As even the toughest-looking teens strut through Spooky World and Nightmare New England, there is not one who isn’t startled by the 12-foot horned monster with glowing red eyes as he darts at them with long, bony hook hands, roaring like a banshee.

The monster is just one of 140 actors at the Halloween theme park.

“They’re passionate about it,” says Mike “Tattoo” Krausert, who has worked in the horror business for more than 20 years, and the past three at this New Hampshire park.

Krausert used to be one of the people doing the scaring in a capacity that was more hands-on (or hooks-on). But now he designs the seven attractions and walks through them every night, making sure they’re as terrifying as possible.

There’s Sleep Stalkers, which looks like an abandoned hospital where the orderlies are anything but. Walking through the chamber called Phobias is like a checklist of what really scares you, as cockroaches line the walls, and some of the hallways begin to close in as you walk through. The Colony, the piece de resistance of Spooky World and Nightmare New England, is a 20-minute outdoor walk through a “redneck” neck of the woods. Each attraction has plenty of monsters and ghouls jumping out at you — and making you jump back.

Gory road trip

Tattoo says Nightmare New England really is all about New England, as far as the actors go.

“Believe it or not, we have people here from Maine, Rhode Island and a lot of people from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And a lot of them will get hotel rooms locally or rent out an apartment to stay close.”
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