Written by Karin Huffman  Ozark Gateway Travel Writer   

Each year Main Street Batesville and a long list of volunteers create a haunted house that could rival any in the state.

The River Haunt opened Saturday, October 3 to quite the crowd, and as Main Street Executive Director Mandi Curtwright pointed out, “that is three times as many attendees as last year’s opening weekend.”

In order to ensure everyone’s safety, Curtwright explained that all attendees and actors are required to wear masks and temperatures are taken when actors are working as well.

Ok, now on to the scary stuff!

I, myself have never stepped foot into a haunted house, because I am basically the Chihuahua of the human species when it comes to scary things.

I am not a fan of scary movies, I don’t like to see blood and gore and I am not a fan of being in the dark while something touches my ankles.

So, as my husband, Nathan and son, Kaden and myself were waiting to tour The River Haunt last Friday I just kept telling myself that “I was invited to check the place out before opening night, so they will go easy on me. They also know how scared I am, and they will go easy on me.”

Well, I never should have listened to myself because as we entered into the first room, all I saw and heard was cackling laughter and a black blur as my name was called out and someone lunged toward me.

Again, there was still ample time to back out, but I still didn’t listen to my inner voice, instead I continued on while holding on to Nathan with a death grip so tight I am sure bruising was involved. Thank goodness Kaden was behind me or I would have passed out from fear if I had to worry about what was behind me the entire time.

Once we made it through the first room, things began to blur for me as I just wanted to look down and be blindly led, but I made myself continue on, and honestly I am glad I did.

As scared as I was, all I kept thinking about was just how hard this group of volunteers, yes, volunteers (no one is getting paid to do this) have worked to make this thing a success.

Each room was scarier than the next, and I just kept asking when it would be over, as it seemed to take forever, but I am told that’s a good thing if you enjoy haunted houses.

Some haunted houses follow a theme each year, but The River Haunt is different in that it’s set up like a maze with every scary element one could imagine.

So, if you’re a fan of clowns, there is a room for that. Scary twins holding hands, check. Creepy room filled with dolls, check. One pitch black room with nothing but lasers and crazy things jumping out to grab you, check.

At one point, I looked up and it seemed like I was heading down a tunnel into the “upside down” from Stranger Things, and I was terrified, but intrigued.

There is even a point in the house where it looks and feels like you could get ran over by an 18-wheeler, and make sure to hold on tight in some rooms, because the floor moves! Yes! The. Floor. Moves.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this, it was fun.

It was fun to do something out of my comfort zone, and I even might try to do it again before Halloween, and there is plenty of time for all of you fear loving junkies to enjoy it too!

If you and your family or friends would like to go through The River Haunt, just show up at 670 Stadium Drive on any given Friday or Saturday at 7 p.m. until the end of October.

Regular entrance fees are $10, but if you would like to reserve spaces (skip the line), the price is $12. The monies raised is a fundraiser that helps to organize events and activities for Main Street Batesville.

For more information or to get tickets, check out The River Haunt on Facebook or mainstreetbatesville.org.