Niles — An official of a haunted house in southwest Michigan says a visitor’s complaint that a new attraction included sexually harassing dialogue from the actors has been addressed and shouldn’t happen again.
Visitor Archer Pina posted a review on Niles Scream Park’s Facebook page after he visited the park’s new attraction, Hooded, on Sept. 23. Pina alleged the actors made inappropriate comments, involved “simulated male parts” and gave visitors a general feeling of being sexually harassed, the South Bend Tribune reported .
Pina said he visited the Niles Scream Park with a group of about 30 people who work with him at another haunted house. He said about half of them went through Hooded and had a similar negative experience to him.
Pina said the experience didn’t make him “feel scared so much as gross.” He said he worried that children may be sneaking into the attraction and that the dialogue was inappropriate for youth.
“I mean, that made us feel really weird, and we’re all adults,” he said.
Hooded was debuted this year as a “sensory overload” experience for visitors wanting a scarier time, said Pete Karlowicz, manager of the Scream Park.
“We’re a PG-13 park,” he said. “This is an R attraction.”
Visitors to Hooded must sign a waiver that says they’re 18 years or older and gives permission for the actors to touch them. Actors try to scare visitors with dialogue, other sounds and smells. Visitors enter the attraction individually, each wearing a hood over their head to prevent visibility and elevate other senses.
The park is addressing Pina’s concern about children entering the attraction, according to Karlowicz. He said he also spoke to Hooded’s actors and manager to make it clear that commentary to visitors shouldn’t be sexual.
Karlowicz estimated that roughly 500 people have visited Hooded since the parked opened for the season in mid-September.
“The Niles Haunted House has been in existence for over 40 years. It’s a family-oriented atmosphere,” Karlowicz said. “We’re not about sex. We’re about having fun and trying to scare you.”