The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 22, 2013

Family creating new haunted house

Raven's Nightmare created from Dark Shadows accoutrements

Broken down, abandoned cars are tipped on their sides and strewn at random around a large gravel lot. Hay bales are blocking the way of a quick escape.

And then you see the first one — an undead. A gray, soulless zombie headed your way. Then they're everywhere. Crawling out of cars and shadows.

You scream. Everyone around you screams.

And all of this happens before you enter Raven's Nightmare haunted attraction.

“Oh no, I won't go in (when it's open),” said Amy Schmidt, one of the seven Schmidt family members who have been working for weeks to create the haunt on the Affordable Towing site in Mankato.

Allen and Amy Schmidt bought all the goods from the Dark Shadows Mansion before it ended its run behind Drummers Garden Center and Floral. After careful planning and the purchase of extra goodies, Allen's vision has come to fruition.

“It's been a childhood dream to own a haunt,” said Allen, whose family also owns a photography business and a DJ and sound business.

Amy was a tiny bit hesitant at first, what with five children and numerous jobs and responsibilities already between the two of them. But she came around.

“It was a little overwhelming at first,” she said. “But I could see the dream, and I could see the potential.”

“The potential” has turned into an elaborate, engaging, horrific maze of themed rooms, which Allen said absolutely has to remain a mystery until the patron enters the haunt. So the only details that can be disclosed are of the atmosphere outside the attraction.

In addition to “Zombie Alley,” Family Fun Shows will be setting up three carnival rides on the lot, which sits on Summit Avenue. There will also be food for sale and live bands performing.

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