Creepy characters take up residence at Naper Settlement
When Naper Settlement transforms from a historic museum village into a Halloween haven this Friday and Saturday, it's time to leave that convincing Dracula outfit at home. The same goes for that pointy witch's hat and those ghostly white sheets.
No costumes are allowed -- on visitors, at least -- at All Hallows Eve, the settlement's annual homage to the season.
But face painters, a new addition to the festivities this year, will be obliged to add a bloody eye or a scary scar to visitors' visages, at their request. And caricature artists will render visitor portraits, enhanced with gruesome details straight out of a Stephen King novel.
The no-costume rule is enforced to clearly differentiate the frighteners from those seeking the thrill of a good, though harmless, panic attack in the name of Halloween fun.
With more than 23 main attractions spread over the settlement's 13 acres, creepy characters will abound, courtesy of hundreds of volunteers, actors and staff, Adison Glick, special events coordinator, said.
"We've expanded our partnership with Center Stage Players, an acting group in Naperville. They are doing Frankenstein's lab. They are also doing the H.H. Holmes murder castle," Glick said.
The laboratory where Dr. Frankenstein brings his monster to life will be inside the Meeting House. The murder castle, a dramatic interpretation of a real-life serial killer's hunting grounds, will be in the Martin Mitchell Mansion.
"They're also doing a new haunted house this year, Vlad the Impaler. It's going to be in our carriage house," Glick said.
Vlad the Impaler was a ruthless 15th-century ruler in Eastern Europe and the likely inspiration behind Bram Stoker's fictional Dracula character.
The Dark Arts Gallery, introduced last year inside the settlement's re-creation of Fort Payne, aka "Fort Pain," will host a haunted art gallery, plus a few new additions.
"Last year we had a bunch of giant canvasses with creepy images and colored lights," Glick said. "This year, we've expanded it. We're also going to have 100 pumpkins, painted and carved."
The pumpkins will be provided by the Hinsdale Central High School Key Club, he said.
"We're going to have a living statue monster and a haunted TV. That's a TV that's been possessed," he said.
Glick said the Aurora Catholic High School Drama Department is presenting an attraction titled "The Mummy's Tomb and Journey Through the Underworld" adjacent the visitors center. The group will read palms and tarot cards in the Fortuneteller Village.
Magical Starlight Theatre, a Naperville Park District theater group, will present "Harry Potter and the Hidden Horcrux" inside the Century Memorial Chapel.
"Magical Starlight Theatre always does a different Harry Potter in our chapel," said Glick. "They do what I would say is our premier haunted house."
If all that doesn't scare visitors out of their wits, there's still a torture dungeon, Irish ghost stories, a fire show by the Ohio Burn Unit, zombies, witch trials, an insane asylum and human curiosities.
The event is appropriate for adults and for children older than 8. A variety of food and drink will be available for purchase.
Glick said about 2,000 visitors attend All Hallows Eve on each of the two nights.
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All Hallows Eve
Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20
Cost: $20; free for members
Info: (630) 420-6010 or napersettlement.org