Woods of Terror celebrates the Halloween season
For 27 years, restless spirits have haunted the grounds of 5601 N. Church St., just about 12 miles outside of Greensboro. And for about 24 days out of the year, these restless spirits come to life to scare the pants off anyone who dares to set foot on the land.
Woods of Terror owner/operator Eddie McLaurin a.k.a Bone Daddy inherited the land from his great-grandfather and local priest Eddie Howie McMillan. Woods of Terror houses 12 attractions and takes approximately 50 minutes (not including waiting in lines). Each year, McLaurin hopes to improve his haunt so that each attraction is the best it can be.
“What I try to do every year is to improve every scene, or I try to add to the scene in almost all my attractions. I don’t tear out an attraction and build a new attraction, but I added to and added quality into each attraction,” he said. “This year we made a big addition to the Texas House, and we added quite a bit to the 3D Funhouse.”
McLaurin said the fan-favorite Texas House has been expanded by over 1,000 square feet in the back. He said it has made the attraction longer as well as a “better-quality attraction.” McLaurin said in addition to the 3D Funhouse and Texas House, the Movie Maniacs attraction is another fan-favorite. He said the Movie Maniacs features classic Halloween movie icons such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees. With the release of the Halloween sequel last Friday, McLaurin thinks this attraction will be even more popular this year.
In one of Woods of Terror’s Facebook promotional videos, McLaurin is heard saying “we are the original, often imitated but never duplicated.” McLaurin believes what sets his haunt apart from others is the attention to detail when it comes to quality of the set, his trained actors from the community, as well as the length of the show.
“The quality of my haunted attractions are night and day,” McLaurin said of other competing haunts in the state. “My actors are easily twice as good, they have dialogue, and they are trained to be scarier.”
McLaurin said he has concentrated solely on building the attractions and scaring people in the off-season, and that shows when it is time for him to don his red mohawk, paint his face like a skeleton and put his snake Spawn around his neck.
“We train our actors and just go over the top,” he said. “We have Allen Hopps come in, and he is the best-haunted house actor trainer in the United States.”
McLaurin said that he has brought Hopps in to train his actors for five years.
“When you see these guys and what he has them doing, you can see the difference,” he said referring to the actor training video posted on Facebook. “I don’t think anybody is teaching this, and anybody is training their actors this hard.”
McLaurin said despite the hurricane and tropical storm; attendance has been up this year. McLaurin said the Facebook videos have expanded their reach and this year people have been driving in from out of town. He said they come from places such as Wilmington, South Carolina, and even Tennessee, just to experience Woods of Terror.
“My question for all of them is, was it worth the ride? And they are like ‘yes, it is definitely worth it.’”
As Halloweekend approaches, it will be business as usual at Woods of Terror. McLaurin said this haunting experience is the perfect way to celebrate Halloween because there will be entertainment all the way through.
“Even in the Midway we are going to entertain you,” he said. “In the Midway, we sometimes have eight actors, a live DJ, a band and we have games you can play. We have concession stands, so you can come out and spend an evening having a great time with your friends. You can’t get this experience anywhere else.”
Due to high attendance on Saturdays, McLaurin wants to try to get people to come on Fridays, Thursdays, and Sundays when it is not only cheaper to come, but also when lines won’t be as long. He said Saturdays are the busiest night of the season, and the Saturday before Halloween should be busier than usual.
“The difference is on Friday we are doing 3,000 and on Saturdays we are doing over 4,000 people,” he said. “Just be prepared [to wait] if you come on Saturday night.”
Even though Halloween is on a Wednesday, McLaurin plans to be open for the spookiest day of the year. He said people are allowed to wear their costumes, but he wants to discourage costumes on any other day than Halloween.
“It is confusing for the actors and confusing for the security team,” he said and added, “you should not wear flip-flops to the haunted house. It is too dangerous.”
McLaurin also discourages people who are pregnant, have heart conditions or those who are in poor health in coming to Woods of Terror. After Halloween on Nov. 2 and 3, McLaurin said most of the lights at Woods of Terror would go off, and Terror in the Darkness will begin.
“We cut out 90 percent of the lights, and we give everybody a glow stick,” he said. “When you take out all the lights, we actually have to go in there and put glow sticks in certain part of the woods, it is just so dark you can’t even see where to go.”
The love of Halloween isn’t the only thing that drives McLaurin. He said he enjoys being a producer and seeing to it that others have a good time.
“Come out here and see Bone Daddy at Woods of Terror and have a great time,” McLaurin said.
McLaurin said Woods of Terror has dynamic pricing and each night has a different cost. Check out the Woods of Terror website at www.woodsofterror.com/ for more information.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.