COVID-19 almost scared staff away, but the screams forced local haunted house to open

Spooky Acres Haunted House opening after CDC's Halloween guidelines
Posted at 11:44 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 11:44:46-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of business owners on the fence.

“Honestly, we were not going to open our doors this year,” said Paige Barton.

Barton is the owner of Spooky Acres Haunted House. They kept getting calls from people who were tired of being indoors and about ready to scream – so the crew at the haunted house got to work.

“We spent five weeks out here sanitizing this place top to bottom; every item, nook, cranny,” said Barton.

Everything from the door handles to a heart on a serving tray that a prop is holding.

Barton says she was nervous after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their Halloween guidelines.
the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their Halloween guidelines.
“We thought nobody was going to come or want to do this,” she said.

Indoor haunted houses are considered a high-risk activity, along with traditional trick-or-treating and costume parties.

Since opening day in September, Barton says turnout has been great, even with their new rules.

The team gave News 3 a walk-through of the house decorated with skulls, coffins and tombstones.

Guests are only allowed to go in with the group they came with, and temperatures will be taken at the door.

“We got our cleaning crews set up - seven stations throughout the house. Each crew will be taking care of three rooms to sanitize as the groups go through,” Barton tells us.

Before people enter the haunted house, they are required to make sure they have a mask on and sanitize their hands before they enter this spooky experience.

Related: Extreme Halloween starts Friday at Hunt Club Farm with COVID-19 restrictions in place

One hundred percent of the money people pay to put themselves through a little fear goes towards the local March of Dimes chapter, a non-profit organization that helps mothers and babies during pregnancy.

“A lot of their fundraising has been cut short this year because of COVID-19,” Barton adds.

So, for every dollar and scream you put out, you’re giving back to the local community.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.