'Scaregrounds' brings 'spirit' to closed Oaks Park
Although State of Oregon and Multnomah County regulations wiped out the entire 2020 season for nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park [see this month's BEE editorial], some limited activities have been allowed to take place – such as outdoor roller skating in the park, and drive-in movies against the wall of the "Hanger" building just inside the gate.
But, starting on October 9, and running through Hallowe'en, the "Scaregrounds Haunted Drive-Thru" brought an elaborate spooky drive-through attraction to the park.
The amusement park's operating organization, the Oaks Park Association, partnered with Vendetta Productions Inc. – an experienced producer of haunted attractions – to offer Portland a "new kind" of Hallowe'en experience.
According to Vendetta Productions' partner, Alex Fulmor, they moved seven truckloads of equipment, props, and costuming to the Oaks Park grounds, and with it built five unique haunted attractions from which guests were to choose – and then experience spooky thrills – all from the safety of their own vehicles.
The frightening options included:
· The Condemned – a cannibal village runs amuck
· Night Terrors – demonic clowns terrorize a town
· The Green Run Asylum – where the criminally-insane are "in charge"
· The Haunting at Hill House – a living ghost story
· Site 13 – an outbreak of mutants and zombies
"Each attraction is a standalone show; and each one features an introductory video, followed by two scenes, played out in live action with actors and special effects," Fulmor explained. "We've blended together our spectacular, theatrical haunted houses with audio tracks, fully produced like a radio play, and actual live actors along with special effects, to create unique performance art – featuring a cast and crew of about 60."
Unlike traditional haunted houses you have to personally enter, this was a drive-through "windows-rolled-up" car-by-car event, so guests weren't in contact by actors or staff – always following COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing and personal protective equipment use.
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