Scottsdale homeowner sets Halloween bar high with haunted house
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It has a clear warning in the front: Enter at your own risk.
“It’s a little intense, and it’s definitely horribly terrifying,” said Chris Birkett, the designer and creator of the Haunted Graveyard.
He has been putting on a haunted house for more than 30 years at his Scottsdale home. It’s a $147,000 production with more than 30 actors that Birkett has been improving over the years.
The haunted house draws large crowds every year. Last year, about 9,200 people stopped by on Halloween night alone.
This year’s theme is based heavily on Michael Myers from the movie “Halloween.” It’s not recommended for anyone under 13 years old.
“If you enter the haunted house, you’ll encounter actors, strobe lights, fog, tight spaces,” Birkett said. “Of course, do not enter if you can’t handle any of those things.”
Once visitors get past the haunted house’s warning sign, he said “You go into the deep and the darkness.” It starts by telling visitors the story about Myers’ childhood.
One of the first rooms consist of Chucky the evil doll standing in front of Myers’ childhood room, which looks friendly until visitors turn the corner.
“You have all these old, vintage dolls that are pulled apart, body parts hanging all over the place,” Birkett said.
Then, visitors go through a series of rooms, tunnels and tight spaces before reaching a dark closet where they start hearing the sound of an eerie music box.
After passing several creepy scenes, including a fire-breathing devil, visitors come to a room with wires that appear to be spouting out electricity. The room symbolizes what’s going on inside Myers’ head.
“There’s a soundtrack in this electricity room and it’s literally saying ‘kill, kill, kill’ all around you,” Birkett said.
Shortly after that, visitors encounter a bloody bathroom scene with Myers’ sister’s head in a toilet along with bloody dolls.
And just before the end, the star of the haunted house appears.
“When Michael is where you see him, he may actually be closer than he appears,” Birkett said.
The Haunted Graveyard is located on 8414 East Valley Vista Drive, near Granite Reef Road and McDonald Drive in Scottsdale. It’s free and open Oct. 27 through Halloween night starting at 6:30 p.m.