Barrett’s Haunted Mansion presents “Screens and Screams”
Mary Barrett-Costello, Founder of Barrett’s Haunted Mansion in Abington, loves a good scare.
Growing up reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels, Barrett-Costello boasts that she is the true horror fan of the family after convincing her father almost 30 years ago that the family-owned miniature golf course with an empty house on the lot (located behind the Abington Ale House) should be converted into a haunted house.
Her father, the late Francis M. Barrett, dreamt of having a pumpkin patch and thought the idea of a haunted house was ridiculous. Barrett lived in the house for a period of time. At one point, the house also served as a gift shop.
Barrett-Costello was able to convince her father otherwise, insisting that people love to be scared. From there Barrett’s Haunted Mansion became a reality.
Each year, the house is remodeled with a new chilling theme to lure eager “victims.”
As Barrett’s heads into its 29th season, it will be a bit different this year due to the pandemic. The “mansion” itself will not be open to the public. Nevertheless, the scares will certainly be there for patrons if they dare as Barrett-Costello and her team devised a plan to keep Barrett’s Haunted Mansion, as well as the Halloween season, alive.
Starting Friday, September 18th and running through October 31st, Barrett’s will host a drive-in experience called “Screens and Screams.” Each weekend they will offer a double feature of horror movies on screen from old-school classics to modern day terror.
Limited tickets are now on sale now at http://www.bhmansion.com/buy-tickets.
One of the compelling forces behind the idea was Barrett’s Haunted Mansion’s actor, manager and makeup artist, Mike Pearson, who sadly passed away in August. Pearson had been with the Barrett’s team for the past 20 years.
“Once we realized we weren’t going to be able to do the haunted mansion, we started talking about other things and Mike was so excited about it,” said Barrett-Costello.
“My guys love Halloween and they’re all excited. The week before Mike passed away, I’ve never seen him so enthusiastic about anything and he really truly was. So now we want to do it so it’s a success for him.”
Barrett’s will host a night remebering Pearson by invitation only, as well as selling a t-shirt featuring his character as a tribute. All proceeds raised will go to the Pearson family.
“We are going to decorate outside and we will have our characters roaming around, scaring you inside your car, and we will follow all the of the (social distancing) guidelines,” said Barrett-Costello.
Saturday, October 31st on Halloween night, Barrett’s will feature a family-friendly film, and kids will receive a trick-or-treat bag.
Patrons will not be allowed to exit their vehicles except to use the restroom or visit the concession stand.
“We are going sell burgers, dogs, and chicken sandwiches and stuff like that,” she said. “We will have some interactive things going on so it should be fun. Not quite the same, but at least we will be out there.”
In addition to the concession stand, Abington Ale House will offer an online menu of options.
“If people don’t see what they want at the concession stand they can order online and we will deliver it from the restaurant to the car,” said Barrett-Costello.
Barrett-Costello hopes that this will keep the restaurant busier than it’s been during the pandemic.
“As far as the restaurant goes, we are doing our very best to follow all of the guidelines. We’ve never put one person at a table than we should or one more table if it’s not 6 feet apart.
“Restaurants are closing right and left and we are thankful,” she said. “We are still here and we have such great people working here.
“I wish we were opening like normal as next year is out 30th year, but we’re trying to keep the Halloween spirit alive this year.”
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion is located at 1235 Bedford St. (Route 18), Abington. For more information visit: www.bhmansion.com or on Facebook at Barrett’s Haunted Mansion.
Written by Michele Christian