Published on October 7th, 2014


FRIGHTfinalFINALfinalLOLIPOP1000Newlyweds check into a tacky motel for their honeymoon, not realizing the property is haunted. Inside a dimly let interrogation room, complete with a single swinging bulb, grim authority figures question a bruised woman about her knowledge of a shadow government. The car containing a quartet of oddly matched friends stalls in the middle of nowhere, and recently resurrected demons inhabit the only place of shelter.

These aren’t trailers for the latest horror and sci-fi dystopia films, though they might as well be. They are the three walkable haunts, developed and furnished with blood, sweat, tears and more blood, at this year’s Fright Nights at South Florida Fairgrounds. For a brand known for its cinematic attention to detail, it’s only natural that faux movie trailers were made for the haunts—titled Flamingo Hotel, New World Order and Vile—which anticipate both the jolting scares and dark humor that await attendees.

“We pilfer a lot of media [for ideas], including books, T.V., movies and news,” says Craig McInnis, creative director for Fright Nights. “Sometimes current events will shape the large major themes all the way down to the most minute details in a room—the way a character acts or the way a scare comes across.” McInnis developed those creative and cheeky trailers (viewable at, but that’s only a small fraction of his job, which includes but is not limited to set design, haunt design, character design, makeup, marketing and graphic design. But his favorite part is acting in the finished product: Every year, he plays a character called Eggman.



As McInnis reveals, it takes many months of work to create the few minutes of fright in each walk-through. “Our design team starts planning the themes and layouts in March,” he says. “The design phase carries all the way to the start of production in early August. Then it is an incremental climb through construction, paint, electric, air, sound, set design, props … and this doesn’t even include makeup, wardrobe, facades, scare zones and other midway features. The man hours are immeasurable.”

If you’re not the kind of person that enjoys being hissed at by haunts or threatened by mutilated creeps with meat cleavers, Fright Nights still offers a fun carnival atmosphere, with live music, midway talent, rides and . As for the wide demographic of those of who do enjoy a tingling spine every now and then, McInnis has his theories: “I think it is one of those things we love to hate / hate to love. It is unnerving but exciting. Being in a haunted house drums up adrenaline and allows us to suspend disbelief for a little while. I think it is a bit of escapism, and it serves our soul to encounter a little bit of danger, or perceived danger. It is our pleasure to deliver.”

DEADline is October 18 for submission!
Presented by South Florida Fairgrounds and PureHoney Magazine 
Calling all Halloween freaks, creative monsters, video gurus, and all around passionate people.
Fright Nights at The South Florida Fairgrounds and PureHoney Magazine are teaming up to bring you our first annual video contest! We are asking you to create a cool, crazy, scary, funny video in exchange for a plethora of prizes. GET THE PRIZE INFO AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION HERE!

Inside this months PureHoney Magazine you’ll find a FREE Fright Nights Poster! Post a photo of yourself on Instagram with your face in the poster for a chance to win 4 tickets! They will select one lucky winner daily at random during October and posting the winners photo on the Fright Nights Facebook page. Repost as often as you like for more chances to win!
TAGS: #purehoneymagazine @purehoneymagazine #myfrightnights @myfrightnights #frightnightsposter Please share on Facebook too!

Fright Nights runs select nights  from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1 at South Florida Fairgrounds, $15-$25. Call 561-793-0333 or visit Save $5 w/ advance ticket purchase until October 9.

~ John Thomason