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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM

The art of scaring up screams

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Sketched Oct. 3, 2013

Halloween impresario Scott Kolling has a benchmark to measure the success of a haunted house. If he can scare the 35-year-old guy, he can scare anybody.

“Nightmare on 9,” his newest attraction, sure terrified this 43-year-old.

Housed at the Thomas Family Farm off Highway 9 in Snohomish, the haunt recreates a slaughterhouse with a gruesome past. According to Kolling’s clever script, a butcher was torn in half by a meat grinder, but his upper body was never found.

Is that creepy enough for you? Meeting the actors in the dressing room beforehand didn’t lessen the fear factor for me. As soon as I entered the twisting hallways of “Nightmare,” I wanted out. But I had to do my job, so I tried to keep cool as I sketched spooky butchers roaming between pig carcasses and a few other scenes of manufactured horror.

What attracts people to this kind of thrill is beyond me, but I have to admire Kolling’s creativity. After 18 years in the business (the Haunted House at Georgetown Morgue is also his brainchild,) he seems to know how to please his customers.

“We love it when we hear screams,” he said.

—ooo—

INSIDE THE DRESSING ROOM

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—ooo—

ENTER THE NIGHTMARE

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Your community. What draws you in? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

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