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Chasing terror

Frighthouse Station offers two unique experiences for those looking to scare themselves silly

If you’re looking for nightmare fuel, you might think about starting with a visit to Frighthouse Station. Photo credit: Facebook

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It's a never-ending source of fascination, to me, that people so frequently volunteer to be horrified. With a world so chock-full of real, readily accessible terror, how odd and endearing is it that people line up to pay money for the privilege of having of the wits scared out of them? Roller coasters, horror movies, ghost tours, true crime documentaries, camping (the purest distillation of fear there is) -- these all play on our lizard brains getting riled up by a manufactured sense of danger. I mean, yes, camping may be legitimately dangerous, but that's only because you took us to the middle of nowhere and didn't think to bring toilet paper or bear mace, Kevin! And all to impress Stacy? You've got some nerve ...

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, there are also those that will avail themselves of that spookiest attraction known as haunted houses. What may have started as a silly novelty, spun off from carnivals and decorated with frightfully generic accouterments like cobwebs and coffins, has experienced a steadily escalating threshold over the past couple decades. Nowadays, haunted house attractions have a tier for basically any tolerance level, including spots designed to be palatable for the smallest of kids, up to haunted houses that strive for a stomach-churning realism (if your haunted house requires a safe word, I'm sorry, but you're a lunatic and I want nothing to do with you).

Which brings us to Frighthouse Station, the longest-running haunted house in Tacoma, evolving over the years from the Pierce County Asylum to its current form. Situated in the historic Freighthouse Square, Frighthouse Station has been scaring the pants off of people for a while, now, and they've honed their craft to a razor's edge. While this isn't the sort of gonzo creepfest I described before -- no mention of a safe word could be found on their website, which is a relief -- the planners of Frighthouse Station advise that no one under the age of 12 should be allowed to experience the gauntlet of terror on offer. Frankly, though, if your young kid is an Eli Roth-loving gorehound, there may be better ways to occupy your Halloween, such as teaching them to have better taste in movies.

Frighthouse Station has two haunted attractions on offer, this year: Shadows and The Redemption. Each of them have their own story, though details on what that entails are slim. And besides, who would want anything spoiled for them when entering blood-soaked corridors of unremitting horror? If there's an inhuman monster craving only human flesh lurking just around a corner, I'd rather leave that for my partner to discover as I timidly crouch behind her. You may experience either Shadows or The Redemption on their own, or experience both for a reduced price. And, seeing as Frighthouse Station is winding down their season with this weekend, followed by one last scare on Halloween, I'd advise that you see all that they have to offer.

Pro tip, though: do not touch the ghouls and maniacs that accost you in these haunted houses, as tempting as it seems. I made that mistake at some dumb cabin over at Camp Crystal Lake, and this big old hockey enthusiast did not take it well. This is what I get for letting Kevin talk me into camping.

FRIGHTHOUSE STATION, 7-11:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday; 7-10 p.m., Sunday and Wednesday, through Oct. 31, Freighthouse Square, 2501 East G St., Tacoma, $17 per haunt, $25 combo pack onsite, $23 combo pack online, discounts available for military and groups,

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