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Spooks linger in warehouse

Spooks lurk in the Field Logic warehouse. They stirred last week as living beings walked through their lair. A red eye leers from somewhere in a maze. Fog wafts from beneath a witch's spellbook. A cadaver springs to life. A scarecrow moans. "It i...

Spooks lurk in the Field Logic warehouse.

They stirred last week as living beings walked through their lair. A red eye leers from somewhere in a maze. Fog wafts from beneath a witch's spellbook. A cadaver springs to life. A scarecrow moans.

"It is pretty intense," said Brita Lindberg, who helped bring the haunted house to life.

Even without the 30 costumed spooks who plan to join the party this weekend, there is plenty to send shivers down the spine -- a pirate ship, a snake-infested pond and a haunted chapel.

"I cannot work there at night with the lights off," Lindberg said. "I get kind of spooked."

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The attraction is peppered with frights of all types, she said, from the subtle movements of actors visitors think are dummies to the crazed rantings of a mad scientist.

"We lay it out so you're not constantly bombarded," she said. "It makes the next experience better."

Lindberg's favorite section is the maze.

"It's absolutely dark," she said. "You can't see. Your imagination is going wild."

For five years, Donna Pulkrabek, whose husband, Larry, owns Field Logic Inc., has been the force behind the haunted house.

"It started small and kind of grew and grew," she said.

The spookfest started as an element of the employee Halloween party.

Two years ago, Pulkrabek and Lindberg made the decision to go public with the attraction. Marketing for the haunted house consisted of a sandwich-board sign and a handful of fliers. About 75 people showed up.

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Visitor praise encouraged organizers to turn it up a notch.

Bolstered by a newspaper ad and word of mouth, the site welcomed 10 times as many people last year.

"We're expecting to double that this year," Pulkrabek said.

The only negative comment the crew has received dealt with time. Some visitors had to wait up to 1-1/2 hours for a trip through the haunted warehouse.

But, Pulkrabek said, "everyone said it was worth the wait."

Pumped full of new lures, like a troll bridge and caged gorillas, the haunted warehouse opens for visitors both Friday and Saturday night.

"I'm pretty excited to see how it pans out this year," said Jon Syverson, vice president of sales for Field Logic Inc.

He will steer his young children through the "not so scary" version from 4-6 p.m. Saturday.

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Lindberg and Pulkrabek start planning the haunted warehouse in January. They throw out ideas and build off that.

"We start and then one thing leads to another," Pulkrabek said.

Even difficult projects -- like building a waterfall or a quicksand pit -- became possible with imagination and know-how.

"It's a lot more than you would think it is," Syverson said.

Work steps up in September, when the two women funnel all their free time into the project.

"I'm here off and on mostly every day," Pulkrabek said.

Field Logic Inc. manufactures archery targets. The company's three-dimensional deer targets have been part of the event every year, skeletons sitting on their backs. This year's labyrinth incorporates 50 of the company's layered targets, as well. In the graveyard, for example, the targets double as ground to hold up the trellis wall.

Despite their creativity, the two women can't do it alone.

The troll bridge was made in the company metal shop; the company electrician wired more outlets in the room. Employees and their children don costumes for the big event.

Despite the hard work and growing arsenal of props, a trip through the haunted warehouse is free.

"My husband wanted to do something for Superior because they've been so good to us," Pulkrabek said.

As they put the finishing touches on the haunted warehouse, organizers waited to see the public response to their new additions.

"I think it's always kind of fun to scare people," Lindberg said. "Scare them enough so they smile."

Maria Lockwood is available at (715) 395-5025 or mlockwood@superiortelegram.com .

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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