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Halfway to Halloween: haunted house test run yields crowd of 500 people

Video above by Avery Lotz, photos below by Rae Riiska.

Walking down Gale Lemerand Drive in Gainesville, screams could be heard coming from the UF Alumni Band Shell this weekend. Hidden inside was the Crimson Carnival, which ran from Thursday to Saturday.

Swamp Haunters, a subgroup of Gator theme park and engineering design, created the project. The weekend’s festivities acted as a test run to gain more funding for a bigger production in October 2023. The house is the result of nearly two years of work which includes building animatronics, storytelling and technical aspects such as permitting.

With a team of about 30 people and $6,000 the Crimson Carnival was born. Josiah Evaristo, project director, wants the production value of the house to be equal with that of Halloween Horror Nights.

“We wanted to create a $20,000 haunt on a $6,000 budget,” he said.

Rae is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.