Wylie’s Destination Imagination students will have lots of new thrills, plus the return of the vortex, at the 4th annual Runway of Terror haunted house this month.
This year’s theme is Area 51, which will take guests on an alien encounter – a brave new world for Wylie’s DI program. The haunted house is called Runway of Terror because of its location at Elmdale Airport, and it is as a major fundraiser for Wylie DI.
“We’ve never tackled the fear of the unknown,” said Wylie DI student Wes Horn, who has helped with the haunted house since it began. “We like to find what people really just find terrifying. One year we had phobias – things that get under people’s skin. Aliens are just scary. It’s a whole new theme.”
Guests to the haunted house will go on a tour of Area 51, complete with a decontamination unit and experimental labs, when suddenly there is some sort of incident. The group will find itself on an alien ship, working its way through a maze.
The new theme promises all new thrills.
“It’s a different approach to what normally is scary,” said Christian Barber, a freshman DI student. “It’s a lot more maze oriented than previous years.”
One thing that will remain the same is the vortex. The whirling tunnel of lights provides a unique experience that has become a fan favorite.
“The vortex is still my favorite,” said Coltyn Cook, a freshman DI student who spends his weekends helping build the haunted house. “It always has been.”
Wes said visitors to the haunted house love the vortex.
“Some people get real confused,” he said. “Everybody loves it. They don’t know how it works. The vortex disorients them. It’s pretty hilarious.”
Trisha Eichler, a long-time DI volunteer who heads up the haunted house, said she found the vortex on E-bay.
“Everybody loves it,” she said. “It was a very good investment.”
The DI students started working on this year’s haunted house as soon as last year’s ended. They kicked their efforts into high gear when September rolled around.
Coltyn said he does not mind the hard work.
“Ultimately it gives me that feeling that I can do anything that I put my mind to,” he said.
“We come in here, and it’s a blank floor. We come in here and say we are going to give the people the best show of their lives. We work hard. It gives me that feeling of accomplishment.”
Christian said the haunted house is also a good way to hang out with friends – and it is lots of fun to scare people.
“Generally everybody gets scared at least at some point,” he said. “I can’t handle scary stuff myself, but it’s hilarious scaring other people.”