ANSBACH, Germany (October 23, 2021) – Children and adults alike screamed in terror as they walked through the smoky rooms. The scene of a disaster? No, this is Ansbach’s house of terror.
US Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program opened the “Ansbach House of Terror” in the former Fitness Center on Katterbach Kaserne on October 22 and 23 as well as on October 29. and October 31st for the community to enjoy with lots of smiles, laughs and screams with over 250 participants on the first weekend.
Celebrating Halloween can be very different when you are in Germany, as the country has only been celebrating the holiday for about 25 years since it came into being as a tradition in the mid-1990s.
“SÃ¼Ães oder Saures” (something sweet or something sour) – or as we say in the United States “trick-or-treat” – also takes place in Germany, and is one of the most common activities which was adopted during Halloween.
A tradition that is not so common in Germany, or almost nonexistent, is that of haunted houses, the spooky tradition of walking around a building that has been decorated to look like something straight out of a horror movie. . Filled with fully dressed and scary-ready actors as you stroll through the dimly lit theaters and halls, this is something we Americans can bring to Germany.
It took over 2,304 combined hours of volunteer work to design and build the haunted house, and over 40 volunteer actors investing an additional 902 combined hours during the show, proving it was by no means a small business.
âThe coordination and planning of the haunted house was not an easy task and required the help of various organizations, including volunteers from mission partners such as the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, 5th Battalion from the 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment and the Ansbach Army Health Clinic, as well as volunteers from the community, âsaid Zeljko Stepanovic, director of outdoor recreation and BOSS advisor to the garrison.
The Terrace Playhouse Theater played an important role in providing the costumes and much of the lighting, which was fundamental to setting the mood.
âIt’s really a full production where you plan your set design to include concept, design concept, materials, and then construction,â said Victoria Hanrahan, entertainment director, Family, Morale, Good Branch. -being and recreation (DFMWR). “It took about a month to get it all done from start to finish, but it’s fun and you can be creative.”
The construction of the haunted house proved difficult and required more than a month for a team of more than 15 volunteers.
âIt was wonderful to work with the members of the service, they were very creative and put a lot of effort into making this happen,â Hanrahan said.
Opening weekend arrived and all of the hard work and effort that led to this event finally came to light, as the team and volunteers guided the groups through the haunted house.
âI have participated in many haunted experiences, including the Haunted Forest of Maryland and the 13th Floor of Denver, both nationally recognized,â said Col. Karen Hobart, USAG Ansbach Commander. âOur House of Terror here in Ansbach is on a smaller scale, on par with these larger experiences. People should really come and discover this great experience outside of business hours offered to the community of Ansbach â,
The best part about the haunted house is that it is suitable for families and all ages, as the first two hours of 5-7 p.m. are the “kid-friendly” version of the experience, while the last two hours and half from 7:30 am to 10 pm are the adult “extreme experience”.
âWe think it will get even better than last weekend and we had even more people signed up, both in terms of volunteers and people buying tickets to come to the haunted house,â Spc said. William Taylor, President of BOSS. âThese types of vacations and events truly allow us to make Germany our home as we embrace the traditions that bring us all together as Americans.
âIt’s not BOSS at this point, it’s the volunteers and all the soldiers and civilians who took the time out of their weekend to make this happen,â Taylor said. “Seeing the whole community participate in the event and really enjoy the time with family and friends because Americans and Germans are worth it.”
Halloween is celebrated differently in Germany; living a vacation in a different country, through the perspective of a different culture is special.
âIt was fun to participate in the Halloween event with the community. I never thought Europe would love Halloween as much as we do, just a great experience overall, âsaid Sgt. Joshua Gonzalez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Ansbach, one of the actors in the haunted house.
This year’s event will conclude with the final two days, October 29 and 30, for the community of Ansbach to experience the Haunted House.