Fear factor: when is it too much?


Joey Pavell, Author

Haunted houses are one of the season’s biggest pastimes and are beginning to pop up everywhere. They are usually all fun and games. However, recently some haunted houses have been taking it to the extreme, and some are even being analyzed to see if they are legal or not.

McKamey Manor in San Diego, California, tops the list of extreme haunted houses. The terrifying tour can last up to four hours; the attraction is intended to shock participants as much as possible. It is not your typical haunted house: admission is free, you must be 21 years of age to eligible to fill out both an application and waiver upon entering, and two people is the maximum number of people who can enter at one time.

There are next to none rules that pertain to what the actors can do to participants. Actors can choke, gag, punch, kick, drag and spit on the participants. Basically, they are allowed to do anything they want as long as they do not kill you. This is where many people are beginning to think that McKamey Manor is pushing legality; mental and physical well-being are among the top concerns.

Though many are attempting to get the so called “shock houses” off the streets by saying they are breaking the law, they have been yet to be shut down. These types of haunted houses have been proven very popular, as more and more people are visiting them each Halloween season.

The question has been lingering for a while: When do the tricks and the treats of visiting haunted houses become too much? Even though McKamey Manor is just one example, numerous haunted houses are trying to out-scare each other. Instead of it being fun and games, participants may be risking their health in entering these terrorizing houses.

It eventually comes down to the person entering the house as they are the ones putting themselves in danger, if there is any. McKamey Manor along with a plethora other haunted houses push those limits, stretching beyond what is expected and pushing the legal envelope more and more each year.