Update: Shocktoberfest has cancelled the naked portion of their Naked And Scared Challenge. Media outlets around the world have picked up on the story from CNN to Jay Leno. This first-of-its-kind experience was reported from Canada to Australia. The buzz was so tremendous that the city of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania was apparently not too happy being known world-wide for naked people walking through a haunted house. So they asked Shocktoberfest to end the nude option. Not wanting to get into a fight with their local government, the management agreed. There is still an option to go in your underwear (“prude”), but participants can no longer go through in their birthday suit.
Even though this is not illegal according to city or state laws, they hope to be able to work with local government officials and come to an agreement to do the fully nude option next year. Many thanks to our couple who was going to cover the nude option for Theme Park University. They, like many other people, were looking forward to trying such a unique concept in the haunted house industry. Anyone who bought tickets and would like a refund, can do so by contacting Shocktoberfest via e-mail.
As part of Theme Park University’s ongoing series about unique Halloween Haunts, I recently spoke with Patrick Konopelski, President of the Haunted Attractions Association. Patrick also runs an event every fall called Shocktoberfest in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. 2013 marks Shocktoberfest’s twenty second year of scaring the bajeebers out of horror junkies in unique and interesting ways.
In 2011, Shocktoberfest started The Zombie Mud Run, where runners navigate through a course of flesh eating zombies. Those zombies are paying participants who have chosen to play what is undoubtedly one of the most unique games of capture the flag in the world. Human runners are outfitted with three flags representing vital human organs that zombies… well… love to eat. After your undead captures those three vital organs? You’re a goner for sure. The Zombie Mud Run is so popular that this year, they are doing a total of seven just to please the hungry masses.
It’s a great way to prepare for upcoming zombie apocalypse that we all know is coming. In addition, Shocktoberfest is introducing a similar format in it’s Prison of The Dead haunt. It’s important to know that a normal haunted house is around 2,500 square feet. However, Prison of The Dead is a whopping 50,000 square feet – one of the largest in the country! Starting this year, “prisoners” will walk through with those same flags representing vital organs trying to protect themselves from becoming part of the undead.
For those of you who consider brains to be one of the four major food groups, you can sign up for the zombie experience where you spend time in Shocktoberfest’s make up room to look like a true flesh eater. From there, a special prison transport vehicle will whisk you away to the Prison of the Dead Escape and place you alongside professional actors so you can capture those flags and experience what it’s like to scare the pants off of someone!
As if one first-of-its-kind attraction wasn’t enough, guests will also have a special option to go through Shocktoberfest’s The Unknown haunted house completely naked. As Patrick told me, he has four children, and he asks them to watch the educational channels for entertainment instead of some of the other crap on tv. Low and behold, he walks in and his kids are watching completely nude people on Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid”.
At first it bothered him, but after a few minutes, he couldn’t look away. “It was like watching a train wreck”, he told me. “They take two people and drop them on a deserted island and watch how they react. So I tried how to figure out how I could apply that to a haunt format. And while I can’t drop people off on an island, I can have them take their clothes off.”
As Patrick told me, it’s not about being sexual at all. In the haunt business, their job is to make you as vulnerable as possible. If you think about, because we are so used to clothes, we are often most vulnerable in the nude and what better way to totally be “out there” than to be naked in a haunted house?
Patrick went on to say that 10 years ago, he wouldn’t have even attempted to try this. However, thanks to the internet and social media, you can find pictures of naked people in less than 30 seconds. Society is slowly getting used to the idea that we are all naked under our clothes, as Miley Cyrus demonstrated in her latest music video by singing on top of a wrecking ball in her birthday suit.
The Naked And Scared Challenge brings guests 18-and-older through The Unknown haunted house after all the other guests have left the screampark. Participants buy a special ticket in advance through Shocktoberfest’s website. Once you arrive, you are ushered into a special pre-show area where you can choose to disrobe entirely or take the “prude” way out and go through in your underwear.
Your belongings are placed in a sealed bag and numbered and given to a member of The Unknown‘s staff. That numbered bag is then taken to the exit where you can retrieve your clothing. Instead of the traditional conga line haunted house, the Naked and Scared version will send groups through individually making sure no one sees or touches you that isn’t in your group.
Keep in mind, no sexual activity of any kind will be tolerated. The folks at Shocktoberfest aren’t perverts and no one who goes to the event earlier in the evening will see any kind of nudity. Also, Patrick promised me that the actors will not be touching any of the participants who decide to bare it all. However, there will be some unique scares that those visitors will experience that guests who go through The Unknown haunt earlier in the evening will not!
So who’s ready to drop their drawers and give this a try? I am fascinated by the concept and would love to hear anyone’s reaction who actually goes through this house completely naked. As a matter of fact, I am curious enough to sponsor you. That’s right, if you really want to do the Naked and Scared Challenge, I will pay for you and a friend to experience this on behalf of Theme Park University in exchange for permission to run your story in a future article. If interested e-mail me at JoshYoung@ThemeParkUniversity.com.
For more information on the Naked and Scared Challenge, Prison of the Dead Escape or The Zombie Mud Run, visit www.Shocktoberfest.com!