PHOTO STORY: Niles Scream Park opens 2022 season Friday
Published 6:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2022
NILES — Walls of skeletons, possessed pictures and fearsome figures 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 except for Friday, Sept. 30, which will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. . 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. 4-5.
“We wait for this day all year round,” said owner Pete Karlowicz. We have a large following of volunteers. This is like home for them and they wait for opening day. I mean when we close they go into a deep state of depression and they start to count down the days till we open. So yeah, we’re very excited.”
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 by Haunted Attraction Magazine as a “Top 31 Must-See Haunted Attraction.”
- 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.
- Sinister Streets of Salem — This attraction imagines guests as people on trial for witchcraft who must fight to clear their names in the mean, mysterious streets of 1692 Salem, Massachusetts.
- The Evil Estate — The home of deceased paranormal investigators featuring a horrific collection of objects believed to be possessed, dangerous and life-threatening.
- Field of Screams — If you scream it, they will come. 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 40 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.
For Karlowicz, Halloween is his favorite time of year for one simple reason.
“It’s just about scaring people and seeing them have a good time,” he said. I love scaring people but people come here because that’s a form of entertainment and people that don’t like to be scared, they don’t get it but the people who do enjoy it.”
In addition to its attractions, one of Niles Scream Park’s most unique features is that it is a nonprofit community project that uses approximately 200 volunteers per night to staff the operation. Since 1996, more than $2.2 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.
“This is one of those win-win situations; they win by coming out and having fun and the other one is they’re supporting a good cause,” Karlowicz said. “We end up donating in the past several years. It’s right around $125,000 per year, which is a lot of money. They’re having fun and they’re supporting a good cause and then it ripples down from there when you make a donation to the groups, then the groups do something with that money, so they’re benefiting from it. It’s just a ripple effect and it’s a great thing.”
For more information on tickets, prices and dates and times of operation, visit haunted.org or call (269) 687-FEAR.