Cedar Rapids’ newest haunt attracts all levels of fear aficionados

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4444 1st St NE, Suite 3001, Cedar Rapids — Open Thursday-Sunday through October, as well as Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31

Nevermoor features two guided story haunts and an escape room. — Chris Moore

Thursday, Oct. 4 saw the opening of the newest haunted attraction to grace the Cedar Rapids area: Nevermoor, an ambitious new take on the genre, located alongside Lindale Mall in the former Planet X location (so, haunted by the memories of your misspent youth, if nothing else). Nevermoor boasts two different guided haunts and an escape room (technically two, but they’re identical — duplicated to ease the flow of visitor traffic). You can find full admission and schedule information below, in our area haunt roundup.

Nevermoor differs from the more traditional haunted houses in that it is both more interactive and more story-based.

“We’re not your ‘typical’ haunted house,” Chris Moore, Nevermoor’s president and creative director, said in an email. “Our attractions are more of an immersive, interactive, theatrical performance than a haunted house, with the goal to entertain audiences as well as scare them. Story is important to us, and each of our attractions is built upon that foundation.”

Moore, also the co-owner of the Fantastic Escape Room in Lisbon, emphasized the desire to open the haunt experience to kids, often no longer the targets of attractions aiming to be as frightening and gruesome as possible.

“Younger audiences have become somewhat left behind as the Halloween and Haunted House industry has grown,” Moore said. “Our goal is to reach a broader audience by leaving out the blood and gore, actors chasing you with chainsaws, etc. Our actors are trained to ‘read the room’ and react accordingly. If a group comes in wanting to be scared, we’ll dial it up, and if it’s a younger crowd we can dial it back to adjust the entertainment to fit the crowd.”

Nevermoor is open through the end of October, including Monday-Wednesday of Halloween week. — Chris Moore

Also unusual for area haunts, the actors involved are all paid. (Full disclosure: this writer’s husband is an actor at Nevermoor.) The creative team of Nevermoor is peopled with working artists, who know intimately the value of creative work.

“As artists, we recognize the work that goes into craft and want to make sure our talent is compensated for their hard work,” said Moore.

In addition to Moore, the Nevermoor creative team consists of Moore’s Fantastic Escape Room co-owner Nina Scott, who serves as vice president and set designer; technical director Jesse Peterson, their animatronics guru; scenic artist Autumn Arnold; filmmaker Mikeal Burgin, story supervisor, who also scripted the Temple of Souls attraction; and the team’s creative consultant, Chad Canfield, who designed the Seventh Seance attraction and produced all of the audio — local haunt fans will know Canfield as the founder of Frightmare Forest, which has grown into Circle of Ash.

Moore is not new to the haunt scene, either — and he traces his love for them back to childhood.

“On a trip to Gatlinburg when I was 10, I experienced my first haunted house. I was terrified, but thoroughly entertained as well,” he wrote. “I’ve always loved tales of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Twilight Zone, etc. and I love to entertain people. I built my first haunted house in 2007 and worked in Orlando building them for area theme parks from 2010-2012. Halloween is that time of year where tales of the macabre come to life, and we peel back the curtain of reality to take a peak into the great unknown, what might exist in that other realm, letting our fears take form. And I love it!”

For the benefit of hesitant scaredy cats like me, I asked Moore why he thinks some people love to be frightened.

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“It may sound weird from a haunted attraction, but one of our biggest goals is to make people laugh. We want to fully entertain people, and take them on an emotional ride,” he said. “By getting them to laugh, they relax and let their guard down. Once you do that, you can start to play on their fear. And fear is fun. It’s an emotion that gets your heart racing, adrenaline pumping, and gives one a feeling that they’ve cheated death and lived to tell the tale.”

Cedar Rapids and Iowa City-area Haunted Attractions

Git yer ghost on!

Campus Activities Board Presents: Haunted House
Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City

Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Circle of Ash
201 Central City Rd, Central City

Open Friday-Sunday through October, as well as Thursday, Oct. 25. Hours for Screampark: 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday and Thursday; 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday and Thursday.
Cost: $20 for three attractions (Circle of Ash, Pandemonium, Frightmare Forest) or $35 to skip the lines; $15 for escape room; $5 rides.

Field of Screams Mud Run

Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m.
Cost: $25

The long-running Iowa City haunt got flooded out this year — but they’re not letting that kill their holiday “spirit!” Field of Screams has planned a haunted, obstacle-filled fun run through their muddy field. Since you can’t even park in their lot for all the mud, they’re running shuttles from the P&G parking lot at 1375 Highway 1 W, Iowa City starting at 11:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required; costumes encouraged.

The Haunted Garage
6914 Terrazzo Dr NW, Cedar Rapids

Open Friday-Saturday, Oct. 26-27 and Wednesday, Oct. 31. Hours: 6:30-10 p.m.
Cost: Free

House on Blood Hill
1102 Elmhurst Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids

Open Friday-Saturday, Oct. 26-27 and Wednesday, Oct. 31. Hours: 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Wednesday
Cost: Free

4444 1st St NE, Suite 3001, Cedar Rapids

Open Thursday-Sunday through October, as well as Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31. Hours: 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 6-10 p.m. other nights
Cost: $20 for two haunts (The Seventh Seance, Temple of Souls); $10 for escape room, The Shed.

Scream Acres Scream Park
3260 69th St, Atkins

Open Friday-Saturday through October. Hours: 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 for any two attractions, $30 for all four (Cell Block Z, The Cornfield, Carnival Chaos, The Slaughterhouse) or $45 for all four to skip the lines

Spooky House: Iowa City
Public Space One

Exhibit open in the gallery space daily through October
Cost: Free

Special events include Glow Stitches Workshop, Sunday, Oct. 21, 5 p.m.; Spooky House Dance Party, Saturday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.; and trick-or-treating, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 5 p.m.

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  1. The latest haunt is spooky, and that’s why these enthusiasts are going to it. I will be going to this haunt, as well. I just need to set a date to go, and then make sure that all my friends are free on that day.

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