For those who love the spooky season, once the calendar turns to October, the Halloween spirit kicks in and the decorations go up.
This fall, you may be hard pressed to find anyone happier to see the calendar change than the folks at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. The last time they were able to celebrate Halloween was three years ago.
But they’re back this year, and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan traveled to Hancock, Massachusetts to experience their haunted 13 Nights at Jiminy event for himself!
Learn more about the history of 13 Nights at Jiminy in a digital exclusive interview.
Read the full transcript:
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: The last time that signs like these were posted around the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort was back in October of 2019, which for many may seem like long ago enough that they forget just what 13 Nights is.
For those who only know Jiminy Peak as one of the more popular ski destinations in Massachusetts, here’s a quick refresher. Since 2012, for 13 nights in the month of October, when the sun goes down over this peaceful village, the lines form, the ghouls come out, the haunting begins, and the people who organize it all take it pretty seriously.
Jason Griffin, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort: There’s a group of us, small group of us, that — the core group — that have done the build every year and the planning and the themes. We kind of live it year-round. It’s one of those things we talk about year-round.
We were forced into a two-year hiatus, but now that we’re back going, we’re super excited. The hiring part was one of the easiest we’ve ever done. Every year, the first day I open applications, I get eight or ten right away, and when I interview those people, there are people like myself that are just big time Halloween fans. You know, they’re the type of people that would wait in a freezer for 20 minutes so their mother would open the hood and you could get that good scare. These are people with a passion for Halloween.
So, it’s really easy for us to hire a good staff that want to take us on that journey.
Brian Sullivan: The haunt features three mazes for visitors to pass through, two of which can be found here at the base of the mountain.
And with this perfectly good and functioning chairlift that can seat up to six, why not use it to get to another maze?
Jason Griffin: The chairlift is a big part of it. It’s dark. A lot of people have never ridden a chairlift in the dark and 99% of people have never ridden a chairlift down the mountain. It’s a unique feeling. So, that by itself kind of lends itself to the scary part.
But we’ve got eight or nine actors up there that are scattered through the woods anywhere between start and the finish. We’ve got ghillie suits. There’s some actors in there. We’ve got flamethrowers. Building structures, quite a bit of stuff up there.
Brian Sullivan: While we still had some daylight and the ghouls and goblins were still in hiding, we decided to head up there ourselves and get a sneak peek.
As soon as I heard that there was a chairlift involved in this and that one of the haunts was at the top of the mountain, I just had to do it. And the best part is I get to take the chairlift down. So, that will be really cool.
Getting a look around up here with some daylight gives the course a different perspective and keeps me from getting scared out of my wits by having someone jump out of the bushes. It also allowed for a chance to soak in the phenomenal views from this vantage point.
And as Jason mentioned earlier, the trip down on the chairlift was very unique. The idea for utilizing this feature was actually one that they had borrowed from their neighbors to the north.
Jason Griffin: Our sister resort Cranmore Mountain in the White Mountains in New Hampshire had a haunt called the Gulag that was a really big hit. And they did the same type of thing.
They rode the chairlift up and we kind of went up — a group, four of us went up from Jiminy Peak and visited it in 2011 and came back and talked to our bosses and said, “We have to do this here.” We’re 350 miles away. We’re not in competition. This is a great thing.
We’ve done it ever since.
Brian Sullivan: And it still continues to bring people back after their two-year hiatus. This includes children and adults.
But even though a good time is the main goal, it can be a little spooky, so they recommend kids be at least ten-years-old to participate.
Jason Griffin: The main thing here, we want to make sure everybody has fun, but we want to make sure everybody gets a scare. It’s a — it’s a super fun. Our actors take pride in what they do.
You don’t always get that perfect scare; sometimes somebody sneaks up on you in the wrong time. But we go — we go to extreme measures to make sure everybody gets the same experience. So, we do — I think we do pretty well.