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Halloween To Do: Wells Township Haunted House

October 15, 2011
By KIM LOCCISANO - Staff Writer ( , Times Leader

BRILLIANT-In the mood for some entertainment of the sort likely to get your personal fright meter going? A look around the local area will likely be all the reminder needed in order to find enough of a variety of venues and intensity levels to provide the perfect match for just about everyone in the household.

If you are not sure which of the local area's seasonal scare fare selections will be the best fit, a little easy-to-do advance planning will head your troops in the right direction without getting them perpetually lost in a fog of frustration.

Visitors to the now internationally known Wells Township Haunted House found in the northern end of the small community of Brilliant, at 101 Market Street, know they will getting much more than their $12 admission fee's worth when it comes to enjoying a seasonal scare unlike virtually anything else to be found from Columbus to Pittsburgh.

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Visitors to the Wells Township Haunted House in Brilliant can expect the unexpected during a tour. The haunted house is open every Friday and Saturday during the month of October.

This venue is not for the faint of heart, and yes, the building is haunted-and was-long before the haunted house project came to reside year round at its current site.

Several paranormal investigations have been conducted in the building-most for television-and it is believed, through documentation, a spiritual entity resides there.

The site in Brilliant is absolutely the perfect haunted house experience for guests who thoroughly love being misdirected, disoriented, caught off guard, and getting scared so badly they scream like a little girl.

Wells Township Haunted House patrons can count on experiencing the unexpected when they least expect it while experiencing the tour through the house, as well as while waiting outside to take the tour-or while attempting to regain their composure afterward.

Fear of the unknown is an emotion which is virtually palpable for most visitors who successfully navigate the complexities of this always popular "old school style" haunt, according to project founder and director Capt. Sean Norman of the Wells Township Police Department.

It is all the more enjoyable when customers come with a group of friends, as tours are moved through the haunted building's maze of rooms in groups. Each group moves under the watchful eyes of a guide, someone dedicated to making sure the headcount of guests at the exit door is the same as when the visitor group stepped into the first of the house's more than 20 rooms some 30 minutes before.

Guests to the haunted house expecting to see a remake of some recently released haunted house movie will be in for a disappointment, as every room's extremely intense scenario is original and unique to this venue.

Bringing the annual creation to life in a new form is a measure accomplished over much more than simply investing a few afternoons time, which is in and of itself a life lesson shared with the teen volunteers.

Several guided tour groups are taken through the haunted house at the same time, and are staggered so as not to create any problems with bottlenecking. This staggered tour schedule provides time for visitors to enjoy meeting other guests relaxing on the grounds, and catching up with old friends not seen since the previous season.

The organizational structure of the haunted house was purposefully designed to make participation in the massive volunteer driven project something inviting to local teens and to select adults interested in stepping up to mentoring and in acting as role models.

Local school districts, particularly the Buckeye Local School District, have established relationships with key project leaders in order to recognize volunteer work efforts made by students-efforts which often help meet community service requirements for graduation in the state. Sponsorship commitments are needed yearly, with recognition of supporters done in a large, and highly visible way-putting them directly in front of site visitors as the project continues to grow in scope and in its technical and theatrical sophistication. There is absolutely nothing canned about the effort of a small army of dedicated and talented volunteers numbering more than 130 people-teens 14 and older and adults-in the annual haunted house project.

The site where customers gather outside the building now have ready access to picnic style seating, the ticket window and the concession stand and gift shop.

Expanding to meet the growing customer base of the Wells Township Haunted House, there have been several additions to accessing tickets and other information about the annual haunted house through social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

The Wells Township Haunted House is open for tours from 7 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. each Friday and Saturday in October.

To reach Capt. Norman directly, call 740-598-9604. He can also be reached at

If you are interested in something decidedly more tame in structure than the Wells Township entity, look toward Oglebay Park and the annual Boo at the Zoo program.

This family style and youngster oriented experience is staged across the zoo grounds, with stations mapped out for event participants, with sweet rewards of various types awaiting as reward for their efforts.

Its founding close to 30 years ago rested on the idea of wanting to provide parents a safe place to bring their children where they could still look forward to enjoying Halloween traditions involving fun, friends and treats.

Boo at the Zoo is being held at the Good Zoo in Oglebay Park from 6-9 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 15-16, 21-23, and 28-30. The cost of admission for members is $5.25 and $6.50 for non-members.

Visitors are invited to wear their favorite Halloween costume when visiting the zoo for this popular annual event.

It is not necessary to bring candy collection bags to the event, as they will be provided through the program.

Candy collection bags will be distributed at the door. There are nine treat stations for guests to visit throughout the zoo.

The annual Halloween-themed train ride is again going to be available for those visitors looking for a special spooky treat. Tickets can be purchased at the zoo's train station.

For more details about the annual event, contact the Good Zoo at 304-243-4100.



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