For more than a decade, Minnesotans have counted on the Haunted Basement to deliver chills-inducing Halloween weirdness come October. The sign-a-waiver scarefest first launched in Minneapolis’ Soap Factory art gallery, where the frights felt liberated by an avant-garde ethos. That space closed, but the crew maintained their edge (read: hair-raising smells, touchy-grabby monsters, bizarrely specific scenarios) in a defunct General Mills facility. Then, just last year, they moved again, this time to Rosedale Center’s former Herberger’s department store in Roseville, reminding patrons that malls are zombie-movie turf.
Rosedale seemed as though it would become the Haunted Basement’s new permanent digs. But with the pandemic, organizers are boxing up the experience instead, in addition to putting it online. Rosedale, meanwhile, has something socially distanced brewing in its parking lot.
Haunted Basement: “The Box” and “The House”
Next month, Haunted Basement staff will execute two COVID-safe alternatives:
With “The Box,” they’re one-upping subscription-box suspense. Shipping out in early October, these packages will contain “surprises that only the Basement can provide,” available for purchase on the Haunted Basement website.
“It’s a little bit of us, sent to you for you to enjoy in the comfort of…well, wherever you want to be,” a press release states. In the infamous words of Brad Pitt: What’s in the box? “A little arts and crafts, a little ritual, a little haircut, a little conjuring, maybe some fire? Definitely intimate.”
The Haunted Basement is also orchestrating an interactive online experience called “The House.” The premise: Like the rest of us, Basement “creeps” have been stuck at home for months, and they’re eager to chat. They’ll ask you to go someplace alone, to lock the doors, to turn off the lights—to dance? As with “The Box,” you can purchase the experience separately online.
“We all wanted to create something that was intimate and terrifying,” says interim Haunted Basement executive director Walker Friend in a press release. “And thanks to [directors’] leadership and guidance, we have succeeded far beyond what we could have conceived.”
Rosedale Center: Deadly Drive-in
As for Rosedale: This year, the mall is haunted by Flip Phone, the Minneapolis event organizer and First Avenue filler that partnered with Rosedale last year on its drag show.
Starting October 15, they’re hosting “the Deadly Drive-in” in the Rosedale parking lot, based on “a growing trend of drive-in haunted houses in Japan,” according to a press release.
“The drive-through will begin with each car receiving a fully sanitized radio that will set the stage and enhance the scares for attendees,” the press release says. “Each car will then be led into a tent, where drivers will hand over their keys to ensure the safety of all involved.”
Visitors should expect 30 minutes of car-window scares (and are asked to remain isolated by household). Tickets go on sale September 17, available at flipphoneevents.com/deadlydrivein.