Carnage Haunted House in Columbus, Ohio started in 2017, and things went well. So well, the team decided to get a larger, 58,000 sq. ft building after only 2 years. They found an old bowling alley and began converting it, but it turns out that’s a little tougher than it seemed at first. Then the pandemic came along and slowed everything to a crawl. So finally, after two seasons of delays, Carnage Haunted House is ready to welcome visitors to their brand new venue.
The Haunted Attraction Network’s Maximus Bryant met with Mia and Jason of Carnage Haunted House to discuss their plans for 2021 and their experiences over the past two years.
Turning a Bowling Alley into a Haunt
Mia: November of 2019 we purchased this building. It’s 58,000 square feet on eight acres here in Columbus. It was the old Eastland Bowling Lane location – and so what we took over to build our haunt was a 50-lane bowling alley.
Jason: All 50 lanes had to be removed. You have to imagine, a bowling lane is 18 inches deep and it’s all sub flooring. So you have two by fours on the ground, running the entire lane (300 feet) and then a hundred feet deep. Then two by tens turned the other way, and then more two by fours on top. So you remove the lanes, which are thousands of pounds and 3000 square feet of lanes – not to mention ball returns. You get down to the sub flooring, then you have to remove all the sub flooring, which is all 50 year-old wood. So it wasn’t easy to pull up. And then all the approach was a whole other thing. It was all sub flooring and the approach had to be taken out.
Mia: An eight-foot section of bowling lanes weighed over 500 pounds. It took about three months to take that out.
Jason: The old haunt was about 9,500 square feet. The floor space [at the new location] is about 35,000. The haunt’s going to be close to 27,000.
How COVID Affected Their Build
Mia: COVID kicked our ass, in a lot of ways. We had issues with the building inspections, getting all the paperwork and everything through the city of Columbus. That was a nightmare.
Jason: You couldn’t talk to anybody.
Mia: You couldn’t go in there and actually, physically talk to somebody. We submitted our building permits and our building plans in March of last year. We got the permission to start building the haunt in December of 2020. So from March until December, we couldn’t do anything. We were able to build, but we had no ability to actually bring people in. We only got our occupancy last week.
Jason: And to put it on a scale. There’s going to be three haunts in this one. The first haunt itself, is almost 3000 square foot bigger than the original Carnage in whole.
2021 Preview Events and Haunt Season Plans
Mia: Go to our website and you can get tickets online. It’s already live.
Come fall season, we will have a full commercial kitchen available for concessions. We have the bar, we have a large kitchen. You haven’t even seen the rest of this side of the building – there are additional rooms. There’s a large merch area, we have dedicated an entire room for merchandise.
It’s exciting that we have all-indoor queue lines. Everything is indoor – unless we blow out our occupancy, which would be quite crazy.
Jason: The haunt is very immersive. Everything went higher, so you walk in and you’re not seeing all the walls.
Mia: All the walls are 10 feet.
Jason: We were at a disadvantage at our old haunt, we didn’t own it. We couldn’t paint the ceiling black. We spent two weeks – two straight weeks – just painting the ceiling.
It was so big on a lift, just every night, gallons and gallons and gallons of dry falls, to just turn the whole ceiling pitch black. Covering up sprinkler heads, we had to rig solo cups on a handle and tape it up to stick over each sprinkler head to spray around. They made stamps for the lights, so we would spray the lights. It was a three-man process: one person making sure the bucket stayed full, one person keeping wires and hoses out of the way, and one person spraying. It was just nonstop for two weeks. So everything’s darker. It’s more immersive, and there’s a lot of water.
Carnage Haunted House gave a sneak peak of “The Bayou” portion of the haunt on July 9th & 10th, 2021. On Friday the 13th in August, guests will be able to experience a Lights Out experience. Their haunt season will begin on September 17thand will run 21 select nights.