Check out Spook West, other Halloween events in Hernando County
A local theater overrun with zombies and demented clowns. A haunted museum housed in a 19th century Victorian home. A high school filled with about 200 zombie cheerleaders, ghouls and other deadly creatures of the night.
Who needs to go to Orlando or Tampa for Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream when a variety of top-notch haunted attractions to celebrate Halloween can be found locally at a fraction of the cost?
Scare-seekers need not look too far for some annual favorites and a few new events as Halloween activities kick off this weekend in Hernando County.
Among the newest attractions is Spook West, which begins tonight at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
"We're utilizing the entire theater," said Paul Wade, artistic director for the Stage West haunted house. "There will be about eight scare zones throughout the haunted house."
Wade said there will be zones in the Main Stage area, backstage and on the Forum stage.
"There's been talk for several years about doing something like this at Stage West," he said, "but it never passed board approval."
The haunted theater, which will be offered this weekend and next, will include some all-time favorites, such as zombies and demented clowns. Wade doesn't recommend the tour for children younger than 13.
Another addition this year — and for one night only — will be Horror High: Maze of Terror, which will be Oct. 30 at Springstead High School.
A curriculum project for the school's Sports, Entertainment and Recreation Marketing Academy, Horror High was originally supposed to be just a haunted house on the football field, said Travis Spiva, who heads up the academy.
"But it's grown to encompass the entire school campus," he said.
Spiva said about 215 students and family members are working on the event and its 13 scare zones with different themes. The tour will go in and out of classrooms and through the girls' locker room, where visitors may be ambushed by zombie cheerleaders.
Spiva said each zone will have 10 performers, and there will be about 50 more random scary characters walking through the hallways. The tours end at the cafeteria, where there will be refreshments available.
Spiva warned that the tours are recommended for ages 13 and older; anyone younger will have to be accompanied by a parent.
A favorite returning this year will be the annual haunted house Oct. 29-30 at the Hernando Heritage Museum in Brooksville. Each room of the three-story mansion will be decorated with different scary twists.
"It will be a bit different outside this year," said Amanda Mullen, one of the event organizers. "We will also have a few outside scare zones."
While the tour is recommended for ages 8 and older, there will be outdoor activities for younger children.
Another special addition will be well-known author Dave Lapham, who will sign copies of his new book, Ghosthunting Florida.
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times
Spook West, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. today and Saturday and Oct. 29-30, Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. The cost is $5 for the first tour, $3 for a second. Stage West will also serve as a kid-friendly site for trick-or-treating from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 31. Call (352) 683-5113.
Halloween Harvest Festival: 6 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday, Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 S Broad St., Brooksville. A haunted house opens at 6:30 p.m. each night. Includes hayrides, games, food and costume contests. A pet masquerade will be at 7 p.m. today, followed by a pet parade; the entry fee is $1. A children's costume contest for ages 12 and younger will be at 7 p.m. Saturday; the entry fee is $1. A group costume contest for all ages is $5 per entry. Hosted by Hernando County Parks and Recreation, the Spring Hill Central Rotary Club and Brooksville Kiwanis. Free admission. The haunted house is $3, hayrides are $2 and festival game tickets are four for $1. Call (352) 754-4031.
Wild n' Wicked Nights: 7 to 11 p.m. today and Saturday and Oct. 29-30, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee. Includes a haunted boat ride, mermaid show, maze for kids, "Maze of No Return," scream and costume contests, and other activities. Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for ages 6 to 12, free for ages 5 and younger (pass holders receive 50 percent off admission). Call (352) 592-5656.
Haunted Trail on Golddust: 7:30 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and Oct. 29-30, 5277 Golddust Road, Spring Hill. Take a guided tour through a wooded trail. Appropriate footwear required. The cost is $5, which will benefit the Humane Society of Hernando County. Call (352) 263-8044.
Ridge Manor United Methodist Church Fall Festival: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 34350 Cortez Blvd., Ridge Manor. Includes hayrides, bounce house, scarecrow factory, games, face painting and other activities. Barbecue dinners available. Call (352) 583-2556 or (352) 583-3770.
Hernando Heritage Museum's Haunted House: 7 p.m. Oct. 29-30, 601 Museum Court, Brooksville. Outdoors there will be fireside stories, fortune telling, games and face painting. Refreshments available. Tours of the house are $5 and are not recommended for children younger than 8. Call (352) 799-0129.
Hernando Haunted House to benefit Love Your Neighbor: 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 29-30, 11075 Hearth Road, Spring Hill. Admission is a canned, nonperishable food item or a dead electronics item (cell phone, cords, computer monitors, laptops, key boards, etc.). Call (352) 678-4330.
Horror High: Maze of Terror: 8 p.m. to midnight Oct. 30, Springstead High School, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for students. Call (352) 797-7010, ext. 251.
Christian Life Assembly of God Harvest Fest: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30, 13065 Jacqueline Road, Spring Hill. Includes games, inflatable activities, a maze, dunk tank, hayride, food, clowns, candy and prizes. There will also be a drawing for door prizes (must be registered and present to win). Free admission. Call (352) 597-1139.
Halloween House: 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 31, 2322 Meadow Lark Road, Spring Hill.