A seasoned veteran will return to the American Legion Fairgrounds joined by a newcomer on Cartersville's west end, occupying a vacant storefront near the West Avenue Ingles.
In their third year of haunts, Screamers Haunted House is open every Thursday through Saturday plus Halloween night at the American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42 Fairgrounds on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Raising money for Advocates for Children, Debbie Ham works with her family and friends to donate all proceeds to caring for abused and neglected children through the various services offered by Advocates. Screamers raised $4,000 last year for the local nonprofit. The motivation for this generosity comes from the Ham's personal connection with serving children.
"We fostered for many years and we adopted three special needs children," Ham said, adding that they could no longer foster after adopting so they sought another way to help. "This worked out, the kids always liked scaring people and having fun and we all do it as a team.
"They're our future and the situation is none of their faults, so we need to help them as much as we can -- everybody needs to."
The Ham family has fostered more than 50 children and raise their three adopted children along with their biological son, Scott, who helps plan and organize the annual haunted house.
Screamers is open Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight and 6 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. Admission is $10. For more information, call 678-683-4460.
Just across town, two brothers have created a labyrinth of ghoulish figures and dark passageways leading guests through more than 3,000 square feet of Dr. Cassidy's Insane Asylum. Following a single theme, a tour guide leads unsuspecting victims through a horrifying storyline created by Mason and Brian Cassidy.
"Me and my brother love Halloween. ... We just have a passion for scaring people and Halloween. We use to have a big Halloween gathering at the house and costume parties, so we thought we'd just try out the haunted house business," Mason Cassidy said. "What we've got here is Dr. Cassidy's Insane Asylum. The whole entire thing, all the way through is an insane asylum. So, it's got the same theme. Basically we just went with Dr. Cassidy took these crazies in and started torturing them."
The frightening tour includes 12 to 15 live actors and an assortment of scenes acted out in front of guests, often creating an interactive experience.
Mason and Brian Cassidy live in Acworth and own Cassidy Construction, adding experience to aid in their quick assembly of the winding hallways that create the haunted experience. A group of five friends and workers helped the brothers construct the corridors, working nearly around the clock for two weeks.
Dr. Cassidy's Insane Asylum opened Oct. 1 and has had a fairly good response, Mason Cassidy said. With hopes of a strong reception in their first year, the Cassidys look to expand next year, adding a second story and more room to create frightening experiences.
"Last weekend was busy, definitely on Saturday. We've had a lot of good results. I don't think we've had any bad results," Mason Cassidy said, adding that they plan to have a concessions vendor on the grounds starting next weekend.
Dr. Cassidy's Insane Asylum is located at 831 West Ave. in Cartersville. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 7:30 to 11 p.m. except Sunday, Oct. 31, which will be from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Cassidy's will close for the week after Halloween, opening again the first weekend in November.