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A guide to Halloween Haunts

Darlene A. White
Special to The Detroit News

The spooky season is now upon us, with many Metro Detroit haunted house and corn maze attractions ready to give visitors the creeps. And screams of fear and creepy spirits will once again take over one of the scariest buildings in Michigan -- Erebus Haunted Attraction. 

Since opening its doors in 2000, co-owners and brothers Ed and Jim Terebus have been in the business of terrifying people every Halloween season. 

“Erebus is a haunted house project that we grew into,” Ed Terebus said. “We like to scare people. It’s something that we were meant to do. It’s even in our name.” 

The Terebus brothers have operated haunted houses around Metro Detroit since 1981, prior to Erebus, that were mainly portable haunts built out in trailers. Jim got the idea to start building a haunted house in his backyard after he was laid off from Ford Motor Co. Soon after, the brothers ended up getting a deal to set up their haunted house in front of a Kmart, which cost $1.50 to get inside of the spooky setup. 

“We went from 1,200 square feet to 2,800, to 3,400,” Ed said. “We did these temporary setups for 13 years and we would set them up in a parking lot. Over the years, once the units got bigger for the cost of storing the units, moving them and temporary water and electricity, we could buy a building.” 

That’s when the brothers began looking for a permanent spot for their creepy attraction. 

“We purchased our building in 1998,” he said. “Back then we were known as the Haunted Gallery. We were trying to find a new name, so we were looking for a one name deal. I happened to be reading a vampire novel and I came across the word, Erebus. I thought, ‘What the heck is that.'"

Ed said the word Erebus means the darkness beneath the Earth that the dead must pass to reach Hades. Ed said he ran to his brother full of excitement once he found the new name for their company.

“I remember my dad wanted to kill us because we branded our old business name for 20 years and were changing it, but it later worked out for us,” he said.

Erebus is now entering its 23rd Halloween season.

Erebus was developed in an abandoned four-story parking garage in Pontiac. It’s reported that the structure was abandoned for nearly 50 years and had been used as an indoor junkyard.  Once the owners moved in, they found out that the building was really haunted. Rumor has it that a man died in the building before the Terebus brothers purchased the property. 

“He died in the boiler room, inside of the basement,” Ed says. “I still haven’t touched that room. I still have his blanket and pillow down there on the floor.”

People line outside the Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

The haunted attraction has gained national recognition as being one of the top haunted houses and earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s longest walk-through haunted attraction from 2005 until 2009. The Haunted Attraction has also been featured on the A&E channel and My Ghost Story: Episode 63 where paranormal investigators recorded video showing evidence that Erebus is really haunted. 

Each year Erebus has a new theme. This year’s theme is Time Travel.

“It’s like this, Dr. Colbert built a time machine,” Ed says. “The problem was every time he puts somebody in the time machine the time period, they went to looked at those people as a virus and wiped them out. Hence all the scary stuff attacking you. But he got obsessed with this machine and sent more and more of his people into the machine. Eventually he ran out of personnel and ran out of money. Then he had a brilliant idea to disguise this time machine as a haunted house. Now he has an endless supply of human guinea pigs willing to go in, but also help finance the program, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Each year thousands of people continue to line up in the crisp fall air to get their shoes scared off, literally. Over the years, Erebus has frightened so many people that there are tons of boxes and showcases filled with items that people left behind during their fright night. 

Only about 90% of people make it through Erebus, says Ed. 

“My prize possession in my lost and found are a pair of shoes that are a size 11 in Nike,” he laughed. “You already know that’s a 180-pound dude that left with no shoes. The other thing we found that was kind of creepy was that someone left their teeth behind. You know, like dentures or something. We found them when we were tearing down a wall and we said someone screamed, so loud that their teeth went flying out of their mouth and they just kept going.” 

The staff recommends the haunted house for kids 13 and older, if they can handle it. 

Tim Greer, 35 of Ferndale says, he goes every year, but never makes it through with his friends. 

“We try each year but are too scared to make it to the end,” Greer says. “That place is not like your average haunted house. It’s for real scary.”

Danielle Thompson, 27, of Pontiac says, the best way to make it through the haunted house is to keep your eyes shut tight and walk.

“I usually go on during Halloween weekend, but I just bury my head and close my eyes while walking,” she said. “I promise that’s the only way you can get through there. I was crazy enough to go alone one year. Now that was a terrible idea.”

The attraction also keeps track on how many people chickened out and have accidents trying to make it through the haunted building. They have tracked 400 to 500 people each year that wimps out and did not make it through the haunted house and 75 people each year that wet themselves.

“That is confirmed by management believe it or not and we are not talking about a tinkle,” he said. “I’m talking full on wet themselves. Management just shines a flashlight at the end on them to confirm.”  

By entering Erebus, you agree to the terms and conditions that are displayed in the lobbies and the disclaimer on the back of the ticket. The average group takes 35 to 45 minutes to walk through the horrifying building. There are also emergency exits throughout the attractions that guest can use during the walk through if they can’t handle being buried alive.

“We have people that are so scared that they try to run and slam into a wall and knock themselves unconscious,” he said. “

Erebus Haunted Attraction opens Sep. 23 to Oct. 31 and hours vary. Price start at $20 to $35. They also offer group rate available online. 

 For more information visit on Erebus Haunted Attraction visit,  www.HauntedPontiac.com.

Here's a list of Halloween events and haunted houses in Metro Detroit:

Blake's Big Apple Haunted Weekends: Enjoy a Spookyland 3D Maze, a three-story haunted barn, zombie paintball, haunted hayride and other hauntingly fun activities. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 30, Blake's Big Apple, 71485 North Ave., Armada. Tickets start at $16.95. visit www.blakefarms.com.

Zombie Paintball at Blake's Big Apple's Haunted Weekends.

Boo!Kley + Downtown Berkley Trick or Treating: Take a walk in downtown Berkley as it's transformed into Halloween town with shopping, dining and fall festivities for the entire family to enjoy. Retail storefronts will be decorated with spooky Halloween themes.  Restaurant Weekend, Sept. 30 - Oct. 1; Witches Night Out, Oct. 13; Boo!Kley Ghost Chase Oct. 21; Trick Or Treat Stroll Oct. 29 and a Monster Mash Oct. 29. www.downtownberkley.com.

Canterbury Village Halloween Stroll: This family friendly event is outdoors, allowing people to stroll along a path lit by orange glowing lamp posts, pumpkin trees, a spooky carousel house, scarecrow row, dancing and singing skeletons and more. The stroll runs Fridays-Sundays each weekend in October. 2325 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion. Tickets: $14.99 for advance tickets purchased online. Children younger than 2 and military members get in for free. Parking: $5. www.canterburyhalloweenstroll.com.

Ferndale Fall Festival: Kick off the fall season at this fun-filled event featuring face painting, pony rides, roller skating, food, hayrides, photo booth, climbing wall, explore the trick-or-treat trail and more. Presented by Ferndale Parks and Recreation Department. 11-3 p.m., Oct. 1. Cost: $5 and children 2 and younger are admitted for free. Martin Road Park, 1615 E. Lewiston, Ferndale.  (248) 544-6767.

Hay Day at Heritage Park in Farmington Hills: Gather around the city’s largest campfire for roasted hot dogs and fluffy marshmallows at this fall-fest. This event will feature hayrides, pumpkin painting, hiking, and the Farmington Hills fire truck will  be on-site for tours. 5-8 p.m., Oct. 4. Suitable for all ages. Hayride and pumpkin painting are available for an additional fee on-site. 24725 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills.

Auburn Hills Fall Festival in the Woods: the annual fall festival is back again. This year’s event includes hayrides, pumpkin carving, live music, crafts, and educational stations. In addition, a hot dog and chips lunch will be available along with cider and doughnuts.11-3 p.m.; Oct 8. Admission: $2. E Dale Fisk Hawk Woods Nature Center, 3799 Bald Mountain Rd., Auburn Hills.

Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village: Grab a fall sweater and take a stroll through the Greenfield village after hours, as it transforms into Halloween-themed nights. Visitors can select which fearful activities they'd like to take on. The Halloween Express train will also be available to take guests on a surprising tour around the tracks. Presented by Meijer’s. 4-9:30 p.m. Oct. 6-9; Oct. 13-16; Oct. 20-23; and Oct. 27-30. Admission: $16-25, children younger than 2 are admitted for free. Tickets for Hallowe’en Express are available to purchase online for an additional fee. Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn. (313) 982-6001.

Zoo Boo: a family-friendly event featuring strolling entertainment, Halloween face painting, trick-or-treat stations, education stations and more. Presented by Beaumont Children’s Hospital. 2-6 p.m. Oct. 8-9; Oct. 15-16; and Oct. 21-23. Tickets: $17-$23, children younger than 2 are admitted for free. Parking: $8 per car. Theater: Add on $7 per person. The Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile, Royal Oak. (248) 541-5717.

Kids have loads of fun at Zoo Boo.

Fish or Treat at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium: Kids can wear a costume and snap selfies with monsters, learn about spooky aquatic creatures and check out Halloween decor throughout the aquarium. 10-6 p.m. Oct. 9-31, 4316 Baldwin, Auburn Hills. Tickets: $23.99 and up. www.visitsealife.com.

Cider in the City: There is no need to leave the city for apple cider and doughnuts. Beacon Park Detroit has teamed up with Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill for another annual event to bring all of your favorite signature fall festivities to the city. This family-friendly event will feature apple cider and doughnuts, a farm stand, free horse drawn carriage rides and more.  1 to 5 p.m., Oct. 15. Beacon Park, 1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. (313) 566-8250

Fourth Annual Cherry Hill Village Monster Mash at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill: the tradition continues for the fourth year as this Halloween party will have music from top 40 hits and Halloween covers by Atomic Radio. The occasion will also include a costume prize contest, trivia games and cash bar.  7:30 p.m. October 15. Tickets: $15. Adults 21 and up are welcome. The Village Theater at Cherry Hill, 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton. www.cantonvillagetheater.org or call (734) 394-5300.

Monster Mash Costume contest participants at the Canton's Village Theater.

Halloween Zombie Shoot at Riley Archery Range: Design your own zombie using arts and crafts, then head straight to the range to shoot monster targets and your zombie. Presented by the City of Farmington Hills. 6-8 p.m., Oct. 22. Cost: $15-$20. For ages 10 and up. Riley Archery Range, 24915 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills. (248) 473-1870.

Pumpkin Carving & Storytime at Burton Community Park: Bring your own pumpkin and carving tools, including a candle and lighter for this event. 4-5:30 p.m., Oct. 23., Nadine Ave., Huntington Woods. Pre-registration required. (248) 541-3030 for cost information and to register. Hosted by Huntington Woods Parks and Recreation.

Acacia Park Cemetery Trunk or Treat at Acacia Park Cemetery: Children of all ages and celebrate Halloween just behind the gate of this cemetery with Trunk or Treat. There will be costume contest for best costume for children, adults, and couples 4-9 p.m. Oct. 29, 31300 Southfield Rd, Beverly Hills.

Birmingham Farmers Market End of Season Celebration: Dress the kids in Halloween attire for Halloween activities and events, such as pumpkin decorating and climbing straw bales. 9-2 p.m. Oct. 30, Lot #6 North Old Woodward, on the east side north of Harmon, Birmingham. (248) 530-1200.

Haunted House attractions

Azra Haunted House Chamber of Horrors: Promises a terrifying experience. Open 7-11 p.m. Friday; 7-midnight Saturday; midnight-7 p.m. Sunday.  Not recommended for young children. Tickets: $35 and up. 31401 John R, Bldg. 2, Madison Heights. (734) 718-0088. azrahaunt.com.

Erebus: Not recommended for kids under age 13. Tickets: $20 and up. 6-1 a.m. 7:30-10:30 p.m. weekdays; 7-midnight Fridays; 6-midnight Saturdays. 18 S Perry St, Pontiac. (248) 332-7884. hauntedpontiac.com/

Ghosts on the Balcony: Long-rumored to be haunted, the Birmingham 8, Powered by Emagine, was built in 1927 as a playhouse and remodeled in the 1980s as a movie theater. Guests claim to have encountered ghosts, flickering lights, and heard disembodied voices and footsteps. This haunted attraction will feature a different spooky theme throughout the theater and is open the entire month of October. 211 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham. Times vary. Tickets: $20 for a family friendly tour; $30 for an adult experience. Visit www.emagine-entertainment.com.

Ghosts on the Balcony features different haunted spots at the Historic Birmingham 8 theater.

Hush Haunted Attraction: Hush says it's Michigan's scariest haunted house attraction located in a 40,000-square-foot building, and it boasts three secret hidden bars, for ages 21 and older, throughout its mazes. Open 7-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Not recommended for kids younger than 12. Tickets: $19.99-$32.99. 37550 Cherry Hill Road, Westland. (734) 502-6026. hushhauntedattractions.com.

Hysteria Haunt: Recently announced as one of Michigan's best haunted house attractions, expect a terrifying visit. Not for children younger than 12. Hours vary. 12247 S. Beyer, Birch Run. Tickets: $5 for ages 10 and under; $20 and up for adults. www.hysteriahaunt.com.

Rotten Manor: The Rotten Hayride takes visitors on a nerve-wrecking ride through the haunted woods of Rotten Manor. There will also be carnival games and other family activities. 13245 Dixie Highway, Holly. Tickets: Call (248) 930-2835 or visit www.rottenmanor.com

 The Scream Machine: This haunted attraction features two optional escape rooms. Tickets: $20 and up. Times vary Friday-Sunday. 23131 Ecorse Road in the Taylor Town Trade Center, Taylor. (313) 666-3327. www.thescreammachine.com.

Deranged Haunted: This attraction has a spooky backstory and the only safe place is the General Store located nearly a mile down a path. Ages 13 and older. Tickets $22 and up. 8-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 35560 Goddard, Romulus, (734) 494-0175. derangedhauntedattraction.com.

Game of Bones: A haunted maze that features animatronics, chainsaws, a cage that lifts off the ground, fire explosions and more. Appropriate for kids 9 and older. Friday-Saturday. 5781 Grand River, Fowlerville. Tickets: $8 and up. www.slaughterhouseadventure.com.

Slay Nights: This is 10,000-square-feet of fright inside a two-story haunted house in Howell. It's too scary for children younger than 12. 7:30-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; 7:30-11 p.m. Sundays. 1800 N. Burkhart, Howell. Tickets: $20. www.slaynights.com.

Wiard's Night Terrors: Michigan's Haunted Thrill Park: Check out a haunted barn, the MindShaft, the Asylum and the Hayride of the Lost. Not recommended for kids 12 and younger. Tickets: $29 and up. 3131 Biddle Ave, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti.  (734) 284-3861. Visit www.hauntedhousemichigan.com.