ELM MOTT/BRYAN, Texas – Central Texas haunted houses are adapting to COVID-19 restrictions by adding several safety measures in anticipation of their busiest weeks of the year.
For Waco Haunted Houses in Elm Mott, 2020 marks their 30th year bringing the frights to Central Texas. This year, they are making their characters and visitors take extra caution.
“[They’ll wear] not just masks – scary – but also protective,” co-owner Danea Anderson said. “When somebody screams, I want them to scream inside their masks.”
Anderson and her husband are both at high risk for contracting COVID-19, so they believe they know how to be extra cautious.
“We are being extremely careful, so we’re being extremely careful for everyone else,” Anderson said. “If it’s okay for us, then it’s definitely going to be as safe as possible for everyone else.”
The folks at Fright Nights in Bryan were worried they wouldn’t have the opportunity to capitalize on the Halloween season this year.
“In the summertime, we were really worried about it and thought long and hard and talked to other people at other haunts and found out other people were going to do it, they were just going to social distance, make it a little bit safer, a little bit bigger,” co-founder Cindy Roberts said. “We didn’t want to lose anything.”
On top of mandatory masks and social distancing, Waco Haunted Houses are adding extra sanitizing stations and a sanitizer character to the fray.
For Fright Nights, they didn’t have to change much.
“We’ve always been a non-touch house,” Roberts said. “My monsters will not touch the people coming through, and we ask the people coming through not to touch them. So what’s different this year is in the past, a monster might get up real close to you. Now we’re not going to get anywhere close.”