Won’t you brave the halls?

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Freakish ghoul Hannah Belle can be witnessed swaying back and forth above her latest victim inside the 2017 Halls of Terror. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Nate and Nick (right) Gilberts, brothers and partners in Scream Xtreme, stand inside one of two buses featured with this year’s Halls of Terror. Blood and gore is a common theme throughout the haunted house.

By Correne Martin

The first weekend for the annual Halls of Terror in Prairie du Chien was not a wash, despite the downpour of rain making for a soggy couple of nights. Some 278 people went through Prairie du Chien’s haunted house, at the cedar building on St. Feriole Island, and according to Scream Xtreme’s Nick and Nate Gilberts, all reviews were positive.

To keep thrill seekers out of the rain, a large tent standing outside the facility was put to good use for the first time, possibly ever. It will remain on site throughout the rest of the Halls of Terror season. However, a few adjustments to the haunted house entryway have been made since this past weekend’s weather soaked the grounds.

Event-goers can still brave the halls Oct. 20-21 and 27-28 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. both nights. A kid-friendly, lights-on haunt will be Saturday, Oct. 28, from 2 to 6 p.m., at a reduced admission cost. On Halloween night, hours will be from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Gilberts brothers of Scream Xtreme, along with Dan Moris and WQPC/WPRE Radio, collaborate to present the annual Halloween haunt.

Come take a walk through some black, cobwebby, zigzagged halls and be tormented by real-life spooks as well as plenty of ghoulish images, gory scenes and freaky clowns.

To start the walk-through, small groups will begin by entering a school bus filled with bloody obstacles.

Upon maneuvering the bus and getting inside the building, embark on a tour of the torture chamber. There, by the flash from a strobe light, visitors will witness a guillotine and electric chair in action. Next is the slaughter house, where a pig and some unlucky humans have been shredded to pieces.

Following the halls around, don’t “freeze from fear” in the walk-in freezer, or you won’t come out alive.

In the next room, entrants will see a disheveled young girl, Hannah Belle, eerily swaying back and forth on a swing.

“This was our most popular room last weekend,” Nate noted.

Down the next set of hallways, you’ll pass a flying lady, possessed dolls, a morbid nursery, dangling body parts and a number of pop-up mutants ready to startle the meek. Shuffle along, in most cases, by a little light.

Soon after, it may be hard not to stumble along a slanted floor, made more complicated by additional strobe lights and smoke. Spiderwebs throughout are especially realistic this year, as they are made by a machine specifically designated to interweave them out of hot glue.

Toward the end, more and more clown sightings will start—some just clowns sitting still in terrorizing makeup and others seemingly psychotic. Finally, scared guests will take a walk through another horrific, bloodstained bus. But take caution, as there will be a gruesome, barely breathing being in every seat.

If you’ve already been to the Halls of Terror last year or just last weekend, you are welcome to try making it through, while keeping your composure, once again.

“We always add stuff every weekend. We want to keep it exciting,” Nick added. “And we jog rooms around from year to year. We bring back old stuff and revamp it or we bring in something new.”

Though the brothers aren’t always scaring Halls of Terror patrons, when they do get the chance to suit up and get in there, they get some good laughs out of frightening others.

“All we can do is laugh, ‘cause they can’t see us with our masks on,” Nate smiled. “I like to lurk around the front entry and surprise people. Then you know which ones are most easily scared so you can target them inside.”


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