The Olde Park Hotel in Ballinger, or as it’s commonly known in the paranormal world, “The Haunted Olde Park Hotel,” will have it’s 4th annual HalloScream on October 25th and 26th, from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Every year the hotel adds a new dimension to its haunted dimensions and co-owner Connie LaFave says this year it is no different, “Every year we add a new animatronic character and this year not only will we add a new animatronic character, we’ll also have a live band to entertain people who come out to HalloScream. We’re also going to add a zombie prison.” Connie’s husband, Dan LaFave, says that the new zombie prison will have several surprises, “Our zombie prison is going to be quite scary this year with new surprises around every corner.”
Connie says that the hotel brings in people from all walks of life, “We love to be able to share a real haunted and historical location with the public on one of the most fun nights of the year. People come from local cities within 2 hours sometimes to get to Hallo-Scream.” Dan says that there is a lot to hang their hats on when it comes to thrills and chills, “I think it is the great fun and the screams that people have while encountering things that make a person jump inside HalloScream. We love adding new thrills and atmosphere to the event to make people panic and then they can’t wait to come back for more.”
One unique aspect of the Olde Park Hotel haunted house is that there have been numerous professional paranormal investigations over the years, including Hollywood actor Chad Lindberg conducting an investigation there earlier this year. Dan says that the prospect of running into a real ghostly spirit heightens the senses and gets the heart pumping, “This location is so much more to people (than just a hotel). We have had professional ghost hunters from television here and they love the aspects of the incredible paranormal activity that occurs here. This Ballinger, Texas haunted location is very unique in that people are now coming from all over the United States to explore and stay overnight here. Having the ability to have a unique Halloween haunted attraction like HalloScream in a very real haunted old building is something that is incredible because we don’t know what will happen to people in the paranormal area.”
Dan says that he personally had a paranormal experience at the HalloScream last year, “Last year while in costume downstairs in the asylum area of HalloScream, I was resting towards the end of the night waiting for the next group of customers to come in. There was a lot of fog from our machines. I sat down and rested my head on my hands on top of a cabinet with my mask on. After a few minutes of seeing nothing and no one, what appeared to be a younger girl with long black hair in costume appeared to move past in front of me from one room doorway to another doorway. I thought it was one of our HalloScream actors in costume so at first I didn’t get up to look. But then I remembered she did not look at all like any known people working this area so I got up and looked through the fog of that closed off room. There was no one in the room and no other way she could have exited the doorway without me seeing her leave.”
Connie says that it isn’t uncommon for people to have a ghostly encounter of the paranormal variety, and not the actor-in-costume kind, “We ask the ghosts to let us do our job, but you never can chain the phantoms from their regular duties.”
When it comes to the spirits world Connie says that the ghostly inhabitants tend to become more active during HalloScream, “I actually think the spirits like talking or interacting with guests but the little boy ghost we know is here makes himself "disappear" during Halloween festivities and we see him again at Christmas.” According to the Lafaves and any ghost hunter who has dared venture into the Olde Park Hotel, the spirit world is very busy on any given day. Dan says that the spirit world can come alive during HalloScream, “I think they (spirits) like all the activity and interactions with people coming for HalloScream. Paranormal activity is usually quite high, more than usual for several weeks after this event.”
Regardless of the poltergeist, spirits, ghosts, apparitions, phantoms, specters, banshees, wraiths or other ethereal beings that inhabit the hotel, Dan says that having fun is what it’s all about, “I want people to really be able to enjoy the annual experience of having fun at HalloScream. We do this because we enjoy people having fun and sharing their many screams inside HalloScream. We also want people to know that the low $10 admission per person goes to help with many areas, helping to restore this 1886 Ballinger location. We do this to give people something to really look forward to each year as well because we love sharing events like this with the public.”
Connie adds that a lot of hard work goes into the event and they want people to have a great experience, “We and the actors work really hard to try to make the experience special and fun so that you will have great memories, like we used to when we were kids.”
So, pack up your fears, thrills, chills, jitters, phobias, shock, dismay, nightmares, trepidation, cold feet, qualms and sweaty palms and head to the Olde Park Hotel for a unique experience at what is considered one of the most haunted locations in the state.
HalloScream, October 25th and 26th, from 7:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. at the Olde Park Hotel, 107 S. 6th Street, Ballinger, Texas (next to Alejandra’s restaurant). Admission fee is $10.