CHICAGO (CBS) — Not only is it Friday the 13th, but there’s a full moon out today, so the question is, are you ready to get your scare on?
Some might say it’s fitting; the 13th Floor Haunted House reopens for the Halloween season tonight in Melrose Park. CBS 2 is taking you for a sneak peek inside.
The witches and other scary creatures are warming up for their big night, ready to make you scream.
“It’s really a huge, theatrical production,” general manager Ericka Daybook said. “Our goal is scaring people, of course, but it’s really about entertaining them. So if our customers leave laughing, if they leave crying, if they leave screaming, we’re happy.”
You might not realize it, but 13th Floor is a year-round project. It’s now hosting two shows.
The first is “Creature Feature,” where you’ll see classic horror creatures like Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy, the werewolf and the vampire.
The second is “The Other Side,” a sci-fi experience, partly based on the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.”
Daybook said what most people don’t understand is the amount of work it takes to pull all the haunts together.
“We have teams here all year long concepting; coming up with new themes, new ideas,” she said.
Actor Christopher Portalatin said the key to his roles is immersing himself in his characters.
“What you need to do is get out of your shell, embrace your weirdness, and once you embrace your weirdness everything clicks,” he said.
For Poprtalatin, now in his fifth season, getting his first scare is the ultimate rush.
“I’m just so proud at that moment to be able to scare someone to a point where they’re physically and emotionally terrified,” he said. “The mask is fused to my face. I feel like I become one with this character, this creature. It’s something that I love doing.”
Daybook said the acting team goes through extensive training, with workshops all summer long.
“Watching customers leave shaking – grown men shaking – I know my actors did a good job,” she said. “There’s nothing more liberating, nothing more exhilarating than getting to scare the pants off of people night after night.”
You can buy tickets online or at the door. It’s recommended for kids over 12.