AUSTIN (KXAN) — Halloween time is here. That’s right. Once it hits the month of October, it is Halloween all month. I don’t make the rules. I just love to enjoy the spooky time.
As Halloween makes its presence felt in Central Texas, it’s time for haunted attractions to gear up for spooky season.
Corey Trahan, co-founder of Bat City Scaregrounds, said opening up a sister park in Austin was a way to bring Halloween to Austin. Bat City is a sister park to Nightmare on 19th Street in Lubbock, right down the road from Texas Tech University, Trahan said.
“In 2016, my partner and I decided to open up a theme park, similar to Nightmare on 19th Street, in Austin,” he said. “We started developing this theme park in 2016.”
The attraction, located at 14101 S Turnersville Road in Buda, is on 15 acres of agricultural property that was commercialized with the City of Austin, Trahan said. Furthermore, it is located 15 miles from downtown Austin and 15 miles from downtown San Marcos.
A hidden gem in Austin
“We have a very Halloween vibe,” Trahan said. “In the sense that we’re not located in an industrial area.”
He said the park has indoor attractions and an outdoor midway on a beautiful, agricultural piece of land, which feels like you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
“It’s like one of those little hidden gems in Austin that I used to love when I moved in Austin and I fell in love with the city,” Trahan said.
He said, back in 2000, there were secret spots in the city, like South Park Meadows, as well as other places that were tucked away in forest nooks and crannies. He said there was another way to go out and enjoy the city in a different way, other than going to Sixth Street downtown.
“I would say that’s definitely like this homage, like the park is definitely a cool throwback and homage to the way that Austin sort of used to be,” Trahan said.
The attraction is mostly driven by a team of local artists. So, while it still operates as a commercial business, it doesn’t have a commercial flair to it.
“All of our art work and art production is done by Austin local artists,” Trahan said. “That sort of captures that ‘Austin-y’, old school sort of vibe.”
The haunted attraction
Bat City Scaregrounds consists of three attractions, Castle Orlock, Ancient Evil, and Clownocalypse 3D, according to the Bat City website.
As you walk into the midway, Trahan said there is a Tim Burton-style mountain with a throne on it, where hostess Scarah Damsel of the Doomed sits.
While the three attractions are the main part of the park, there are “Vegas-style” stage performances, live music, seasonal food and 11 vendors available each night the park is open, the website said.
Vendors with dark arts
“This is one of the coolest things about the park,” Trahan said. “It sort of throws back to that sort of old school, keep Austin weird, artsy environment. To many people, it feels like that’s kind of dying.”
Bat City celebrates local, dark artists who are dedicated in one way or another to Pagan and witch arts, or dark arts in general.
“Those types of artists are very needed in society,” Trahan said.
Of the 13 vendors, some create horror clothing, shoes, hats, and oddities, like occult books, he said.
Dark Market Vendors
- Dark Clown Studios – This artist illustrates psychological and horror comics. At Bat City, the artist draws Halloween-themed art and more.
- Zombie Peepshow – This artist makes horror-themed, spooky handmade wearable arts, like shoes, clothes, hats and more.
- Curia Arcanum’s House of Curiosities – Curia Arcanum’s House of Curiosities is a vendor at Bat City and also has a store filled with the curious and odd on South Congress.
- Gore Noir Magazine – This artist writes horror-themed comics and has other horror-themed items available at Bat City
- Sinister Hand Studios – This artist makes t-shirts and art centered around the strange and unusual.
- Typhoid & Swans Studio – This tattoo artist makes sultry, spooky art.
- Allison Eve Art – This artist works in oils or watercolor paints in the form of portraits and more.
- Angel’s Devilish Creations – This is a dark artist who draws, designs and curates.
- Nova’s Curios – This artist makes taxidermy arts, jewelry and does resin casting.
- Ancient Mystic Metaphysical Shop – This metaphysical boutique makes bath salts, dried herbs, tarot cards, witch kits and more.
Building a haunted house theme park
As an expert in the haunted house industry, building a sister haunt was a way to start fresh the second time around, Trahan said.
“This time I got to do it right,” he said. “Bat City was a lot of fun to build because we got to use all our past experience from 17 years of becoming an expert in the haunted house and entertainment industry to do things right from the beginning.”
Nightmare on 19th Street was allowed to grow, Trahan said. When it comes to Bat City, he said it was time to bring out his A-game in an industry with heavy competition in the area.
“We have almost a 5-star rating, which sort of shows that we are doing things right,” he said. “The park itself is coming to life.”
Bat City is ‘uniquely Austin’
“What’s cool about that park is that it’s uniquely Austin,” Trahan said. “You can’t take Bat City Scaregrounds and put it in another city and make the sense that it does that it does in Austin. I love Austin.”
He said he wanted to make something that pays homage to the part of Austin that he loved growing up.
“[Austin] is a local art of the city, the sort of tucked away nature of the location of the park, this… feels like it’s out of the city. It’s really not,” Trahan said.
He said it is an adult escape and is a good way to celebrate the start of fall.
Bat City is open every Thursday through Sunday for the entire month of October and on Halloween night. On Fridays and Saturdays, the park is open from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and Thursdays and Sundays, it’s open from 7:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m.