In a harrowing scene Saturday, a girl is sitting on a bed in a room with blood splatters on the walls. She is screaming “Stay awake! Stay awake!”
Nearby, a girl dressed in a striped torn top chews on a plastic doll head, a hula hoop hanging over her shoulders. Not far away, a family dines on brain for dinner. A killer, wearing a white mask, slowly drags a body wrapped in fabric through a forest. The spooky scenes are all part of the first Halloween drive-thru event, called “A Haunting,” organized by Changing Faces Theater Company in the parking lot of Idol Beer Works in Lodi.
As night fell, creepy creatures — from pirates guiding traffic to a scary Thriller dance troupe — emerged to scare drivers and passengers as cars slowly navigated the creepy course.
With many Halloween events canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater company wanted to provide a spooky experience for people to enjoy from the socially distanced safety of their cars. The event was in collaboration with and co-sponsored by Idol Beer Works, and all proceeds will go to Changing Faces Theater Company.
“We are really excited, we’re completely sold out. The 150 tickets pre-sold and people are asking for more,” Changing Faces Theater Company founder and artistic director Mike Bartram said prior to Saturday’s show.
“We have ten total rooms, so there are a lot of different creepy going on. Some of it is funnier rather than scary, but it’s all pretty scary and creepy though,” he said.
In one room, set up as a basement, two scary dolls playing a game of Connect Four as Pennywise — a shapeshifting monster from the movie “It” — menacingly approached a passing car, leering at the driver.
Cooper Powell, 11, playing Pennywise, has not yet been allowed to see the movie from which his character is taken, but he knew one thing: It is scary.
“I do like Pennywise, and they wanted something scary. And this is scary,” he said.
As the long line of cars slowly drove past, a doll emerged from a room with large alphabet blocks spelling out “die” and a baseball bat propped on her shoulder. She gazed menacingly at a driver who waved. Misty Worthy, of Lodi, the driver, loved the frightfest.
“I loved how much effort they’re putting into it, I loved the fake blood on the dresses, I loved the beautiful forest scene, I loved the family eating brains for dinner, the girl with the hammer. I loved it. I want to go through it again, but they said no,” she said with a laugh.