VERO BEACH — The Ninth Annual Riverside Children’s Theatre’s Haunted House is sure to provide spooks young and not so young with Halloween fun this weekend.
Nearly four-dozen youth involved in the theatre programs will be dressed as witches, warlocks, fairytale creatures and more in the two-house haunting experience. Characters such as Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty can be found in Fairytale Forest, the area of the haunted house suitable for those under 10.
Fear seekers able to handle a good fright can challenge the Wicked Woods, led in small groups by either a witch or warlock.
“It’s a confusing, constricting maze,” Riverside Children’s Theatre Director of Education Linda Downey said of the woods.
This year’s haunting at the theatre comes under the direction of co-directors Kevin Quillinan and Angelo Cerniglia.
Downey said that the annual Haunted House serves as a way for theatre students to hone their improvisational skills, which is a major component of their lessons.
“They put it to good use,” she said.
Downey said that the theatre got the idea for the Haunted House nine years ago when they realized there wasn’t much that was age appropriate for young children or even those a bit older to participate in for Halloween – other than Trick-or-Treating.
“This year, there are a ton of things,” Downey said.
The Riverside Children’s Theatre Wicked Woods and Fairytale Forest will be populated with ghouls and princesses on the following days:
Oct. 23 from 5-8 p.m.
Oct. 24 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Tickets range in price, from $5 for a single trip through of the haunted experience, $8 for two trips, and $10 for three. They can be purchased at the door.
Downey said they average 1,000 tickets each Halloween and expects about the same this year.
She recommends that those who do not wish to wait in long lines, check out the Haunted House on Sunday instead of Saturday.
However, on Saturday, there will be a “lights on” preview of the Haunted House for the very young – 3 and under – from 4 to 5 p.m., during which there will be a Halloween costume contest and party.
And, not to be outdone by years’ past, organizers have added storytelling in the woods near Riverside Children’s Theatre. There, adults will share local lore with the kids.
“We don’t want to give too much away,” Downey said, but added that one story would be about the Sexton family.