Now in its 7th season, Distracted Haunted House in Bowling Green, Ohio, is known for its original characters and diversity of staff. Today, Max is on-location speaking with owner Scott Francis about this season. Here’s Max and Scott. Follow along to...
Now in its 7th season, Distracted Haunted House in Bowling Green, Ohio, is known for its original characters and diversity of staff. Today, Max is on-location speaking with owner Scott Francis about this season. Here’s Max and Scott. Follow along to our Hauntathon: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork
Scott Francis: I’m Scott Francis. I'm the owner of distracted Haunted house in Bowling Green. OH, one of America's great college towns. This is our third season in Bowling Green, we spent three years in Perrysburg, OH, we took a year off, and then we moved here to this better indoor location inside a mall here in Bowling Green.
Maximus Bryant: So, the whole thing is totally indoors?
Scott Francis: Yeah, the whole queue line, all the weightings inside. No rain, no cold. The whole haunt is inside, and then we do have an outdoor tented area called The Recovery Zone where we have free marshmallows, hot chocolate, and water for people as they recover from the haunt, from the scares, and people seem to like to gather, get their photos there, and make memories with one another. Which is really what it's all about.
Maximus Bryant: What can you tell us about what customers can expect when they come to visit?
Scott Francis: Some of the media branded us locally as masters of misdirection. Like, it's almost a game we play with our some of our regular customers now, like they come into a room, it might have been one way of the previous year, it might be completely different this year, it might be similar, maybe we switch up a character or the way that the scare comes at them, but we definitely pack the haunt full of actors every night and they come at you from multiple directions. You're not going to find zombies, you're not going to find clowns, you're not going to find nurses and doctors, a lot of typical things, we try to go beyond that and look for things you wouldn't expect.
Maximus Bryant: Is the story of distracted Haunted house based upon some certain characters or what's the story here?
Scott Francis: There is a back story that started back when we were in the Perrysburg location and it was basically a group of children snuck into their own house, teens, and one of them basically was pulled through a wall and was consumed by a demon. She's our Lucy demon. From that, we've evolved every year and there's been a twist to the story or whatever. This year what we've evolved to is the theme Demons of the Dark. So, hence, many different demons in the haunt this year. But the idea was that her remains were buried, they were rediscovered, they were exhumed, and they were put into a mausoleum in four coffins. Then, of course, that mausoleum wasn't able to conceal her, and so in her rage she split off into these multiple demons of the dark. So, that is what you're experiencing this year when you come in 2022 to Distracted.
Maximus Bryant: What's the creative process here?
Scott Francis: We have an excellent team of like people who have all sorts of creative ideas. We're close to the university, so we get students, artists, and things that come in, and they totally put some of these things together and some of the ideas. I did have a little bit of inspiration as a child, my parents took me to haunted houses at a young age. My old brother was really good at like scaring the crap out of me, so he really inspired me. For me, that's where some of the weird and different ideas and concepts we put together come from, but we definitely pull from the community and the different groups that we use and the people that come on the regular, they contribute amazing ideas and make this special every year.
Maximus Bryant: Being in a college town, are a lot of your guests college students?
Scott Francis: There is a large number of college students, but that's not it. I've seen people, I've seen 80-year-olds and I've seen 4-year-olds going through. Last weekend we had a group of 100 junior high kids. They all came through essentially at the same time, that's kind of what junior high kids do. Then we pull from Toledo and Perrysburg and all the surrounding suburban areas, and that's the big thing about Distracted.
Scott Francis: When I started this seven-years ago, I really thought the most important thing in the haunted house was the props. I would spend tons of times on these props, whatever. The very first night, someone came in and just destroyed the prop completely. What I realized was, it didn't even matter because they were paying attention to the people, and it's the people, the actors, and everything that make a huge difference here, and every haunt, but particularly here. At Distracted we're open to like diverse groups of people and we bring in groups from all different walks of life. People that will work together that you may never even talk to normally in your regular walk of life, but here they all come together, and they do it to scare, put on the memorable experience, and I just love it. So, I'm so appreciative of the hundreds, and I mean honestly probably thousands at this point, of people that have contributed. Even if it was just one night or if you've been with me for seven years, I love all of them.
Maximus Bryant: So, on any given night, are you doing manager stuff? Or are you getting in there and scaring the customers yourself?
Scott Francis: I do assign all the positions and make sure they'll show situated with the right actors in the right positions. That's really important to me, because fitting new people in the spots is critical. There's certain spots we want to have our regulars in, and then there's other spots where those people that are fundraising can really get the scares and have fun, and still keep the show at the level we expect. But at the end of the day, I do like to put on the costume, the stilts, wash it all away, and remember why I'm doing it all. So, yeah, I typically am acting, and that's a credit to my staff to be able to allow me to do that. Because it can get chaotic and all sorts of things, but they handle it, and they let me have my few hours of sanity scaring the hell out of people.
Maximus Bryant: What nights are you open? Then how late into the year are you open?
Scott Francis: We're open on Fridays and Saturdays, and then starting later in the month we're opening Sunday nights as well all the way through the 30th. So, we are not open Halloween night but Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays after this weekend will be open all three nights.
Maximus Bryant: So where can people find you on social medias?
Scott Francis: We're at Fear Distracted online and on Facebook and Instagram and all the social medias, Snap and TikTok as well.
Maximus Bryant: The website is?
Scott Francis: Feardistracted.com.
Scott Francis: Nice, Scott. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Fantastic actors, Fantastic haunt, I greatly appreciate it. Any final word you wanted to give?
Scott Francis: I just want to thank you for coming out and giving us the opportunity to scare you a little bit. I'm making memories for people coming in here, putting on a great show, and scaring them. To tell the truth, it's the only reason I'm I do this because it's a ton of work throughout the year, drives my wife crazy, but it all comes down to being worth it when I see the people that come out to participate, the volunteers, the regular actors we have, the staff members, and they all come together and put together this show. Then just every year it just gets better and better and more creative, and we're just so excited about it. And I get to act. So, if I didn't get to act and get that release, I probably don't know if I would do this all time, but I love it.