Some people like being scared, and haunted houses are the perfect thrill. But they are also very chaotic with screams, low light, and crowded rooms. That's why strict fire codes have to be met before the scaring can begin.
Mark Fischer loves scaring people and the Zombie Farm in Newburgh has been at it for a long time. But even when providing a fright there has to be an element of safety. "They have to meet all the same Indiana fire codes as any other business," says Dan Grimm of the Evansville Fire Department.
A fire marshal has to approve the building before the first scream can eek out. For starters, there has to be plenty of fire extinguishers and nearby. "I think we have at least 10 fire extinguishers in the building," said Fischer. And exits have to be visible. "All these," as he points down a hallway, "it's like the egress on either side of the haunted house. It's an easy was in and out of the haunted house."
The zombie farm even installed a "chicken door" for the faint of heart, and it gets plenty of use. "It was a pregnant woman. She didn't want to have her baby in it," said Fischer.
Fischer says there is a certain technique to scaring people and doing it safely. "You want to scare them forwards, not backwards, or you will have a log jam."
So far this year has gone off without a hitch. "The people who actually put the haunted house up did an extremely good job with that," said Grimm.
The safety checks are thorough and all that's left to do is scream. With many cities putting off trick or treating until tomorrow it feels like Halloween is extended a little bit this year. Which is good for haunted houses, because many in the area will be open through Saturday.