A lion, a scaredy cat and a haunted house: Two Detroit Lakes reporters take on local Halloween scare-fest

The Haunted House staged by the Becker County Museum at the county fairgrounds in Detroit Lakes opened this past weekend, and continues on three more nights heading into Halloween: Thursday, Oct. 27, Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29. Tours will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., with each lasting approximately 10-15 minutes.

Haunted House Entrance.jpg
The entrance to the Haunted House at the Becker County Fairgrounds gives visitors an ominous greeting as they wait their turn to enter the maze.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — The Haunted House at the Becker County Fairgrounds (held inside the 4-H exhibit building) saw a strong turnout on opening night, with a line starting early on Friday, Oct. 21 and lasting until close.

On the second night, amongst the people of all ages that lined up to be scared out of their minds stood a lion and a scaredy cat, masquerading as members of the local press.

Prior to entering, the lion proclaimed, “I don’t get scared.” However, after turning the first corner of the haunted house, the lion halted. The scaredy cat peeked over her shoulder and said, “Oh geez, oh golly, oh no.” The lion "suggested" that the cat go first. Before “meh, no'' had escaped her lips, the cat found herself in front of the lion. With feet moving like a cartoon — mid-air — the cat skedaddled past the towering scare. The lion laughed a little as she walked on by, but didn't dawdle.

Every turn seemed designed to cause an adrenaline spike, as if those traveling the corridors were stuck in the halls of Edvard Grieg’s mountain king, each step raising the stakes until nervous laughter and cries for one’s mommy could be heard. As the scaredy cat bounced about the haunted house, trying to duck into corners and slink about the side walls as if wearing an invisibility cloak, the lion decided to follow a stocky man with a bloody machete down his private hallway. The two stared at each other in an awkward silence. From behind a curtain the scaredy cat asked, “Where do we go?”

The bloody machete pointed the duo away from the hooded man's private hallway. With a shrug, the lion followed the pitter-patter of the scaredy cat’s footsteps.


While sworn to secrecy on the specifics of the rooms, characters and scares used, both reviewers agreed the limited space was well-utilized, in a long maze where decorations were thoughtfully placed to heighten the senses. Hallways of anticipation, levitating tables, coffins awaiting potential new residents… all received applause. The haunted candy counter, in particular, earned rave reviews for ingenuity and creativity.

All volunteers at the Becker County Museum-sponsored haunted house get a standing ovation. Their costumes created a high creep factor and when combined with their mannerisms and movements, the fight or flight instincts took hold and PG-13 words escaped, at least for the scaredy cat.

When the lion in this scenario admitted to a moment of cowardice, declaring to Becker County Museum Director Becky Mitchell, "All right, I admit it, they scared me," she laughed and asked if the lion had been the second member of the "I wet my pants" club for this year. (Alas, no — but the heart rate did climb a bit.)

The only critique issued by the reviewers: They both wished it was longer.

If you go

What: Halloween Haunted House
Where: Becker County Fairgrounds (4-H Building), 1310 Rossman Ave., Detroit Lakes
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-29, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Who: Hosted by the Becker County Museum
How: Tours cost $10 (cash) per person, payable at the door. Tour groups are limited to five people or less. Not intended for young children; those under age 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

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