Nightmare at Beaver Lake haunt gets a medieval theme

October 15, 2008

By Christopher Huber


Anyone who has ever been to the Nightmare at Beaver Lake during the Halloween season probably had quite a thrill. 

This year, they should prepare to be chased by vampire brides and spooked


An actress forbids guests from entering her castle at the 2006 Nightmare at Beaver Lake.

An actress forbids guests from entering her castle at the 2006 Nightmare at Beaver the wolf lurking in the dark woods of Beaver Lake Park. One of the largest “haunt” productions in the area, Nightmare at Beaver Lake is set to run from Oct. 24-31.


The fifth annual “haunt” at Beaver Lake Park is the fruit of volunteer labor from more than 100 people, said Rotary Club of Sammamish volunteer coordinator Del Goehner. Planning began in March.

The idea of Nightmare at Beaver Lake is to create a large community event that gets area youths involved in the production process, event co-chair Dana Young said. The goal is to appeal to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability, as well as send all the proceeds to local charities and scholarships.

Upon arriving at the Beaver Lake Park ball fields, visitors will meander throughout a 3/4-mile outdoor and indoor course filled with suspense and surprise on a medieval-fairy tale theme. Roughly 60 volunteer actors will make each night different and unpredictable, but participants are sure to enjoy the frights. The course ends at the pavilion near the lake.

“We want for you to come out feeling like you had a good time,” Young said. “Actors interact with you however you react to them. Every single time you come through the haunt, you’re going to get a slightly different show.”

It’s all because the actors — mostly local high school theater or arts students and interested Sammamish residents — are trained in improvisational acting before the weeklong show, Young said. Organizers also conduct security and make-up training classes in preparation for the production.

“The difference between us and most haunts is a lot of the other haunts pay their actors,” Young said. “We use volunteers. We also have numerous sets.”

As the production’s theme changes from year to year, it takes dozens of volunteers working throughout the year to plan, design and build the sets, Goehner said. Volunteers work with Kent-based Scare productions to create life-sized props, such as this year’s trebuchet and castle.

Approximately 120 people run the event every night, Young said.

Attendance at Nightmare at Beaver Lake has steadily risen through past years to about 11,000 in 2007, organizers said.

The Rotary Club of Sammamish produces the event each year, but other nonprofit organizations like the Sammamish Youth Board help put it on. The trail does go through a forest, but all the haunts are wheelchair accessible, organizers said. The show will go on rain or shine.

Nightmare at Beaver Lake’s opening is 7 p.m. Oct. 24 and begins with family hour, a lighter version of the nighttime scare. The “full frights” portion of the production runs from 8-11 p.m. The event runs nightly on the same schedule through Oct. 31. Tickets cost $9 for family hour; $12 for “full frights” through Thursday; $15 for “full frights” Friday and Saturday; $25 for unlimited entry for one night (all-nighter) and $90 for unlimited entry for the entire week. Learn more or purchase tickets in advance at

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or at  

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2 Responses to “Nightmare at Beaver Lake haunt gets a medieval theme”

  1. Rob Buchta on October 15th, 2008 2:12 pm

    A couple of corrections- in fun and in fact;

    The Sammamish Rotary and Scare Productions are considered co-producers of the event.

    The “actress” in the picture is Andrew “Pugsley” Neinau.

    Also…Congratulations to the Nightmare for winning the First Place in the Specialty Category at this years Salmon Days Parade. Thanks to the community for coming out and watching the parade!

    Rob Buchta- VP, Scare Productions

  2. Andrew "Pugsley" Nienau on October 15th, 2008 9:59 pm

    Yes, Yes. It is I the one In the dress, when I am in drag in the show I am a actress, but most of the time I am acting in the line as you enter the show scareing you before you enter.

    Andrew “Pugsley” Nienau- Head of Wordrobe and Board Director for Scare Productions

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