Seville Quarter‘s annual costume contest had already cemented its place among Pensacola’s favorite Halloween spots. (The non-kid-friendly variety, that is.) With the addition of the Fear City Nights haunted house attraction for the second year running, Seville is definitely the area’s top destination for Halloween fun.
Linda Paul poses in costume at Fear City Nights
Fear City Nights is the creation of Russell and Linda Paul, Pace residents who first started a haunted house in their backyard 17 years ago. Their “amateur” production increased in size and popularity every Halloween, and last year they set up shop in Seville’s recently renovated building across Government Street.
“It’s a hobby gone way out of control,” Russell says. “We went from about three or four Rubbermaid boxes to three semi-trailers full.”
The Government Street building gives them about 10,000 square feet of space, cleverly partitioned into a winding maze of 13 rooms, each with its own horrific theme, and another four or five different spaces outside.
Among the many sights: a macabre nursery with messages revealed by black lights, a spinning walkway that is genuinely disorienting, and a bathroom that uses projectors to simulate the famous shower scene from Psycho. (Russell and Linda say that one is especially popular.) And while some of the rooms are “static,” most have at least one costumed cast member lurking in the shadows. The result is an interactive experience not for the faint of heart.
The Pauls say there are around 35 actors who bring Fear City Nights to life. To reward them for putting on a scary show, they have set up a “People’s Choice” voting system.
“We’re all volunteers that work here,” Linda says. “So at the end, everybody that comes through the haunt, we cut their wristbands, and they get to vote for their favorite room.” For each wristband vote the rooms get, the cast members who worked in those rooms get a portion of the ticket sales.
Fear City Nights has been operating every Friday and Saturday night of October. They will also stay open Sunday the 30th and, of course, Monday the 31st. Tickets are $15. A $7 Saturday matinee, when the monsters are “asleep,” is available for younger guests. For more information, visit FearCityNights.com.