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halloween-punch-recipe

You’ve seen those pictures of those awesome, eerie-looking Halloween cocktails with mist roiling over the rim. You’re right in assuming they use dry ice to achieve the effect, but there’s a little more to it than just plopping a chunk into your beverage. Our special effects masters here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park offer up the following tips to liven up your party punch.

How to Handle and Store Dry Ice

Always wear strong, thick gloves when handling dry ice. Its extremely cold temperature (-109.3°F or -78.5°C) can cause frostbite in less than 10 seconds if it touches your bare skin.

Dry ice is actually frozen carbon dioxide and it dissipates much quicker than regular ice so it’s best to pick it up just a few hours before your party starts. Store it in a standard ice chest, never in your freezer. The extremely cold temperature of dry ice is colder than your freezer and it will cause your freezer to shut down.

Adding Dry Ice to Beverages

It’s OK to use dry ice in your beverages to get that misty look for your Halloween party, but make sure it’s Food Grade dry ice.

Your dry ice will probably come in a 1-lb block. Wrap the block in a towel and use a hammer and chisel to break it into 1-inch cubes for your cocktails.

Warn your guests not to drink or eat the dry ice. For adults this won’t pose a problem because dry ice is heavier than regular ice and it sinks to the bottom of the drink. For children, though, this presents a problem.

If children are present be extra cautious. Instead of placing dry ice in each individual cup, use a larger piece and place to make a misty, foggy punch. Then, dip the punch from the bowl and serve over regular ice in cups the children can more easily handle.

What to do with Leftovers

The best way to dispose of leftover dry ice is to simply leave it in the cooler with the lid slightly open until it completely dissipates. If there are children or pets present, place the cooler out of their reach.

How NOT to Dispose of Dry Ice

NEVER:

Flush it down the drain or toilet
Put it in the garbage shoot or dumpster
Put it down the garbage disposal
Dump it in the sewer
Place it on a tile, glass or laminate surface
Put it in an enclosed or airtight container

black-cat-halloween2

We’ve seen our fair share of black cats and creepy bats here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park and we don’t bat an eye. We don’t fear the number 13 but we do sheepishly admit that we make sure to never step on cracks or handle mirrors after we’ve just finished eating buttered popcorn. What about you? Everybody’s a little superstitious about something?

For example, in Wales they have the belief that you’ll die within the next year if you hear a sigh carried by the wind which blows over the feat of a dead man on Halloween night.

Want to know who’s going to die during the next year? In Scotland they say you can sit on a three-legged stool at a crossroads, listen to the church clock strike midnight on All Hallow’s Eve, and you’ll hear the names of everyone who’s going to die over the next 12 months.

In England they believe you’re guaranteeing your own death if you looked at your shadow in the moonlight on All Hallow’s Eve. In England they also avoid hunting on Halloween for fear they’ll accidentally shoot some wandering spirit.

The Europeans who settled in America believed that a child born on Halloween was guaranteed protection against evil spirits for his entire life. He would also be gifted with second sight.

In medieval times, Europeans weren’t big fans of either bats or spiders. They believed that if you saw a bat circle your house three times it meant someone in your home would die soon, and if a bat flew into your house it meant your house was haunted. If a spider fell into the flame of a lamp and burned that meant witches were nearby, and if you see a spider on Halloween it means the ghost of one of your loved ones is watching over you.

Want to know your own future? Those same Europeans believed you could listen to the wind at a crossroads on Halloween night and learn all the significant events that were going to happen to you over the next 12 months.

And finally, in medieval times they believed that the ringing of chimes or bells would frighten away evil spirits. So turn on your porch light and welcome those Trick-or-Treaters. Every time they ring your doorbell they’re chasing another evil spirit away from your house.

No haunted house attraction would be complete without at least one chainsaw-weilding madman, and Thrillvania Haunted House Park is no exception. We take great pride in our ability to scare you to death without actually sawing off any of your limbs. But where did the chainsaw/madman idea originally come from? From “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” of course. The most infamous crime in Texas that never actually occurred.

In 1974 the movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” splattered onto movie screens across the country and quickly knocked “The Exorcist” out of its number one spot. And no wonder. Promoters took advantage of movie-goer’s love of true-crime stories and used the following message to lure the audience in:

The film is an account of a tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty. For them and idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare when they were exposed to an insane and macabre family of chain saw killers. One by one they disappear to be brutallyt butchered, each murder more horrendous than the last the surviving member of the group making a frantic bid for escape in the horrific climax. This video cassette is based on a true incident and is definitely not for the squeamish or the nervous.”

But did “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” really happen? Sort of. But not quite.

The film does make a connection with the crimes of Ed Gein. However, Gein lived in Wisconsin and he operated alone. And, while Gein was convicted of murdering two women, most of his crimes had to do with the fact that he stole corpses from the local cemetery. He did, however, use bones from those corpses to make freakish end tables and a headboard for his bead and he did use their skin to craft aprons and masks – just like Leatherface did in the movie.

But Gein never used a chainsaw to dismember his victims which leads us back to our original question: Where did the chainsaw weilding madman idea originate?

Director Tobe Hooper says he got the inspiration while staning in line at a Montgomery Ward’s. The store was crowded with holiday shoppers and Hooper found himself musing about a script he was working on, a script about isolation, the woods, the darkness and the unknown. Unnerved by the huge crowd around him, Hooper noticed a large display of chainsaws and thought, “Ooh, I know how I could get out of this place fast – if I just start one of these things up and make that sound.”

And that’s how the idea for a chainsaw weilding madman came about. Ironically, Hooper said he constantly ran into people who told him they remembered when the crime was reported in the paper and they’d actually met or knew Leatherface. But the crime never really happened, and the crime it was loosely based on actually happened in Wisconsin and didn’t involve a chainsaw at all.

But it makes for a heckuva good scare, doesn’t it?

banshee grim reaper

Here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park in Dallas, Texas we pride ourselves on our ability to scare, frighten and terrorize our visitors, but it’s all in good fun. We know, in most cases, you’re going to leave here alive
with a big, silly grin on your face. However, if you happen to meet up with a Banshee or The Grim Reaper after you leave here… well, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms! We can’t control what happens
after you leave the park.

When you hear the Banshee’s mourning call, someone is about to die

A Banshee can appear in a number of forms. Most often she takes the form of an ugly, old hag, but sometimes she appears as a beautiful young woman, a hooded crow, a rabbit or a weasel. She often appears near the woods, late at night.

You’ll know you’re seeing a banshee by her mournful crying and piercing, ear-shattering wail. Why is she crying so? Because the appearance of a banshee foretells the imminent death of someone nearby. Don’t worry. It won’t be you. But it will most likely be someone near and dear to your heart.

When you see the Grim Reaper, that ‘someone’ will be you

Unlike the Banshee, the appearance of the Grim Reaper usually means you’re about to meet your maker. He’s often referred to as The Angel of Death or the Angel of Dark and Light, but it doesn’t really matter what you call him, he’ll answer to just about anything.

The Grim Reaper also differs from a Banshee in that he typically appears as a man. Generally, he’s dressed in a long, black hooded robe that almost covers his face, but you can tell by his long, bony fingers that you’re looking at Death personified.

In some cases, the Grim Reaper can actually cause someone’s death, which leads some people to believe they can bribe him, trick him or make a deal with the old codger. But he wins – he always wins – in the end.

On Halloween night when the veil between the here-and now and the hereafter is thin and almost non-existent, anything can come through from the other side. Stay away from the woods. Stay away from tall, skinny strangers in robes. And do your best to survive the night.

The Dead Play Eerie Music

The Dead Play Eerie Music

We’ve all heard the horror stories about gruesome accidents occurring when visitors and monsters collide at haunted house amusement parks but, for the most part, they’re just urban legends. (Notice we said, “For the most part?”) At Thrillvania Haunted House Park we didn’t earn our Number One rating by hacking our visitors to pieces. We do, however, take great pride in our ability to scare you to death without ever touching a hair on your head!

Our monsters don’t just walk in off the street and start swinging machetes. Most of our actors have worked here for multiple seasons and new-hires are brought in before and professionally trained in the fine art of mangling-and-mayhem without bloodshed.

Our monsters will never reach out and grab you or try to knock you down. They will, however, do their very best to terrify you in your tracks, which means they will be reaching for you, they will be lunging at you and you’ll think that chainsaw is coming straight toward your throat.

Many of our sets have very little room to turn and run, and there’s certainly nowhere to hide. We’ve created these sets intentionally to increase the feelings of claustrophobia and fear. As your anxiety mounts you’re apt to brush against one of our props. In your haste to escape you may even stumble into one of our monsters. But rest assured – you will get out alive if we have anything to say about it.

(Don’t worry. We also have emergency exits in all of our attractions if you become too overcome with fear.)

Thrillvania Haunted House Park has been selected as one of the top haunted houses in the nation by Fangoria, Haunted Attraction Magazine, Reader’s Digest, MSN and AOL and our safety record is impeccable – both for our employees and our visitors. None of our monsters has ever gone on a killing spree and all of our dear guests have departed with hearts still beating. However, to further ensure you leave with all limbs attached, we ask that you read our Frequently Asked Questions page to see what we allow and what we don’t allow at the park.

snuffer-lead

In an earlier article we suggested that you and your friends might like to visit a warm, welcoming restaurant after your visit to Thrillvania Haunted House Park, something to sort of lighten the mood and help you forget about all the gruesome sights you’ve just seen. If that’s the case, we suggest you stay as far away from Snuffers as possible, regardless of how many great things you’ve heard about the place. Snuffers has rightfully earned the reputation of being the most haunted restaurant in DFW.

Snuffers, located on Preston Rd. in Dallas, Texas, has an excellent menu, including award-winning cheese fries and icy-cold beer. It’s one of those places you’d might imagine Ross and Rachael, Phoebe and Chandler, and Joey and Monica all hanging out in but looks can be deceiving.

The restaurant has been investigated several times. Jenny Snyder of the Dallas Area Paranormal Society says the building is definitely haunted and the owner, Pat Snuffer, says he won’t even go into the place if he’s alone.

Employees report frequent cold spots and often feel like someone’s tapped them on the shoulder or brushed against their arm. Back in the day, when smoking inside restaurants was still allowed, the ghost would play games with the bartender’s cigarette, flipping it around in the ashtray when he turned his back to wait on a customer.

Even customers have strange experiences inside Snuffers. Cellphones and cameras that were working fine just a moment ago suddenly go all wonky when you enter the restaurant. Temperatures drop suddenly, pendulum lights sway for no reason and people hear footsteps, creaking doors and children’s voices coming from the walls.

So far the ghosts that haunt Snuffers appear to be friendly pranksters, just out for a little fun. No one’s ever been hurt, just mildly frightened. But no one knows for sure who the ghost is. One theory has it that Snuffer’s is haunted by a man who was stabbed there decades ago and died in the doorway to the men’s restroom. Another says that Snuffer’s is built over top of an ancient Indian burial ground.

Either way, we’re pretty sure it’s not the best location for your after-Thrillvania party. The last thing you want to do when you leave Verdun Manor is hob-nob with more ghosts!