By Kevin Collison
Union Station is scaring up so new business this Halloween season by opening its unused attic space as a haunted house attraction.
The 14,000 square-foot labyrinth of macabre displays, spooky sounds and a couple dozen actors out to frighten visitors is simply called “The Attic.”
Union Station also will be hosting “Spookfest: Shadows, Spiders and Science” on Saturday from 5-8 p.m. in Science City.
And there will be showings of the comedy horror film “Beetlejuice” Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Extreme Screen Theater at 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. All tickets are $3.
The Attic will be open through Halloween on Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. and closes when the last terrified patrons finish their approximately 20-minute walk through the spooky gauntlet.
Michael Tritt, marketing director for Union Station, said The Attic idea was pitched by Jason Mendez, who also began running a “Survive KC” zombie laser tag attraction in the same space last summer.
“This was unused space and we’re always looking for how to leverage this giant we care for in a way that appeals to our current customers and brings in new customers,” Tritt said.
“Families, young teens and young adults are all coming safe fun and to get their adrenaline pumping in a space that few people get to go in Union Station.”
Mendez got to know Union Station in 2012 when he organized a festival celebrating the Latino culture in Kansas City. He later opened the Escape Room in the lower level of the historic building.
He began exploring the idea of combining laser tag with killing zombies after visiting a similar attraction in Orlando. Talks began with Union Station officials toward the end of 2017 and the “Survive KC” opened in June.
The shift to a Halloween attraction was a natural given the space already was in a scary mode.
“You get to see a part of the Station you ordinarily wouldn’t be allowed to visit and get scared,” he said.
Not all frights are created by people. Mendez firmly believes there are some supernatural residents who have been haunting Union Station long before he came up with idea.
“I was showing people what we created and walked into a room that has a TV playing,” he said. “When I turned around, I notice a man in the corner with horn-rim glasses and short hair just staring at me.
“I stopped in my tracks and when I turned around, he was gone. The hair stood on the back of my neck.”
He’s also heard the sounds of people talking and footsteps in the attic, along with mysterious shadows, all of which defied explanation.
“It’s a really creepy environment,” Mendez said.
Tickets to The Attic cost $25 online and $28 at the door for all ages.
The “Survive KC” zombie laser tag attraction will continue past Halloween. It runs on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets run $28 and up.
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