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West Valley City Journal

Nightmare Alley scares up patrons

Oct 06, 2017 12:32PM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

Clowns come out to play at West Valley’s Nightmare Alley. (Photo/Candace Whitaker)

On October 27 and 28, the West Valley Family Recreation Center will open their 6,000-square- foot center to delight and fright all who dare enter with their annual haunted house and spook alley. 

“We aim to scare ya and make ya pee. It’s a lot of fun,” said Candace Whitaker, program and activity section supervisor for the recreation center. 

The haunted house began as an idea in 2007 and after its initial success, it became an annual favorite among staff members and West Valley residents alike. Each year, the center staff aims to make it bigger and scarier than the years before while still catering to all ages. 

“It’s grown and become increasingly scary, which I like, but some people aren’t so fond of the scary. We aim to be scary, but talk to kids and adjust the scary. We have a lot of kids that come through from our programs here, so if we see that they’re scared, we kind of talk to them a little and tell them not to worry. We can cater to most of our clientele,” said Whitaker, who has been with the recreation center since 2006.

The haunted spook alley will be built over the course of three to four days prior to its two-night run the weekend before Halloween and will feature sections with witches, zombies, clowns, vampire, killer butchers and more fun stuff. The entire spooks alley should take about 10 minutes to get through, depending on how scared you are and how fast you run, said Whitaker. 

“I like the creative process going into it, and it’s something that’s outside of what we normally do and so that’s always exciting, too. You come to work and you have these fitness classes and programs but you normally don’t get to build a haunted house,” said Whitaker. 

Each year, they average 250-300 people each night and due to some intense scares, recommend it for ages 8 and up. Though it is family friendly, Whitaker said it can be a bit intense for younger kids. 

While the recreation staff run the evening events, volunteers are welcome to help and be part of the fun. Center patrons and community members are encouraged to help with set up and the job of creeping attendees out. Whitaker’s niece began at five years old by frightening passersby with a monster under the bed. 

For information about volunteering, contact by email at [email protected]

Tickets to the spook alley are $5 per person and if you buy five tickets, the sixth is free. Ticket sales stop 15 minutes before closing and run October 27 from 7-10 p.m. and October 28 from 6-9 p.m.

In addition to the haunted house and spook alley, the family recreation center will be hosting a Bewitching Breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 9:30 a.m. for all ages. Paranormal pancakes and eerie eggs will be served while famous witches and wizards, sorceresses and witch doctors wander around to sign autographs, take pictures and do activities with the kids. It’s a family friendly event where kids can participate in crafts like potion box making. The cost is $9 for 12 and up, $7 for youth ages 3-12, $5 for children ages 1 and 2 and under 1 is free. Tickets are limited. 

Also on the 21st, the recreation center is hosting a free Halloween Safety Fair from 11 a.m. to noon with the West Valley Police Department coming to help explain tips for safe trick-or-treating. The fire department will judge a kid’s costume contest and then kids will have the opportunity to trick or treat among some of the vendor and group booths.   

For information or to buy tickets, visit: