So I hadn’t been to a haunted house in many many years … not my thing to be scared by all that blood and gore I guess, but then I heard about Castle Blood and was intrigued to learn more. Castle Blood is actually celebrating their 21st year in the haunting business and obviously they must be doing something worth checking out – in fact, it was about an hour drive from the North Hills of Pittsburgh, but we soon found out it was well worth the trip!
Driving up from the road, when you see the rot iron fencing and spy the gargoyles guarding the roof tops, you’ll know you’ve arrived. With the Castle Blood hearse parked out front and Cedric roaming the grounds entertaining with his array of spooky songs – it immediately sets the scene for a haunting experience. Even thou my kids are walking dead fans, they self admitted that they would rather check this place out during one of their 2 unique “no-scare” matinees. These events offer a chance to experience the Castle Blood and all it has to offer with the lighting on. Once you are ushered in by Gravely MacCabre, you’ll immediately understand why this is Pennsylvania’s premier theatrical haunted attraction! Each room on your tour is designed like individual movie scenes, really amazing to be able to see in the light – but makes me (and the kids) want to come back and experience it in the dark of night!
So, one of the unique features of this haunt is that it’s actually set up to be interactive (which makes this a cool year round birthday party place too!). It’s a mysterious place and Gravely MacCabre starts off sharing a bit of the history of the castle and why we are there and what you need to do and find to get out. Aptly described as “playing Clue in the Addams Family House”, I couldn’t agree more. Each time you go through it will be a different experience, not only because of those based in your group, but by the choices your group makes while in the parlor. My 8 year old wanted to go back the next day and my older kids (13 and 15) said they would love to experience the Castle Blood at night. There are beautifully costumed and realistically made up characters all along the way (During the matinee, the characters won’t jump out and scare you). Our favorite part of the tour was our interaction with ZAP, a lovable, albeit a little crazed “intern” who was taking over for the good scientist while he was away – she had the kids help her with her newest “experiment” - just glad we got out of there before the good doctor got back!
The Castle Blood is actually a family affair, headed up by Gravely and Skully MacCabre, and Gravely’s daughter Autumn. The Castle Blood changes up its adventure and experience each year, which brings back its customers again and again! Though the tour takes about 30-45 minutes to go through, I’d recommend to not rush through – take the time to be fully involved and to experience each room in the Castle to its fullest, there is a lot to take in! Hard to believe that up until 2 years ago, this classic haunted fare was housed in an outside field – the MacCabres’ acquired this building location 2 years ago and now are able to offer birthday parties and the like year round – including Christmas and Summer events too.
We’d highly recommend you taking the time to visit the Castle Blood … and for those little ghouls that would appreciate something different – you have to check out the the interactive fun and ghoulishly designed sets for an awesome and unique birthday experience! In fact, PittsburghKidsGuide is offering a free $50 party upgrade for parties booked between November 9 –January 2014.
If you are going – the matinees are designed to kid friendly, but you will still a few haunting characters in a few of the set designs if they look around a lot. But since the focus is on the interactions the kids will have with the Fortune Teller, Witches, etc – they likely won’t notice. We saw many families during the matinee with smaller children and even babies. Consider getting your tickets ahead of time on line at www.castleblood.com to save yourself another line (NOTE – only cash ticket sales, so be prepared if you buy them on site). Arrive earlier to experience the ambiance outside and grab a hot chocolate or grilled hot dog while you wait in line. Tours last about 30-45minutes There is a neat little gift shop at the end and they do take Visa/Mc in there. Much of the talented cast has hand created many of the one-of-a-kind ornaments and gifts available in the gift shop. We came home with a beautiful sparkly black owl with purple glam stone eyes
In October, the Castle Blood booth will sell tickets from 7pm – 11pm and will continue to operate until all tours have gone through. For the Matinee’s, the booth is open from 2-5pm.