Local Fire Departments Making Sure All Haunted Houses Are Safe

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

A haunted house may be a Halloween tradition, but local fire departments are cracking down on violations. After a school fire last year, they're checking and double checking to make sure each display is safe. NewsWest 9 wanted to know what it takes to make sure a haunted house ready to go.

Get ready for a wild ride. Def Con One and Circus of the Dead are gearing up for this season's biggest weekend.

"I just want you to be in your own horror movie for 6 or 7 minutes," Haunted House Creator, Bloody Bill said. "That's what I try to do!"

But what you might not see traveling through the mazes are the safety measures required to open the doors. The Midland Fire Department tells NewsWest 9, they've been combing through the newspapers and tracking every haunted house and fall festival making sure each of them are up to code, and the most dangerous decoration they find are black plastic bags.

"What the hazards are is that it's extremely flammable," Midland Fire Marshal Jeff Meiner, said. "It spreads fire very quickly. The thing about haunted houses is you want them completely black, so a lot of get trapped: get in and get confused and don't know how to get out, so it's very dangerous."

"For sure a bad thing to have is black plastic," Bloody Bill said. "It's a melty kind of thing. If it did catch on fire, it would cover you in a black mess. We don't do any plastic or anything like that."

Not only are they concerned for fire safety, but 4 managers and off-duty officers are watching your every move.

"Throughout the haunted house, I have these emergency doors," Bloody Bill said. "They look like walls, but all the actors know where they are and this will get people out into the lobby area in case of emergencies, fires, in case anything breaks out. Nothing flammable in here. Everything is 3/4 inch plywood."

Even after each haunted house is certified, the pure fright of it all is enough to create a few accidents.

"As far as people getting hurt is horseplay," Bloody Bill said. "Someone holding on too tight to someone or running into a wall. It's usually the people they're with that hurts them not us."