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Greenville haunted house opens doors for 14th season this Friday

Firefighters with the Greenville Fire Department will be trading in their gas masks for clown makeup and an assortment of other eerie makeup all month long for the 14th annual Haunted Firehouse attraction.

According to Captain Les Liller, the Greenville Fire Department’s various members have travelled the nation for years and attended a number of conventions that provide not only ideas courtesy of presentations and fellow actors in the industry, but also educational opportunities regarding the science behind building a proper, pants-wetting haunted attraction.

“For the first two or three years, we pretty much operated on everyone’s ideas and imaginations, and you found out that when you want to change a lot each year, you quickly run out of a pool to draw from as far as ideas,” Liller said.

“That’s when we started attending these out-of-town conventions, and it opened our eyes completely to the technical side of it.  There are so many different lighting avenues and sounds, and it opens up a whole new area of abilities to scare people.

“We’ve noticed that it gets a little more difficult to startle and scare people each year because people will become desensitized to it through a lot of horror movies, and people become more accustomed to seeing things like this. So we have to work a little harder each year to make sure we scare people and they get their money’s worth.”

For more than a decade, travelers as far away as Alabama’s bordering states have made the annual pilgrimage to Greenville for the unique scares and thrills of the Haunted Firehouse.  And every year, those brave souls return with glowing reviews of their experiences.  The attraction’s reputation has grown enough to earn it the title of the No. 1 haunted house in the state, according to alabamahauntedhouses.com in 2014 and 2015.

Though Liller said that the haunted house makes a concerted effort to scare visitors silly, it’s all about having fun at the end of the night.

“People come because they like to be scared,” Liller said. “The people who really, really don’t like to be scared just don’t come to our attraction.  There are friends and people in the community who tell us every year ‘I’ll be glad to send you a donation, but I’m not coming—you would scare me to death.’

“But as long as people can come out of our attraction and tell us they were having a good time, whether they were scared or laughing at someone else who got scared, we’re good.”

The haunted house opens this Friday, Sept. 29, and will remain open for every Friday and Saturday night in October from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $8.