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MIDDLESEX — Crazed killer clowns, creepy-crawly creatures and chainsaw-wielding cannibals are lined up to scare the heck out folks brave enough to venture into Darkside Haunted Estates.
Local horror master Jason Champion, owner and operator of Darkside, has 37 years of experience terrifying people.
Champion has worked in haunted houses since he turned 10. At 21, Champion joined the Shriners to be able to work at the club’s haunted house in Zebulon. Eventually he separated from the club and created Darkside Haunted Estates on family property.
But Darkside isn’t just a haunted house. As the name implies, Darkside is an entire estate full of haunted houses. The frightening fun includes a midway with concessions, a gift shop and a chance to experience what it’s like to be buried alive. Off the midway are attractions like the Insane Asylum, JoJo’s Clown Town, the Slaughterhouse, the Bundie Hotel, the S.S. Sea Hag and RottenKorr Cemetery.
Hardy souls can take the Mayhem Hayride through the backwoods to the quarter-mile haunted walking trail.
This year, Darkside offers new additions in Clown Town, Bundie Hotel, a hayride and walking trail.
“The Slaughter House has been revamped,” Champion said. “We’re constantly expanding.”
Adding to the experience is the level of detail Champion and his cohorts put into each prop, costume and display. The slaughterhouse smells like a slaughterhouse. To tell any more would spoil the scares.
Champion warns that the attractions include loud noises, strobe lights, fog, long period of darkness, uneven surfaces and tight spaces.
Concessions are available at the site.
Darkside is open 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday for the rest of October, Halloween night and Nov. 1 and 2.
Champion will hold an annual Christmas event on the property for the third time this holiday season. He said he expects the Christmas show to outgrow the Halloween activities within a couple more years.
During late November and December, the farm reopens with “Christmas Lights on the Farm.” Families will be able to visit Santa’s Workshop and the general store, and see Santa and reindeer. Family-friendly hayrides, bonfires and more will be available.
Darkside Haunted Estates is located at 11959 N.C. 222 south of Middlesex.
Brave enough to go?
• Adult tickets are $20.
• Admission is $12 for children 10 and younger.
• Skip the Line tickets are available for an additional $10.
• Groups of 10 or more are $18 per ticket.
• Military, student and teacher discounts are $18 with valid ID.
• Parking is $2.
• No refunds for chickens.
• Tickets are available online at www.darksidehauntedestates.com.