In Germany Halloween is not big although it gains more and more popularity, but we still do not really have something like haunted houses. So I was extra curious and excited when I made it to the Scarehouse with a couple of friends although it was a bit suspicious that when the discussion came up who would lead our little group into the dark house (you walk behind each other with the hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of you) and I volunteered everybody else seemed to be relieved. Probably I was a bit naive? Who knows :)
This discussion took btw place in one of the school busses that functions as a shuttle between the parking lot of the Pittsburgh Zoo and the Scarehouse. The shuttle goes every few minutes and it is very convenient. The zoo is easy to find and there is absolutely no parking space shortage. It is recommended to be 30 min before the booked tour at the zoo.
We had prepaid our tickets and that is what I would recommend to make sure that you can be on the tour (there are time slots) you had in mind and avoid a longer waiting time especially at the weekends and close to Halloween.
But even if you need to wait it is not a bad thing (as long as the Pittsburgh weather plays along) because outside already a couple of Scarehouse characters are waiting for you: Princess Holly, the Scarehouse Bunny & Mickey
The famous trio keeps the line entertained with all kind of things from quirky dance performances to all kind of interaction with the visitors. I have the biggest of respect for the actors who stay in role for hours and jump from improvisation to improvisation depending on the visitor reactions. The three of them are absolutely awesome and hanging out in front of the Scarehouse watching and being part of the show was actually one of my highlights of the night.
Since my friends know Scarehouse owner Scott Simmons for a long time already we had the chance to chat a bit and hear about the recent Scarehouse season and learn a few details about the newest attraction - the basement!
The most important information really is: You sign the waiver for a reason - read it! They are not kidding when they say "You will be touched. You will be restrained. You will be scared out of your mind." The "no touching" rule that is one of the basics in the regular haunts is definitely off here. The experience is obviously much more intense and physical. We opted out. I way playing with the thought to go, but the restrain thing kept me out of it for now. Next year maybe.
When we actually went into the Scarehouse I was sticking to my word and went ahead into the dark and I almost never got lost. Almost :D ... but getting a bit lost is part of the fun!
I will not tell you about the haunts in detail. All you should / can know in advance of your visit you can find here on the Scarehouse website.
All I will tell you is, that I enjoyed it a lot, that a few bits of the fun were challenging on some levels, some were funny including the screams and curses of my group and other visitors somewhere out there in the dark and that I LOVED the passion for the detail the Scarehouse crew put into the house! If I had enough time I would totally go a 2nd time, let somebody else lead the group and enjoy having the chance to even more intensly look around in the dim light to properly enjoy all the great stuff and the many amazing Pittsburgh references that are part of the haunts.
If you are in the Pittsburgh area make sure you book a tour and embrace the scary fun before it is too late ... until next year!