Those who enjoy being scared out of their wits need look no further. For the second year in a row, Screams at the Beach is offering Delawareans the chance to experience one of the scariest haunts in the country.
“We had two haunt review companies that came out this year. Haunt Rater Crew gave us a perfect score. The other group — they go all over the country — gave us an 8.8 out of 10,” explained Brian Turner, who runs the attraction alongside Mike Milliken. “They said we have the potential to be the best haunt in the country — not one of the best, but the best.”
Turner and Milliken deal with every aspect of the haunt, from the concept to the design to the construction on the grounds of the Sports at the Beach complex near Georgetown.
“Everything from the time you walked through the gate to the time you leave is our brainchild,” he said. “We’ve always been big fans of horror and have always loved Halloween and haunted houses. I think we’ve definitely proven we have the mind to create scary.”
A haunt was first established on the property in 2011 and, following that season Turner and Milliken took over and helped create Screams at the Beach.
“The very first year there was a small haunt that consisted of one attraction. Mike and I were the techs. We made sure the lights and animatronics worked well,” Turner explained. “I guess we did such a good job that the owner approached us after the first season and asked us to totally redesign everything. We got started in December 2011 with the redesign and we completed it last year, probably the day before we opened.”
Turner said anyone who visited the haunt last year should definitely visit again this year, as two new attractions — including carnival rides — have been added.
“It took about an hour to get through everything last year. This year, it takes about two hours. Just our field alone is a half-mile to walk through,” he said, adding that about 120 people work every night the haunt is open.
Screams at the Beach is open every Thursday through Saturday, through Oct. 26, as well as on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, beginning each night at 7 p.m.
“You’re definitely here for the night,” said Turner. “Once you’re here, you’re here.”
As an all-night affair, the haunt even offers food concessions for attendees to enjoy.
“We have a concession trailer and plenty of places where people can sit down and hang out. We built the façade of an old town. We have characters and people entertaining in the town. But we also have picnic tables and a gazebo for the food,” he said.
“There’s so much to do. If people didn’t eat dinner, the concession trailer has cheesesteaks, hamburgers, hotdogs, pulled pork — anything you can imagine. If you already had dinner, we have funnel cake and all that. It really is a full night of stuff.”
Turner said that, last year, thousands of people wandered through Screams’ haunts, and he believes that, this year, even more will come to be frightened.
“It appeals to a big audience. We’ve had young kids here. We’ve had grandparents here. Anyone who’s into Halloween and likes to be scared will enjoy this,” he said.
Following a walk — or, perhaps, run — through the haunt, attendees may also purchase Screams at the Beach merchandise.
“All the haunts funnel out into one spot. Where they come out, we have a booth that has T-shirts, glow sticks and different things like that.”
Tickets to the haunt cost $30 per person, which includes access to all the rides and attractions. Group rates are available, as well.
But there’s even more. In the daytime, the Sports at the Beach children’s attraction — which is open March through November — offers children the chance to enjoy scare-free fun.
“We have a petting zoo, playground, numerous inflatables and a train,” said Turner. “We have all kinds of stuff.” The children’s attraction is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs $10 for kids and $5 for adults.
Turner said he hopes that people enjoy the haunt and will come out to see what new scares the haunt has to offer.
“When people think haunts, I want them to think Screams at the Beach,” he said. “I have high hopes for this year.”
Screams at the Beach is located at 22518 Lewes Georgetown Highway, near Georgetown, on the grounds of Sports at the Beach. For more information, call (302) 856-7400 or visit www.screamsatthebeach.com or www.facebook.com/screamsatthebeach.