abc halloween fright fight

“The Great Halloween Fright Fight,” a one-hour special featuring six families competing for the greatest of the ghoulish haunted Halloween displays, will premiere on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto are the judges. Here are some spooky-fun facts from these families about their Halloween creations:

Mitchell’s Spider Invasion

(Shawn and Lynne Mitchell — Pensacola, FL)

  • How much beef netting do you use for your spider webs?

We use 70 pounds of beef netting for the spider webs. We spent 40 hours hanging the rope-web structures and then hung all the beef netting. I took a week off of work just to hang the beef netting. We will never need to buy any webbing again!

  • How many hours does it take to make all the spider webs?

It takes at least 60 hours to cut all the beef netting. As I pulled the webbing taut and cut the material, I made sure to secure all my fingers with Band-Aids to keep from getting blisters. We went through a lot of Band-Aids!

  • How many DIY Spiders did you create?

We custom built 40 spiders in the whole haunt ranging in all sizes. One of our big spiders is 5-feet wide!

  • What special effects do you use?

We project videos of hundreds of spiders onto the side of the house. For a spooky lighting effect, we use halogen flood light bulbs in blue, yellow, red, or green. We place the lights behind the beef netting webs, and they give it a glow.

  • How many visitors do you draw each year?

We draw over 1,000 people every Halloween and go through at least ten bags of candy for all the trick-or-treaters. Luckily for our neighbors, they don’t all show up at once.

Haunt for the Hungry

(Anthony and Toby Sibona – Wharton, NJ)

  • How many gallons of fake blood do you use?

On average we use almost a gallon of blood per night our haunt is operational.

  • What ingredients do you use to make the fake blood?

We use corn syrup with red and blue food coloring to get the color just right.

  • How much plastic wrap do you use on your corpses?

We use large commercial-sized plastic wrap, the same kind we use at our restaurant. I would estimate we used over 100-feet of plastic wrap per skeleton. Visually speaking, that would cover about six cars parked back to back!

  • If you walked the maze end to end, how long is it? (in distance and time)

The haunt covers over 5,000 sq. ft. of our yard. There are over 20 decorated indoor and outdoor sets. The average person would walk over 250 steps from beginning to end. Depending on how fast you walk, it can take anywhere from 12-18 minutes to complete Haunt for the Hungry.

  • How many hours does it take you to construct the Haunt each year?

It takes 40-50 days to build the Haunt from tent frame to completion. We have three to four people build the haunt six days a week at six hours a day for over a month. There are over a 1,000 man hours to set up Haunt for the Hungry.

  • How many visitors do you draw each year?

Roughly we draw 500-600 visitors nightly and around 2,500 in the first few days we are open.

  • How much food/money do you raise for charity each year?

We started our charity haunt six years ago. We collected over 2,500 pounds of food in the early years. In the past three years, we’ve donated $4,600 to the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County.

  • What is your most unique prop?

The elevator is an optical illusion that is created with 36 valve springs, an old treadmill, flicker lights and a peek-a-boo prop controller.

Haunted Overload

(Eric Lowther and Janice Page – Lee, NH)

  • How many giant props do you use in your haunt?

We have over twenty giant props in the haunt, ranging from a 12-foot grim reaper to a 36-foot clown and a 4-story skull.

  • How much wood is used to construct the vortex or the giant skull?

Approximately 600 slabs are used to create the vortex skull – probably enough to build a small house!

  • How many clown actors are used in the clown section?

There are 9 clown actors in the clown section, more than enough to frighten Michael!

  • What is the height of your tallest prop?

Aside the 36-foot tall clown, the tallest prop in our haunt is the 4-story skull.

  • How do you design your giant props?

We hand-cut strips of Gator board, which is similar to foam core. Cut them into about 150 strips, similar to Popsicle sticks, and glue them together to create an exact miniature of each prop.

  • How many scare actors do you use?

I use between 50 – 70 scare actors. However, if you’re not ready for a full scare show, we offer Friday Night Light where you and your kids can come and experience all of it without the scare!

  • How many visitors do you draw each year?

We drew in 7,000 visitors last year, which was our highest to date!

Hollywood Haunter

(Chris Leslie and Jeana Docter – Glendale, CA)

  • How many hours does it take to crackle paint the house?

It takes us 80 hours to crackle paint the house since it involves many layers. There is the base coat which is applied first, then the glue, and then of course the topcoat. Each layer has to be painted on three times before moving onto the next layer. Once the boards were painted, we used a blow dryer to expedite the drying process, which helps to crackle the paint.

  • How many gallons of paint do you use?  

I like to water down both the base and topcoat to get more out of the paint. Between the brown base coat, the glue, and the white topcoat, we use over 7 gallons of paint. That’s just for the façade! We paint and age all our props.

  • How many motion sensors do you use in your haunt?

This year, we had five props on motion sensors, including the trash can, rocking chair, shutters, kicking legs, and the fountain. We make sure to secure these motion sensors in places people can’t see. The sensors are dialed up to the highest sensitivity, so as soon as anyone walks in front of each sensor, that item will begin to move, or in the case of the ghost fountain, the water pump is triggered.

  • How many hours would you estimate you worked on your haunt?

Between the both of us, we put in 1,000 man-hours to build this haunt! We worked on it for 50 days straight, 10 hours a day.

  • How many visitors do you draw each year?

When we first started off in 2008, we had anywhere from 25-30 kids. Five years later in 2013, we had close to 1,000 people come on Halloween!

The Pirate Ship

(Neil and Julie Motti – Celebration, FL)

  • How much wood do you use to construct the Ship?

We use about 50 sheets of plywood to construct the ship.

  • What portion of the display is repurposed materials?

About 85% of the ship is built out of repurposed materials from remodels such as old lumber, old light fixtures, decorative pillars and sconces.

  • How many skeleton pirates were used in the haunt?

We used 27 skeletons for this haunt.  We invited our pirate friends over for a “SKELETON DECORATING PARTY.” Everyone brought different pirate-themed accessories to decorate the skeletons. We also open it up to the community where they can purchase their very own skeleton, dress it up, and pick its placement on the ship. This is always a big hit!  People love to come and see their pirate aboard the ship!  It is a great way for us to get the community involved as well.

  • How many volunteers dressed up as pirates for the reveal?

We have 25 pirates and wenches aboard the ship for the reveal. These pirates also come aboard the ship on Halloween night to help entertain and pass out candy to the landlubbers.

  • How tall and wide is the ship?

From the top of the crow’s nest to the ground, the ship is 35-feet high and 80-feet wide! It’s a life-sized pirate ship.

  • How many visitors do you draw each year?

We have visitors that come from all over the world to see us every year.  We always look forward to seeing them. On Halloween night, we see anywhere from 3,500 – 4,000 trick-or-treaters. We had a record-breaking 5,000 trick-or-treaters last year on Halloween! To ensure that every trick-or-treater gets candy, we throw a big Halloween party every year and charge two bags of candy as admission to fill our pirate chests.

Terror at Tee Lake

(Dave Gugel and Andy Bauer – Lewiston, MI)

  • What percentage of your haunt was new this year?

Thirty-five percent of our haunt was new this year.The entire haunt is disassembled after Halloween and has to be put back up every year. That means a lot of old displays get updated and/or moved to different spots for a fresh look.

  • What is the size of your haunted attraction?

Our haunted attraction lies on an expansive four acres of land that offer unique treats for Halloween fans and families. Our family friendly drive-thru haunt takes you on a musical journey through two acres of spooktacular displays. In addition to the haunted displays, we also decorate our four cottages, two of which get complete makeovers, turning them into exclusive Halloween dwellings.

  • Are you the biggest haunt in Michigan, and how many visitors do you draw each year?

We are the largest home haunt in Michigan, seeing upwards of 5,000 visitors each year. We live in a small, distant town called Lewiston, with only 3,000 residents. Our haunt is more than just a haunted house and spooky displays. We allow visitors the opportunity to stay overnight amongst it all, giving it a true “Halloween town” feel.

  • What is the longest distance visitors have traveled to see your haunt?

On average, our Halloween guests travel an hour and a half to visit us. To our knowledge, the farthest visitors have traveled has been 6-hours. Our cabin guests come from all parts of the country.

  • How many props are used in your haunt?

All designs are custom created and hand painted by us, including fifty-two hand painted signs and structures, eighty hand-crafted electric candles, ninety-five foam carved tombstones and one-hundred-and-eighty pumpkins.

  • Where do you store your haunt during the rest of the year?

We have a storage barn that is 936 sq. ft. plus a 512 sq. ft. loft, with over 200 boxes and bins.

  • What makes your Haunt a Drive-Thru?

Guests can walk or drive through our haunt. In addition to the various themed displays, there are sixteen speakers placed throughout the drive playing spooky music. Our haunt envelops your senses.

  • What essential tools do you use to construct your display?

We use over 700 zip ties and 3,000 feet of extension cords. We bury the chords each year to keep our Haunt looking clean and safe for visitors.

What do you think?

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