Haunting Halloweeen descends upon Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Haunting Halloweeen descends upon Steamboat Springs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There's an eerie silence amidst the crisp autumn air as nerves rise, anticipating what lurks around the corner.

Far from the typical ghost stories, the local scare-fest of Halloween kicks off this weekend with the 19th annual Screamboat: Chamber of Horrors from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Colorado Mountain College Allbright Family Auditorium, 1275 Crawford Ave.  The haunted house is created by about 50 students from the CMC SKY Club and the Engineering Projects class.

For brave souls courageous enough to navigate the mystical dark sea, the Young Bloods Collective has created the first "Haunted Deep: Monster Mermaids," the interactive, immersive haunted house "experience" set for Halloween Eve with four showings at 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Chief Theater.

"Haunted Deep: Monster Mermaids"

The depths of mystery lurks throughout the dark waters of the Haunted Deep experience derived by the combination of art, a spellbinding dance performance by the Jasmir Tribal Belly Dance Troupe and theater with the Chief Players encore of last weekend's “An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe.”

"We wanted to go with an unexpected theme," said Danielle Zimmerer, YBC board member. "Living in the mountains we are so far removed from the ocean, it's a bit mysterious, so we wanted to dive deep into that concept. We wanted to go slightly creepy as it is Halloween, and once someone mentioned monster, mermaids, we thought of sirens, the perfect ambassador into a creepy haunted deep idea."

"Combining theater, dance and art results in what groups like Meow Wolf are calling immersive theater," said Brie Kole, YBC co-founder and president. "The idea being that the viewer gets to be part of it all, but as a passive participant. It won’t be a typical haunted house where someone is popping out of dark corners but rather will leave the participants creeped out and in awe versus scared."

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Inspired by the legends and myths of sirens, the mystical dark scene started to take form for the group of about 15 YBC members and public volunteers who spent over 100 hours creating the set.

"Sirens are this creature — beautiful from a distance but haunting and even devastating up close," said Nicole LeDuc, choreographer of the Jasmir Tribal Belly Dance Troupe. "If you're not really clear what a siren is, think of a half beautiful, whimsical woman and half serpent, flesh-eating monster. Picture this — seven beautiful women crawl out of the deep water, hoping to attract their – well, food."

To make the dark sea underworld come alive, the set is decorated with repurposed bones, pearls, sea urchin spines, garnet chips, an elaborately-crafted mermaid costume by Kole along with the shipwreck scene by Sarah Valentino, special effects with the sound and lighting by Charlie Smith and flora and fauna made from recycled materials by Katie Moore.

Screamboat: Chamber of Horrors

"I think people love that they can face some of their biggest fears and get scared, while also knowing they're in a completely controlled, safe, environment," said Sara Kressel, third-year CMC student in the engineering program who is also involved with the Sky Club and helped create Screamboat, a long-running Halloween tradition in Steamboat Springs as a fundraiser for the engineering students and Sky Club.

Patrons will be guided throughout the 20 rooms and outdoor scares that await. New features on the tour include the "Eclipse Room," "Animated Room," "Doll Room" and the "It Room."

"Inspiration comes from the internet, other haunted houses and what is happening around us," said Steve Craig, CMC math and engineering professor who took over organizing of the event for Jimmy Westlake two years ago. "Especially, what is happening around us."

Craig said brave souls will encounter a heightened experience with the addition of new technology and special effects provided by the engineering club. Throughout the semester, students have been working on using animation from the programming language called Arduino, which is transferred to a circuit board to create the special effects.

"We ended up with people of all ages, from all different career paths, bouncing ideas off each other and developing plans to see these concepts brought to fruition," Kressel said. "It was pretty amazing to watch it all come together."

The scare factor Craig said could be turned up or down depending on the groups going through the Haunted House. If someone gets too scared, the actors will break character and escort the patron out.

"When we get groups with young kids coming through, our actors know to tone down the scare," Kressel said. "We want the kids to have fun, not be traumatized. However, if we get a group of people looking to get scared, we amp up the scare and give them exactly what they are looking for."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

If you go:

What: “Haunted Deep: Monster Mermaids”

When: 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Tickets: $15

If you go:

What: 19th annual Screamboat: Chamber of Horrors

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, Saturday, Oct. 28 and Tuesday, Oct. 31

Where: Colorado Mountain College, Allbright Family Auditorium, 1275 Crawford Ave.

Tickets: $10 for CMC students and anyone 12 and younger. $15 for general admission.


Know before you go: “Haunted Deep: Monster Mermaids”

  • Recommended for ages 13 and older
  • The Poe: Haunted Readings will function separately from the Haunted deep portion and in total the whole “experience” will run about 30 minutes
  • Buying tickets online at chieftheater.com or ALL That is encouraged
  • YBC anticipates selling out all four showings
  • Each showing is limited to 30 people so plan accordingly if attending with a large group; don’t wait to get your tickets at the door


Know before you go: “Screamboat: Chamber of Horrors”

  • Go early – the later it gets the busier it gets, especially the night of Halloween
  • All ages are welcome
  • If you’re nervous and want things toned down, just ask, the actors want everyone to have a good time.