Michael Epps, owner of the A to Zen Gifts and Thrift shop, is no connoisseur of haunted houses, despite the fact he's had one in the back of his store for the past four years.
"They terrify me," he said. "They're something to be running from."
But when he heard that Michael Grimes decided against bringing his haunted house to Carson City this year, Epps was truly spooked.
"People come every year, some people even drive from California," Epps said. "We get a lot of repeat offenders, and we definitely want to keep the tradition going."
So Epps took over production, working in conjunction with Grimes, to transform the warehouse space behind the store into a frightening spectacle, The Dungeon, which opens Friday night.
"It's a massive undertaking to put it all together," Epps said. "But I like doing it. It's a total blast."
Volunteers from the community help to transform the 9,000-square-foot space into a maze of horror. They also serve as the actors, playing psychotic clowns, rabid doctors, zombies and all other fashion of monsters.
One room, Epps said, is the worst.
"The coffin room scares me the most," he said. "Most of our volunteers get creeped out in here just building the thing."
He said returning visitors can expect to see some of their favorite attractions, but will be surprised with new forms of terror as well.
"We've changed it up quite a bit actually," Epps said.
Working behind the scenes for the past few years, he said, has shown him the art that goes into creating a haunted house.
But that doesn't mean it's taken the alarm out of going through it once its finished.
"Even though I've seen the whole thing get put together, it still scares the crap out of me," he said.
If you go
WHAT: The Dungeon
WHEN: 7-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday; Oct. 19-20, 25-28 and 31
WHERE: A to Zen Gifts and Thrift, 1803 N. Carson St.
TICKETS: $13 at the door. Visit A to Zen on Facebook to buy tickets in advance for $10 each or $36 for a group of four.