Haunted houses may seem impossible to operate within COVID-19 restrictions, but Dragon's House of Horror recently opened the first drive-through haunted house in New Mexico called the Miles of Terror.
This haunted house is an attraction offered at the Santa Ana Star Civic Center in Rio Rancho.
Tickets can be purchased online or in person, and are $40 per vehicle. According to the website, cars are limited to a maximum of five people.
Nichole Harwood, a spokesperson for Dragon's House of Horror Mile of Terror, said, “Normally Dragons is a normal haunted house. It’s the largest in the world. We have the Guinness World Record for that.”
However, according to Harwood, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the attraction switched from a walk-through haunted house to a drive-through experience.
There are multiple themes within the Mile of Terror from clowns to zombies to “The Purge.”
Upon arrival at the Civic Center for the attraction, employees wearing bright vests and masks and supplied with flashlights guide drivers into one of five lines. Once in line, an employee explains how the lines work and what radio station to tune into for sound effects.
The wait time for the attraction can be around 40 minutes, so management has been attempting to entertain visitors in line.
“We can take only so many cars per hour and to make sure people are entertained in line, we’ve been adding new things every single week,” Harwood said. “First we’ve been responding to the feedback from the community for food trucks, which now we have food trucks at every single event. On top of that, we do have a few local vendors that are selling in a COVID-19 safe way. We are looking at the potential of a drive-in movie theater for those waiting in line so there’ll be classic horror movies playing.”
Guidelines required for the attraction include a maximum speed of 3 mph, keeping a mask on if the windows of the car are rolled completely down and keeping the same amount of set distance between cars.
During this drive, there are lights that line the pathway. Guests drive through various areas that are themed to follow a horror concept.
Some guests approve of the Mile of Terror and others are glad there’s an alternative to walk through haunted houses, but some attendees come away less than impressed.
“I don’t think (the price is) fair, because a majority of the time, when are there actually five people in a car? When it comes to walk-through haunted houses, I think the most to go in a group is like three or four,” an anonymous visitor said.
The anonymous visitor also said the drive-through haunted house was a good idea but didn’t feel immersive.
According to Harwood, the Mile of Terror is community run and completely local. Due to this, the haunted house is always looking for volunteers to help scare the visitors. Anyone interested can reach out to Dragon's House of Horror via direct messages on Facebook or Instagram.
Beginning in October, they will be open every Wednesday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Hannah John is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @yesitshannahj