Baraboo’s Midnight Carnival Haunted House
Ladies & Gentlemen, children with no fear, step into the realm of circus purgatory in our hair-raising 4rth ring. It’s behind the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast, where halloween spirit lives, and keeping with the circus theme, is called Baraboo’s “Midnight Carnival” haunted house this year.
What better way to scare up money for a great cause than to host a haunted house?
Stuart Koehler and Julie Hearley and a committee of volunteers are, for the third consecutive fall, creating a haunted house in a carriage house behind Ringling House Bed & Breakfast. Their goal isn’t to conjure Ringling family ghosts, but to raise money for improvements to the historic property.
Last year a nonprofit organization, Friends of the Charles and Henry Ringling Estate, was formed to preserve the buildings and grounds once owned by the brothers of circus fame. The one-acre estate includes the main house, which the couple operates as a six-room bed-and-breakfast; the carriage house; a cottage; and a barn. The 1901 Colonial Revival home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We think – we hope – the community wants this property to stay intact,” Stuart said.
Julie said the nonprofit will remain in place even if the property changes hands someday. “This is designed to protect these buildings as long as they’re around,” she said.
The couple plans to transform the carriage house in an event venue. They foresee hosting theatrical performances and other events attracting groups of 100 to 200 people. “There aren’t a lot of places in Baraboo for those kinds of events,” Stuart said.
Money generated through the Midnight Carnival haunted house will support that project. Setup work began this summer, and updating the first level of the carriage house, and adding the lower level to the maze. We’ve also extended the outdoor section to the maze of horrors set up last year. Julie said the team needs volunteers to help set up the haunted house and operate it. A crew of 15 is needed to sell tickets, provide security and act as ghouls within the indoor-outdoor haunted house.
We will also have a kiddie matinee on Halloween during trick or treating, for small children, who figure not to get as frightened in the daylight (Otherwise, the haunted house isn’t recommended for youths under 10). This will happen on October 31, from 3-5:30pm, with the outdoor maze, spooky storytelling by the campfire, and Halloween treats!
Baraboo’s Midnight Carnival will be open Oct 9-10, 15-17, 21-24 & 28-31 from 7pm-10pm. Admission will cost $15 at the door for adults and $12 for students, but tickets can be had in advance for $12 at https://ringlinghousebnb.com/event/.
Specials** this year include:
- Group special 10 or more people, call ahead for pricing (608 -356-4229). $10 each on Friday, Saturday $8 each on weekdays.
- Student specials $5 with ID: October 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
- Opening weeknight special: October 15 – $8.00 for adults, $5 for students
- Ladies night: October 29. All ladies $10.00 admission!
** Specials only one special per person or group, prices given at door.
Last year the haunted house attracted 800 people. This year’s goal is 1,000. Halloween fans came from across the state last year. “That’s a lot of people who probably wouldn’t have come to town otherwise,” Stuart said.