Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
April 15, 2011
Halloween attractions rise from the dead every October only to fall back into the grave November 1st. No one has yet figured out how to trick-or-treat profitably 365 days a year, but some ghoulish attractions confidently display their outdoor skulls and props year-round as photo-ops for the macabre-starved.
One is Castle Blood in Beallsville, Pennsylvania. We talked with Chris, its operations manager, and Ricky (a.k.a. Gravely MacCabre) who lives in the Castle. “I’m very fortunate to be able to live and haunt in the same building,” said Ricky.
According to Chris, the Castle has a great location in Beallsville, which has a population of 500 and 5,000 in its cemetery. “The dead already outnumber the living.” Ricky said that his home wouldn’t have become the Castle without US Hwy 40 — the National Road — constantly streaming traffic through town and past his front door. “There’s always people in the courtyard taking pictures,” he said. Taking pictures of what?, we asked. Ricky mentioned some “vampire chicks holding torches” that he’d just completed.
Both Ricky and Chris — and their staff of volunteers — are dead serious about their haunt. Preparation begins in April for October, stressing story over gore, “a darker, scarier, Halloween version of the last 20 minutes of a Harry Potter movie,” said Ricky. Castle Blood has been in business since 1993. Both Ricky and Chris said they’d seen “Scooby-Doo runs” of frightened visitors who tried to run away so fast that they just wound up running in place.
The Castle may not be as terrifying off-season, but it still draws curious passers-by (the kinds of people who always die in horror movies), acting as its own year-round advertisement. “This is the country, but I’ve learned to keep my door locked,” said Ricky. “I’ve come down for breakfast Sunday mornings and found strangers in my kitchen, waiting to take the tour.”
- 100 Schoonmaker Ave, Monessen, PA
- 1st St. and Schoonmaker Ave.
- F-Sa-Su evening in October. Ticket Booth 7-10 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
- Coupons at castleblood.com