Getting scared for a good cause

A local high school senior creates a haunted attraction to raise money for a charitable organization.

From ghouls welcoming people into the haunted house, to screaming entities appearing from beds, and a heart wrenching chase by a masked man with a chainsaw in hand, The Forbidden Realm has it all. The spooky attraction located at ShoppingTown Mall in Dewitt is a 6,300 square foot haunted house that consists of two separate sections: Macabre Manor and subTERRORanean

Photo: Courtesy of The Forbidden Realm
Blanchfield will donate the proceeds from The Forbidden Realm to Central New York’s Make-A-Wish-Foundation.

Kevin Blanchfield, a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, created this haunted setup with the help of his family, friends and devoted volunteers. The goal is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York.

Creating haunted houses is nothing new for Blanchfield. He enjoys outdoing himself every time he builds a new attraction and taking it to the next level of scary.

“Kevin and his brother have been doing haunted houses in their garage in Fayetteville since they were little,” said Jerry Gryzzka, a volunteer and actor at The Forbidden Realm.

Gryzzka has been helping Blanchfield build the attraction since July and has devoted over 200 hours of his time since the beginning of the summer, to help make this attraction bigger and better.

The Forbidden Ream is filled with unique effects and detailed decorations. Upon entry, visitors are warned by a floating head that “not many survive The Forbidden Realm.” As visitors get further into the house the lights get dimmer and dimmer until it turns pitch black making it difficult for the guests to find each other and the nearest exit.

There are costumed actors in the least expected crevices of the house that to lunge at their nearest victim.  The actors bang on the wooden walls as the people pass through the dark hallways with blood splattered tubs and beheaded baby dolls.

Blanchfield has always loved Halloween and wanted to continue the tradition that he started with his brother. He gets inspiration to build these attractions from many sources.

“I attend some of the best conventions in the country to get ideas. I look at pictures online and go to other haunted houses to help me build the sets,” Blanchfield said.

Visitors from another haunted house, Frightmare Farms, were present as well. They said they enjoy supporting the community when they can. Frightmare Farms staff appreciated the work that went into creating the frightening costumes and sets of The Forbidden Realm.

The Frightmare Farms staff in attendance all agreed that for the first time doing it this big, The Forbidden Realm did a good job and had really great effects that contributed to the experience.

In addition to having a few scares, people who attend will essentially be donating to charity as well. Blanchfield will donate the proceeds from The Forbidden Realm to Central New York’s Make-A-Wish-Foundation Chapter. Every year, Blanchfield donates to a different charity around the Central New York region.

“I want people to just feel the Halloween spirit when they come here and also get Make-A-Wish’s name even more out there” Blanchfield said.

The Forbidden Realm is open Friday and Saturday nights from 7-11:30 p.m. until November 1.

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