In the late 1970's haunted houses were very popular attractions in the New Jersey metropolitan area with several popping up at various locations up and down the shore. With the success of new haunted house walk-thrus in Brigantine, Long Branch, and Wildwood, Great Adventure looked to add a haunted house of their own.
|In late summer of the 1978 season Great Adventure added a temporary Haunted House to expand their entertainment offerings and to attract additional attendance during the shoulder Fall season.
This small Haunted House comprised of a series of four over-the-road
trailers situated behind a wooden facade was a test
for the park which wanted to build a more substantial haunted house the following season.
When the Haunted House opened at the end of September 1978 it was
originally just a nighttime attraction, however due to its overwhelming
popularity and with a huge line with a wait often
reaching one hour or more, it soon warranted opening the Haunted House
all day long.
The Haunted House was located directly across from the Musik Express ride, taking the place of the Alpen Blitz roller coaster which was removed mid season. The house facade was built to resemble a two story white wood-sided structure with forest green shingles and shutters. It was surrounded by iron fencing and gates accented by stucco pillars topped with ornate planters. The queue bars for the Haunted House were leftover from the Alpen Blitz ride. Creepy recorded music was played outside to help create a scary mood for waiting visitors.
layout of the house was simple using a group of small trailers which
were prefabricated with the haunted scenes already in place. The
trailers were rented from the manufacturer (gentlemen pictured in the
first photo at the top) and came complete with the
only construction required being the facade that could be built as
simply or as elaborately as the client wanted. Similar prefab haunted
houses were in many parks and boardwalks all sharing the same basic layout
The Haunted House was staffed with a gatekeeper outside and a doorman
right at the entrance. Inside 3-4 ghouls were stationed in the scenes
like "the butcher" and "Dracula". There was also a staff member
constantly roving the halls making sure guests kept moving through as
well as sneaking up behind groups for an extra fright.
The Haunted House was part of the park's entertainment department, so the ghouls that staffed the attraction were drawn from the park's other entertainment offerings. Many of the ghouls were clowns and other street performers who wanted to take on the new challenges of scaring guests, proving there is a fine line between laughter and fear.
The ghouls were a tight knit family who worked together to bring scares and laughs as well as having a great time together. The team of ghouls spent the end of the 1978 season perfecting their skills in the Haunted House.
|The photos to the left and right show fellow entertainment employees, including clowns and ghouls, sharing makeup and dressing room facilities.
|The Haunted House was removed at the end of the 1978 season. Its trailers were hooked up and driven off the property and relocated to Six Flags Over Mid America where it operated from 1979 through 1982. The Haunted House facade at Great Adventure was demolished and a new Tudor-style version was erected at its new location on the current site of the Tidal Wave ride in St.Louis.
With the popularity of the test Haunted House, Great Adventure looked to expand on that success with the addition of a bigger better attraction for 1979, the Haunted Castle Across the Moat. The new Castle was built by the same manufacturer using the same system of prefabricated scenes in a series of trailers linked together, but the new attraction would feature two larger mazes setup as mirror images to handle bigger crowds.
|Attraction Site Uses Through the Years
Part of Happy Feeling
Fall of 1978
Haunted Castle Across the Moat
Autobahn Bumper Cars
|This photo of the 1978 Haunted House was
featured in the park's 1979 Souvenir Booklet.