Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
3:00 pm EST
Monday, January 24, 2022

Ghoulish delight

Ghoulish Delights

If you love a bit of horror mixed with a family-friendly good time, this year’s Terror! on the Lake may leave you scared stiff and howling with laughter all at the same time.


STORY: James Combs  //  PHOTO: Courtesy of Michael Ganley

Traverse a dark mine below the earth, filled with scary people and creatures.

Lie in a coffin and discover what it feels like to be buried alive.

If you are seeking a frighteningly fun Halloween experience, Terror! on the Lake promises to provide plenty of scares. The event is organized by Davenport-based Special Events and is coming to the Town Center at Cagans Crossings in Clermont for the third straight year.

Michael Ganley, owner of Special Events, says more than 3,500 visitors attended last year’s event.

“Some told me what we do is better than Halloween Horror Nights,” he says. “There is so much to do here, and you don’t have to pay parking fees and fight large crowds. It is a fun, affordable way to spend quality time with your family.”

Plenty to scream about

The typical haunted house experience usually includes cobweb-covered chandeliers, dimly lit rooms, flickering lights, and the usual cast of Halloween monsters — skeletons, mummies, witches, and demons.

Well, Michael and his crew are taking things to a different level — literally. His brave guests will take a virtual tour that begins aboard an old elevator shaft. From there, they will experience an illusion of descending 1,300 feet and entering a haunted mine known as Mind Shaft 13. That’s when the chaos ensues.

As visitors walk through 3,500-square-feet of dark hallways, the combination of detailed animatronics, holographic projectors, and a cast of eerie characters will provide plenty of scary moments along the way. They will encounter cave rooms that open up, TNT explosives, an earthquake effect, and not-so-dead miners. Although Michael is reluctant to give away all the specific details, he promises that “nobody will have any idea what’s around the next corner.”

“I want people to know air-starving darkness and feel the fear of being at the bottom of a mine,” he says. “We try to catch people off guard and startle them a little bit. I promise you that you’re going to see things you wouldn’t want to see in a mine.”

If that doesn’t scare you, then consider facing one of your worst fears — being buried alive. Guests can lie inside a real coffin and experience a simulated burial. Once the coffin closes, the “dead” person will feel like he or she is being driven to a cemetery and then sense the awful feeling of the coffin being placed into the ground. They’ll even hear the voices of undertakers.

In addition, visitors can enjoy children’s games, carnival games, train rides, a pumpkin patch, and face painting. Should you dare to glimpse into your future, a fortuneteller will be available.

Admission is $15 per person. Terror! on the Lake will be held on the following dates: Oct. 11–13; Oct. 18–20; and Oct. 25–Nov. 2. For more information, call Michael Ganley at 407.928.3011 or visit www.terroronthelake.com.


Other spook-tacular local Halloween events:

OCTOBER 5
FALL IN THE FIELD
The “pumpkin lady” will be back with another semi-truck full of fall decorations. Dealers will have their booths overflowing with the best in “prim” decor, antiques, textiles, and candles. From 9a.m. to 5p.m. at Renninger’s Antique Center in Mount Dora. CONTACT: 352.383.8393


OCTOBER 5
GREAT SCARECROW BUILD-OFF AND EXPO
In Leesburg Towne Square, families, individuals, organizations, and businesses alike are invited to display their scarecrow-making abilities in the Great Scarecrow Build-Off. Materials include frame, stuffing, clothes, and hay used for building scarecrows and are included in the $20 entry fee; however, you may bring extra items to create your own work of art.
CONTACT: Sandi Moore at 352.365.0053


OCTOBER 25–26
HAUNTED HAYRIDE AND TRAIL
Enjoy a haunted hayride through the woods of Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell and haunted walking tours on nature trails. Fees: $5 per vehicle up to eight people or annual park pass. Time: 7–9p.m.
CONTACT: 352.793.4781


OCTOBER 26
UMATHRILLA HAUNTED HOUSE
The Umatilla Fire Department hosts this annual haunted house event, which includes a costume contest, food, children’s games, and the spookiest haunted house in the North Lake area.
CONTACT: 352.669.1711


OCTOBER 26
MONSTER SEAPLANE FLY-IN
Seaplanes from all over the country will fly into the Tavares Seaplane Base for a “spooky” splash-in. The event will feature competitions including a “Smashing Pumpkin Drop.” Children can decorate pumpkins for the drop from 9:30–10:30a.m. Flying competitions begin at noon.
CONTACT: 352.742.6176


OCTOBER 26–27
HOWL-O-FEST
Hosted by the Tavares Chamber of Commerce, this downtown Tavares event will include hayrides, trunk-or-treat, live entertainment, and costume contests. Come out from 5:30–8p.m. for great entertainment.
CONTACT: 352.343.2531

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