Fort Casey evokes images in the mind’s eye of sweeping views of Puget Sound, batteries with deep historical roots and — for this month — clowns, zombies and perhaps a werewolf or two.
A team of volunteers will again haunt the fort, which brave visitors can enjoy starting 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $10, available at Whidbey Playhouse’s website www.whidbeyplayhouse.com. Proceeds go toward restoration of the historic Admiralty Head Lighthouse and includes entrance to the fort, Haunted Switchboard and kid zone.
Although there are activities for young children available as well, it’s not recommended that the faint of heart venture into the fort’s haunted chambers.
“My goal is to scare the living daylights out of everybody,” said Ben Honeycutt of Whidbey Playhouse.
He’s charged with the night’s theatrics and was reticent with details of this year’s event, but assured that it would be creepy. Groups of 10 people at a time will be guided through the echoey, dimly lit corridors, and each room will present its own theme and its own scares.
The first half of the journey through the fort will include a more “traditional” haunted house experience, similar but not identical to how the fort has looked in the past. Later on, Honeycutt said there will be a “bio-hazard” event.
After the accident, something will be let loose in the fort.
“You’re going into zombieville,” he said.
Haunted Fort Casey was the brainchild of Fort Casey Program Specialist Sharon Young-Hale and started with 500 guests its first night in 2015. Last year, more than 1,100 people attended each night and 2,841 total came.
The fort has reached capacity, Young-Hale said, and to manage the crowds this year the event went to pre-sale tickets only. The tickets are for hour increments and the number of people allowed per hour is limited. Total sales will be capped at 2,000.
However, not every aspect of the evening has to be scary. There’ll be a food vendor, hot drinks and Trick or Treat Street, where local businesses will be handing out candy. Children can also enjoy a bouncy house, ghost story room and little ones age 10 and under will have a special area for games.
However, those who dare may venture deeper into the fort and explore the Haunted Switchboard. No telling what will be encountered in the complete darkness of the narrow space between the outer bunker and the old communication room.
Visitors must arrive within the time slot on their tickets and will be required to show verification before entering.
The hour blocks go from 6:30 to 9:30 and the fort closes at 10:30 both nights.
More than 100 volunteers are needed in a variety of positions to pull off the two nights of frightening fun. Young-Hale said she still needs more people to help with parking, line control and ticketing. Honeycutt said he’s also looking for people interested in scaring.
Those who don’t have any acting experience need not worry, there aren’t any lines for the most part, he said.
He’s hoping to get at least 20 more people so the actors can take breaks throughout the night.
“It’s extraordinarily hard work,” Honeycutt said of scaring people.
“But it’s so much fun for us to actually do.”