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The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Only the brave shall enter Heartstoppers Haunted House

This Halloween park is so much more than just a haunted house
An+actress+found+within+The+Ward+haunted+house+in+Rancho+Cordova.+Heartstoppers+has+four+wicked+haunted+houses+all+featuring+different+theme+sets+such+as+Blightwood%2C+Misery+Mine%2C+Deadlands%2C+and+The+Ward.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Heartstoppers+Haunted+House%29
An actress found within The Ward haunted house in Rancho Cordova. Heartstoppers has four wicked haunted houses all featuring different theme sets such as Blightwood, Misery Mine, Deadlands, and The Ward. (Photo courtesy of Heartstoppers Haunted House)

As Halloween Horror Nights and Fright Fest tickets grow outrageously expensive, disappointed college students scramble for Halloween fun, and with Sacramento’s very own Heartstoppers Halloween park, horror and adrenaline are sure to be found.

Heartstoppers is a non-profit organization made up of over 100 volunteers and is more than just a place of thrilling haunts. Throughout the year, they participate in and gather for different events to spread awareness for their organization.

The park features four flesh-crawling haunted houses such as Deadlands, The Ward, Blightwood and Misery Mine.

“I love haunted houses,” Sacramento State alumna Trinity Harwell said. “There’s just something about getting scared, but in a fun way that makes everything exciting. Plus, it gets your adrenaline going and it’s all in good fun.”

Each house is made and catered to its own storyline, featuring one-of-a-kind nightmares that evoke their own special screams.

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Heartstoppers Haunted Houses have a high gore warning percentage, to warn guests about the blood, guts and violent actions that may be displayed within each haunted house.

The Deadlands haunted house has a western-themed haunt with gore-covered actors and strobe lights, bringing the fear of undead characters to life. With an 85% gore warning, guests should come prepared to truly be scared.

“Deadlands is the first original haunt,” Heartstoppers’s customer service manager Candice Bearden said. “It was started in a backyard actually and kinda has grown and shaped into other things. It has been the staple of Heartstoppers since the beginning.”

Bearden is a volunteer for Heartstoppers who has been coming back and embracing the haunts of the park for the last six years. Her 12-year-old son also volunteers.

The Blightwoods haunt is a fantasy horror haunted house, with monster and creature types, mind games, smoke and loud sounds. The fear meter marks this haunt to be 60% in gore and is sure to be one everyone will enjoy.

An actor found within The Ward haunted house, a haunted house theme within Heartstoppers that is meant to represent an insane asylum. They take the art of makeup and gore to a whole new level with each actor looking absolutely terrifying in their haunting looks. (Photo courtesy of Heartstoppers Haunted House)

Another terrifying haunt within the park is an insane asylum haunted house found within the main building, called The Ward. It has steampunk horror, loud sounds, dangerous criminal actors and intense visuals. It’s a haunted house that will have your heart racing.

The haunted house Misery Mine is one of absolute hair-raising terror. It is located within the big building on the bottom floor. It has a 75% gore rating and has unknown beings, claustrophobia elements and complete darkness.

Every night around 70 volunteers come together to bring Halloween traditions to life and scare the pants off every single guest.

“One of our sliders, Huck,” Bearden said. “Had a group of boys come up to him the other night and shared that for the last two or three years, they have all come as a group of friends and taken a picture with him every year. They were over the moon ecstatic that he was there.”

Becoming a Halloween tradition is one of the goals of Heartstopper actors and volunteers. They open every year looking forward to bringing life to new thrilling haunts and improving their park.

Although the park’s main focus is haunted houses, there’s a variety of activities outside the haunts that are just as fun. They have live music, food trucks, vendors, carnival games and more.

“We have a vendor who specializes in mocktails,” Bearden said. “Those drinks are catered to each of the haunts. For example, if you wanted to order swamp water, you would get like a green apple lemonade. You can even get sparkling cider for Deadlands.”

Selected vendors, photo props and actors of the park contribute to the theme, including specialized vendors who provide unique characteristics to the park.

Tarot card reader Brenda Orr has been a part of Heartstoppers for quite some time and loves the unique and family-like atmosphere of all the volunteers.

“It is an absolutely incredible place. We have so many talented people,” Orr said. “We really are a family out there. We’ve all known each other for a really long time. It’s almost like we have a really big family reunion every year in October.”

Orr can be found within her specifically made Gypsy and Gothic Victorian tent. She charges $10 for a brief and usually five to 10-minute reading, depending on her line queue.

Guests will have the chance to interact with Orr and get their futures read in this unique and interactive atmosphere all month long.

An actor found within the haunted house Misery Mine, which is a Heartstoppers haunted house located within the big building of the park. With amazing actors, animatronics, loud sounds and lights this haunted house will be one guests will continue to have nightmares about. (Photo courtesy of Heartstoppers Haunted House)

Within the park are the actors who walk around outside of the haunts and interact with guests. In costumes and special effects make-up, these actors provide another feature of horror to the night.

“Haunt sliders use a particular technique to be able to interact with guests,” Bearden said. “While sliding along the ground behind people and popping up real quick to do tricks.”

Even the most daring of guests will be alarmed by the terror of Haunt Sliders’ tricks and scares.

Volunteers, like Orr and Bearden said they continue to come back every year due to the loving and welcoming nature of volunteers. They share their skills and talents with one another and create an atmosphere even guests can feel is unique.

Heartstoppers’ affordable ticket prices start at $33 for general admission, or guests can pay $49 for the fancy pants ticket, which allows guests to reduce their wait times by skipping the line of the haunted houses. The park’s hours are from 7:15 p.m. to 11 p.m., allowing for maximum time and opportunities for guests to enjoy and check out all the petrifying elements of the park.

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About the Contributor
Katelyn Marano, Copy Editor
(she/her) Katelyn Marano is a graduating senior with a major in journalism and a minor in English. She is currently in her second semester here at The State Hornet and is the copy editor for the spring 2024 semester. Katelyn enjoys reading and writing, and hope to take her degree into book publishing.
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