Zombies ‘r’ us: ‘Walking Dead’ fans in for a treat at annual Halloween event | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 6, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm
By JULIE HOFF
Like to be scared senseless? Enjoy watching the AMC series “The Walking Dead?” Then you’ll love Cottageville’s hometown Halloween attraction, the Reaper’s Dungeon.
The event features treks through haunted woods and a hair-raising hayride — and will be even more terrifying this year thanks to donations of paint, props, costumes and sets from Boone Hall Plantation’s annual Fright Nights Halloween event.
The donation is valued at $500,000, Reaper’s Dungeon founder Craig Crosby said. “They got a bunch of new stuff, and donated their old props to us. We even have a zombie town,” he said.
The Reaper’s Dungeon opens Friday Oct. 13 and runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until Halloween is over. General admission is $8 or $12 for a “RIP Fast Pass.”
Oct. 13 is military appreciation night, with free admission for active or retired military with ID. Saturday Oct. 14 is first responders’ night with free admittance for dispatchers, EMS, police, firefighters, doctors and nurses.
The 2017 event also will feature actors Amber Dawn Fox, Josh D’Agnostino, Skip Bartlett and Amanda Beam of the wildly popular TV show “The Walking Dead.” The actors will be available for autographs and photos in Town Council chambers, Crosby said.
Crosby, of Cottageville, started Reaper’s Dungeon in 2010 when he was a school resource officer with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2009, during the recession, “when nobody had any money,” Crosby said, another officer at a Myrtle Beach SRO suggested buying post-Halloween items on sale, and using them for a haunted house fundraiser the next year.
“It turned out I was the only one who bought anything,” Crosby said.
He pushed ahead with the plan, and for the first couple of years the haunted house was in Walterboro. Since 2014, it’s been in Cottageville at the municipal complex on Salley Ackerman Drive. Thanks to word of mouth and plenty of activity on social media, the Reaper’s Dungeon now draws hundreds of attendees each year and has its own board of directors.
Tours start about every seven minutes, he said. “Last year we had somewhere around 1,500 people. On Halloween night alone it was around 600, the most we’d ever had.” This year he expects those numbers to triple with the new props and “The Walking Dead” actors.
How did an event in a tiny rural town land Hollywood players? “One of our board members, Rebecca Eggers, has run a ‘Walking Dead’ fan site for years and has thousands of followers,” Crosby said. Eggers has made contacts at several fan-based events like Walker Stalker Con, and her networking paid off in access to the actors.
Crosby, now employed by the public safety department at the Medical University of South Carolina, said proceeds from the event are divided: Some funds go back into the project; a percentage is donated to Town Council’s revitalization committee; a portion is used to help needy local families at Thanksgiving or Christmas; and some goes to the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Colleton County High School.
Reaper’s Dungeon has liability insurance, “and our paperwork for our 501© [status] is being completed,” Crosby said.
Work on the all-volunteer event goes on year-round. For students, it’s a good way to log the community service hours required by their schools or service projects, he said.
For additional info, visit www.reapersdungeon.com.