NBCF’s Adapted Haunted House was a SCREAM!
Imagine being a little kid again, going into your first haunted house. The feeling of anxiety building while you wait for your turn in line, the smell of heavy plastic from the costumes around you, the sound of people screaming from somewhere inside the building… Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t experience a haunted house the same way as your friends.
Haunted houses are a staple in any Halloween experience and NBCF is making the classic horror experience more accessible.
“It’s really important, I think, for us to create this environment for our children,” say Cynthia, NBCF’s Administrative Assistant. “A lot of our students don’t get to experience haunted houses. So this is something different.”
The staff at NBCF took on the challenge to create a haunted house that heightened the other senses outside of sight. For many haunted houses, visual appeals help to frighten thrill seekers. But, when you’re blind or visually impaired, the fear that’s brought on by a haunted house may not originate from the same place.
“They can be scary, if you think about going through a haunted house… The loud noises, things jumping up at you… All that stuff can be scary,” said Cynthia. “So we wanted to add the spooky effect to it, but also make it a safe environment for all of our students.”
For someone who can’t see, the anxiety no longer comes from the fun kind of scared you expect, but rather the fact that they can’t expect what’s coming next. Think about how visual cues can tell you what to expect as you move through the house – cages with feral zombies gnashing their teeth at you or a circus-themed den filled with clowns can build up the anticipation. If you can’t see the path up ahead, and there’s no description, the sounds you hear may be all that you get to experience, leaving the real fear to come only from being sightless.
NBCF is challenging that by providing the right kind of fear in its ghoulish haunt!
“We made sure that every area was small enough that as they walk through, they’re able to have their different senses.” said Cynthia. “We created different sections with streamers and balloons… Different materials that encourage a different sensation through sound and feeling as they walk through the maze.”
Cynthia’s favorite section of the haunted house is the area where balloons are hung from the ceiling. The static generated from rubbing against them as you walk through the narrow hall created an electrifying thrill! It’s a familiar sensation in a new, thrilling setting.
The staff at NBCF created this fiendish home mostly with items the center already had available. From pipe cleaners and feather dusters to balloons and bubble wrap, nothing was spared in making this fright fest the perfect ghostly experience.
Students were guided around with a staff member and encouraged to feel along the walls. Sensory tunnels covered in spiderwebs, and vibrating floor panels were utilized to create pathways students would have to get through to reach the exit. Volunteers from Touro University also helped by providing jump scares, creating scary sounds and using extended dusters to provide other scary sensory experiences.
“It was a little bit challenging, I had a lot of help from our staff,” said Cynthia. “Everybody came together to help me think of the ideas to create the environment that we made for our students.”
To check out some of the highlights and behind the scenes of our haunted house, check out our TikTok!
You can also see the full photo album from our Frightful Fall Carnival on our Facebook page.