Fright Night

heart of darkness2 heart of darknessBy: Kaela Avila

Those in the Cedar Valley should prepare themselves for a night of scares as the Heart of Darkness and Panic Park finally open themselves back to the public this Friday, Oct. 3 till Nov. 1. With the Haunting being a new featured part of the Heart of Darkness and Zombie Laser Tag run by Hick’s Place over in Panic Park, old and new thrill seekers will have even more experiences this year to conquer.

While traversing the Heart of Darkness, patrons will be able to go through the house of the Haunting, recreating the terror of the possessed young girl Elly May. Echoing through the house will be the voice of a creepy man, warning of the dangers of Miss May, who has risen from the dead to seek vengeance on those who enter her home.

Around Panic Park, Zombie Laser Tag is an exciting adventure for those who want to try their hands at surviving against zombies with a laser gun. Giving laser tag a twist, Halloween lovers should give this one a try.

The Heart of Darkness is located on 5111 Osage Road in Waterloo, and prices ranging from $16 on Thursdays and Sundays to $18 on Saturdays. Lucky for the students, if they show their IDs while buying their tickets on any of the days but Saturdays, the price will be discounted by $2.

Panic Park is near the Rotary Reserve Building, off Union Road. The price for everyone is $13, and the additional activity of Zombie Laser Tag is another $5.

Known for being the largest and longest haunted house attraction in Iowa, the Heart of Darkness keeps the visitors on their toes with 10 horrifying themes scattered along a 30 minute walk of horror. Run by owners Kevin and Dolly Schults, the attraction has been torn down and rebuilt for the last 14 years, the design has never exactly been the same as the last.

“Sometimes me and my construction workers don’t want to work out there. The darkness engulfs the space five feet in front of you,” owner Kevin Schults said.

Located in a dark and desolate forest, Panic Park has its share of horrors of the night. Taking a tram ride first through an alien invasion located in Area 51, the patrons will find themselves in front of a Haunted House, creeping with all sorts of heart attacks.

The fun is not limited during operational hours. Behind the scenes gives a new kind of fun for all those who volunteer for both scary attractions. Averaging about 30-40 volunteers for the Heart of Darkness and 20-30 at Panic Park, both are eager for any new ghosts and zombies to join along.

“Volunteering was super fun. You get to meet a lot of nice new people who are also volunteering,” sophomore Nicole Thompson, a student who helps out at Panic Park, said. “I would love to go through the actual thing itself at least once this year just to see how it looks from the other point of view and to see what really and truly scares people so I can make myself better when I go back to work.”

Whether walking inches away from the monsters of hell or being the one behind the clown mask, the Heart of Darkness and Panic Park are a family and friend favorite to all those who enjoy horrors of all kinds.

For more information, feel free to check the Heart of Darkness and Panic Park websites.

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