Though Halloween is more than a month away, one Ohio State student will begin the haunting season early with the Ohio debut of his own haunted house production: The Creep.
Jordan Renda, a third-year in finance, created his first haunted house four years ago in Jacksonville, Fla. He financed the endeavor by “begging” friends and family for money. After a few seasons, Renda paid his donors back.
When Renda transferred from the University of Florida to OSU last year, he still flew back to Jacksonville periodically to run the haunted house, which proved to be a great deal of work.
This year, Renda decided to relocate the nearly $300,000 production to the Columbus area.
Through the switch, Renda has kept his same creative consultant, Nate Mitchell, whom he has worked with since 2009.
“People are more into the season here, it seems,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the hardest parts of the move were getting everything shipped up to Columbus and finding locals to work on the production without having any contacts in the area.
Renda did find locals to get involved, such as Scott Sliger of Morbid FX, a special effects makeup artist and prop fabricator and designer.
Sliger said Renda contacted his company online to oversee the makeup and acting for the Central Ohio production.
Sliger will be creating custom pieces for the makeup of each character in the production.
“All the makeups are custom created for this, there is nothing off the shelf,” Sliger said.
When it comes to expenses, Renda said marketing is 40% of his budget. To bring attention to the event, they are working with multiple radio stations and have bought billboard space in the area.
Renda said he believes moving his production to Columbus will be successful due to the awareness of haunted houses and their ability to compete against other independently-produced events.
The Creep, Renda said, sets itself apart with its choice of three different haunted houses, one of which is themed as an asylum. The production will be the only place in Ohio to feature scare booths.
Scare booths are arcade-style booths that customers can go into between haunted houses to control the effects in one of the haunted houses and see other customers’ reactions to the effect on a monitor in the booth. “They can do a little of the scaring themselves, in addition to being scared,” Renda said.
The Creep is located at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London, Ohio at 205 Elm St. and is scheduled to run select dates Friday through Nov. 2.
Price of admission is $12.99 to $24.99, depending on the number of haunted houses patrons would like to go through, and $34.99 for all three houses and a fast pass.