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Stratford PAL Teams With Fright Haven For Scary Fundraiser

An actor who volunteers as a clown at Fright Haven in Stratford.
An actor who volunteers as a clown at Fright Haven in Stratford. Photo Credit: contributed
Charles Rosenay, scaremaster at Fright Haven in Stratford.
Charles Rosenay, scaremaster at Fright Haven in Stratford. Photo Credit: contributed
Charles Rosenay operates the first indoor haunted house on Stratford Square.
Charles Rosenay operates the first indoor haunted house on Stratford Square. Photo Credit: contributed
A person walking into the Fright Haven haunted house in Stratford.
A person walking into the Fright Haven haunted house in Stratford. Photo Credit: Contributed
One of the actors who volunteers at Fright Haven.
One of the actors who volunteers at Fright Haven. Photo Credit: contributed
The room of dolls at Fright Haven
The room of dolls at Fright Haven Photo Credit: contributed

STRATFORD, Conn. -- Fright Haven is teaming with Stratford Police Athletic League to invite kids of all ages to check out the haunted house attraction at Stratford Square as part of a Halloween fundraiser.

On Wednesday, Fright Haven will throw open the doors to its 20,000-square-foot facility with the proceeds going to Stratford PAL.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m., the lights will be kept on for little ghouls in costume. Kids ages 10 and under free but must be with a paying person over age 11. The cost is $10 per person over age 11, with five kids under age 10 allowed per person.

From 7 to 8 p.m., the lights will be off for older — and braver — kids. The cost then is $20 per person.

For more information, contact Lt Melissa Niemiec at SPAL@townofstratford.com or 203-385-4146 or 203-422-1469.

Fright Haven, a new attraction this year, is unique in its size and scope of Halloween thrills.

It is located in "an old showcase cinema theater, which had been barren for years," said Charles Rosenay, who is scare master and organizer of Fright Haven.

There are three separate attractions within the house -- one is "Frightmare Fear Institute: Achluophobia," a sensory haunt that's in complete darkness. It includes a bug room, a mask room and a spark room, "which is a completely blackened room with a mad welder who is going crazy and sparks are flying everywhere," said Rosenay, an Orange resident.

There is also a three-dimensional carnival of evil where people wear 3D glasses. "It's infested with demented, crazed clowns," he said.

The third room is Dead End Manor, which is an old-school ancient Gothic Victorian Haunted House containing a baby room packed with old and deformed dolls.

It takes about one hour to go through the entire house. Live entertainment, including animatronics and video shows, is included outside the house.

What's unique about Fright Haven is that it's all indoors. "Most haunted attractions are outdoors so if it rains, it's either cancelled or people have a horrible experience," he said. "This is heated, covered, safe and protected."

It's not the dark inside the house that's frightening, Rosenay said. "It's not the actual darkness, bug or clown that is frightening. It is the fear of the unknown."

According to Rosenay, all the 40 to 50 actors work at Fright Haven are volunteers. To find the right people, Fright Haven puts out casting calls throughout the area.

The actors never touch the guests, Rosenay said.

"Our actors are always in training. It's like refining a craft," he said. "Our goal is to make it scarier each year."

The cast is tutored in safety emergency procedures, he said. In the event that a visitor becomes too scared to continue through the house, have no fear.

"All the actors have been trained to break from character and will guide them safely out of one of the safety emergency exits," he said.

Fright Haven is open at 7 p.m. every night leading up to Halloween.

Fright Haven is at 411 Barnum Ave. Cutoff, Stratford. For more information, call 203-795-4737 or check Facebook.

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