Ghostly Manor: Welcome to the Manor

Ghostly Manor-Welcome to the Haunted Manor
When most people think of a great haunt, they think of either a large spooky haunted house or some scary, dark woods. If I were to tell you that a haunt was located inside a skating park, you would probably think it was either a cheap way to make some cash or a watered down scare for the whole family. Well, you’re wrong. The haunt known as Ghostly Manor takes its visitors into a unique situation that incorporates animated props and actors with a frightening setting.

Bill and Jayme Criscione are husband and wife with a love of life and scares. This is how they got involved in the haunt industry and have never looked back.

We were transferred to Sandusky, OH in 1987. Bill worked for Pillsbury and ran the grain elevator in Huron, OH. Our two children Jenae and Billy were 5 & 4 years old at the time. During the Halloween season we always dressed up and greeted the local “Trick or Treaters” in costume with spooky music in the background.

As the years progressed we gradually purchased more Halloween items and started providing some scary entertainment for our visitors. One of our early “scares” included Bill sitting near the door motionless on a bale of straw dressed up in a scary costume. As Jayme (dressed as Elvira) started passing out the candy, Bill would slowly stand. The rest was history. Needless to say we always had candy left over at the end of the night.

In the mid 90’s our Halloween show and crowd grew to the point where we started bringing people through our house. We set up our house with many props both indoors and out. All of our friends would help as actors and then we would have a Halloween party afterwards. We had 10 actors working and would put through approximately 500 people in two nights. We had a great time putting on the show but it was a lot of work setting up and tearing down each year.

In 2001 we purchased the Skate World property (4 acres & 27,000 sq ft building) both as an investment and for a location to build a permanent Haunted House. By the year 2001 we had already been purchasing many different props as well as attending the annual National Halloween Show in Chicago, Il for five years. We met many people in the industry across the U.S. and received a lot of help and ideas.

By that time we had a good idea of what was needed to open a commercial for-profit haunt. We started building Ghostly Manor inside the Skate World skating rink that summer. Ghostly Manor officially opened its’ doors in October of 2001. October 2001 was not a good time to open a Haunt due to 9/11. Because we had a good financial plan though, we were able to survive that first year even though our numbers were low.

The Ghostly Manor (GM) theme is that of an old haunted mansion. As the patrons enter GM, a door opens to the parlor. They proceed through the mansion just as it would be in an old house. The mansion contains many rooms that include a bedroom, bathroom, nursery, dining room, kitchen, den, library as well as many more. Each room in GM can scare you from at least 4 places. The scares come from places where you least expect it and the action starts as soon as the door closes behind you.

Several of the rooms have 8 different places we can get you! GM is 6000 sq ft of very high-startle, non-stop action. Many haunted houses rely primarily on actors. We go that extra step and have combined a large amount of state of the art props with the live actors. During the October Halloween season we may employ as many as 30 actors.

Almost all of the props in GM are original creations. Most of the props were designed and built in Columbus, OH by The ScareFactory. The ScareFactory is one of the largest suppliers in the U.S. to the haunted attraction industry. The ScareFactory combines the latest in high tech pneumatics with quality character design.

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