A troupe of killer clowns, cannibal hillbillies and things that go bump in the night moved onto Palmerston North’s railway land for Halloween, and couldn’t wait to meet the locals.
And the locals couldn’t wait to meet them, with ‘‘thousands’’ turning up for the five-night Halloween season that ended on Monday night.
Hamish Williams and his team had unleashed their ‘‘nightmare on Main St’’ - an attraction called The Haunted Barn behind black polythene draped walls.
Inside a corral made from lock-together security fencing and surrounded by spooky props, lurked a terrifying troupe of 15 costumed ‘‘scare actors’’, who provided spectral presences, acted as guides and operated special effects strobe lighting, atmospheric sounds and smoke machines. It proved ‘a graveyard smash’. ‘‘Numbers have been huge, and people have been extraordinarily happy, with rave reviews. It’s been fantastic. It far exceeded expectations,’’ Williams said, rapt that his guests had such a great time.
It also drew plenty of people from outside the region.
‘‘On Monday I know of at least 10 groups from Wellington who came up especially for the attraction.’’
The only hiccup had been the length of time spent in the wait line on the first night. Once that was sorted, people were able to proceed through the Barn smoothly in small groups at oneminute intervals.
The Haunted Barn installation was a sequel to the spooky Amazing Maze ‘n Maize attraction Williams used to operate out of the former Woodlands Lodge on SH1 near Sanson.
The lodge building was destroyed by fire in 2009, and without its cafe underwriting the seasonal enterprise, running the scare-fest became untenable, so the Nightmares entrepreneur closed it down five years ago.
‘‘People really missed the maze. We had so many enquiries about bringing it back, but finding a location and meeting compliances had always been the problem,’’ Williams said.
Not even bad weather deterred people from the fright-filled fun.
‘‘Rain and wind just added to the horror theme,’’ Williams said.
‘‘And yes, we’ll definitely be doing it again.’’
‘‘People really missed the maze. We had so many enquiries about bringing it back.’’ Hamish Williams
‘‘Killer’’ clown (Kata Granich), zombie (Atchara Lightbourne) and mutated rabbit (Kamie Kithen) prepare to scare.