haunted house

Given some of the things children see on television and video games these days it’s easy to assume they’d be perfectly fine touring a haunted house. But TV and video games are different – your child can turn them off. Not so when you’re touring a haunted house. So how do you know if your child is ready for all the thrills and chills Thrillvania Haunted House in Dallas has to offer?

Age Matters – Your six-year-old child may seem mature for her age but don’t let that fool you. At six, she may already be telling you she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus but if you tell her he just came in the back door and he’s waiting for her in the kitchen she’ll happily skip right in there fully expecting to see the jolly old elf. Six-year-olds don’t yet have the mental ability to completely separate fantasy from fiction. This doesn’t mean you should leave your 6-year-old at home, it’s just one of the things you should consider.

Sibling Influence – How much is your younger child influenced by her older brothers or sisters? On the one hand, if all the kids are going they’ll probably be able to keep the little ones entertained and distracted when necessary so it doesn’t seem so scary. On the other hand, if the older kids like to stir the caldron, so to speak, then your little one may be in for a truly terrifying experience. And on the third hand (because everyone has one, right?) your youngster may just be putting on a false act of bravado because she wants to keep up with the big kids. Are you sure she’s ready?

Experience Counts, Too – What has your little one already been exposed to and what were the effects? Some 7-year-olds can sit through a Freddy Krueger marathon without batting an eye and some have nightmares for a week when they get their first glimpse of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Remember, the younger the child the more difficulty she’s going to have understanding that this is all make-believe. Here are some tips to help you on your first visit to a haunted house:

Go early. This helps in several ways. First, you’ll avoid the long lines that develop later in the evening. Second, you’ll avoid the crowds which can be scary themselves. You’ll be able to give your youngster more of your personal attention without being jostled along by all those warm bodies.

Keep it light. Stop for ice cream first and make it a fun, light-hearted outing. On the way home, play their favorite music in the car, have a thermos of hot chocolate ready and maybe their favorite snack. Time and/or money permitting, stop off for a slice of pizza or a burger somewhere fun and well-lit.

Prep them before you go. If your child has no experience whatsoever with monsters then maybe you should wait a while longer. If this is your first family trip to a haunted house though it helps to let junior know what to expect. Don’t worry about spoiling the surprise at this point. Let her know that all those monsters are just actors dressed up in Halloween costumes and nobody is going to actually touch her. If possible, have mom or dad take the tour beforehand so you can tell the child exactly what to expect.


It happens. At the last minute your friends call to invite you to haunted house party. There’s no way you’d miss it but it’s too late to buy a costume and you’re fresh out of ideas. Don’t worry… maybe we can help!

Grab an old t-shirt, a dozen or so miniature boxes of cereal and a few steak knives (preferably dull!). Pierce the cereal boxes with the knives, leaving a few knives stuck in the boxes. Then glue the boxes all over your t-shirt. Voila! You’re a “cereal” killer.

Dress in your favorite all-pink pjs and attach a small child’s chair to the top of your head, with the underside of the seat resting on your head. You’re a wad of bubblegum under the chair.

Got an empty shoebox lying around? Paint it black, staple or glue it to the back of your shirt and you’re a refrigerator magnet.

Wear all-black clothing, paint your face white and go as a mime.

Carry a quarter and a hammer around in your hand. When someone asks what you are, drop the quarter on the nearest table and give it a solid whack with the hammer – You’re a “quarter pounder!”

Throw on your favorite slip or slip-dress and tape the word Freud to your chest. You’re a “Freudian Slip.”

Grab up that old silver serving platter, draw a face on it, write “In God We Trust” around the edge, and tape it to your back. You’re a “quarterback.”

Write the words “Go Ceilings” on an old t-shirt and go as a “ceiling fan.”

Dress all in black, tie a shot glass around your neck and go as a “shot in the dark.”

We could come up with an endless supply of Halloween costume ideas that are “pun-ny” but we’re busy working on the show for Thrillvania Haunted House in Dallas. Feel free, though, to carry on in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you’ve come up with!


At some point, either before or after you visit Thrillvania Haunted House in Dallas, Texas, you’re likely going to have to prepare for the annual trek of the Trick-or-Treaters, those loathsome creatures who knock on your door and demand treats in exchange for not toilet papering your house or egging your car. Here are the top 10 candies they’re looking for and the 10 candies that will bring you a world of hurt should you choose to ignore our advice.

Top 10 Best Candies To Pass Out On Halloween

Snickers Bars – The mother lode for Trick-or-Treaters. Nothing trumps a Snickers Bar and your home will be forever under the protection of every kid who receives one when they knock on your door.

Reese’s Cups – Want those kids to stay off your lawn and out of your leaf pile? Give them Reese’s cups – even miniatures will do. Nothing goes together better than kids, peanut butter and chocolate.

Kit-Kat Bars – Rounding out the trifecta of confectionery perfection – Kit-Kat Bars. There’s something about the snap of those chocolate covered wafers that makes a kid put that roll of toilet paper back in his bike rack and leave your house alone.

Plain M&Ms – No, no the Peanut M&Ms and not the M&M’s with mint in the middle, just plain old M&Ms. The bigger the bag the better, but even minis will do.

Reese’s Pieces – Popular since ET landed and started whining to use the phone, Reese’s Pieces are always a hit and carry almost maximum points in the after-Halloween trading game.

Nestle’s Crunch Bars – Not quite on par with Snickers and Kit-Kats but it’s chocolate, it’s crunchy and it doesn’t have nuts. Most kids either don’t like nuts or they’re allergic, but they do love chocolate so this is always a safe choice.

Sourpatch Kids – We would have never included this in the mix but members of our polling audience (a six- and seven-year-old boy) say these are top contenders for first place at their school.

Milk Duds – Generally, kids don’t really like caramel. BUT – when you cover it with chocolate and shape it into something resembling rabbit poop, then yeah, they’re all for it.

Tootsie Rolls – The six-year-old likes the minis and the seven-year-old wants the full size bar. Either way, you win because Tootsie Rolls are still pretty cheap.

Candy Necklaces – At the very end of our polling session the little girl next door stopped by and insisted we include candy necklaces. Again, they’re cheap and apparently kids like them – at least the girls do, anyway. And you can take satisfaction in knowing that you gave every kid in the neighborhood a sticky, crud-encrusted neck.


Top 10 Worst Candies To Pass Out On Halloween

Almond Joy or Mounds Bars – No kid has ever said, “Boy! I hope I get chocolate covered coconut when I go Trick-or-Treating tonight.” NO kid. EVER.

Second-Tier Candy Bars – This includes Clark bars, Whatchamacallits, Mars Bars, Chunkies, O’Charley’s, Zero Bars, Paydays, and any other candy bar that isn’t specifically listed in the Top 10 above. They all cost the same so spend your money on treats that won’t make your house the next target.

Bubble Gum – Most kids these days don’t even know what to do with bubblegum – they’re parents have never let them chew it because “it’ll rot your teeth out!”

Candy Corn – This makes no sense at all. Each year billions of little pieces of candy corn are produced but no one admits to eating it, they just use it to decorate the table or mix it with salted peanuts to make faux Payday candy bars – and nobody likes those, either!

Halloween Peeps – Peeps are for Easter and even then the only reason your kids want them is so they can see what happens when they put them in the microwave.

Nerds – Popular the year they were introduced – and ONLY that year – Nerds are just Pop Rocks without the pop. Boring.

Smarties – Seriously? Have you ever eaten a whole roll of Smarties? If so, did you ever say, “Man, I love me some Smarties. Give me more!” We’re betting you didn’t and we’re also betting you don’t remember soaping all the windows in that house when you were a kid.

Pop Rocks – Pop Rocks are just Nerds that … pop. They’re like popcorn. It’s a neat idea – for a minute. Then it’s just boring.

Lollipops – Charms Blow-Pops, Dum Dum Suckers, those fancy lollipops made out of chocolate or the ones with the weird Jelly Belly flavors… they’re all the same – worthless to a kid who’s trying to trade for that coveted Snickers Bar or a box of Milk Duds.

We understand candy is expensive these days and you think it’s better to pass out Smarties and Bazooka Bubblegum than to pass out nothing at all. We disagree. If you leave your light off and pass out nothing at all, the kids will assume you’re just not home or you had to rush off for an emergency appendectomy. But if you pass out the low-grade candy they’re going to know you’re home and they’ll know you’re a cheapskate. It’s one night a year. Do you really want to take that chance?


Here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park in Dallas, Baron Michael Verdun’s dying oath of vengeance on any who enters his realm is just one cause of the many forms of werewolves that abound on the property. The innocent, thrill-seekers who are searching for the ultimate scare enter the grounds never suspecting that they may leave changed forever or never leave at all…

Many believe werewolves to be misunderstood, tragic creatures that have no choice but to transform into a hairy, wolf-like creature that loses the ability to think rationally and is controlled by their darker, animalistic nature. There are those who believe that werewolves can change at will and do not have to wait for the full moon and are truly evil at the core, looking only to ravage and destroy those in their path or those who have crossed or injured them in their human form.

The werewolf and werewolf lore has been around since ancient times. The werewolf has been hunted and even put on trial along with witches as early as the 16th century. Gypsies, the poor, and those who were considered heretics were especially susceptible in these times to the persecution of werewolf hunters. In ancient texts, lycanthropy was used by the gods as punishment for humans who dared to insult or mock them. Over the centuries, becoming a werewolf could come in different forms, you could be cursed, you could be part of a race of werewolves, or the more accepted form today is that you are bitten or sometimes even scratched by a werewolf who has been cursed.

Because it is generally believed or accepted that werewolves have no choice but to transform at the full moon, the lunar cycle and patterns of behavior are linked. Along with this belief comes the theory that only silver can harm or ultimately kill a werewolf. If you study alchemy, you will find that certain metals have been associated with planets, gold is associated with the sun, silver with the moon. During the full moon, werewolves are considered to be at their strongest, most powerful and of course their most dangerous. It is an accepted theory that during the full moon, there is an increased rate of criminal activity and unexplained behaviors. In other words, our more basic, animalistic nature can surface during the full moon. As often happens, what makes us stronger can also be the thing that makes us most vulnerable, so the metal most closely associated with the moon, silver, becomes the werewolf’s kryptonite…

It seems that the attraction many of us feel to the werewolf stems from the fact that we all feel that we have a dark side, a wild side that is barely controlled just under the surface; something that most of us work very hard at keeping hidden and tamped down. Could the fear that we may not be able to control the “wild beast” from bursting forth from our very soul be the catalyst, the very curse that could become so overpowering, so tangible that one day, during the full moon, we lose that battle, that we become a werewolf, a lycan, a loup-garou, a beast that is unable to control our most darkest and primal urges.

Who knows, but what better place to take that risk than at Thrillvania Haunted House Park? After all, the werewolves that wander our grounds choose to be here, well…., most of them…

Verdun Manor At Thrillvania Haunted House Park

Verdun Manor At Thrillvania Haunted House Park

We like to think that, of all the haunted houses in the DFW area, Verdun Manor is the most frightening because of the nature of the crimes committed there. Tales of vampirism, cannibalism and the Baron’s horrific human and animal experiments are enough to make even the bravest visitor quake in his boots.

So why do so many flock to the Manor every Halloween? Because it’s fun – if you’re prepared for the danger that lurks round every corner.

Here are 7 tips to an ensure an enjoyable tour of Verdun Manor at Thrillvania Haunted House Park.

Tip #1 – Know your limits. Decide beforehand if this is something you really want to do. If you’re typically terrified during horror movies then this may not be for you. It’s OK. We understand. Chicken!

Tip #2 – Bring a friend, a close friend, someone you can latch on to when the going gets tough and who won’t laugh at you when you make a run for the nearest exit.

Tip #3 – A group of friends is even better. Sometimes, when there are only two of you, you don’t feel protected at all. After all, there’s just one other person between yourself and imminent death.

Tip #4 – If you find yourself in the middle of a panic attack or paralyzed with fear, remind yourself that it’s all in good fun, nothing you see is real. You will get out alive – eventually – and soon you’ll be tucked up safe in your own bed at home. Of course, then you’ll have to deal with the monster in the closet, but that’s your problem, not ours.

Tip #5 – Have fun and enjoy the show. Because it’s the best show in the country and you’ll miss it if you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Go ahead, let us scare you half to death!

Tip #6 – Plan something fun and lighthearted to do afterward to help ease yourselves back into the real world and wash away all those painful, gruesome memories. Go somewhere bright and cheerful with lots of happy, laughing people around.

Tip #7 – While it might be tempting to toss back a few before you head out to Thrillvania, it’s best to be sober when you arrive. As the saying goes, “The stairway can be treacherous” and if you want to survive you need to be prepared for anything during your stay at the Manor.

what to wear

It’s an important question, to be sure: What should you wear when your date wants to take you to a haunted house? You want to look your best, after all, especially if this is a first date or someone you’re really trying to impress. But trust us – leave the stilettos at home, unless of course… you have a death wish.

Wear comfortable walking shoes: Yeah, those 8-inch platforms look ultra-sexy, but they’ll also make you look like a laughingstock when you fall on your tookas in front of everybody. Keep in mind you’re going to be covering some pretty treacherous terrain. No guy wants to have to carry his date through a haunted house – no matter how good you look.

Wear something washable: Remember, we’re going to be trying our darndest to scare the living daylights out of you. At some point you’re likely to jump, take off running and flee right into the arms of one of our actors who’s covered with fake blood and grease paint. You definitely don’t want that dry cleaning bill.

Wear dark clothing: For that same reason, you might want to wear dark clothing so the blood and make-up doesn’t show up so much – especially if you and your date are going somewhere brightly-lit and public after you leave the haunted house.

Wear something warm, yet open: During peak times you may have to stand outside in line for a while so wear something appropriate for the weather. On the other hand, once you move inside the attraction it’s going to be warmer. So wear something with a zipper or buttons that you can open and close when needed. Don’t worry. Our “monsters” aren’t looking for something they can grab on to. We just want you to be comfortable so you can enjoy the whole park.

Don’t wear a costume: A little bit of makeup or glitter is fine, or even a silly mask. After all, it IS Halloween. But save the really gruesome, full-body costume stuff for later. Our actors might think you’re just one of them and ignore you, and what fun would that be?