MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the time of year for ghosts and goblins, and there are no shortage of haunted scares to go to.
The average haunted house or farm lasts between four and seven years. But one of them has been around for more than two decades, and it continues to grow every year.
In this week’s Finding Minnesota, we went to Molitor’s Haunted Acres in Sauk Rapids And by the light of day, John Lauritsen learned that three generations are making a living by scaring you half to death.
The sun sets, the moon rises, and deep within a dark forest creatures of all shapes and sizes are waiting for you.
“The more we get them to scream and squeal, the better we feel,” said Ron Molitor.
It’s a spooky story that actually began as a love story. Before Molitor’s Haunted Acres was haunted it was a pristine piece of property in Benton County.
“Ron asked me out, it was our first date. He brought me out, said he wanted to show me something. He brought me here to this 20 acres,” said Tammy Molitor.
When Ron and Tammy got married, it became home. And then in 1998, it became something more.
“My dad came up to me and said- we are going to put people on a hayride and scare them. I thought, why would anybody in their right minds do that,” said Ron and Tammy’s son, Ronnie.
It started as a hayride and a haunted house. Twenty one years later, it’s turned into a mile-long haunt with 5, different scare zones and other attractions.
The Molitor’s are hooked on Halloween. It’s become a year-round business. And they quickly learned that the family that works together, scares together.
Every family member has a role, and for sisters Cara and Caden it’s the costumes and decor that create the gore.
“She grabbed some golf balls and spray-painted them white then made pupils so it would look more real in the light,” said Caden Vickstrom, while pointing at a monster.
The science to scaring people can be as simple as a mannequin and paint. Brother Ronnie provides the lights and sounds by using air compressors and motion sensors.
What makes this farm unique is that everything is hand made.
“It never stops. I work on Halloween pretty much every day,” said Ron.
Ron is the Wizard of Oz behind the giant, roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex.
“I have my sound system here and the CO2 tank gives it the fog,” said Ron. “It’s me lifting it. Everything else gets moved by ropes and pulleys.”
But just because you’re in the business of scaring people, doesn’t mean you can’t get scared yourself.
“I go into it every time before we start and I still get the willies. It weirds me out,” said Ronnie.
The Molitor’s believe they have an actual haunted house on their property. A 100-year-old building that’s not bad for business. Especially when a ghost name Ruby Sue is roaming about. Unfortunately, she doesn’t pay rent.
“There are just a lot of stories of missing tools, sounds, music, noises that no one really likes and that eerie feeling you get when you enter it,” said Ronnie.
A farm that harvests fear, but also plenty of laughs. Either way, they’re ready when you are.
“I’ve seen 8-year-olds have a great time, but I’ve seen 18-year-olds run out oher screaming and crying and never return,” said Tammy. “It’s age appropriate. It just depends on what your flavor is,” said Tammy.
“Trick or treating is great but scaring people is way more fun,” said Cara and Caden.
The Molitor’s go to Halloween conventions every year to get new ideas.
They say it takes up to 85 hard-working employees a night to make it all happen.