“We’re the ultimate haunted house,” said Scott Seidenstricker, owner of Frightmare, Sparks’ only haunted house. Located in Victorian Square, this year’s Frightmare promises to be “scarier and better than ever.”
“Sparks is the Halloween capital of northern Nevada,” said Seidenstricker. “The City of Sparks contacted us, wanting to keep something in Sparks behind Hot August Nights and the Rib Cook-off. We’ve been at Legend’s for the past couple of years but with the new IMAX theater, Legends needs space available for parking. So, we moved to Victorian Square.”
Before retiring from the radio industry, Seidenstricker was exposed to the California haunted house scene.
“Fresno has these large, elaborate attractions,” said Seidenstricker. “I saw how they were executed and was severely impressed. When I moved to Reno, I thought that having a haunted house would be a fun event to have.”
Covering 3,200 square feet this year, Frightmare employs 145 employees between the construction workers and performers.
“All of the house has been redesigned. For the past month, we had about 100 construction workers working around the clock, seven days a week, working on the attractions,” said Seidenstricker. “We have elaborate zombie costumes and make-up. Our actors are incredible and they put on a great show. Some of the cast members have been with me for 10 years so they know what to expect and how to scare properly.”
Seidenstricker estimates 10,000 people will visit Frightmare this year. Sales have been consistent the last two years despite the economy.
Proceeds from Frightmare each year benefit a local children’s charity. This year, the money raised will be donated to the Nevada Diabetes Foundation.
Seidenstricker traveled to Transylvania for inspiration, visiting Dracula’s castle.
“I got some ideas for the zombie farm house based on what I saw in Transylvania,” said Seidenstricker. “This is the first year we had the zombie house and our evil clown town is going to be in 3D. You’ll get a pair of 3D glasses for the walk-through and the entire experience is choreographed to music. Professional artists painted the walls with some pretty scary stuff that will pop out at you.”
Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” served as the first year’s theme with Freddy Krueger and his razor-sharp knife gloves terrorizing guests. This year, Seidenstricker and his staff have integrated a few concepts from the Elm Street films and the original Sparks Frightmare that people will recognize.
Sponsors this year include Bill Pierce Honda, Plato’s Closet, Baskin Robbins and Bourbon Square Casino. Frightmare guests will be able to purchase pizza from Little Caesar’s and ice cream from Baskin Robbins.
Frightmare is not recommended for kids under age 8.
“I’ve had parents bring in their 5- or 6-year-old kids,” said Seidenstricker. “All performers are trained so if a kid looks too scared, the lights get turned on and the performers help the kid walk through the house without being scared.”
With such creepy yet creative background stories of a gang of zombies attacking and murdering the occupants of a 1950s farm house and deranged clowns escaping from the circus, this year’s Frightmare will be a scare fest for the Sparks record books.
“You’re going to get scared especially if you don’t like clowns,” said Seidenstricker. “People will definitely get the beejesus scared out of them.”
Frightmare opens Thursday and runs through Oct. 31. The attractions are open at 7 pm Thursday through Sunday. Entry fee for a single entrance into the Frightmare haunted house is $15 per person. For all three Frightmare attractions, the price is $20. For those who want a full terrifying experience, VIP tickets, which allow guests to bypass waiting in line, are $25. Group tickets are available and can be purchased online. Frightmare is located at Victorian Square, in front of Century Sparks 14 movie theater.
For more information about Frightmare 2013, visit frightmare2013.com.