‘There’s nowhere to hide’: Salem man returns with larger haunt, more screams

SALEM – The witching hour nears in the Village of Salem as the villagers grow hungry, awaiting the elders’ arrival.

Darryl Magierowski returns with his signature haunt for a third consecutive year, but residents won’t recognize this Salem.

“When you enter the village, that’s it, I don’t think you’re coming back,” Magierowski says.

Past the cemetery, eerie sounds and rolling fog, villagers await in a town square fashioned after an old Bavarian village, complete with one-and-a-half storey building facades.

The story line is inspired by the horror flick anthology Monster Club.

“I was just always one of those kids that would stay up and watch it with my sister,” he says of the early 80s when the show aired on Elvira’s Movie Macabre.

Ushering past a creaking door by the hungry villagers, disoriented by the pitch black and sounds of distant screams from the shadows, it’s easy to forget you’re walking across Magierowski’s front yard.

“They’re coming through at night, and they have no idea what’s ahead,” Magierowski tells the Advertiser on a recent tour of this year’s expanded Salem Frights haunt.

A creation of another world — or Darryl Magierowski’s mind — leans out from a window to torment anyone brave enough to enter the haunt. Photo by Jordan Snobelen


The haunting begins Oct. 20 from 8 to 10pm at his 470 Wellington Road 7 property with a hearse display and cotton candy vendor, The Cotton Candy Lady.

On Oct. 21, vendors, including horror film retailers and Hometown Hotdogs, will be there as well as a “Jeepers Creepers” truck display.

Elora-based Dance and Heart Entertainment will perform on Oct. 27 and 28.

New this year is a $5 admission fee, with an option to purchase a $15 line bypass online here.

“It’s getting to a point where it’s so big I have to start putting some money back in,” Magierowski explains.

With each passing year the haunt has grown; this season’s is 4,000 square feet, the size of roughly six tennis courts.

The Village of Salem awaits. Photo by Jordan Snobelen


The entire front yard is maxed out with more sections, more actors and more scares.

“We’re just trying to grow things and make it big, make it cool, and spooky and fun,” Magierowski says.

But the key focus is on the “spooky.”

Magierowski tries to get into your head: “How do I make somebody get scared?”

Last year a scare door at the end of a dark, narrow hallway “did wonders,” he says.

“That put people into a whole different mindset.”

“The claustrophobia came out, and there were people that came out crying and screaming,” he recalls.

“Our ears were bleeding,” he adds, laughing.

Tight spaces and a fear of darkness and the unknown will give people the creeps this year.

If people are terrified, he says, “that’s us doing our job.”

A lineup is seen at Darryl Magierowski’s Halloween haunt in 2022. Submitted photo


After all, the fear factor is what sets this haunt apart from others, he adds.

Magierowski and his father even installed “chicken doors” to accommodate those too frightened to go on; last year 80 people reportedly chickened out.

“I haven’t seen people like that before,” Magierowski remarks.

After last year’s haunt was disassembled, Magierowski got to work on planning this year’s layout.

“We’ve been going at this since mid-August,” he says of the installation, which includes antique signs, metal roofing, and wooden beams for a realistic look.

Magierowski is noticing a renewed focus on Halloween this year, and hopes this year’s turnout will grow from the 2,500 people he says came out in 2022.

“There’s nowhere to hide this year,” he says. “I’m here to scare you.”

For more information visit twistedtsmerch.com/salemfrights.