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Haunted House Inspections Prove Yearly Fright to Owners

State officials make sure there’s a big difference between feeling scared and actually being in danger.

Haunted House

Photo: Eric Bolstridge

Haunted houses must undergo inspections before they can open to the public.

With just a few days until Halloween, haunted houses are opening their doors for another season of scares. But  state officials first make sure there’s a big difference between feeling scared and actually being in danger.

Every year the State Fire Marshall’s Office inspects haunted houses to make sure any frightening is done safely, and even though haunted houses have to comply with the same safety requirements as any other business, State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said it’s a very different type of inspection.

“As opposed to a normal inspection when a new store opens, its well lit, is clear, the windows are clear and all, but when you get to one of these facilities, it’s just the opposite, and that’s the effect, so from that standpoint it’s much different,” he said.

Steve Walls owns Necropolis, an Indianapolis haunted house.  Though he’s gone through them for almost two decades and is aware of the safety requirements, Walls says he still gets nervous when it’s time for inspection.

“I’m always looking from them to give suggestion believe me, because I don’t know the code obviously as well as they do,” Walls said. “We do our best; we’ll take any suggestion, but every time he comes I’m nervous “

Greeson said haunted houses must be decorated with fire-retardant materials and must meet state minimums for the size of door and window openings.

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