Eddie Grant didn’t let the coronavirus shutter his sprawling venue in Golden Triangle Mall.
He opened the Great Pumpkin Adventure on Oct. 1, and given the size of the seasonal venue — which is between 17,000 and 20,000 square feet — Grant says social distancing has been practical.
“We’ve been working in the space within the guidelines,” Grant said. “Most people don’t really want to get out and do Halloween stuff until about the weekend before Halloween, so we’re expecting more visitors the last week of the month, and we’ll be open every day that week.”
Grant, an Oklahoma businessman who took over the huge store next to Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the mall, first launched Santa Adventure Land in 2019. His Easter-themed indoor park in the space was scuttled by COVID-19 in the spring, but he’s also turned the space into Jurassic Land.
Grant said the venue is safe for the whole family, with a few attractions that might be too spooky for young children and those who like their frights in very small bites.
“There’s some jump scares, but it’s something for the whole family,” Grant said. “We’ve been seeing some date nights here, too, so you don’t have to have kids to take part and enjoy it.”
Because the space is so large, families and groups can keep their distance from strangers. Everyone over age 9 has to wear a mask in accordance with the state orders for COVID-19 prevention.
“We’ll have gloves available at every station,” Grant said.
The spread also allows the attraction to avoid giving patrons a time limit.
“What we’re seeing is that people who have children come in and stay for about 45 minutes. Maybe an hour, but our patrons aren’t staying much longer than that. You can stay as long as you like, though,” Grant said.
The venue includes frightful clowns — including a clown that lacks driving skills and occasionally bumps into patrons. Beetlejuice roams the attractions, creepy crawlers making their way over his face. There’s a jail for Halloween miscreants, and a skeleton horse that shares the space with characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
When they get their tickets, patrons start touring the venue. Some activities are available only with certain ticket packages or for an add-on fee.
Play spooky (or seasonal) games
Test your strategy with themed tic-tac-toe pieces. Or enter the carnival game room, where you can enjoy some Halloween and fall-themed games.
Make something frightful
Or seasonal. There’s the pumpkin decoration station, where patrons personalize a small pumpkin to take home. Add some spider legs to your gourd, or make an angry face. Or visit the Grim Reaper Cafe, where you can take a break from all the activity and decorate a cookie. It’s not necessarily scary, but you can add on the option of building your own stuffed animal.
Uncover the unknown
There’s the Skeleton Bone Dig, which features a digging pit hiding glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Finders, keepers! Take the bones home and let them “cure” under a light for more glow-in-the-dark fun.
Want something a little more along the lines of “Things You Might Find in a Haunted Manor”? Try the Gem Dig. Real and faux gemstones await your shovels and hands. Take home the gems you find.
Treat yourself to some chills and thrills
Step right up to the Sensory & Fear Factor Laboratory. How much can you handle? Can you touch something icky, or maybe figure your way around slime? Check out the fear factory lab and see how much ick you can take.
Or tour the spider maze. See how long it takes you to get through a maze with creatures and critters lurking in the shadows.
Or take a walk through the spooky forest, where you might see glowing eyes or hear growling sounds. Pick your way around cemetery headstones, too.
Finally, settle into the movie theater, where you can watch movies like Bride of Frankenstein and munch on popcorn.