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A Safe Spook: Nightmare Vermont goes virtual this year

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 8:58 AM EDT
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - A global pandemic... some might say it’s fit for a nightmare.

But at Nightmare Vermont, they’re making the best of a spooky situation by bringing their usual haunted house online this year.

Elissa Borden stopped by rehearsals this week to check in and see how it’s going.

The show must go on - and it will, just a little differently this year at Nightmare Vermont.

“If we wanted to have a chance of going up in 2020, we needed to have a virtual option available to us. So we started noodling about how we would bring a haunted house like experience virtually," says founder and director Jana Beagley.

Like many haunted attractions in the area, getting in people’s faces is half the fun. But that’s not possible when there’s a global pandemic.

“But we felt this really hefty responsibility, we realize most of the events that people enjoy on Halloween, that get them into the Halloween spirit were definitely going to be canceled or at least compromised," says Beagley.

So the haunted extravaganza, usually held at the Champlain Valley Expo, will now be a virtual affair, with demons, goblins, and... camera-people.

“We came up with this idea of taking a couple of professional consumer level camcorders and putting them on shoulder rigs so that the camera people can walk around and still interact with things,” says audio and visual director, Joshua Miner.

Actors do scenes in pods, socially distant, as people with cameras walk from scene to scene, disinfecting equipment in between before handing it off to other volunteers.

The two shows, which run simultaneously, are broadcast through Zoom. All of the video and audio in each scene is sent back to a central transmitter.

And while they know there’s some things that just won’t be the same in person, the crew is optimistic it’ll still be a ghoul-d time.

“And I think what we’re driving for in the ultimate end is a good story and an entertaining time. We want to give something regardless of how scary or campy it is, it’s still an engaging, fun, spooky time," says writer and actor Natalia Bastante.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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