Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Hayrideand Attractions once again lead the way in 2020 as one of the finest attractions in the country, presenting a modified show that emphasized safety and exhausted all efforts to give guests a first-class performance. We have worked with Reaper’s Revenge on various projects for the past two seasons, including their “blog.” In this unique feature, we will be highlighting key elements from the Reaper’s Revenge blog, which will give an insight into the passion and intense work that has created the foundation for one of the most revered and critically acclaimed attractions in the industry, that never rests.
With numerous surprises and endless scares that target every nightmare, Reaper’s Revenge over the past eleven seasons has evolved into a must-see entertainment event that strives for industry perfection. What many don’t see, however, is the countless hours and year-round dedication towards making this show the best it can possibly be. There is no “off-season,” and development continues throughout the entire year for the management, staff, and actors of Reaper’s Revenge. From developing targeted marketing plans to constructing one-of-a-kind scares, the “Reaper” perhaps is truly never at rest, just preparing to unleash its next generation of fear.
2020 has been a year defined by the worldwide pandemic caused by Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19). Having impacted society on almost every level, COVID-19 has left a lasting stain and plague upon the psyche and perhaps the spirit of so many. The entertainment industry has always been an outlet and source for those looking for “escapism,” but even that industry has been negatively impacted by this unrelenting pandemic. However, many in the haunted attraction industry decided to face the challenges associated with operations during this pandemic as a way to give the public something to look forward to, a way to escape the stressors of today, and for a moment in time, enjoy the “normalcy” of the Halloween season. Facing the “unknown” in managing the challenges of today’s society, the talented team at Reaper’s Revenge developed an extensive “Operational Safety Plan” and made responsible changes to the show itself to help protect the safety of staff and customers this season. Throughout the season the show improved, and strict safety protocols and policies maintained a level of comfort and earned the respect of those who understood this daunting situation.
Reaper’s Revenge has always been committed to a first-class, safe show, and extensive training and sanitary strategies were implemented throughout 2020, to ensure an unforgettable experience and “Save Halloween.” Owners early on decided it was imperative to not only produce a first-class show, but take the steps publically and as a business to ensure the safety of staff, guests, and the entire community, collaborating with other major haunts as well to ensure successful seasons. Reaper’s Revenge created an entire department “Decontimation Crew” lead by veteran actor/manager Steve DeEsch to keep the massive scare-park as clean as possible, and security, as well as performers, worked together to keep customer’s from breaking any guidelines or rules. Of course, hiccups and challenges occurred, but Reaper’s Revenge’s team demonstrated resilience, pivoted, and kept moving forward.
Prior to the start of the 2020 season, we spoke with long time managers Kelley Michael and Michael Belardi regarding the upcoming challenging season. Managers Kelley Michael and Michael Belardi, both expressed their passion for presenting a show that gives each guest a quality show that acknowledges the challenges associated with today’s events but does not dwell on them. Escapism fueled by a desire to scare and always entertain is the focus of this year’s show, and guests will get to experience a more refined experience, with an emphasis on launching a safe show that still maintains a high standard of excellence in performance art and strives to ensure safety for all staff and visitors.
Both Belardi and Michael expressed how dedicated fellow team members helped develop and implement the “operational safety plan.” Other national attractions were consulted, and ownership guided the plan’s strict implementation, holding all parties to higher safety standards and professionalism standards. Reaper’s Revenge‘s continued success and growth is grounded in the philosophy of presenting the “best show” possible each night. No corners are cut, and year-round development aims to create a first-class attraction that ensures each guest enjoys their evening. Leading up to the opening night, managers and supervisors such as Belardi and Michael focused on training actors to function under strict protocols and understand the importance of still engaging performances. A new “normal” for everyone, the overall goal was to accentuate performances and the spectacle of the attraction while minimalizing the intense attention and implementation of safety plans implemented to protect those on the mountain. As the season progressed, some attractions exceeded expectations and new attractions such as “Delirium” found new ways to scare and entertain guests. Performers and staff alike became more comfortable and familiar with new policies and procedures improving the show throughout the season.
“Saving Halloween” and implementing extensive procedures/protocols to present a safe, entertaining show has been a monumental task that should not be underestimated. While many haunted attractions rely mostly on animatronics and special effects, Reaper’s Revenge’s strength has always been its quality of scare-performers, and each staff member was extensively trained. The management and ownership of the attraction had to strike a balance between interactive fear and safety. Managers and supervisors worked tirelessly to streamline, sanitize and maximize the safety in costuming/makeup departments, and helped create “COVID- safe” costumes that did not distract from the show. Owners and countless other staff members all contributed to developing and implementing the “operational safety plan.” The bottom line is the result of an almost 24-7 effort is a show that exceeded expectations and provides every guest with first-class performance. Reaper’s Revenge certainly achieved its goal, it helped “Save Halloween” and is focused on making 2021 an unforgettable experience with FIVE attractions and unlimited horror entertainment!