RANTOUL, Ill. (WAND) - Thousands of hours and months of preparing go into making one of Illinois' top haunted houses run.
Baldwin Asylum is open and welcoming guests inside, if they dare. Named one of Illinois' Top Haunts by Haunted Illinois and voted Visitor's Favorite Haunts consecutively, the crew at Baldwin Asylum is known for their costuming and set design. Owner Marc Dams said they work year-round to be the best.
"We have to strive to make it as real as possible. People are so desensitized at this point," he shared.
The Baldwin Asylum is a journey through the aftermath of a witch's curse. Each room tells a story with intricate set design and detailed costuming. Dams and his team design and build their costuming and sets. Kyle Miller is an actor, but also works behind the scenes with building sets and keeping the animatronics going. He said they start building and changing rooms around every March.
"There's a lot of technical things that go into this that people don't really understand or think about," Miller said. "We don't just throw up a few curtains and say it's a haunted house, it's more in-depth than it used to be in years' past. We run a professional grade haunted house."
But it's not just the costuming and sets that make the haunted house run. Actors like Austin Yancy use a passion for horror films to create and make their character unique. He told WAND News he's worked with Baldwin for three years now.
Yancy said he enjoys putting on the makeup and costume. It's a time for him to turn into someone he's not and just have fun.
"Just go completely crazy in the makeup and it makes you feel different," he said.
The crew at Baldwin Asylum take great pride in the work they do, but for Dams, he couldn't do it without the actors and the community. While the pandemic threw a curve ball for many, the haunted house industry was one that waited on pins and needles for guidance. Dams said his haunted house was praised for the way it handled COVID-19 protocols, so this year leaders were prepared and ready to open.
Baldwin Asylum is open Friday and Saturday throughout the month of October. Then, on Halloween weekend, they are open the 28th through the 29th. To purchase tickets, click here.