FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Lines are forming outside, as Fort Wayne haunted houses prepare to open their gates.
Hysterium Haunted Asylum owner Brett Molitor says he spends all year waiting for this season, but it still manages to sneak up on him.
Now on opening night, his monsters are ready to welcome their guests.
"It always seems like we still have a thousand things to do on opening night," Molitor said. "It takes so long to get here, and then all of a sudden it’s here. This week, we’re like, ‘I can’t believe we’re opening this week.’"
These attractions are only open a handful of weeks out of the year, but organizers say they spend months in advance planning and setting everything up ahead of opening night.
"It actually changes the moment everybody comes through this door, because I can see them out there. I’m kind of getting excited. Everything’s building. The character’s starting to flow. Then the moment they set in here, they’re mine. I get to do my thing," actor Marcus Method said.
The anticipation is high for actors like Method.
Thematic planning starts almost a year in advance, and actors begin preparing their characters in July.
Method says it’s a hectic schedule to add onto his separate full-time job, but it’s worth the effort.
"We gather this all year round. We go to trade shows during the summer and everything. And we learn new things about haunting and scaring people and what we can do to make the haunt better and give a better show for everybody that comes in," Method said.
Hysterium is eager to grow after learning how to operate through COVID-19 last year.
Molitor says actors will remain masked, and he’s hoping to limit crowds and wait times by having tickets available for cheaper online.
This year’s theme: infection.
"Through the month of October, we have a lot of fun, we make a little money, and we make a lot of memories not only for our customers but for the people that help and act," Molitor said.
He says all the time the staff spends together creates a sweet, though creepy, kind of family.
Hysterium is open Fridays and Saturdays running through the first week of November.
There are also select special event dates, including on Halloween.