Though the pandemic threatened to cancel many Fall festivities this year, Berks County can still experience a hefty dose of chills this spooky season at Shocktoberfest, Pennsylvania’s Premiere Haunted Scream Park.
Voted “One of the scariest places on earth” by the Travel Channel, Shocktoberfest is located on 27 acres in the heart of Sinking Spring. The haunted attraction is celebrating its 29th year in operation this Fall, and owner Patrick Konopelski and his staff have been working hard to ensure safety procedures are being followed closely to ensure that visitors have a great experience.
“In March, we started wondering if we could open [this year],” said Konopelski. “Along with other associations, we created a list of best practices, policies, and procedures [to ensure a safe opening].” A complete list of the safety measures taken are available here: https://www.shocktoberfest.com/about-faq/#faq-covid
Shocktoberfest has something for everyone–Truck N’ Brew, a food truck and beer extravaganza for guests; Club Shock, a 7,000 square foot tent with a full bar that hosts everything from live music to special events; and numerous attractions.
While the “Zombie Hayride” is a beloved annual event, this year it has been modified to be a “Zombie Walk” to ensure social distancing requirements are being met. Shocktoberfest also hosts “Spooktoberfest” from 5-7 PM, a less-frightening event for little ones.
The actors who work at Shocktoberfest truly give themselves over to their performances, moreso this year than ever: instead of wearing full makeup, this year the actors will be wearing full latex masks for safety reasons. Typically a “full-touch haunt” experience where the actors can touch guests to frighten them, this year, the actors have had to modify their performances to still frighten visitors–while maintaining a strict 6-foot distance.
“We have had to adjust our scare style,” said actor Connor Nagle, who has been an actor at Shocktoberfest for five years. Nagle, actress Meredith Feeney, and actor Damien Koller who have been with Shocktoberfest for three years and six years respectively, all shared that they keep coming back to act year after year due to the camaraderie of their colleagues. “These are great people,” said Koller. “[Working here] builds a family.”
Konopelski is delighted that Shocktoberfest is still able to open this year.
“We are planning to make sure we can have a safe, fun, and scary experience for guests and employees,” he said. “[Shocktoberfest offers] normalcy in a controlled, outdoor setting.”