ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Haunted Houses across the Stateline open their doors this weekend as the Spooky season approaches. However, in order for a facility to operate they needed approval from state officials.
“For us. There’s a little bit of excitement, but there’s a little bit of stress. It’s it’s definitely in there dealing with permits that need to be followed from county and state,” said Catrina Downing a co-owner of Hopper’s Haunted House in Rockford.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Illinois Department of Labor had to approve all haunted houses in the state in order to be used.
“Making sure everything’s taken care of so everybody can have a decent time and a fun time at that,” Downing said. “Also, that’s where the stress comes in of just, you know, getting the background checks done that the state wants done for them, having them come out and inspect.”
A few of the things being inspected are
- Exits and pathways must be wide enough to account for the maximum number of people
- in the amusement.
- A limited number of dead-end paths
- Provision of panic hardware on exit doors
- Restrictions on open-flame devices or pyrotechnic special effects
- Furnishings and decorations are required to be flame-resistant
- All workers must be trained and prepared for actions to be taken during emergencies.
While Downing mentioned these inspections have been in place for more than a decade they are always changing and improving guidelines.
“Previously and as of right now, it’s just sex offenders. We have to pull that sex offender list. Next year we have to do a full background check. And anybody that has a Class X felony is not able to work on a haunted house,” Downing said.
Downing has helped run Hopper’s Haunted House for more than 15 years. September 29th they open their doors for all updates on their activity you can visit their Facebook Page.
“We do it for fun, you know, we do it to make other people scream. We get a thrill out of hearing you scream. You could be a six-foot, 300-pound man and we are going to laugh for hours if we hear you scream. And I think that’s anybody none of us want to see anybody hurt,” Downing Joked.