The holidays are always a little scary, with crazy mall crowds and the pressure to give the perfect gift. But this year, at the vacant and hallowed Herberger’s in the Rosedale Center, Minnesotans had the chance to experience the sort of scares usually reserved for Halloween.
For the first time ever, the horror maestros behind Haunted Basement—a local October staple—created a winter holiday haunt experience. Dubbed “The Workshop,” and open December 6, 7, 13, and 14, it was all about putting a freaky spin on yule tide traditions.
A scene from "The Workshop." (Photo courtesy of Haunted Basement).
The attraction sold 400 tickets during its December run—modest, in comparison to 7,000 tickets sold for October, but Haunted Basement operations director Walker Friend says he was encouraged.
“We had a lot of people that had never been (to our Halloween show) or were walk-ups from the mall,” Friend says. “I think people really look for an escape from the holidays. We were excited to give people that outlet.”
Now the Haunted Basement, a nonprofit arts organization started by the now-defunct Soap Factory, is thinking about where the scares will happen in 2020. With Rosedale in the midst of a massive revamp that includes plans to redevelop the Herbergers store—potentially into a housing or mixed-use “village” according to the Star Tribune—Haunted Basement needs a new home.
The Holiday Workshop was entirely operated by volunteers, so that all proceeds could be used to cover storage expenses for Haunted Basement’s show props while they look for a new space.
This will be the organization’s third move in four years. In late 2016, it declared independence from the Soap Factory and moved into Building No. 9 of the old General Mills Research Facility in the Northeast. However, Friend said permitting issues forced them out after the 2018 season. That brought them to the Herberger’s building.
Friend says the group hopes their “bad luck” with homes ends and they settle somewhere long-term soon so that ultimately, they can deliver year-round programming. Because after all, it’s always spooky season.