neena Collins said.
"It's just the way we entertain," Kelly Collins said. "In the theater, when you do a good job, they stand and applaud. In the haunted-house business, if we do our job, they scream and run away."
"The unique thing about the haunt, it let these people become stars," Neena Collins said. "They were special. They were really someone."
"The documentary was designed and put together on many levels," Patterson said. "It starts out talking about how he has spent almost 40 years since he got out of the military service learning all of the aspects of haunted attractions. Then it goes into how he accumulated so much of the talent that he had, going back to Cooper Stadium's Terror Park, going through several relocations and the relationships that he maintained over the years.
"They created almost a family."
"The family aspect is what will come through as you're watching it," Kelly Collins said.
In a scene from "Scare," one of the performers talks about two people trapped in the haunted attraction and unable to find their way out.
"They were just sitting there and they all started to cry," Neena Collins said, and breaks into a giggle before adding, "I'm a terrible person."
A trailer for "Scare" can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/y7v7xsoz.
A limited number of $13 DVDs of the documentary are available at https://tinyurl.com/ydhq6aya.
Kelly and Neena Collins are traveling these days and spending time with grandchildren.
And she's probably thinking about the perfect costume to wear at Halloween.