City to feature underground haunted house this fall

A haunted house is coming to an underground location in downtown Shelton this fall.

Entrepreneur Michael Yachymczyk plans to operate Fat Freddy's House of Horror on weekends from late September through early November in below-ground storage space at the Conti Building, 415 Howe Ave.

The lifelong Shelton resident has 21 years of experience in the haunt business, including having overseen the annual haunted show at Fairview Tree Farm in White Hills. Last year, he helped run Fright Haven in a temporary Stratford location.

"I have a lifelong passion for all things Halloween," Yachymczyk said.

On June 13, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved his application for a temporary business after asking questions about fire safety, police coverage, lighting, parking and signage. Yachymczyk will need to work closely with the fire marshal's office on safety-related issues.

Patrons will enter on Howe Avenue, in a driveway that goes underground between the Conti Building and The Ripton senior housing complex, and walk through the haunted house until exiting on West Canal Street.

Yachymczyk said the haunted house will occupy six storage spaces plus hallways. The below-ground space has no windows or natural light, making it perfect for a spooky experience.

P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins joked that "it's pretty scary down there" even without a haunted show.

"I imagine it will be a well-attended event. It's something different," she said.

"It sounds like fun," agreed P&Z member Jimmy Tickey.

Yachymczyk plans to have a few food trucks parked either on West Canal Street, which is where the former Chromium Process factory site is located, or in the large Conti Building parking lot.

He hopes to hang a banner on the outside of the building to promote the event near its opening, but has to continue working with the P&Z and staff on the details since the commission generally frowns upon banners.

The event would operate from 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 29 to Nov. 4. Admission is expected to be $14 per person.

An off-duty police officer will be hired on busy weekends, plus four Shelton fire police members, one emergency medical technician, and two to three security guards. Yachymczyk expects to employ up to 30 actors in the show, plus two people to handle ticket sales.