Most businesses hope their customers leave happy.
However, at Hellscream Entertainment’s two haunted houses, workers want guests to depart feeling terrified.
The Haunted Mines, a nonprofit haunted house, closed after its 2016 season at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, but earlier this year, Hellscream resurrected the brand.
The new 28,000-square-foot location is at 3910 Palmer Park Blvd., formerly Hellscream’s Sinister Haunted House.
The company also operates Hell-scream Haunted House and Escape Rooms at 3021 N. Hancock Ave., which is open year-round and includes four escape rooms as well as a zombie tag attraction.
Stacy Packer, who managed the Haunted Mines for 12 years at the museum, is now assisting with community relations for Hellscream Entertainment.
She said part of the agreement when the company took over the haunt was still using the mining theme.
“They couldn’t just use the name; we wanted [Hellscream] to bring over the old materials and props we used too,” Packer said. “I really think they did an amazing job of keeping some of our old staff and keeping the theme. When you go in it, you still feel like you are actually in a haunted mine.”
Haunted Mines is open Thursday through Sunday and will run until the end of the first week in November.
Food trucks are parked outside nightly in addition to an on-site band that plays inside while customers wait in line, Packer said.
“We have Jack’s Axe Throwing here too where you can throw axes at ‘blood-filled’ pumpkins,” she said.
The haunt also includes other attractions, such as a ride made out of two real coffins, Packer said.
“The waiting line area is kind of like an amusement park,” she said.
Vince Stites, co-owner and CEO of Hellscream Entertainment, said opening a haunted house was a childhood dream.
“I was always a Halloween and haunted house fanatic,” he said. “I went to my first haunted house when I was 10 years old and was hooked after that.”
Both Stites and Packer believe the company’s use of actors is what makes its operation unique and sets them apart from other haunted houses.
“I think a lot of haunted houses have gone heavy animatronics and we are committed to 60 percent live actor, organic scare,” Stites said. “It’s a lot of fun, and I really love the production and theatrics behind it all.”
Most of the staff and actors are high school and college students, Stites said, adding managing the young workers can be a challenge at times.
“They all just come from different walks of life, and it can be hard bringing all these artists and performers together,” he said. “It’s kind of a sensory overload at times, but they are all phenomenal people. Both haunted houses have become like a second home and family for a lot of these actors.”
At the company’s two haunted houses, Packer said they use the slogan “One haunt, one family,” adding that for a lot of the staff, the haunted house is “the only safe place for them to come and express themselves like this. They really bond and create a family here.”
Meanwhile, Packer said she plans to continue the charitable work done previously through the Haunted Mines under a new nonprofit, Haunted MINDS, which was created when Hellscream acquired the brand. The organization provides “meaningful mentoring experiences” for local youths through the haunted house, according to its Facebook page.
“We still have that nonprofit, and that’s how we continue to donate and give back to the community,” she said. “At the end of the season, we’ll also still continue to give to the Colorado Springs Conservatory and to Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, so that they can have their Christmas event and stuff like that. We always want to stay active in our community.”
3021 N. Hancock Ave.; 3910 Palmer Park Blvd.
Contact: hellscreamhaunt.com, 719-650-4483