To our valued customers,

We at Spook Factory have been hosting the state’s scariest haunted house since we bought an abandoned doll factory back in 1982. Every year, we have been proud to offer you the most bone-chilling, spine-tingling, nightmare-inducing frights throughout the whole month of October.

However, we recognize that this year is already all too terrifying. On top of the pandemic, a looming election, and mass unemployment, the west coast has something called “fire season.”

Now that terms like “lockdown” and “aerosolized transmission” are part of everyday conversation, perhaps you don't need a meandering walk through an abandoned mansion overrun with undead clowns to provide a life-affirming jolt of terror this year.

So this October, Spook Factory will look a little different. Instead of the usual ghouls chasing you through the hallways, this year's tour will offer you a respite from the ongoing horror show that is 2020.

Let us give you a preview of the calming, murder-hornet-free experience that awaits you:

In our first room (previously the “Foyer of Frights”) our array of things that go bump in the night has been replaced with small pets who are sleepy. Whisper your way past dogs who ran all day with their friends and have flopped in positions that appear to defy physics. It’s adorable and has even lowered blood pressure in test subjects. Well, in our test subjects, of which there are two. We promise we feel much better.

Follow the marked, six-feet-apart steps to our next room (“Dining Room of Death”) where television screens project images of a raucous, lively dive bar. Other patrons smile at you and lift their beers in greeting, reminding you that even though your Zoom happy hours trailed off in April, people still like you when they meet you at parties. You know, when there were parties.

The kitchen (“Cultist Carving Station”) smells like freshly-baked bread and echoes with the sounds of early 1990s PBS cooking shows. Enjoy Julia Child and Martin Yan’s soothing voices while you meander through a truly warming space. Fresh cinnamon rolls softly rise in the ovens to your right and are available to purchase at the end of the tour. Please ignore the blood splatters on the wall. Our PPP money ran out before our painting crew got to the kitchen.

In the basement (“Witch’s Dungeon of Dread”) our favorite witch Maude—cackling over her cauldron since 1986!—has a new series of potions this year. Instead of her usual concoctions of stewed newts and bile-pickled eyeballs that have haunted local children’s nightmares for decades, she is offering custom-blended CBD products to treat anxiety, insomnia, and generalized fear of anti-vaxxers! You can find her regular line of edibles and other delights at her dispensary, Maude’s Medicinals, in the back of the Starbucks parking lot downtown.

In the final room (“Panic Parlour”) Bobo the Undead Clown—look, we really didn’t want to lay off Bobo, and buying all those puppy beds really ate into the costume budget—will do slight-of-hand magic to amaze and enchant you. He’s spent quarantine watching how-to videos on YouTube and he’s gotten pretty good. You’ll be so busy trying to figure out how the ace of spades ended up in your left shoe that you might forget your existential dread for entire minutes at a time.

We hope that this year, you leave feeling soothed and tranquil. It’s a big change from what you’ve come to expect from the Spook Factory, we know, but innovation really is the name of the game. Or at least that’s what our loan servicer told us when we asked how we were expected to pay our bills this fall.

We understand that you may still be seeking truly scary experiences this October. In that case, may we recommend the Girl Scouts’ Small World Ride down the road? It shepherds visitors through the countries of the globe as they will appear in 2035 if climate change remains unaddressed. We couldn’t sleep for weeks.