In the seven years since its debut, Sweet Dreams Scare House in Easley, SC has become one of the highest-rated haunted attractions in the region. Owner Joe Kirk works year-round to ensure his attraction offers something special to customers. First, you won’t find actors roaming around in Freddy or Jason masks. “We create our own characters,” Kirk says. “Nothing from horror movies.” Their goal is to instill doubt in the minds of the customers, to encourage them to wonder if the actors are “really in costume – really acting” or if this is their natural state.
When you enter the haunt, you’re told the house rules by Sy Kosis, a disturbing and imposing character who can turn from friendly to menacing in an instant; is he a gifted improvisational actor who never breaks character, or is Sweet Dreams the perfect place for him to hide from the authorities?
Kirk describes the attraction as an “old school” haunt, more concerned with performances, stylish tableaux, atmosphere, and pop scares than with animatronics and other high-tech gear. “I was always into the scare, not into horror or gore, just scaring my sister made me happy,” Kirk confessed.
Sweet Dreams Scare House owner Joe Kirk
Kirk constantly improves the attraction, sometimes adding things daily. Fresh from the grave at Sweet Dreams this season is a new entrance that offers photo ops, an additional structure named Jones Manor that Kirk is careful to not reveal too much about, and The Compound, a holding area to keep customers safe. Speaking of safety, COVID-19 prevention “is taken seriously at Sweet Dreams. Masks are required to enter! We have several hand sanitizing stations all over the Compound. We ask everyone to practice social distancing the best they can. And all actors are not allowed to work if (they are) feeling ill for any reason. Everyone checks in healthy every night.”
This is especially crucial for Sweet Dreams, as they offer an intense R-Rated experience as an alternative to their already frightening General Admission tour. A waiver must be signed prior to entrance, giving actors license to touch, grab, insult, terrorize, and otherwise break down your defenses. Kirk warns that the R-Rated tour is definitely for “the mature adult. Families should choose the general admission.”
Sweet Dreams Scare house is a lively, creative, and independent professional haunt, locally owned and operated. Your ticket dollars stay in the community, not funneled away to a corporate headquarters in another part of the country. Consider adding Sweet Dreams Scare House to your Halloween holiday tradition this year.
Sweet Dreams Scare House is located at 250 Saco Lowell Rd. in Easley, SC 29640
For hours, parking, and other info visit sweetdreamsscarehouse.com/
All photos courtesy Joe Kirk/Sweet Dreams Scare House
The Upstate contains some of the best haunted attractions in the country. Here are some great options to enjoy this Halloween season, all within a 30-45 minute drive.
Haunted houses, terrifying trails, a 12-acre corn maze, a pumpkin patch, and an emotional roller coaster escape room are among the many quality Halloween attractions available to us in upstate South Carolina. Those who want to stay close to home and enjoy the spookiest of seasons have lots of options from which to choose to visit this October. And just because 2020 is scary enough on its own, COVID-19 protocols have been implemented in each of these attractions. See individual websites for details, just click to open in a new window.
Halloween ranks fifth on the list of holidays on which Americans spend the most money, behind Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. According to studies done by the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade organization, Americans spend upwards of nine billion dollars between August and November on Halloween. BILLION! That’s more than I make an entire year! And that figure has nearly doubled in the last decade. I mean the amount we spend on Halloween, not my annual salary. Whew – now I need some candy.
In fact candy is the most purchased item, especially in the South. It speaks to the generous nature of the American Southerner, doesn’t it? An article on Southernkitchen.com reports that South Carolinians will buy in excess of fifty-seven tons of candy corn this year. However, this is not going to be a candy review blog unless I encounter something truly unique. That said, I’m a fan of the limited edition M&Ms “Cookies & Screeem” that the chocolate giant releases each year since 2017.
They can be found at the big box stores like Walmart, Target, and CVS, but you’ll have to be fast – they sell out quickly. Also now I am thinking about a giant made of chocolate.
Second in shopping dollars spent, and not even really close behind, are home decorations, then costumes, party items, and entertainment (haunted attractions, movies, music, games, etc.).
Any day now you’re going to see a SPIRIT HALLOWEEN store appear, like an apparition, in a once-vacant retail space. The pop-up store is a chain that operates between September and November nationally, but here in South Carolina, local treasure HALLOWEEN HIGHWAY is open all year to satisfy folks like us! Located at 333 S. Pleasantburg in Greenville, the warehouse sized facility has costumes, decorations, and every day in October – A HAUNTED ATTRACTION inside – for FREE! What a gem! I make a point to attend every year, and the walk-thru maze is packed with creepy atmosphere and animatronic frights! There are no live actors to jump out at you, but there are some genuinely spooky moments in it – and of course all items feature can be purchased in store.
In the weeks to come, I will showcase other haunted attractions that populate the Carolinas, several of them regular features among the Top 10 Best Haunts in the nation!
All photos by Todd Livingston
Photo by Todd Livingston
Do you suffer Post Halloween Depression? When you get a new wall or desk calendar, do you immediately turn to October and circle the 31st? On the first hot day of summer are you already over the heat and ready for Autumn’s chill and falling leaves? If so, I bid you welcome.
Haint Misbehavin will be your one-stop entertainment guide for the Carolinas: From haunted attractions, both professional and amateur, to Halloween-related events and spook-tacular products, we’ll find them, review them, and share them!
I’ve spent my life being enamored of Halloween and the season leading up to it. When I was a kid I would beg my mom to let me stay up late and watch the weekly monster movie on TV. I grew up to forge a niche in the horror genre, becoming a best-selling and award-winning author, and film & television writer/producer/director. I collect classic horror movie art and memorabilia. I am never too far from the macabre.
Haint Misbehavin will showcase the best the Carolinas has to offer and extend the Halloween season from a few weeks in the Fall to all-year round!
Do you have a favorite haunt that you don’t see here? Let me know!