This Halloween, you’re invited to descend into the depths to have the daylights scared out of you.
For the third year, the subterranean “Village of Screamfield” will welcome visitors bold enough to brave the underground village and its nightmarish residents.
This year, the buried city — located in the basement of the Plainfield Police Department at 14300 S. Coil Plus Dr. — will be open for two weekends, offering both “full-scare” and family friendly hauntings, according to founder Ken Erdey.
All proceeds from the haunted house will go to the Plainfield School District 202 Foundation for Excellence, which provides grants to fund teacher-initiated enrichment programs in Plainfield schools.
Erdey’s wife, Carla Erdey, is the foundation chairperson.
“Every year, we try to add something new,” said Erdey, who portrays Mayor Scream, the terrifying clown ruler of the Village of Screamfield.
Before moving into the Plainfield Police Department, the annual haunted house was held at Eaton Preserve.
For safety reasons, Erdey said organizers wanted to move it to a new location.
In 2010, D.A.R.E. Officer Mark Siegel invited the cast and crew to take up shop in the police department’s basement.
“They just wanted a simple haunted houe their D.A.R.E. kids could walk through,” Erdey said. “Three years later, it’s become bigger and better.”
This year, the Village of Screamfield has also been expanded to two weekends, including a Sunday haunting on Oct. 28.
Erdey said cast and crew — including actors portraying more than 50 characters — have been hard at work prepping the village since August. Many of the actors are students at District 202's high schools.
“We’ve been training since August, but it’s fair to say I’ve been planning since January,” Erdey said.
With limited funding to purchase props, the Screamfield crew focuses on their acting — not to mention spooky lighting — to scare up a good time for guests.
Those brave enough to enter the buried city will encounter Mayor Scream and the other demented denizens of Screamfield, including the dollshop owner, gravedigger, and doctors and nurses at the local hospital.
“Mostly our town is overrun with a clown carnival,” Erdey said. “So, basically, our village is run by clowns.”
Erdey called the “full-scare” experience a “PG-13 haunting.”
“It is meant to be scary,” he said. “It will make you scream, and it will make you laugh at your friends who are screaming.”
But while the cast’s goal is to terrify its visitors, there will be plenty of time for younger guests to enjoy the haunted house.
“We added a family day,” Erdey said. “Basically, our monsters don’t come out until 6 o’clock at night. It’s really aimed toward a bubble gum experience. Families come, they want to be able to walk through the haunted house with their kids, and they can’t do that at most haunted houses.”
During the family-friendly experience, even youngsters who aren’t bold enough to make it all the way through the haunted house are invited to join the fun.
“We will bring them out, but before we let them go, we like to walk them through backstage” so they can see what goes on behind the scenes and watch as other guests walk through the haunted house, Erdey said.
Erdey said the Village of Screamfield is a way he can channel his love for Halloween into an event that benefits Plainfield schools.
“To give the community something that I enjoy, and to give back to the community, it’s win-win-win for everyone,” he said.
WHAT: Village of Screamfield Haunted House
- 6-10 p.m. Friday, Oct 19: Full scare
- 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 Family friendly
- 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20: Full scare
- 6-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26: Full scare
- 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27: Family friend
- 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27: Full scare
- 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28: Full scare
WHERE: Plainfield Police Department, 14300 S. Coil Plus Dr.
- Family friendly: $5 for ages 7 and up; free for ages 6 and under
- Full scare: $10 per person