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World’s Scariest Haunted House lives up to the hype

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By Deborah Swearingen

Nestled behind Jared’s Nursery on West Bowles Avenue is the World’s Scariest Haunted House, and according to many of its actors, it lives up to its name.

“I’ve had a couple of fetal position scares,” said actor CJ Mitchell of Littleton. “People just lay on the floor.”

Although it typically takes 15 minutes to make it through the haunted house, some make it out in much less.

“Some get out in four or five minutes ‘cause all they do is put their head down and run,” said Loretta Wood, who opened the haunted house in 2014 with her husband, Dave. “We have a lot of people who don’t make it through.”

As strobe lights flash and fog thickens the air, participants walk through the haunted house, winding their way through various spooky scenes. Actors are staged throughout, mixed in with mannequins, props and animatronics to enhance the experience.

Mitchell begged her parents to build a haunted house in their backyard. After they continued to say no, she called every haunted house in the metro-Denver area and ended up at the world’s scariest. She began as a volunteer, helping with setup, and worked her way up to become a paid actor.

Actors often return yearly, forming a family unit of sorts.

“You can see that cohesiveness of the actors in the house,” Loretta said.

While the job might be uncomfortable at first, actor Michael Winter of Littleton said it becomes easier with time.

“The first couple of times it’s kind of weird knowing you’re jumping out and terrifying people,” he said. “But then you kind of just get used to it.”

And besides, Dave Wood knows his veteran actors can handle anything.

“It’s like Monsters, Inc.,” he said. “If you see 6,000 to 7,000 people for 20 years, they have (more than) 100,000 scares under their belt.”

The World’s Scariest Haunted House in at 10500 W. Bowles Avenue in Littleton. It is open from 7 to 11 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Tickets cost $18 for all ages or $25 for the VIP express line.

There is a coupon online at www.worldsscariesthauntedhouse.com for $3 off a general admission ticket.

Other area Halloween events:

• Haunted Car Wash: 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 27 through 31 at the WOW Car Wash, 11737 W. Ken Caryl Ave., in Littleton. Those who purchase a car wash can cruise through the family-friendly “tunnel of doom.” Costumes are encouraged, and free treats and hot chocolate will be provided while supplies last.

• The Forest of Doom: 7 to 11 p.m., Oct. 27 through 31 and Nov. 3 and 4, 21030 N. Turkey Creek Road in Morrison. Tickets cost $8 for children and $17 for adults. Purchase tickets online in advance at www.theforestofdoom.eventbrite.com. Tickets are sold in person but must be paid for in cash.

• BOO-rific Bash & Splash: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Ridge Recreation Center in Littleton. Dress in costume and trick or treat among community business tables, and bring a swimsuit to enjoy the indoor pool. The cost is $5 per child and adults get in for free. Participants must pay at the door.

• The Great Pumpkin Haul: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28 at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. Participate in an obstacle course while carrying a pumpkin and stay for a fall festival with food, hay rides, a corn maze and morn. To register or learn more, visit www.thegreatpumpkinhaul.com.

• Goblin Give Out: Noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 28 in downtown Littleton. Wear a costume and trick or treat at participating merchants.  

• Fall Festival: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 29 at The Barn at Raccoon Creek, 7301 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton. There will be pumpkin carving, a petting zoo, food and drink and more.