Video: Inside ScareHouse, an independent haunted attraction with big Halloween scares outside the big theme parks

in Entertainment

Throughout the Halloween season, the biggest and best entertainment is often thought of coming from big name theme parks. Universal Studios in both Florida and California presents Halloween Horror Nights, the nation’s leading Halloween event targeted toward adults and Walt Disney World and Disneyland each present their own not-so-scary offerings for boys and ghouls of all ages. But while the focus is generally on those events that draw hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, there are hundreds of “smaller” haunted attractions throughout the country that offer their own brand of Halloween entertainment, without the restrictions of large corporations, PR departments, and shareholders.

ScareHouse, proudly located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one of those independently-owned haunted attractions, scaring up a storm throughout September, October and even past Halloween into a bit of November. Its creative director and co-founder Scott Simmons has been in the scaring industry for more than 25 years, initially bouncing between haunts before deciding to start his own along with a few family members. Since then, ScareHouse has grown to feature a three maze experience that takes around 30 minutes to walk through, split up among three themes this year: The Forsaken, Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D, and Pittsburgh Zombies.

Video: Exclusive walkthroughs of the ScareHouse haunted houses

Unlike multi-million dollar rides and attractions at theme parks which cannot be duplicated at home, Halloween haunts offer a chance for the “little guy” to produce his or her own creepy experience that can rival those at the parks, staying equally eerie on a far much smaller budget. While it’s fun to marvel at the elaborate makeup, set design, costuming, and overall production value of an event like Halloween Horror Nights, it’s also important to appreciate the smaller operations that tirelessly work year-round to create just a few weeks of frightful fun in hometowns across the country.

And they do draw plenty of screams, as evidenced this delightfully entertaining video:

Being independently owned and operated has its perks, enabling ScareHouse to stay directly connected with fans via social media and produce entertaining, enjoyable, and humorous Internet marketing for their haunt. The love of Halloween shows through each and every one of their actors, as seen in the ScareHouse-created video below, entitled “We Get Paid to Scare People”:

Over the years, ScareHouse has connected with their fans through repeated use of popular characters, including the particularly grumpy Creepo the clown and the particularly disturbing ScareHouse Bunny:

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, support ScareHouse by visiting them this Halloween season, open through November 3 at 118 Locust Street, Etna, PA 15223. And remember everything you see there was not the creation of a huge, corporate art and design team, but instead the life’s work of a small, passionate group of people who appreciate each and every guest that walks through. (And if you aren’t around Pittsburgh, find your local haunt and visit it in the next week to show your appreciation for the growing art of the small town scare.)

ScareHouse tickets, 


  1. THANK YOU for sharing the work of our “ScareHouse Family” with your visitors. We all love the big theme parks, and their Halloween events are a big influence on everything we do – but as you say, we only have a fraction of their resources and budget for marketing and production.

    I’m lucky enough to manage an entire team of insanely creative and passionate designers, artists, and actor who work and wait all year for the haunting season – but I have to give major props to our lead Creative Designers Christopher and Dejah Gilgour, who take the lead on everything from concepts to sets to character design.

    Thanks again!

  2. Wow, I’m incredibly bummed that I’m not closer to Pittsburgh. Any thoughts on future franchises? Perhaps ScareHouse D.C.?

    1. We’ve made jokes about franchising (“ScareHouse South Beach”) but honestly I think we’ll always stay focused on just the one location. Our success is due to so many factors, from the cast to the people of Pittsburgh, that I think it would be hard to really recreate the magic anywhere else and still call it ScareHouse.

      BUT, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t pursue working on other attractions or events somewhere else — but “ScareHouse” will always be a little too sacred for us to really try and franchise or recreate elsewhere.

  3. Nick

    I’m from Pittsburgh and make a yearly trip to Scarhouse. I can confidently say it is the greatest independent haunt in the nation! Very cool to see it featured here on ITM

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