Get Haunted

Visiting the Local Haunted House


Olga Kopp, Arts & Community Writer

‘If one door closes and another one opens, your house is probably haunted!’ This quote is one of the best ways to describe the spirit of this coming Halloween. 


Halloween would not be Halloween without haunted houses. It is a holiday tradition to visit at least one haunted house during the Halloween season.


For those of you who are not afraid of getting scared, it is time to visit The Legends of Terror Haunted House, which is located in Grand Forks Historical Society. 


The Grand Forks County Historical Society was organized in 1970. From the beginning, it has been affiliated with the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The Society’s goals were embraced by the Grand Forks County Commission, which continues to support the Society with a quarter-mill levy. The Grand Forks County Historical Society’s mission is to contribute to a fuller understanding of the history of Grand Forks County. The Society collects and preserves artifacts and documents significant to the area’s history. It also operates a museum complex and carries out a program of public exhibits and events of interest to individuals of all ages, according to Grand Forks County Historical Society website. 


This year the Grand Forks County Historical Society holds the 11th Annual Legends of Terror Haunted House.


Visitors can start at the main building to get your ticket and begin the most scary tour of buildings and grounds, encountering spooky scenes as you go.


Leah Byzewski is the Director of the Historical Society enjoys organizing The Legends of Terror every year. 


“It’s a lot of work, but the kids seem to like it, and this is all what is matter for us, make people enjoy this event,” Byzewski said. 


In the beginning of the creation of The Legend of Terror, the idea of putting on a Halloween-themed event was centered around Byzewski’s desire to have a safe place for kids to go trick-or-treating the way she did when she was a kid. 


Altogether, there are seven museum buildings rearranged into haunted houses. While people see the haunted house as a fun event, for those who are organizing the event it takes them many hours and hard work to make The Legends of Terror become scary as well as fun.


“We have to take all the breakables and rearrange some furniture in all seven buildings; there are also tunnels to put up. We have alluminary pass which guides people to each building. It takes time to get those alluminary bags ready to go and getting special effects for some scenes. It takes time finalizing how each scene is gonna work,” Byzewski said.


Although Byzewski wanted to keep the theme of this year a secret for the guests, she explained the different themes the society has done in the past to give an idea of how things look during the Legend of Terror. 


“We had different themes over the years. One year we did a theme where every scene was based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. One year we did themes from different horror movies. Looking ahead the next year there might be some blockbuster movie themes included in The Legend of Terror. We always make it different which makes it more exciting for our visitors,” Byzewski said.


Organization is important when creating the atmosphere of a haunted house.


“There is always some unexpected things that will come up. In our scenes we have to keep the timing going, we have to keep people’s detention. Our actors are very flexible and when they figure out timing, then they know the length of time and what the most effective way to produce the scare,” Byzewski said.


With a snowy weather, this year there could be some rearrangements around the event organization.


“Beyond worrying about our creativity we also will have to worry about the practical issue. A snow is really not convenient and all the rain, the ground is so wet. We are trying to think of ways we gonna cope with all of that. We don’t want to tear up the ground and have a big muddy path,” Byzewski said.


Electricity is key to create the best haunted house effects. Grand Forks Historical society has an excellent volunteer who was helping with lighting as long as six years. 


“Halloween is his favorite holiday and he came by one year and asked if he could volunteer, and he knows the electronics, lighting, and sound. He is a big help for us,” Byzewski said. 


The rehearsals are important for a successful scare performance. Before the event, everyone who is participating are discussing all nuances of the performance. As everybody gets their assignments, they going to their assigned buildings to practice the scene and figure out a better way to perform.


“We are trying to be creative. It gets more enjoyable when people giving us nice feedback. One of the first years that we put on The Legends of Terror, I was outside making sure our actors have bottles of water, and I overheard the group going from one building to the next when a girl said, ‘It feels like we are in a movie,’ that was kind of a cool compliment,” Byzewski said.


The best compliment for the people who are organizing The Legend of Terror is visitors’ high attendance. 


“Our goal is to get 200 people each night. If we will get that many people, that would be perfect,” Byzewski said. “We want to keep it steady and fun. Sometimes people come too early and waiting in line, which is not convenient for them. We would suggest people come closer to 9 pm to avoid the long line.”


Byzewski is warning that people need to be prepared for the scariest thing they had ever experienced.


“We want to surprise people and create the best Halloween atmosphere that people had ever experienced,” Byzewski said.


There are quite a few actors involved in this event, most of them are students from Red River High School. 


Come to The Legends of Terror Haunted House to celebrate Halloween with your family and friends. It will be fun and spooky. 


The haunted house address is 2405 Belmont Rd, Grand Forks, ND.


The haunted house is running Friday October 18 through Saturday October 19 from 8 pm to midnight.


Admission is $10 per person.


Attention: children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The event is not appropriate for small children.