SNOHOMISH, Wash. — “We’ve been here since the late 1800s,” said Keith Stocker, the owner of Stocker Farms in Snohomish. He’s been in the business of Halloween for over 20 years.
In October, they have a pumpkin patch, hay rides, fun fall activities for kids.
“At night of course, we go to our alter ego Stalker Farms and we do the haunt,” he said.
But 2020 threw a curve ball at their most profitable season.
The Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning against trick-or-treating, haunted houses and many of the season’s favorite activities, which means, Stalker Farm’s haunted corn maze was out of the question.
“We didn’t feel we could do walk though experience and protect everybody that we wanted to do something completely different,” Stocker said.
The team at Stocker Farms decided on a unique idea. They turned a portion of their 70-acre farm into a drive-thru haunt.
“You’re coming into a scene, you’re parking your vehicle, we actually are putting wheel chocks in your car to make sure there’s not unintended movement, then actors come out, they do their thing, they pull back, we pull the wheel chocks you move on to the next scene and we do it all over again,” he said.
With a mixture of actors, sounds, air pumps and lights families can get the same type of scares they would from a haunted house in the safety of their car, socially distant from others.
“We don’t want to send anyone home with anything but maybe wet pants and a smile,” Stocker said.
In recent days health experts have noticed a slow increase in COVID-19 cases and worry this could become a trend and cause a spike this fall.
This is something Stocker says he’s considered and is taking precautions against, including hand sanitizers at every attraction at Stocker Farms, hiring extra staff to sanitize anything that is touched by guests, keeping scare actors separated and only allowing guests to purchase tickets online for certain time slots.
“We wouldn’t do this if we couldn’t do it safely,” he said. “A lot of people really enjoy coming out to pumpkin farms in general or coming out to haunted attractions specifically and we’re just trying to create a safe way to do that.”