Eclypse Haunt is full of frightening fun

One Arts Reporter risked it all in Iowa City’s new haunted house, Eclypse Haunt. Although it provided plenty of thrills and chills, the spooks come at a steep price.


Contributed photo from Eclypse Haunt.

Olivia Augustine, Arts Reporter

A million Halloween activities come to mind when October rolls around each year. Carving pumpkins, going apple-picking, designing the perfect costume, and — for the brave of heart – haunted houses.

This freaky holiday activity is now available to locally, with Eclypse Haunt. Located behind the Pizza Ranch off of Highway 1, the haunted house attraction isn’t too far off from campus for students seeking a scare.

Eclypse Haunt is the epitome of the age-old idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Though subdued outside, appearing as any un-haunted building would, the haunted house surprisingly exceeded all expectations. Hidden behind a classic Iowa pizza place, my hopes slightly fell, but the experience quickly picked up.

Waiting in a line is an objectively unenjoyable experience, but the boredom is relieved by the kindness of the staff directing the public. Both before and after going through the house, workers asked me about myself and how I felt about scary things.

Eclyse Haunt is open regularly on Friday and Saturday nights and offers something I’ve never seen at any other haunted house. On Thursday nights, the haunted house goes “Blackout,” meaning all lights are turned off and the guests walk through with provided flashlights.

This added an extra layer to an already frightening performance. It felt more interactive than other haunted houses and made the experience more exciting.

Upon entering the haunted house, my group and I were immediately directed up a flight of stairs, which is where the anxiety began to build. I typically don’t scare easily, but as I walked up the stairs, it was frightening to not know what was coming next – the same went for my friend Emily, too, who refused to be in front, shoving me to the head of the group with both hands.

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The decor is on par with what could be expected from any haunted house: typical church accessories gone dark, and bones hanging from the ceiling — nothing especially unique, but not disappointing either.

The actors in the haunted house played their parts amazingly. Most were demon-like characters, with a few scary nuns and dystopian-dressed characters in white, some with several eyeballs and posed in bizarre positions. Not only did their acting impress, but so did their makeup. My personal favorite was a nun with a painted white face and black tears dripping down her cheeks.

There was an extravagant amount of jump scares, nearly around every corner. Most haunted houses spread them out more, but having so many stopped me from getting bored in the in-between stages. Also, it helped Eclypse make the most of its admittedly smaller space.

One caveat of the haunted house is its size. While most haunted houses can range anywhere from 30-90 minutes, Eclypse took less than ten minutes to go through, which was understandable given its limited space. Still, for the $25 ticket, it would have been nice to prolong the experience.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Eclypse Haunt, the price stops me from going again.

Eclypse Haunt will be open as usual on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week, and for Halloween on Sunday before closing for the season. Hopefully we’ll see the haunted house return with a more affordable price before next season’s “eclypse.”