Looking for extra Halloween fun tucked away from the long lines and commercial conga line-like boo factories? Florida’s western coast harbors a haunting pair of delightfully dark dens of Halloween happenings. Each of these home-haunts rivals the “big boys” of Universal Studios and Busch Gardens in their attention to detail and elaborate scare schemes.
Located across the bay from Tampa in St. Petersburg, Florida, these festive frolics of fiendish fun are found just minutes from each other. Both of the popular pulse-pounding places are volunteer-run, but that’s where their similarities take a dead end. Hellview Cemetery feeds the fear in a fast paced, in-your-face scare fest stocked with eager actors while The Radley Orphanage takes participants down the subtle, yet spooky path of a paranormal investigation gone wrong.
The Radley Orphanage
An art deco moniker marks the entrance to a foreboding burnt-out intuition known as the Radley Orphanage. Abandoned and rumored to be haunted, paranormal investigators are stumped as to the cause of the fearsome flames that consumed the orphanage and adjacent school house. Tasked with assisting intrepid investigators, bold visitors enter the darkened domain in an effort to make contact with the spirits that remain behind and determine the cause of fire that killed all 9 inhabitants.
Video: The Radley Haunted House 2013 home haunt full walkthrough
Exquisitely elaborate and immersive environments set the stage for supernatural story-telling, creating a chilling presence ripe for the macabre manifestations of the deceased spirits still sauntering the scorched shelter and adjacent schoolhouse.
Surreal storytelling and an exhaustive attention to delightfully dark decor set this haunt apart from the rest. Creator Cody Meacham paints an amazingly realistic portrait in each room of his highly detailed and imaginatively immersive haunt. Relying on realism and his experience as a set designer, Meacham tells a new tale of terror each year by shifting the focus onto a particular paranormal patron of the doomed domicile. And it’s all created with his own two hands, an impressive feat of fright.
The Radley Orphanage is located at 3900 19th street north, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33714, open from 8pm until Midnight on Oct. 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, and 31st with two additional non-actor tours on 10/28 and 10/29. Parking is available across the street. Radley asks for a $4 donation to enter. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
Photos from The Radley Haunted House:
Since 1996, Hellview has been hailed as a horrific haven haunted with more than two dozen dark denizens, each having their own historic back story. For this year’s eerie offering, the cemetery and grounds has become the ladies lair in “Hell Hath No Fury”. Featuring a fearsome facade and ghoulish graveyard, the halls of Hellview invite all who dare to brave the ghostly gauntlet of spirited scenes of Saint Petersburg’s lesser known heinous history. Along the way brave souls will encounter ethereal elements of ghostly visions, howling werewolves, vivacious voodoo vixens, and a horde of other creepy characters.
Video: Hellview Cemetery 2013 home haunt full walkthrough
What started as a humble home haunt 17 years ago has evolved into an elaborate maze of various vignettes of fear – an amazing feat considering both the construction and performances are volunteer efforts.
There is no cost to visit though donations are requested, with proceeds supporting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Accepting victims, er, visitors from 7pm to 10pm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday (and Halloween) in October, Hellview Cemetery is located in St. Petersburg (510 49th Ave). Best enjoyed after sundown, just be sure to arrive before 10pm as the line promptly closes down at that point. More information can be found at Hellview.net.
Photos from The Radley Haunted House:
(Photos by Michael Gavin. Video by Ricky Brigante.)