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Man unveils new haunted attraction after pandemic delayed opening in 2020

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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WEST PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - With pandemic restrictions eased up this fall, fans of all things spooky have a broader selection of Halloween-themed places to check out than a year ago.

Roger Whitt planned to start a new haunted attraction in 2020, only to have his twisted vision pushed back because of the health crisis.

“I’m 53 years old, and I wish I could still go out there and trick-or-treat,” Whitt said.

Whitt, who works for a construction company, prides himself on being able to turn any piece of discarded junk he can find into a scary prop.

He’s spent much of his spare time during the past three decades in Scioto County creating his own animatronics for haunted houses.

He finally decided it was time to open a place of his own -- the Orchard Haunted Attraction in West Portsmouth.

“I ratholed all my money forever and always said I’d like to open up a haunted house,” he said.

Friends and family had helped create it during the past four years. The plan was to open last fall, but the pandemic nixed that.

“I sat there and thought it really stunk, but then I said I’m gonna use that for my advantage,” he said.

Not to be dismayed, Whitt used the extra year to keep working on his trail of horrors.

After finally opening, he says the screams from patrons his creations brought out made all the effort worthwhile.

“Everybody coming together, that’s the part I love the best,” he said.

Whitt says whatever money he makes this year, he’ll put back into the attraction to make it bigger for next year.

Elsewhere, a familiar name has moved locations.

Doctor Dekay’s House of Screams, which also didn’t open in 2020, has moved from its prior setting in Ironton to Ashland.

“I get that high when I see someone come into the room and I scare them,” new owner Michael Tucker said.

In a place designed to make customers feel in danger, Tucker says safety is a top priority.

“We wash all our garments each night,” he said. “Every actor in here, they wear a mask either underneath whatever mask they have, or if they have makeup, they have the mask also.”

Tap here to find out more about Orchard Haunted Attraction.

For more about Doctor Dekay’s House of Screams, tap here.

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