“Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood.” With those thrilling words, acclaimed actor Vincent Price set the tone for many Halloweens to come. Society’s obsession with fright has always dominated the Halloween season. While children trick-or-treat and carve pumpkins, the adults are often deliberately putting themselves into harrowing, terror-filled situations. Why? Only the courageous know for sure.
If you are one of those brave souls (and I certainly do not fall into that category), there are several attractions around the area that can help you get your fright on. It seems that some people like scaring others as much as others like being scared themselves. Case in point is Tony Plante, who runs Leonard, North Dakota’s famed Acres of Terror. “I’ve always enjoyed scary, creepy, thrill-seeking adrenaline rushes,” he explained.
When his career was interrupted by a car accident, Tony decided to make his dream of owning a haunted house a reality. With the help of neighbors and friends, Acres of Terror opened in 2003. “It was such a rush to hear the screams from visitors and to think that we did this,” Tony said. “We started with a field of alfalfa with a bus in the middle and used my garage and the trailer house next to it. As the business grew, I kept reinvesting back into the show.” Over the years, Tony has purchased the field behind his, planted corn, bought that original trailer house and corresponding land, and purchased the old Leonard high school. “It has really grown over the years.”
No two visits to Acres of Terror are the same. “I don’t want people to know what to expect until they’re here,” Tony explained. “That’s half the fun.” He believes it is the adrenaline rush that keeps people coming back. “It’s like putting on your favorite scary movie and then covering your eyes, except you can’t cover your eyes while going through Acres of Terror.” Tony promises not to judge if you use your spouse, best friend, or even your child as a human shield.
This year, visitors to Acres of Terror can expect more animatronics, a longer and different course, and new realistic and gruesome props. “You won’t want to miss this,” Tony proclaimed. Acres of Terror is also always looking for talented people that want to be on the other side of the chainsaw. “If you think you have what it takes to join our family, find us on Facebook and send us a message,” invited Tony.
For more information on Acres of Terror, visit acresofterrornd.com. The attraction is open Friday and Saturdays from dusk until midnight September 15th through October 28th. Admission is $20 for adults and $12 for ages 10 and younger.
As a special bonus to Shop.Dine.Live readers, mention this article and you will receive a free admission when you buy four at regular price.
By Jamee Larson