Murarik Motorsports Haunted House 2014
This one intrigued me as a community project for charity. After the last local haunt closed, Nick and Bub Murarik started a one-weekend haunted house in their family dealership. Admission is free – donations taken for a different beneficiary each year. Past recipients included Pets Come First and local families in need. This year’s haunt helped a family facing extensive medical bills and wheelchair accessibility renovations to their home.
Murarik Motorsports nails the concept of an all ages haunt – appropriate for the many kids in line without being overly tame. There was nothing loud, startling, or disorienting, but enough gross-out decor for broader audience appeal. There was also a nice variety of themed rooms and time to enjoy them.
Sets were packed with floor to ceiling detail – garlands of skull lights, refrigerator overflowing with body parts, hanging knives and eyeballs. A clown wandered in a blacklit corridor of balloons, swirling lasers, and circus music. A forklift operator raised and lowered a giant dangling spider. Snakes hung in a tent outside, with more of their brethren scattered on the ground. A winding path of cornstalks and Christmas lights led to a clearing with safely distant fire blasts – an awesome element I’d never seen outside a rock concert.
This is all the more impressive because Murarik Motorsports hosts the haunt in their dealership. Sets looked established rather than temporary, and they transformed the place into a cohesive attraction. Even the reception area was richly decorated, with a costumed desk attendant explaining the rules.
The low key interaction suited the kid-friendly vibe of the haunt. Actors typically moved into view or manipulated props. The ones who came closer kept it gradual and casual. An assassin sneaked up on me with a long knife, letting it appear over my shoulder. Witches invited me to dinner – naturally, as the main course – and played off me when I knew the joke.
The concession tent hosted a raffle and refreshment sale, including popcorn, central Pennsylvania comfort food, and baked goods. The cotton candy cookies live up to their description.
The Murarik Motorsports Haunted House is a feel-good class act. I smiled the entire way through, partly from amazement at what the owners accomplished within their constraints of time, budget, and venue. I will happily return to support their passion and cause, and I hope to catch the live music that I missed this year.
1410 E Presqueisle St
Philipsburg, PA 16866