The ScareHouse

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The ScareHouse
Etna, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°29′57″N 79°56′38″W / 40.499067°N 79.943994°W / 40.499067; -79.943994
Status Open Yearly on Select Dates September through November
General statistics
Attraction type Haunted attraction

The ScareHouse is a haunted attraction located at 118 Locust Street in Etna, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb. It is located in a historic building that has been home to the Etna First National Bank, the Spang and Chalfont Company,[1][2] and the Etna Elks Order (a fraternal organization) No. 932.[1] The ScareHouse is open on select dates each year September through November. In 2013 CBS News called ScareHouse "One of America's Scariest Haunted Houses".[3] ScareHouse received additional recognition from Guillermo del Toro who stated “It really is beautiful. With the sound design and the atmospherics, it is beautiful. I could live here!” and Michael Dougherty who stated: “I left so happy and inspired. You guys nailed it!”[4] In 2010 the ScareHouse was rated as one of "The 10 Wickedest Haunted Houses In America" by Forbes Magazine,[5] and in 2012 was rated #5 in the US in Top Haunt Magazine's Top 13 Haunts.[6] The ScareHouse offers three heavily themed attractions or “haunts” which are significantly revised on a yearly basis.[7]

ScareHouse history[edit]

The first production of The ScareHouse was presented in 1999. It is owned by Scott, Barb, and Wayne Simmons. Creative Director Scott Simmons has been in the haunt industry for more than twenty years, having started with local non-profit haunts and various fundraisers. In 1985 he volunteered at a YMCA haunted house while in high school. During the 1980s and 1990s Scott worked within a few non-profit events and his father Wayne created and constructed the more elaborate sets and projects. Scott met his wife Barb while working on a haunted house for the Pittsburgh firefighters and Mothers Against Drunk Driving MADD in 1990.[8]

History of the Building[edit]

The ScareHouse is located at 118 Locust Street in Etna, Pennsylvania. The ScareHouse has integrated the historical foundations and fabrics of this building into the haunt design through utilizing existing structures (walls and the original stage) in the haunt layout. The building once provided an employee recreational facility for the Spang and Chalfont Company before being bought by the Etna Elks No. 932. Etna Lodge No. 932 spent over 75 years at 118 Locust Street.[1][1][9] There are still many reminders of the Elks Lodge No. 932 throughout the building, such as antique chairs and tables.[10]


Retired Haunts[edit]


Hall of Nightmares 2007–2009[edit]

The Hall of Nightmares was an assortment of highly detailed scenes and characters that was primarily influenced by EC comics such as Tales From The Crypt, Italian horror movies such as Suspiria, the Haunted mansion at Disney and traditional haunted house situations and scenarios. The designers utilized vibrant colors and stylized scenic design to create a series of thinly connected and surreal scenes involving creatures, clowns, and cloaked figures.[11]

Screamatorium 2007–2008[edit]

Screamatorium opened in 2007 and was much darker, realistic, and intense than Hall of Nightmares. This attraction was set inside an abandoned research facility dating back to the early 1900s, which was filled with mutated creatures and their helpless victims. The design team took heavy influence from films such as Silent Hill to create a series of medically themed labs, offices, and holding cells lit by flickering incandescent bulbs.[11]

Delirium 3-D 2008–2011[edit]

Delirium 3-D first opened in 2008. Guests were given 3-D glasses at the entrance of the haunt to experience the many 3-D effects of the sets. Delirium 3-D took guests into the deranged and demented world of the main character "Delirium", which was filled with fluorescent colors, loud music, puppets, and twisted creatures. The general theme was inspired by a mix of psyho/punk/pop/rave culture. The characters in this haunt were known for their random, confusing, though entertaining sayings and antics. In 2012 the ScareHouse hosted musical artist Delirium Dog,[12] who heavily inspired and took inspiration from the Delirium haunt. Delirium Dog preformed live in the haunt during the 2011 season.[13][14]

Rampage! 2009–2010[edit]

Rampage! was heavily influenced by steampunk, a subgenre of fantasy and science-fiction that attracted a growing fan base of alternative artists. The term denotes works set in an alternative Victorian era of culture and technology where steam power is still the predominant form of energy. The ScareHouse designers studied reference photos and technical drawings to find inspiration for new costumes, sets, and other production elements.[11]

Rampage! took customers into a world divided by war; on the one side were the 'rebels' who were fighting against the evil 'Die-Rector' and 'Daphnie'. These two characters were featured heavily in ScareHouse ads and promotions. The Die-Rector gained further recognition in 2010 when he was invited to participate in 'Dancing with the Celebrities of Pittsburgh .'[11]

Current Haunts (2012)[edit]

Creepo the Clown

The Forsaken 2009–Present[edit]

The Forsaken opened in 2009 to replace 'Hall of NightMares.' The Forsaken is set in a mythical town of citizens that have lost their souls and are condemned to stalk and haunt the town. Sets include a broken down and haunted Carnival, complete with demented clowns, roustabouts, and fairway barkers. Other notable sets include a highly detailed and realistic 'game' room and 'butcher' shop complete with stuffed prey and animal carcasses.[15]

The Forsaken introduced the character of 'Creepo,' a murderous clown that became known for taunting and interacting with customers. This character proved so popular that the ScareHouse developed a new haunt, Creepo's Christmas in 3-D, around him as a clown turned Santa Claus.[15]

Infected Zombie

Pittsburgh Zombies 2011–Present[edit]

Pittsburgh Zombies opened as the third haunt within The ScareHouse in 2011.[16] The Pittsburgh Zombies attraction features elaborate and Hollywood-quality recreations of iconic Pittsburgh landmarks, while actors portray legions of the walking dead. An experienced team of set designers and scenic artists worked to create a real-life version of the zombie apocalypse that has been so memorably and frighteningly portrayed by the series of Night of the Living Dead films shot in and around the Pittsburgh area over the last forty years. Notable Pittsburgh Zombies sets include a crashed incline cable car, a recreation of Primanti's Brothers restaurant, and a lab where the outbreak started named 'UPEC'.[17]

Creepo's Christmas in 3D 2012[edit]

Creepo's Christmas debuts in 2012 as the newest 3-D haunt. This haunt is built around the character of Creepo, the demented clown from The Forsaken. This experience places guests in a 'creepy' and twisted Christmas town where Creepo, wearing a Santa cap, seethes over early Christmas decorations.[18] According to Scott Simmons, owner and creative director of The ScareHouse, part of the inspiration for this genre came from the ever earlier appearance of Christmas wares in retail stores. Simmons states: “Once the retail stores started displaying Christmas decorations in October, Creepo the Clown decided it was time to take a stand for Halloween.” [19]

The Basement 2013-Present[edit]

The Basement is not a traditional linear walk through haunted attraction, rather it is an interactive and "immersive" experience that involves the actors speaking to and touching customers. The event is restricted to only one or two guests entering at a time. It is a more intense and thrilling experience with adult content and explicit language. The Basement has held two off season events, one during Christmas and one scheduled to run during Valentine's Day on February 15.[20] The Basement is marketed and geared towards those who seek a more extreme experience. Everyone must be 18 years old and sign a waiver before entry.[3]

Community Involvement[edit]

While The ScareHouse is a for-profit, commercial venture it is still heavily involved in the Pittsburgh community. The ScareHouse contributes to multiple charitable organizations, and frequently collaborates with socially active bloggers, businesses, and causes. The Crazy Scary event, held in both 2010 and 2011, contributed more than $12,000 local kids in need. The Crazy Scary fundraiser benefits two local fundraising drives, Make Room for Kids and Christmas Crazy for Kids.[21]

Make Room for Kids is a social media-driven fundraising effort originated by local blogger Virginia Montanez from That's Church (also known as "PittGirl" ) designed to bring gaming and laptops to sick children at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, in association with The Mario Lemieux Foundation.[22] Christmas Crazy for Kids was created by local blogger Michelle Hammons of the blog Burgh Baby. Donated funds are used to purchase and deliver toys to Toys for Tots and HOPE center[23] The ScareHouse has also partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Etna Economic Development Corporation, Haitian Families First, and the Delta Foundation.[24]

In 2013 ScareHouse was a sponsor of the Great American Water Balloon Fight which is dedicated to fighting global poverty.[25]

ScareHouse works with Margee Kerr in developing video content on why and how people enjoy scary and thrilling material. Their work was featured on Geek and Sundry[26] and Nerdy But Flirty .[27] Margee Kerr is currently writing a book with PublicAffairs on how society engages with thrilling situations.[28]

ScareHouse PodCast[edit]

The ScareHouse podcast[29] started broadcasting on iTunes in May 2011. While many of the podcasts are related to haunted houses and the haunted industry, they also cover topics like social media and marketing, dating in Pittsburgh, Anthrocon, sound and design, and paranormal activity. The podcasts are heavily focused on personal narrative and investigating the intersections of the haunted industry and society at large.[30]

ScareHouse and The Ghost Hunters[edit]

The ScareHouse has brought the members of the Ghost Hunters team Amy Bruni, Steve Gonsalves, Kris Williams, Dave Tango, and Adam Berry to Pittsburgh five times, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, 2011.[31] The ScareHouse Podcast from March 27, 2012 features an in-depth interview with Ghost Hunter Ami Bruni.[32]


  1. ^ a b c d Centennial: The Borough of Etna, Allegheny Co., Pa., 1869–1969
  2. ^ "Etna, PA History 2". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  3. ^ a b CBS News  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^
  5. ^ null (2010-09-30). "In Pictures: The 10 Wickedest Haunted Houses In America". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  6. ^ "Awards 2012 (Top 13 Haunts)". Top Haunt Magazine.Com. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Rampage, Delirium and The Forgotten – 3 Terrifying Haunts at Pittsburgh's Ultimate Halloween Haunt". ScareHouse. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  8. ^ "The Internet's No. 1 Halloween and Haunt Site!". The Halloween Database. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  9. ^ "Etna Elks Last Man's Club" Meeting Minutes 1947–1996 Archived at the Heinz History Library 1997.0140
  10. ^ "Go Behind the Screams of Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House". ScareHouse. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Videos of Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House". ScareHouse. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  12. ^ "Delirium Dog – Live at The ScareHouse 2011 Vol 01 by deliriumdog on SoundCloud – Create, record and share your sounds for free". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  13. ^ ""Scorehouse": Scoring "The Scarehouse" with Delirium Dog – Rotting Flesh Radio". 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  14. ^ "The ScareHouse Is One of America's Best Haunted Houses – PITTSBURGH, September 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/". Pennsylvania: Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  15. ^ a b "The ScareHouse is One of America's Best Haunted Houses – September 28, 2011". 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  16. ^ "The ScareHouse Presents Pittsburgh Zombies: A New Haunted Attraction Based on Pittsburgh's Living Dead Legacy – Pittsburgh Business Times". 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  17. ^ "The ScareHouse Presents Pittsburgh Zombies: A New Haunted Attraction Based on Pittsburgh's Living Dead Legacy – July 27, 2011". 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  18. ^ Petsko, Emily. "Halloween is upon us and the horrors abound at ScareHouse, Terror Town, Castle Blood and other local haunts". PostGazette.Com. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ "The ScareHouse Presents Creepo's Christmas in 3-D – PITTSBURGH, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/". pennsylvania: Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "ScareHouse : ScareHouse helps raise more than $6,000 for local kids in need". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  22. ^ "MR4K | That's Church". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  23. ^ "Christmas Crazy". burgh baby. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  24. ^ "ScareHouse". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "One of America's Best Haunted Houses". ScareHouse Podcast. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  30. ^ "One of America's Best Haunted Houses". ScareHouse Podcast. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  31. ^ "ScareHouse". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  32. ^ "ScareHouse". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°29′57″N 79°56′38″W / 40.499211°N 79.944018°W / 40.499211; -79.944018