Houston Matters

What Does It Take To Start A Haunted House?

Michael Hagerty visits a local haunted house and talks with a married couple about how they took their frightening creation from the family garage to their local mall.

Cast members from Hellusions Haunted House.


Maybe you're one of the many Houstonians who will go to a commercial haunted house this Halloween. You'll shuffle through some dark, crowded space where things and people will jump out at you, making your heart nearly jump out of your chest — and you'll pay for the privilege. That's because haunted houses are a business. But it's easy to forget that when the business involves fake blood and a plastic meat clever.

So, what does it take to start a professional haunted house? Back in 2015, Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty found out by visiting the Vanished Into the Darkness haunted house at Houston’s West Oaks Mall.

The attraction was run by married couple Chris and Rachelle Banuelos. Their company is called Hellusions Haunted House. The 2017 incarnation of the attraction runs through tonight (Oct. 31) at the same location.