With Halloween one week away, Fairfax County, Virginia, is offering a spooky excursion.
The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton is scaring visitors at its eighth annual Workhouse Haunt, a walking trail experience that opened on Oct. 1 and runs through Nov. 5.
“I guarantee if you come out and be a part of it, you are going to have a terrifying time of your life, so we hope you’ll join us,” President & CEO Leon Scioscia told WTOP.
This year’s creative theme is “Nightmare Harvest” with a spooky back story.
“Imagine it’s October 1984, which means only one thing for the residents of this fictional township called Barkley: The annual harvest fair is ready to go,” Scioscia said. “They’re going to demonstrate a new experimental line of pesticides and fertilizers. … You’re encountering some rather strange individuals, animals and other types of creatures.”
After parking in the north parking lot, you’ll check in at a ticket booth in the central quad. There, you’ll form groups of up to 10 people to embark on the haunted trail in 15-minute increments. The tour is self-guided through the former prison buildings on the campus.
“The Workhouse Arts Center has on its campus about 25 buildings, only half of which have been renovated,” Scioscia said. “We go down some scary stairways into the basement area of what used to be one of the gyms. It’s all designed in such a way where there’s smoke and lights — and zombies and creatures hiding in these various crevices.”
Along the way, you’ll encounter 90 actors and technicians trying to scare you.
“These haunt actors come from the high school range, the college range and even the professional range,” Scioscia said. “There are some folks who just like to get dressed up in their own costume either as a mummy or other scare-type individual. They’re jumping out to scare you and doing it from a real character point of view as they would in any play.”
Due to fear factor, the event is recommended for ages 13 and older. Expect the experience to last approximately 30 minutes. Tickets cost $30 per person, but parking is free. Organizers are asking visitors to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the Lorton Community Action Center.
“It’s a really festive environment,” Scioscia said. “We have bands playing on Friday and Saturday nights. We’re really happy with the food trucks. We have a special draft beer truck from Bunnyman Brewery that will be here too.”
Bunnyman Brewing, a partner of the haunt, is based out of Burke, Virginia, and its name is based on urban legend.