Admission to the Winter Wonderland is only $20 in advance or at the door for adults; children only $10. There is a special promotion for friends from Orange: bring a non-perishable food item for a free children’s admission.
Orange resident Charles Rosenay, better known as the producer of Beatles festivals or as an MC/DJ in the area for many years, wears many different hats as a promoter and entrepreneur. Instead of a hat, though, it’s usually make-up or a mask he has on when he is acting as a “scaremaster” at his haunted attraction, Fright Haven.
Fright Haven, Connecticut’s largest indoor Halloween Haunted House, owned and operated by Charles F. Rosenay of Orange, re-opened its doors last year to rave reviews while raising funds for several charities. It returns for its second season with new attractions and features. Opening night is Saturday, September 23 for a six-week run through October 31. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Housed in the Stratford Square shopping plaza on 411 Barnum Avenue Cutoff across from Home Depot and next to L.A. Fitness & Ninety Nine Restaurant, with ample free parking, Fright Haven is the largest indoor haunted attraction in Connecticut. It occupies 20,000 square feet and contains several attractions under the same roof. Brand new features for Halloween 2017 include the Deadly Grounds, the Green Lagoon Swamp, the Tunnel of Terror, the Buried Alive coffin simulator ride and much more.
The property had been vacant for years, and Rosenay, along with his producers, transformed the large cavernous building – which was previously Bally’s Gym and Showcase Cinemas – into a magical haunted attraction last Halloween, attracting thousands of guests in its inaugural season. It had the distinction of being voted “Connecticut’s #1 ‘Must-See’ Attraction.” Visitors compared the experience to a theme park, or perhaps more specifically, a roller-coaster, where the scares are fun but you can return to the stable ground after the ride. At Fright Haven, all the scares are intentional, rehearsed and well-choreographed, but guests can walk out the door at any time.
A Connecticut psychologist, Dr. Mark Kirschner, who was one of Rosenay’s consultants for Fright Haven, and even developed one of the most highly regarded features, “the pit,” notes that haunted houses appeal to all ages. However, he stresses that Fright Haven intends to truly scare visitors. While there will be no age restrictions, parents should be certain that their child is mature enough to handle the intensity of the experience. Pre-teens should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. A lights-on, family-friendly day will be announced during the season.
Bobby Arel, one of the producers of Fright Haven, notes, “Due to the intensity and fear factor of Fright Haven, those with weak hearts, health conditions, young children and pregnant women are advised to enter at their own risk. We only take responsibility for future nightmares. For your own well-being, do not visit Fright Haven alone. Be sure that you are accompanied by friends, family and those you trust to keep you safe from the evils and the unknown contained within the haunted walls of this attraction.”
Fright Haven incorporates 40 to 50 volunteers every single night as actors in the haunt, and there is an ongoing casting call for “scarers of all ages.” Rosenay not only oversees every aspect of the haunt, he also one of the main “scare masters.” Many area students participate and earn their community hours, as the event benefits several schools’ fundraising campaigns, with Stratford PAL (Police Activities League) as one of the benefiting charitable association.
Halloween has been in Rosenay’s blood (no pun intended) for many years. He was a partner in the Halloween Zone on the Boston Post Road in Orange for several years, and since 1998 he has organized themed vampire vacation tours to Transylvania (Romania) known as the “Dracula Tours.”
After its Saturday night, September 23 grand season opener, Fright Haven will be open Thursday–Sunday evenings through Halloween, October 31. Tickets are only $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and there are V.I.P. skip-the-line options. All attractions are indoors so unlike outdoor haunts the attraction will be open rain or shine (the more thunder and lightning the better!) and will be completely handicapped accessible.
There are also fundraising opportunities available for schools and organizations in Orange and surrounding communities.
Additional information is available at www.frighthaven.com or by calling 203-799-FEAR.