A’Haunting We Will Go

A’Haunting We Will Go

Ghosts survive pandemic problems


Masks are nothing new to Halloween, right? But this is the first year that the proprietors of haunted attractions have to make sure those masks protect the public, not just help scare them.

Banshee Manor in Fayetteville, one of the region’s most popular and elaborate haunts, promises “the scares will still be there.” But making the magic will certainly be different in the time of covid-19, says its founder, Jonna Summers. Summers had to wrestle not only with her own concerns but with getting approval from the Health Department.

“I gave myself the deadline of July 4,” she says of making her decision to open. “That for me was the point of no return to go ahead and move forward. There is so much preparation that goes into opening a haunted attraction that if I didn’t get started by then, I’d never be ready in time. That was, of course, all contingent on getting approval by the Health Department.

“All area haunted attractions, including Banshee Manor, had to submit a plan showing our floor plan, occupancy rates, how we will maintain social distancing, our cleaning protocols and posting of signage for the mask mandate,” she explains. “We also had to share our policy for screening and recording temperatures of all our staff to make sure they’re healthy.”

Not all the haunted attractions survived this year.

“Unfortunately two of the largest well-known haunts, Nightmares in Bella Vista and The Expelled in Huntsville, have decided not to open,” says Summers, who is part of the circle of local creators who communicate regularly. “The ones that will be open are The Asylum, Carpenters’ Mortuary, Warehouse of Fear and of course, Banshee Manor.”

Jonna Summers of Fayetteville shows off elements of a previous Banshee Manor haunted house inside Lokomotion Family Fun Park in Fayetteville. The haunted house will open Oct. 16, in spite of the pandemic.
(File Photo/J.T. Wampler)

Summers’ haunt comes with a full-blown storyline that grows every year. Banshee Manor is set in a medieval castle populated by a Scottish lord “notorious for being ruthless and evil.”

“The Banshee has grown tired of all the death and has become a vengeful spirit, trapping the McCraulic clan inside the walls of the manor, along with the tortured souls of their victims,” she explains.

“I’ve always been in love with Halloween and obsessed with haunted houses,” Summers reminisces. “I actively started working a little over 10 years ago to make my dream of owning my own haunted house a reality, learning everything I could about both the business and the creativity involved in such a venture. October 2020 will be the fifth season of Banshee Manor, and I’m proud how it has grown and improved every year.

“Now that we know we are going to be open, our biggest concern is to keep both the guests and our staff safe and healthy,” she adds. “All of the haunt owners are working to communicate to the community and visitors the mask requirement and our social distancing rules.

“There is a psychological joy and emotional release that comes from getting scared and then the immediate relief and laugh afterwards,” Summers muses. “That’s why horror movies, scary novels and thrill rides are so popular. It allows us to tap into our fears but in a safe environment.”

What could be better in 2020?



Banshee Manor

WHEN — Oct. 16-31; hours are 7-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 7-10 p.m. Sunday

WHERE — Inside Lokomotion Family Fun Park in Fayetteville

COST — $10 per soul

INFO — bansheemanor.com

FYI — No one younger than 6 allowed; ages 6-13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Categories: 'Tis the Season