Eastern State Penitentiary Cancels Halloween Tours
Alright look...I understand that I might be in the minority around here in that I'm not really a "summer guy". I prefer fall and winter, I like the cold, my favorite holidays are in that time of year. While I'm disappointed that Independence Day fireworks are being cancelled or postponed, I'm not angry about it. But, if coronavirus effs with my Halloween festivities, I'm going to be pissed.
I know it seems crazy to talk about events that aren't happening until September or October, but Eastern State Penitentiary made the announcement that they would cancel this year's Terror Behind The Walls.
I just have to share my fave comment from that Facebook post:
I understand Eastern State's concerns, and I can't really argue with that post. Running a haunted house, especially one the size of "Terror Behind The Walls" is a huge undertaking. If they are forced to operate at half-capacity, it's going to be a financial impact. If they're forced to keep some sort of social distancing, it would ruin the scares if you know the monsters can't come closer than six feet. Part of the VIP experience at Eastern State requires signing a waiver that allows the employees to actually reach out and grab you, pull you down a dark corridor, and even separate you from your group for a short time. If the ghouls can't touch me, that eliminates that entire VIP option. I would be surprised if smaller haunted houses around the shore (Scary Rotten Farms or Nightmare at Gravity Hill or Dracula's Domain) were able to open up this year. Obviously plenty can change between now and October, and those attractions don't compare to Eastern State, so hopefully they can still operate on a smaller scale.
Eastern State will still be offering night-time tours of the prison, which is known to be haunted regardless of what time of year it is.
While it's a drag for Halloween enthusiasts like myself, I don't want to leave out the fact that people are still losing their jobs because of the pandemic. Eastern State announced they were being forced to lay off 40% of their staff and reduce salaries for those who stay on. The prison is a National Historic Landmark, and makes money from tours (Terror Behind The Walls alone accounts for over 60% of their yearly income). With tours being cancelled since mid-March, and being forced to cancel Terror, the prison took a huge hit. We talk a lot about supporting local businesses, and our mind usually goes right to restaurants, but this is an example of how even larger businesses will need our support to stay open after this pandemic.