Pensacola, Florida
Sunday October 26th 2014

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Fear City Night’s Scares Pensacola and Feeds the Hungry

By Hana Frenette

The house is haunted. That’s true.

“This paranormal medium was walking around downtown, and she told us she felt summoned by the building,” Linda Paul said. “She walked in and heard children playing upstairs and once she actually got up there she said the sounds turned into crying noises.”

There is actually an old children’s piano in one of the upstairs rooms, but all the keys are broken.

“But anyway, we aren’t looking for ghosts, our goal is just to entertain,” Paul said. “We are high-scare, low-gore, with about $20,000 invested in special effects.”

Paul and her husband Russell are the producer’s for Seville’s haunted house, Fear City Nights. The haunted house will be held in a vacant building directly across the street from Seville’s Rosie O’Grady’s.

The site has a total of 10,000 square feet, half inside and half outside. There are more than 13 rooms inside, and four “scare areas” outside.

“We have dead-rooms instead of bedrooms, and a dying room instead of a dining room,” Paul said.

Since the end of August, a group of volunteers — ranging from 25 to 50 of them — have been working in the space. They’ve been building fake walls and arranging the décor, but Paul actually works on the props all year long.

“As soon as one season is over, we get right back to designing for next year,” Paul said.

Fear City Nights opened Sept. 30 and will run every Friday and Saturday up until Halloween weekend, when it will run Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Halloween Monday.

“The ticket booth opens at 6:30, but we don’t start the screaming until about 7:30,” Paul said.

Tickets at the gate are $15, but if you bring three canned-good items, the price will be lowered to $13.

“We are trying to help Manna build their food bank back up, because it is at a dangerously low level,” Paul said. “Last year we helped raise over 1,000 pounds of canned goods for them.”

Fear City Nights is also offering people the chance to vote for their favorite room. Each room is created by a certain sponsor or volunteer, and at the end of the night, each room will receive a percentage of the ticket sales based on how many times it was voted for.

“It makes it into a little incentive sometimes for the volunteers, to make their room as scary as possible,” Paul said. “It’s chosen by people who had the chance to walk through it themselves, not a panel of judges or something.”

People can write down suggestions or reasons why they liked or didn’t like a room, which everyone tries to take into consideration for the next year.

“People like rooms for all different reasons,” Paul said. “Some people will be mad the room didn’t have a clown in it, while others are just glad they almost wet their pants.”

Fear City Nights is also offering a child-matinee viewing of the house from 3 to 5 p.m. The ticket price is $7 and will include a full walk-through of the house. However, more lights will be on and all the monsters and dead people will be “asleep.” They are still visible, just not interactive.

“You’re paying us to scare you, but we don’t want to traumatize your children,” Paul said. “We don’t have an age limit on the regular show either, though, it’s just kind of a use-your-own-discretion thing.’”

The show will be running from now through Halloween night, and tickets may be purchased at the gate or online. It’s usually more fun to wait at the gate though, that way you can hear the screams and know you’re getting your money’s worth.

FEAR CITY NIGHTS
WHAT: Haunted House
WHERE: Historic Seville Quarter, directly across from Rosie O’ Grady’s
WHEN: Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29, 30, and Halloween night.
COSTS: $15 at the gate, $13 w/three canned-good items
DETAILS: sevilleqaurter.com