Naked and Scared Challenge: Shocktoberfest 'scream park' offers nude haunted house for fright-seekers
By Michael Walsh / New York Daily News
Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 1:43 PM
This haunted house won't scare the pants off you, because you'll already be nude.
Shocktoberfest, a "scream park" in Sinking Spring, Pa., will let fright-seekers experience a haunted house completely naked to enhance the feeling of terror in The Naked and Scared Challenge.
"It's taking people down to their core, making them as vulnerable as possible with zero protection," said Patrick Konopelski, president and owner of Shocktoberfest, to the Daily News.
Participants will have two options for braving the park's Unknown Haunted House: prude or nude. Those who choose the former will retain their underwear, while the latter will go the full monty.
Konopelski founded Shocktoberfest 22 years ago when he said he could scare customers with rubber masks and plastic knives. Every year, however, he needed to up the ante: more sophisticated makeup and costumes, intricate set designs and mood music, vibrating floors and animatronics, detailed scripts and persuasive actors.
"You always think it needs to be louder, bigger, or more intense," he said.
But now that Shocktoberfest is already enormous and noisy, ramping up the decibels might not increase the scares. Konopelski needed to find another way.
“We are really going in the opposite direction. Now it's about 'how subtle can you be?'" he said.
He was inspired while watching the Discovery Channel survivalist show "Naked and Afraid" with his family. In the program, a man and a woman are stripped down and placed on a desert island for 21 days.
"How could I emulate this?" Konopelski asked himself, knowing fully well he could not ship his customers to an island. But he could take away their clothes.
He had never considered this nude approach before, and evidently no one else did either.
The Naked and Scared Challenge — the first nude fright attraction of its kind — has been covered enthusiastically by media as far away as Sweden, Konopelski said.
But not everyone is thrilled — to say the least. After its announcement, The Naked and Scared Challenge swiftly attracted criticism, especially on the park's Facebook wall.
Several users argued it is "a lawsuit waiting to happen," while another suggested there will mostly be "a bunch of fat old creepy men in there." But the most serious concerns were for minors and privacy.
"I also wonder if the owners will be taping these events," one user wrote. "Will the ticket sellers be very carefully checking everyones I.D.'s. If not and minors end up sneaking in, the owners of this attraction may find themselves in jail very quickly."
Addressing the criticism, Konopelski said, "We don't delete anything on our Facebook. We allow everyone to chime in. We certainly realize that the potential for a lawsuit is there. We can turn a blind eye to it or face it head-on."
The park website specifies that all participants must be 18 or older and sign a waiver. They will disrobe in a semiprivate building before going through the house. Afterward, they will get dressed in a fenced-off courtyard. The website also says that participants will never be in view of minors or nonparticipating customers.
"We have safety measures in place with our educated actors and security people along the path," Konopelski said.
Still, more have attacked the attraction on moral grounds, but Konopelski thinks that is a judgment call for the individual.
"We are in America. We pick for ourselves what is right and wrong," he said. "For those that want to experience it, it really becomes a human right. We are just giving them the vehicle to give it a try."
Konopelski says the attraction is strictly about fear and pushing people outside their comfort zones — not sex. No sexual misconduct or disrespectful behavior will be tolerated, he said.
"It is nothing more than consenting adults being able to use their right here in America to do something they choose to do."