Paranormal activity: Nightmare at Beaver Lake ups the scare factor

October 5, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Dana Young, Curt Madden and Chris Shea (from left) work on the spinning vortex set for this year’s Nightmare at Beaver Lake. By Christopher Huber

For Dana Young, Curt Madden and Chris Shea, it’s all about the scare.

The trio from Scare Productions, which puts on the annual Nightmare at Beaver Lake, spend months before the mid-October haunt in Sammamish, scheming, recruiting actors, and building and designing sets to optimize the Halloween experience for thousands of area residents who flock to the event.

“We get paid in screams,” Young said as the three recently built the roof for the spinning vortex at Beaver Lake Park.

The seventh annual Nightmare opens Oct. 19 and will feature about 120 actors aiming to scare, startle and frighten anyone who dares to take a stroll through the 85-acre park.

“Hopefully we’ll get someone to throw up,” said Madden, Scare Productions president.

Scare Productions does receive actual compensation, but the majority of ticket proceeds benefits the Sammamish Rotary Club and its variety of scholarship funds and local and international giving programs.

Nightmare at Beaver Lake will highlight similar features this year as in past years, such as ornery orcs launching fireballs from a trebuchet and various dreary and creepy settings. This time, it will be a little more interactive.

“This year, we’ll pull somebody out of the audience to actually pull the trigger,” Young said.

Before witnessing the trebuchet scene, visitors will enter the park through a rabbit hole, sending them down an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed path in the woods. Along the way, patrons will pass through a spinning vortex, a 19th-century tavern on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, as well as a prison.

“We’ve made it more intense, for sure,” Young said. It’ll be “scarier and more fun at the same time.”

The production, which takes 120 actors and about 80 support volunteers to run each night, still needs volunteers and food donations.

“We feed our entire staff every night,” Young said.

Learn more about volunteering here.

Two men wander around the chemical plant scene somewhere in the depths of the 2009 Nightmare at Beaver Lake haunted attraction. File

Tickets cost $6 per person for the family hour. Admittance to Full Frights hours on Friday or Saturday is $15 and on Sunday through Thursday is $12.

Parking is free and the main entrance is at the Beaver Lake Park ball field entrance. Eventgoers will receive $1 off their ticket price if they donate a can of food, which will benefit the Eastside Domestic Violence Program.

E-mail Dellann Elliott at for more information.

If you go

Nightmare at Beaver Lake runs Oct. 19-31 from 7-10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Less frightening family hours are from 7-8 p.m. each night. Tickets are available here.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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