HELENA – Starting Monday night, the Helena Civic Center will be a center for scares. For the first time, the Civic Center will host its own haunted house.
On Sunday, crews were hard at work to convert the auditorium into the Helena Haunted House. It came after the facility hosted a concert on Friday and a magician’s show on Saturday.
“Our timeframe for setup was pretty tight, leaving us basically today and Monday during the day to get set up,” said Byron Dike, the Civic Center’s general manager.
The first step was to break up the large open space.
“What we’re doing is transforming the floor of the auditorium into a series of passageways and corridors, with a different fright and haunt behind every corner,” Dike said.
Dike said the Civic Center has been looking to hold more events and attract more people to the facility. They contacted Roothead Studios in Missoula, which produces the haunted house at the Missoula County Fairgrounds each year.
Richard Davenport, owner of Roothead Studios, said creating a haunted house in the Civic Center is much different than doing it in a mostly empty space like the Missoula fairgrounds.
“This is a really cool building, a historic building, and there’s a really cool feel here,” he said. “It’s nice to have a cool lobby, and then you’ve got that ramp that goes down into that auditorium, and the sound in there. So a lot of the ambience, I think, the building brings to it.”
The Helena Haunted House will be a substance-free event, targeted primarily at high schoolers. Dike said the Civic Center saw an opening for an event aimed at that age group. He promised “PG-13” scares.
“Definitely not for the little ones,” he said. “There’s definitely some spooky – and I’ll go out and say ‘horrifying’ – props and sets. Again, not for the little ones, but it’s going to be a really cool deal for high school on up.”
“We’ve designed as fantastic of an adventure as we can in this space,” said Davenport. “It’s going to be something like you haven’t seen before.”
The Helena Haunted House will be open from 6 to 9 p.m., through Halloween. Tickets are $10 and will be available from the Civic Center box office. Dike said they will also have discount coupons available at Spirit Halloween store.
Anyone 12 years old or younger will have to be accompanied by a parent.