Haunted houses adding safety precautions amid pandemic

Haunted houses in Minnesota are making changes to their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Haunting Experience at Zywiec’s Garden Center in Cottage Grove added new safety precautions, such as hand-washing stations and extra space for social distancing in outdoor lines.

"We had a couple extra nights of training on just how to work with the changes," said owner Bill Zywiec.

Zywiec said the Halloween attraction has been a tradition in the east metro for more than 30 years. It features a multi-level haunted house with more than 20 rooms and about 70 actors throughout the grounds.

Masks will be required for all guests and actors.

"We do have some hospital scenes, morgue scenes, where the masks will fit right in. And then I would paint over some of the masks to tie in with the rest of the makeup, just get a little creative," Zywiec said.

Zywiec said they are also trying other strategies to space out the crowds.

"We did structure it so there are discounts on some of the slower nights and that was just to spread the customers over all the different nights," Zywiec said.

He expects some nights to sell out and encouraged people to buy tickets ahead of time. You can find more information here.

Another attraction in Chaska is rebranding itself, due to COVID-19. The Abandoned Hayride is now the Abandoned Drive-Thru. Guests will be staying in their own cars for the entire experience instead of riding on a hayride together.

"We just thought packing people in a wagon might not be the best approach, so it was exciting for us to have a new challenge," said organizer Matt Dunn. "Our customers love seeing what we can come up with. And we have taken it to the highest level possible. We have animatronics, we have special effects, I have a history as a magician, so there are magic tricks. You’re going to see floating objects, vanishes, there’s just some really cool eye-candy here."

The drive-thru attraction takes about 20 minutes and is not recommended for children under the age of 10.

For more details on The Abandoned Drive-Thru or to purchase tickets online, click here.