By his own admission, Brad Dascomb started his first haunted house in his front yard using cheap props and sheets. That went on for years and years until Dascomb, along with business partner Tim Devlaeminck decided it was time to push it up a notch. Thus Fearlandia was born three years ago.
"So we combined and conquered and started collecting more stuff," said Devlaeminck, a Woodstock-area resident whose skills as an electrician are on display at the massive haunted house located in the lot next to the Circuit Tigard on Upper Boones Ferry and Durham roads.
What that has meant is that a once-1,000-square-foot event undertaken each year at Dascomb's house morphed into a 7,500-square-foot extravaganza inside a large pole tent.
So intensive is the yearly effort that the pair began construction of the scary house on Aug. 8.
In addition to their own collections to make their Halloween haunted house as realistic and frightening as possible, the duo has sought out unique items over the years on eBay, Craigslist and other sites.
"Last year we went to warehouse sales for 'The Librarians' and 'Leverage,'" said Devlaeminck of the two now-canceled shows filmed in the Portland area. "Before that, it was 'Grimm.'"
The result was some cool-looking large wood and metal doors, animal skins and faux tree trunks.
This year, Fearlandia, which opens Friday, has two attractions: "TJ's Backyard" and "Into the Darkness," the former containing a recreated shack with a scary vibe to it accompanied by realistic-looking, well, everything.
"There's nothing creepier than if it's real," Dascomb pointed out during a pre-event tour.
Devlaeminck's electrical and lighting talents are evident throughout the haunted house, showcasing his ability to create eerie shadowing, a variety of lighting effects, and of course, an ample supply of lasers.
"I build the stuff and he makes it come alive," Dascomb, who lives in Lake Grove, said of Devlaeminck. "Tim takes any electrical thing and makes it go 90 mph faster."
A contractor by day, Dascomb said the pair have traveled to other haunted houses around the area and beyond to get ideas for the largest haunted house in Tigard. Several years ago, Dascomb traveled to St. Louis to the largest Haunted house convention in the United States.
"Our job is to make them scream, cry, whatever emotion we can get out of them," he said.
That's done not only through elaborate props but also through the sounds, touches and even smells that are part of the exhibit. And don't forget about the numerous actors involved in the project as well.
Fearlandia is also making a monetary donation to the Tigard High Snowboard Team whose members are volunteering at Fearlandia.
Fearlandia runs 7 - 11 p.m. from Oct. 5-31. Cost is $18 for entry into both haunted attractions, unless guests bring a non-perishable food item for the Sunshine Division on select nights. (Visit Fearlandia.com for those nights).
Fearlandia's FearHunger Night is Oct. 18 with those bringing non-perishable food items for the Portland Police Bureau's Sunshine Division receiving a ticket for $13 with any amount paid higher than that benefiting the nonprofit group.
Meanwhile, Fearlandia is not recommended for anyone 13 years old and younger (although those younger can be admitted if accompanied by a parent) or for those who are pregnant or have a heart condition.
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