PROGRESO, Texas (KVEO) — With cooler weather arriving to signify fall, people are thinking about Halloween. However, because of COVID-19, this year October 31 may be a little different.
The City of Harlingen has already canceled its big festival on Jackson street and other cities could follow.
We spoke to haunted house owners to find out their plans.
On a normal year, haunted houses would be gearing up to launch around this time. Due to the threat of COVID-19, the thousands of annual visitors to Toluca Ranch must get their scares elsewhere.
“We would feel really guilty if somebody would get sick here and died, so I don’t think it’s worth it,” Domingo Gonzalez, Toluca Ranch owner said.
The Progreso ranch opened in 2015 and quickly became an attraction for Halloween lovers.
“The first year we had like 400 people,” he said. “Last year, we had over 10,000 people in 10 days. So, we were getting anything between 800 to 1,000 people a day.”
Though Gonzalez is disappointed with the circumstances, he’s thankful the employee’s livelihoods are not affected.
“The worst thing is we’re not going to have fun this year,” he said. “But when it comes to the money, nobody is going to get hurt because it’s not their priority of income.”
Although Toluca Ranch is closed until next year, another haunted house in the RGV is preparing to open with safety measures in place.
“When they come, they’ll be parked over here on the parking lot first,” Robert Franklin, creator of Screams on Pleasantview Drive said. “Before they even come on the property, they’re going to sanitize their hands, they’re going to always have a mask on at all times.”
A former employee of Toluca Ranch, Franklin decided to open his own haunted house once he learned it would not reopen.
Screams from Pleasantview Drive plans to open on October 1 and limit entry to the haunted house to two people, while offering outdoor activities.
“We’re going to have a haunted hayride,” he said. “It’s for the kids. The adults can walk on the side. So that’s what I’m working on, building.”
Franklin plans to use the profits to buy food for stray animals and is accepting those donations as a form of admission.
As for Toluca Ranch, Gonzalez said they look forward to enhancing the haunted house experience for next year.
“We’re going to make it more terror, more things, more adapting so we can make up for this year and people can have more fun,” Gonzalez said.