UPDATE: Shocktoberfest's Naked and Scared Challenge has been cancelled due to pressure from local officials. A statement on the theme park's Facebook page reads: "Although the Naked and Scared Challenge is legal, due to this worldwide attention, it has been requested by our township officials not of offer the 'nude' option." Visitors who already purchased tickets are being offered refunds, or the option to experience the house as "prude" (in just underwear) instead of "nude."
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: As part of its annual Halloween attractions, the Shocktoberfest "scream park" in Sinking Spring is offering thrill-seekers the chance to experience their Unknown Haunted House in the buff. Anyone who wants to try their "Naked and Scared Challenge" can purchase a ticket for $20, but only if they're over the age of 18, and only after midnight.
"I got the idea from Discovery's "Naked and Afraid,'" says Shocktoberfest's president and owner Patrick Konopelski, referring to the reality show in which participants are challenged to survive naked in the wilderness for an extended period of time. "What I saw was that these people are genuinely scared — they're very vulnerable."
Konopelski soon began to wonder how he could bring that same kind of vulnerability to the guests that visit Shocktoberfest.
Here's how it works: Park visitors are given the choice of going through the haunted house as "nude" or "prude" — completely naked or with just their underwear, respectively — and then they're instructed to remove their clothing in a semi-private disrobing area that Konopelski likens to a co-ed locker room. Before entering the premises, each attendee is given a numbered wrist band which serves as a way to monitor their activity, but also as a tool to match them with their belongings upon exit. Then, they're off.
Once inside, visitors move through the haunted house with only the group they arrived with (e.g., if you show up with five friends, you all go through at once; if you show up alone, you go through alone), and encounter only employees who are over the age of consent, and only female. "It's a very controlled environment," he says. "We only give the experience of chaos."
But despite the most controversial element of his haunted house, Konopelski says the Naked and Scared Challenge is merely about offering guests a thrilling experience. "We're trying to get the point across that this is about fear; this is not about sex or deviant behavior," he says. "We have to transport these people to another world, to get them to forget about their world, and get them to an environment where we can scare them.
"It's about [us at Shocktoberfest] making you as vulnerable as possible so you can have a scary scary environment to enjoy a haunted house."
Would you take the Naked and Scared Challenge? Shocktoberfest starts this Friday and runs through November 3.