Pekin Paintball Park will become Pekin Haunt in October, offering a particularly aggressive method of confronting the undead.
From 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, patrons can ride through the park, located at 14444 Towerline Drive, in two-story trailers fitted with 20 mounted paintball guns that allow them to dispatch attacking “zombies” back to whatever afterlife they escaped from. The attraction is in its seventh year.
“My husband and I visited a friend who owned a paintball park in St. Louis,” said Amanda McKinley, Pekin Paintball Park and Pekin Haunt co-owner. “They had a haunted attraction there, and we thought we’d try it here.”
For patrons who prefer to confront their supernatural creatures on foot, unarmed and face-to-face, Pekin Haunt also offers a haunted corn maze.
“It’s completely different from just walking through a haunted house,” said McKinley. “As far as I know, we have the only haunted corn maze in the area and we have the only two-story trailers, or battlewagons, as we call them.”
McKinley said Pekin Haunt sees anywhere between 100 and 500 visitors a night, depending on the weather. First-time patron Noble Morgan, 11, of East Peoria, had heard about the attraction from a family friend and relished the prospect of obliterating zombies.
“I thought it would be fun to come here,” he said. “I heard some really good things about this place.”
Pekin Haunt, like any other haunted attraction, depends on costumed volunteers to provide the haunting. The attraction has managed to recruit volunteers each season by matching their tasks to their interests whenever possible, said volunteer Makayla Tabb of Canton.
“I volunteered last year, because I felt like I needed something to do in the fall,” she said. “They let me do makeup for some of the volunteers in addition to lurking in the corn maze. I like doing makeup, so I came back this year to help out with that.”
Pekin Haunt costs $15 for the battle wagon ride and $10 for the corn maze. The Gold package is $20 and includes the battle wagon ride and access to the corn maze. It’s $10 to ride the battle wagon each time after the first ride. An extra 100 paintballs costs $5. For more information, visit www.pekinhaunt.com.