Terror Behind Terror Park
This the story behind the haunt.
Please note that Terror Park’s last year was 2008. This is a classic interview that covers their 2006 season.
Kelly Collins, Producer/Consultant/Operator of Terror Park tells his story of how the haunt started and where it’s going.
It all started in October 1998; I was a consultant for Hallowscream at Wyandot Lake, a Six Flags Park in Columbus, Ohio. As I walked down the midway one evening I ran across a friend of mine; Ken Schnacke, General Manager from Cooper Stadium and the Columbus Clippers. They are an AAA baseball team; the “Farm team” for the New York Yankees.
Ken asked me how I was involved with Hallowscream. I explained that I was a consultant for Wyandot Lake and how I designed and operated their attraction. Ken smiled and asked me if I would consider doing something like that for the Clippers. I smiled back and told him I would consider it and stop by to see him after the season was over and we could discuss it then.
It met with Ken the following month and we walked around the stadium with Ken showing me places I didn’t even know existed at the ballpark. The stadium was built in 1932 and it’s one of the oldest stadiums still in operation. There are tunnels that run under the stadium; storage rooms, hidden passages and a cemetery on two sides of the property. Wow, what a find! After several months of negotiations we reached an agreement and finalized plans for Terror Park.
Bringing a quality haunted attraction to life at a minor league baseball stadium is a unique and unusual adventure. What makes it such an exciting place to work and visit are its customer focus, being team member friendly, fabulous facilities and interesting history! We are extremely proud of the haunt and all it has to offer during October!
We’ll be entering our eighth season at Terror Park in 2006. Our plans are a secret at the moment, but I promise you’ll be in for total terror and shook this season.
Planning and Transformation
Creating Terror Park is a huge and complex undertaking. There are generally only 3 weeks for construction, decoration and other startup activities. What may seem like a slam-up and crash bang boom operation is really a very well planned, organized and managed event.
Every year I survey the stadium to plan for construction of a different haunt layout. I devise twisted passages through the eerie underground tunnels, throughout the stadium concourse and sometimes in the bleachers, bathrooms and locker rooms. My loyal crews, of terrifically talented Monsters; often participate during the planning and creation (decorating and acting) process for certain scenes. This takes several months. By the time Terror Park opens, the actors and creators are practically bursting with anticipation and pride!
Terror Park guests may enjoy the outside pavilion, concession stands and a DJ playing music to entertain them while they are waiting in line! In addition, the enormous parking area is paved, well lighted and secure. The attraction and queue lines are sheltered. The haunt is a self-guided tour, preferably for small groups and is designed so that crowds can be strategically managed throughout at key points as needed. Regardless, there are always groups trying to sprint through! Occasionally we find a lost shoe or child. I will never understand how someone could leave their child in a scene while running away from a monster, but it happens nearly every night.
Terror Park is staffed with Clippers Crew, Sheriffs Deputies, as well as Emergency Medical Technicians. We use generally use 45-55 actors nightly with the assistance of five Zone Captains. The haunt functions as a well orchestrated production with over 75 people in and behind the scenes to ensure a quality haunt and a great experience for everyone.
Terror Park is divided into five areas, each watched by a Zone Captain. The captains work as a team and ensure that operations are continuously running safely and smoothly. They communicate with me via walkie talkies with headsets. They provide assistance to the actors for their comfort and needs (water, candy, breaks, etc.) throughout every evening. On top of all this, participants are provided a hot dinner every night when they arrive and are also fed pizza at the end of the evening!
The haunt offers pre-season design walkthroughs, orientations for team members as well as acting and makeup/SFX classes. The makeup room is wonderful: with amble supplies, running water, and clean fresh towels! The Clippers give us use of their team clubhouse, which is one of the nicest makeup rooms in the industry. A team of five makeup artists work together nightly using two airbrush systems and a wide variety of makeup techniques. In addition, a separate area is provided for the many actors specializing in doing their own makeup.
The quality of the haunt operation results in highly motivated and energetic actors nightly. At the end of the season, the Columbus Clippers host a celebration and awards party with dinner for team members. The highlight of the party is the coveted “Diaper Awards.” A dozen actors are recognized for various achievements over the season. Categories include; scariest male, scariest female, scariest scene, etc. Customer surveys and comments are used to calculate the results.
As a result of the close kinships that occur during haunting season, an Actors Group was formed a few years ago. Terror Park is the home of Feature Creatures of Central Ohio. The group meets throughout the year for classes, workshops and outings. Their focus is on fun, staying active with appearances and character development, learning and sharing techniques! This has definitely raised the overall caliber of haunters. It has also added tremendously to the cooperation required to stage 50 actors in and out of makeup and costumes within an hour.
The Tour Changes Every Year
In an effort to keep customers coming back; we want the attraction to have a different look each season. That’s probably one of the toughest challenges; making it scarier each year. Sure it would be easy to just reconstruct the scenes as they were the previous year, but we want our customers to have to find their way through our mazes on their own and to be frightened with each turn. We make modifications after each weekend; just to confuse customers who are returning with their friends.
What did you miss last year?
2005 the Season of Insanity at Cooper Stadium!
Visit Terror Park this October to enjoy thrills, chills and frightfully fun experiences! Cooper Stadium has been transformed into the ultimate haunted attraction in Columbus, Ohio this fall. It awaits you for unforgettable scary fun and frolic!
The Columbus Clippers Baseball Team has been replaced by Team Insanity! A new Clipper Ghoul Crew is overtaking the stadium ~ with a cast full of crazy, wicked and insane creatures. You’ll find an exciting range of horrific monsters lurking in the darkness; just waiting for an opportunity to lunge at you.
They’ve once again managed to channel deep under the stadium; which has been transformed into a realm of terror full of horrors! The Ghoul Crew has carved out a dungeon waiting for you with amazing mazes of madness and gauntlets of surprise and gore. You will scream with fear!
Start your trip through terror with your journey through the frightening funhouse ~ full of insane clowns and eye candy. If you survive the funhouse; then prepare to venture down to the tunnels for an evening of screams. Crawl through our hearse, then head deep underground into the dungeon. You’ll need to utilize all your senses to find your way back to ground level, but beware; creatures do exist underground that we aren’t capable of guarding you from. Armed Security teams will be available to search for lost party members, but we don’t guarantee their safe return. Many visitors have been lost; you could be next.
What’s new for 2006?
Do you really think I’m going to reveal our secrets for the upcoming season? Not a chance, you’ll have to check out our web site as we get closer to opening nights. We’ll share our theme and a few teasers about the attraction. Will there be another horrible gaggle of clowns again; you bet! Will you be subjected to nightmarish beasts and goblins? You can be assured of it!
We’re looking forward to another great season of frights at Terror Park at Cooper Stadium.
Terror Park at Cooper Stadium