LAFAYETTE — We all love a good scare and as we approach Halloween there are a few places in the area that can provide that jolt of adrenaline.
One of them is the Haunted Town Hall at 101 N. High St. in Lafayette.
It’s owned by Ned Baughman of Westminster and David Neff of Lafayette.
“This building was run as a haunt for a little while and then it got shut down and I used to scare in it and we didn’t run it for very long. Around 12 years ago Ned and I started doing this at campgrounds and everybody said this is more scary than the places we pay for. Then we came back and first started to lease the building and then we bought the building,” Neff said.
The building itself was built in 1899 and used to be the old Lafayette town hall.
“A lot of our rooms are based off of what this building had been used for in the past,” said Baughman. “We have a school scene. We have a house — a living room and kitchen scene, there’s a jail scene because the building was a town hall. It has a jail in it. The school system used it for a while. People have lived in it also so it depicts a lot of what it’s been used for over the years.”
Neff praised the level of detail that Baughman puts into making the rooms look authentic.
“We’ll take a room and we finish it and we paint it and it’s a completely clean, nice painted room and then he (Ned) makes it look like it’s 125 years old when we’re done with it. It’s got water stains dripping down, the cobwebs, the way they’re spread, I mean it’s just this level of detail in it,” Neff said.
There’s a story that goes along with the Haunted Town Hall.
“We chose a character, Mayor Henry Joseph from just trying to pick an old-time name from back in the day and being this is his town hall. Then the story kind of builds around that. We tell people that Mayor Joseph was known to string someone up in the jail cell himself and sentences him to death — acting as judge, jury and executioner,” Neff said.
New this year is their escape room, a speakeasy you might have found during the prohibition days of the 1920s.
Around 25 volunteers help scare people on any given weekend.
“They come back year after year and we’ve even had our friends that’s come out and helped out and it’s an addicting thing. Once they get a good scare, they’re like, ‘I’ll be back next weekend, that was a lot of fun,’” Neff said.
The Haunted Town Hall is open on Friday and Saturday nights through the end of October.
The cost is $12 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and younger and for an additional $5 people can go to their Escape Room. That is $7 by itself if you don’t go through the Haunted Town Hall.
The Haunted Town Hall itself as a business venture could be better.
“It’s a self-sustaining hobby is the best way to describe it,” Baughman said.
“My wife doesn’t complain about it because it’s a hobby that pays for itself,” Neff said.
Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus
Julie Gossard and her husband Matthew run the Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus at 19407 state Route 117, Waynesfield. This attraction is sure to satisfy anyone who wants a good scare.
The story behind the attraction goes like this, according to their website.
“My name is Constance Motter, I am the last remaining relative of the Hammer brothers. This is the story of how The Hammer Brothers Circus came to life or shall I say death … you decide. My grandparents were blessed with twin boys, Alistar and Ezekiel, both named after their grandfathers. They raised them to work hard and to love one another but, as they reached their teens they began to notice a dark side. They became quiet and sneaky. Their father would often find them off torturing animals or hiding the evidence of a recent kill.
Over the years with little help from his sons, the farm began to suffer. The father often over-fertilized and used too many chemicals in an effort to try to grow more profitable crops with little or no success. The bills could not be paid and the bank began threatening foreclosure. One day, while in town, he saw a poster for a traveling circus. He decided to offer his cornfield in a last-ditch effort to pay the bank and save the farm.
The circus arrived and much to his surprise, the boys were eager to help. Several seasons went by and he quickly realized the circus was feeding his sons’ thirst for darkness. Their father confronted the boys and the ringmaster. He told them the animals were not the only death he suspected. The ringmaster quickly fired the boys and they were devastated. They left in a fit of rage and returned wielding hammers. They killed their father and the ringmaster that night and nothing has been the same since.
Alister and Ezekiel continued to travel with the circus and were never apprehended for their crime. This year they have returned home to the cornfields of Waynesfield and brought their freakish terrors with them. The brothers have poisoned the circus help with farm chemicals and the entire property is now overrun with zombie clowns.”
Sounds pretty scary huh?
This is the seventh year for the Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus.
The Gossards know all about the agri-tourism thing, having started Furry Tail Farm years ago and with that have made the best use of what they have with the Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus.
“During the day we do the Furry Tail Farm and then in the evenings we do the haunted circus,” Julie said. “We started the haunted stuff two years after the farm because one of our friends owned Scare Fair. That was our interest. Another haunt closed and we decided there was still a need for a haunted cornfield so we started ours.”
They offer a traditional haunted cornfield that lasts about 15 minutes.
“We have 30 to 40 actors that work throughout the cornfield and that is our scariest attraction. We also offer a haunted house attraction which is called the Homestead and that is scary as well but it has more of a theatrical feel to it. So there’s skits and again lots of actors and both attractions are hands-on, which means if you come to the haunt they can touch you. They can brush up against you. They can touch your hair,” Julie said.
They also offer a touch pass.
“So for $5 more you can get the touch pass and they will pull you into the scenes. So you will become part of the haunt,” she said.
They also offer a more family-friendly alternative. A zombie paintball wagon ride.
“On that attraction, you actually sit on a bench in a wagon. We pull you through the cornfield and we have paint guns mounted and you can shoot glow-in-the-dark paintballs at the actors which are zombies. We play music and the actors do not get on the wagon so you get to keep a safe distance and still have fun,” she said.
Tickets cost $15 for the Haunted Cornfield, $15 for the Homestead, $20 for the Zombie Paintball Wagon Ride, $25 for the Fast Pass Per Attraction and $5 for a Touch Pass for the Cornfield and Homestead.
The Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus is open Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 30 beginning at 8 p.m.
They sell their last ticket at 11:30 p.m.
You can buy tickets in person or you can purchase them online at hammerbrothershauntedcircus.com and skip the ticket booth.
“Just show your phone and they’ll scan a code from your phone,” Gossard said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.