PHOTO STORY: Niles Scream Park opens for season Friday

NILES — Blood-spattered walls, nuclear wastelands and monsters without faces are just a few of the horrific sights awaiting guests at one of Niles’ most popular fall attractions.

The Niles Scream Park, 855 Mayflower Road, Niles, opens for the season Friday, and organizers and volunteers are ready to scare the “yell” out of guests. For the remainder of September, the park will be open from 8 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. In October, the park will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays. Two final “black-out” nights will be hosted from 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 5-6.

“We always get excited about opening,” said owner Pete Karlowicz. “We work on this all year long, so we are ready.”

This year marks the Scream Park’s annual fright festival. The park boasts 44-acres filled with frightful sights that are rebuilt each year. The park is recognized both regionally and nationally as a top haunted house, having been recognized six years in a row by Haunted Attraction Magazine as a “Top 31 Must-See Haunted Attraction.”

“We are a gem in Niles,” Karlowicz said. “Niles is known for the Apple Festival, but we are also known for the haunted house, and people must appreciate it because they come back every year. We are proud of that, and we are happy to be here in Niles.”

This year, the park is offering seven attractions sure to make customers scream:

  • Niles Haunted House — The park’s largest and most popular attraction takes guests on a tour filled with themed rooms and a variety of scares.
  • Nuclear Nightmare — This attraction imagines guests as survivors of a nuclear fallout, and takes through an adventure through wastelands and decayed city streets.
  • The Gruesome Gallery — A wax museum focused on a horrific collection of classic iconic monsters.
  • Field of Screams — One of the park’s most popular attractions, the Field of Screams guides guests through a maze featuring cannibals, a cemetery, a ghost town and more.
  • Dark Terror-tory Haunted Hayride — This mile-long hayride journeys through more than 45 unique sets.
  • Hooded — For adults 18 and over only, guests are blindfolded and actors can touch them as they move through a scary attraction.
  • Mini Escape Rooms — Four five-minute escape rooms will be available to give guests a fast-paced experience.

In addition to its attractions, one of Niles Scream Park’s most unique features is that is a nonprofit community project that uses approximately 200 volunteers per night to staff the operation. Since 1996, more than $2.1 million have been donated to local and national nonprofit organizations and to Scream Park-funded college scholarships for students at Niles, Brandywine, Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg schools.

Both Karlowicz and his volunteers said they are ready to welcome the public this weekend — both to raise funds for local causes and to provide the public with scares they won’t soon forget.

“There’s a hint of a nip in the air, so it’s time,” Karlowicz said. “Halloween is just around the corner.”

For more information on tickets, prices and dates and times of operation, visit haunted.org or call (269) 687-FEAR.

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