Innovations provide safe Halloween presence during the pandemic

[CNN Travel reports on a clever innovation in Japan that allows people to experience Halloween scares safely. As The News Wheel notes,

Drive-thru haunted attractions are popping up all across the United States, hoping to keep Halloween on course despite COVID-19. But before The Haunted Road was announced in July, the concept of getting scared senseless from the safety of your car was given life (or unlife as it were) in Tokyo, Japan, thanks to Kowagarasetai and its drive-in haunted house.

See the original version of the CNN story for a 1:43 minute video and see an AP story for lots of vivid photos. For related reports see, “Love haunted house attractions? Now try this haunted toilet and casket in Aichi” (TimeOut) and “Experience the horror of a haunted house at home with these spooky online events by Obaken” (SoraNews24). Finally, Blooloop provides links to other interesting examples of safe Halloween presence:

Elsewhere, Toverland has announced a new haunted house experience and unveiled the scare zones and thrills coming to Halloween Nights. Six Flags announced modified Halloween events for 2020, known as Hallowfest, at several of its theme parks, including Six Flags Great Adventure.


[Image: One of the casts dressed as zombies performs with fake blood splashed on a widow of a vehicle during a demonstration of a drive-in haunted house show at a garage on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 in Tokyo. Credit: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko. Source: AP]

Tokyo has a drive-in haunted house. And it’s terrifying

Kaori Enjoji, CNN
Updated 14th August 2020

Tokyo (CNN) — We can all agree that screaming is a pivotal part of a great haunted house experience.

But at a time when exhalation is discouraged because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a Japanese company has created an attraction that follows social distancing guidelines yet remains absolutely terrifying — a drive-in haunted house.

Kowagarasetai, a Japanese haunted house and horror event production company, claims the concept is the first of its kind.

“With the virus, I knew there would be no way we could have a traditional haunted house, with all that screaming in a small confined space,” Kenta Iwana, Kowagarasetai’s founder, tells CNN Travel.

“When I read that drive-through theaters were making a comeback, it was my ‘aha’ moment.”

Stuck in a pitch-black, zombie-infested garage

The haunted house drive-in, located in a covered parking garage in a non-descript building in downtown Tokyo, gives visitors a 360-degree, front-row experience that simulates being stuck in a car during a zombie outbreak.

Use your own car for JPY8,000 ($75), or if you’re like many Tokyoites and don’t own one, they will provide a vehicle for JPY9,000, or $85.

Given you’re just sitting in the garage, no driver’s license is needed.

Visitors turn off the engine and the garage shutter closes, plunging the vehicle into total darkness.

Drivers receive a set of Bluetooth speakers and the spooky tale begins.

“Around these parts, there’s a legend that the ghosts attack humans. Honk your horn three times if you want to hear more,” says the voice from the speaker, in Japanese.

For the next 17 minutes, blood-soaked ghouls and zombies press up against the windows and rock the car.

Fear not, somehow you will live through it.

Extra-blood and cleaning services

With Tokyo battling another wave of Covid-19 infections, the company says it’s taking every precaution to protect both its actors and customers. Each car is wiped down with alcohol to minimize risks for the ghost actors. Rental cars are lined in plastic, which is changed for every customer.

Afterward, the car is wiped clean of the fake blood (and potential viruses from the hands of the ghosts). There is fine print on the website that says, “We cannot remove every drop of blood. It will be clean enough to drive on the road.”

There’s also an extra-bloody package available for an additional JPY1,000 ($9).

Summer is traditionally peak season for ghost stories in Japan, a popular way to chill out on a hot night. Iwana says scary films and games have always been a part of his life.

“My parents rented horror movies and let me watch them play ‘Biohazard’ (‘Resident Evil 7’) since I was three,” says Iwana.

“Ghosts are like Pokemon to me.”

He dropped out of university six years ago to turn his passion into a business, staging haunted houses and creating bespoke thrillers “anywhere anyone asks me” — including amusements parks, arcades and private homes.

Founded on Halloween Day in 2018, Kowagarasetai roughly translates to “the Scaredy Squad” in Japanese.

With all the self-restraint permeating in society due to Covid-19, he wanted to show that it was OK for people to have some fun.

The drive-in haunted house experience started out as a summer-only attraction in July, with tickets selling out the day they went on sale. Now, there’s a waiting list of more than 1,000 people, says Iwana.

Given its immense popularity, he says they’re bringing it back when temperatures cool, as August is too hot to run the haunted drive-in.

This entry was posted in Presence in the News. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Find Researchers

    Use the links below to find researchers listed alphabetically by the first letter of their last name.

    A | B | C | D | E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z