Photo by Heather Middleton
By Maria-Jose Subiria
A group of about six young adults were heard screaming, and yelling, from inside a haunted maze in Morrow. Loud stomping, and chainsaw noises emerged as well.
The frightful ambiance was all part of the aftermath of a visit to a new Halloween haunt called FRIGHTMORE. It has been open since Oct. 1.
"That was awesome," exclaimed 18-year-old Chris Sanford, of Ellenwood. "Woo hoo!"
FRIGHTMORE is a 35,000-square-foot facility that provides a 30-minute trek through a haunted maze. It is located at 1912 Mount Zion Road, Building 1865 C.
The haunted maze is open Sundays, through Thursdays, from 7 p.m., to 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from 7 p.m., to midnight.
Brian Rayl, FRIGHTMORE's co-owner, said the facility will be opened until Oct. 31, or it may extend, until Nov. 6.
Nicole Pitts, 19, of Ellenwood, was in the group of six who exited the facility as if they were relieved to have survived a hellish nightmare.
"I am sweating bullets...it got better as you went through," said Pitts as she gasped for breath.
She said she didn't anticipate the maze would be as scary as it was. Pitts said, as she progressed through the maze, it became more frightening.
Ticket prices are $12 for children, ages 12 and under, during the week, and $15 for adults, Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday, the cost is $20 for adults. "Children ages 12, and under, should be accompanied by an adult," said Rayl.
He said $1 from every ticket sold will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Rayl said, while negotiating the maze takes about 30 minutes, it could take up to an hour for those who get lost, and don't know their way out.
"This is really your worst nightmare," Rayl snickered. "When you can make a grown man cry, then you know you've done something," he added.
Rayl said what makes people scared is not really the costumes, but the element of surprise, which the maze provides in every corner.
Furthermore, the maze progresses into a "Dark Maze," where the surroundings are almost pitch dark, and scary characters make noises and jump out from every corner, he said.
FRIGHTMORE is a business venture that Rayl said he co-owns with his friend Don Marron.
Creating his own haunted maze business, for people who enjoy a scare, was something he had always wanted to do, Rayl said.
"This is the first year of many to come," Rayl said confidently.
He said FRIGHTMORE will be available next year, at the same location.
Rayl said before FRIGHTMORE became an actuality, he created a Halloween haunted maze seven years ago, for his children at his home in Griffin.
Rayl has four children, whose ages range from 13 years old, to 10 months old. He said his children's friends, and neighbors, would come and enjoy the haunted maze, which was opened just for one night on a Saturday, near Oct. 31. This way his children had a chance to trick-or-treat, on Halloween, he explained.
He said the haunted maze became so popular in the Griffin area, that last year, over 500 visitors arrived at his home to participate in it.
"It got a little out of hand, people started showing up," said Rayl.
Rayl said his do-it-yourself haunted maze won't take place this year, because he has another project on his hands--FRIGHTMORE.
"I've always liked Halloween," said Rayl. "There's nothing more fun than scaring little kids, like the ones that are 15, to 45 [years old]."
Rayl said Halloween has always been a holiday he has enjoyed the most.
"It's like I spend a bunch of money on Halloween and my wife spends a lot of money for Christmas," he said.
For more information, visit www.frightmore.com.