Halloween is a good and bad time year for kids. The good will see kids loaded up with candy, some spooky monsters here and there, and great fun costumes. The bad? Well, it’s big scary monsters, dark places with people trying to scare you and tears. So, when it comes to the term “Family friendly haunted house” most people who love haunts tend to steer clear. After all, big theme parks do either one or a the other, they rarely do both, and if they do both they do them separately. You just don’t mix kids and scary, it’s a recipe for disaster. Or is it?
Enter Ninja Bounce Spooktacular in Tampa. They mix kids and scary, and they do it very well.
We sent our reporters, Joey and Greg out to try the 900 square foot haunted house. Joey and Greg have years of experience tackling the big haunted attractions like Scream A Geddon, Halloween Horror Nights and Howl O Scream. So what did they think of Spooktacular? Well, it’s pretty awesome.
The house is put together by a team of local haunters who are really passionate about the craft, and the scare. Creator Nick Spiridis has been doing it out of his home for over 20 years. The big problem is that he recently moved from his house, and into an area where home haunts aren’t allowed. So, enter Ninja Bounce. The haunt is built on the grounds of the entertainment center. Normally the haunts take months to prepare, but Nick put this one together in just a month. While the outside and details aren’t as detailed as the bigger haunts, sometimes it really is the thought that counts. As in…Nick gets in your head.
The adult aspect of the Spooktacular takes you into pitch black corridors, which feel much longer than they actually are. You’re armed with just a single glow stick as you head your way into several different scenes. Creepy TV’s, demented children and walls that seem to reach for you fill the rooms. There’s an area that is so dark, that you have to feel your way out of it. It induces panic and a feeling of dread, that makes you feel that the entire area is closing in on you. Greg even told me that he started to feel anxiety as he tried to get through to the end. You are then pushed into a jail with an electric chair, and a surprise ending in the graveyard that is too good to give away.
The actors roam from scene to scene, and do an amazing job of getting in and around you without knowing where they come from. And that’s the key, all of the actors are just as passionate about the event as Nick is, and it definitely shows.
All that sounds great, but how is this FAMILY FRIENDLY?
Well, for the little ones who want to go through, they do a guided flashlight tour. The scares are kept out and if anyone does pop out the little ones are met with a “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” instead of a scare. The plain covering outside of the haunt is also by design. While there’s tons of scary stuff happening inside, you’d never know it outside with the plain facade. Noise for kids is also one of the biggest deterrents, but there’s no scary noises coming from the haunt either, thanks to a lot of insulation.
The haunt is small right now, but with more and more people checking it out, the plan is to expand greatly over the next few years. There’s definitely a drive and possibility to do so.
For more information about Spooktacular at Ninja Bounce, including directions, visit the official Facebook Page by clicking here.