It’s that time of the year again. Time for pumpkin patches, fall-scented candles, cozy blankets, apple cider, and scary movies.
To celebrate the spooky season, the 605 team tried a few different iconic South Dakota haunting experiences: The Haunting of Keystone and Scotland Haunted House.
Here’s what you need to know about them.
The Haunting of Keystone
The Haunting of Keystone in the Black Hills is entering its 10th season this fall.
“What sets The Haunting of Keystone apart is that we are crazy enough to do three attractions in one night,” said administrator Gideon Oakes. “We didn’t want people to have people drive out, stand in line, and then in 10-15 minutes have it be over.”
Each ticket costs $35 per person and gets people into all three attractions over the span of about two hours.
Every year, the themes of each location change, so those who have been to the event before won’t know what’s lurking in the shadows ahead of them.
The longest standing attraction is the 1899 Keystone Victorian Schoolhouse, which has been around since the first year of this event. This year’s theme is the House of Perpetual Panic.
“The schoolhouse is our most traditional haunted house experience,” explained Oakes. “It’s one of the last truly Victorian designs in the area.”
From the basement to the main level classrooms, patrons will wind through the eerie halls.
“Once the lights go out before we even touch it at all, it is genuinely creepy to be in there,” said Oakes.
Another one of the haunted attractions is the Big Thunder Gold Mine.
“Their theme is Miners: The Black Plague,” said Oakes. “If you can think of the old plague doctors and the steampunk look of those masks that they wore, that’s terrifying by itself.”
“The cool thing about the mine is that they have traditionally fogged it heavily,” said Oakes. “When you’re in a mine shaft, it doesn’t take much fog before you can’t see anything.”
Stumbling through the thick fog of the mine shaft, patrons won’t be able to anticipate what’s before them.
“It’s another dimension of fear because you can’t see three feet in front of you,” said Oakes.
The mine isn’t the only spooky experience below the earth’s surface. Rush Mountain Adventure Park’s Rushmore Cave will be transformed into the Psycho Circus this October.
“Getting scared in a building above ground is one thing, but when it’s down below ground, it adds a whole new depth to the fright,” said Oakes.
Proceeds from the event go to various charities, according to Oakes.
“In the past it’s taken 125-150 people to make this all happen. On any given night, we’ve got 80-100 people working,” said Oakes. “This is an event that truly has become a community effort. Everybody in Keystone played a role in it.”
The majority of these scare actors are volunteers.
“Most people do it for the fun of scaring,” said Oakes. “It’s about as much fun as you can legally have.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT HAUNTINGOFKEYSTONE.COM.
Scotland Haunted House
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Scotland Haunted House will be returning to spook locals and visitors alike starting in the middle of October.
This year, prepare to be scared Fridays and Saturdays from October 14 to October 29. Entrance is $20 per person or $15 with a donation of three non-perishable food or hygiene items like cans and toothpaste.
“Each room is very detailed,” said organizer Velma Sudbeck. “We have a butcher shop, we have a morgue, and we have a bottomless pit. We have a car. We usually break down the rooms and start over again. It’s different every year.”
Guests can also expect to see rooms themed after classic horror films such as Annabelle, Chuckie, and Friday the 13th.
Every year, the volunteers with the Scotland Haunted House rearrange the interior of the space, so regular guests won’t know what’s coming in the next room when they return.
Sudbeck says that in 2008, the haunted house began as a fundraiser for the local youth center.
Over the next few years, Crazy Eights Productions set up freights in a few abandoned houses before finding a new home for the fundraiser.
“In 2014, we leased a building from the city on Main Street,” said Sudbeck. “That building is the old clinic. A lot of people were born in that clinic. The building has been sitting empty for 20 years.”
Sudbeck says that the money made each year goes toward community projects such as marching band uniforms, radios for the fire department, and more.
“As a fundraiser, we have contributed over $150,000 back into our community from it,” said Sudbeck.
Every night, the haunted house has about 50 volunteers ready to pop out and freak out the guests.
“It’s where you can get a bunch of people who would really never ever have anything to do with each other and put them in one room and they all work together,” said Sudebeck. “Let’s face it. Where else can you go and put a mask on and make a fool out of yourself and no one knows who you are?”