The Haunted Manor: Ghostly Manor's Billy Criscione speaks on this year's spooktacular spectacles

Something wicked this way comes at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center this Halloween. Step inside the Perkins Township haunt and read about what General Manager Billy Criscione and his staff are brewing up for visitors this season...if you dare.

What attractions or experiences can visitors look forward to this Halloween season at Ghostly Manor? Are any of them new for 2023?
We still have our nationally ranked Ghostly Manor Haunted House open every day at noon. But this month on Fridays and Saturdays between 8-11 p.m. is when Lake EERIE Fearfest opens. We added two additional haunted houses, “Dead in the Water” and “Darkmare” to Ghostly Manor. 

How long will Halloween-inspired attractions be running?
Every day at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center! We get haunted house fans that come through almost every day of the year to check out Ghostly Manor Haunted House.

Lake EERIE Fearfest provides thrills and chills to brave visitors. (Photo/Kevin Lee)Now that your family has purchased Goofy Golf, will that property also be tricked out for Halloween? Do you plan to do any crossovers between the two properties in the future?
We have ideas, but no plans set in stone. We will eventually do a combo ticket between the two facilities. In the future, we plan to add those spooky elements for the month of October. Maybe even a few actors and props that will make you jump!

Are there any family-friendly or less intense attractions for those who don't enjoy getting scared?
Between the two facilities, we have attractions for all ages. At Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, we have 3-D mini golf, roller skating, virtual reality, escape room, laser maze, bounce house, play area and a motion theater. At Goofy Golf, we have 36 holes of mini golf and three go kart tracks. Both locations have an arcade as well. 

Do you have any insider tips on how to make the most of the Halloween experience at Ghostly Manor?
Dress up!  Make us one of your “pit stops” on a Friday or Saturday night with your friends.  If you’re looking for more to do after the haunted houses, come inside for a round of mini golf or see if you still have the skills for roller skating.

What is your favorite part of Ghostly Manor?
The introduction! Our Skulltronix, ‘Skully’ as we call him, entertains the group prior to entering the haunted house. He’s a talking skeleton affixed to the entrance façade that covers our do’s and don’ts while walking through the haunted house.

Be prepared to scream in Ghostly Manor's haunted houses. (Kevin Lee)How do you find inspiration for new ideas? 
My staff and I find inspiration everywhere! More recently, we get ideas from social media – we saw a video the other day of a prop “throwing up” into a barrel. Nothing new because we’ve seen this prop plenty of times, but it made us think “Hey, we can do something like that now!” We have a bathroom scene in Ghostly Manor in which we incorporated that idea of liquid running from a prop into a bathtub full of skeletons. 

Can you share some details about your cast and crew? How do they prepare to scare guests effectively?
I have about 20 year-round employees and 50 seasonal employees at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center. About three-quarters of my year-round staff has worked in or for the haunted houses at some point in their employment with us. We have actors, ticketing and admissions, and make-up artists. In preparation for the haunted house season, all new actors go through a night of hands-on, in-your-face training. Most new actors come with no experience, so we first send them through the haunted houses to have our senior actors scare them. This will get the creative juices flowing, get them in the haunted-house mood, and give them inspiration on how they want to scare future customers. After scaring our new actors a few times, we get them dressed up and ready for a dry run with ourselves being the “customers.” The best actors have great timing and originality to their interaction with the customers. 

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center offers 3-D mini golf, roller skating, virtual reality, an escape room, a laser maze, a bounce house, a play area and a motion theater. (Photo/Kevin Lee)What is the scariest or most memorable moment you've witnessed from a guest's reaction while visiting Ghostly Manor?
This was quite a few years ago, but it was during the day when we only had Ghostly Manor Haunted House open (not Lake EERIE Fearfest). We had a group come in, probably family and friends, who wanted to do just the haunted house. We rang them up and sent them back to Ghostly Manor to get ready. Our actor started the introduction and got suited up to scare them. About 10 minutes later, after they had gone through the whole haunted house, they came running out of the haunted house, straight out the exit, right to their car, and left!

Can you share any plans or ideas you have for the future of Ghostly Manor?
We recently purchased a new custom designed 1,500-square-foot inflatable bounce house. This new bounce house replaced three smaller ones and gave customers twice the area to enjoy. And then this spring, we hope to go mobile with the three smaller units plus a few additional we have in storage. We’d like to rent them out for birthday parties and events off-site.