SPOOKY OLD SHED: Jaycees Fear Laboratory is open and accepting new patients

Jessica Coker
Fourth-year volunteer, Shannon Sutton, applies the finishing touches to Jessica Ross's makeup before Jaycees opens its doors to guests.

From a haunted HAZMAT area to a mad scientist’s playground, Destin’s Fear Laboratory is open for business on the Destin harbor.

Mikel Elliott and the Jaycees are the proverbial puppet-masters who chose Fear Laboratory as this year's spooktacular, bone-chilling theme.


Elliott recently offered The Log a behind the screams tour of the haunted house. The annual haunted house, which is being held at the old Shed BBQ and Blues Joint at HarborWalk Village, is a mad scientist's dream — made-up of extreme experiments that have gone badly wrong, quarantine hospital areas and biological hazard areas complete with a dangerous cocktail of noxious gases.

In walking through the rooms, even during the day with the bright Destin sunshine beaming through the windows, your heart starts to race and your body begins to fall behind as your feet instinctively try to get you out of there as quickly as possible.

"The urge to run through as fast as you possibly can is natural," said Elliott.

But he's trying to avoid that if at all possible during this year's haunted house. He said he wants guests to "slow down" and experience everything the Fear Laboratory has to offer, with each room being more of a macabre mess than the last.

The haunted house is typically held in a different location each year, which only enhances the overall experience for guests, who literally don't know what is waiting for them around every corner. This is the first year the haunted house is being held at a location that is more than one story.

Elliott said he and the others plan to take full advantage of both floors in more ways than one. He doesn’t want to spoil the eerie element of surprise, but with its multiple stairways, long hallways and outdoor space, the Fear Laboratory is sure to petrify patients of all ages.

"We're going to play different music in each room, so it sets the tone as soon as you walk through every door," said Elliott.

Even though the creepy crib seems much larger because of the second story, it actually has fewer rooms.

"We usually have about 10-15 rooms in our haunted house every year, this year we have about seven," said Elliott.

Jaycees haunted house slowly opened their creaky doors on Friday Oct. 19 for a soft opening weekend.

They will happily and spookily start scaring guests nightly on Thursday Oct. 25 until Wednesday Oct. 31 from 7 p.m. until the last person runs out screaming.

Tickets to the ghoulish haunted house are only $8 and benefit charities like Give-A-Kid-A-Christmas and Thanksgiving Baskets.

Jaycees is meant to be fun, but volunteers want everyone to remember that the point is to scare people so it's recommended for children over the age of 10. For more information or to volunteer call 642-5292.