Haunted basement ride brings scares to North Huntingdon | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Haunted basement ride brings scares to North Huntingdon

click to enlarge Springwood Manor - PHOTO: JUSTIN NIEDZWECKI
Photo: Justin Niedzwecki
Springwood Manor
It’s that time of year again for all things spooky: haunted hayrides, scarehouses, fright nights, and more. In North Huntingdon, just 30 minutes east of Downtown Pittsburgh, is a haunted ride with a twist — the attraction is in the owners’ basement, and it’s for a good cause.

Springwood Manor is run and owned by Justin Niedzwecki and Colleen Murtha. The pair are big fans of all things horror, and this isn't Niedzwecki's first "home haunt," a spooky attraction set up in a person's own living quarters.

“About 10 years ago, I used to live in White Oak,” says Niedzwecki. “Me and my buddies all love Halloween. I did a home haunt in my two-car garage and basement. The local community came, and I donated to the Animal Safe Haven in White Oak.”

This year, a portion of the proceeds made will go to Bryce and Elsie’s Buddies, a foundation spreading awareness and working towards a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. It was also created by Murtha’s best friend Shelley whose kids, Bryce and Elsie, were both diagnosed with the genetic disorder.

“We love Shelley and Luke, and we wanted to support them,” Murtha says. “They are wonderful people and a wonderful family.”

Niedzwecki says he stopped doing his first home haunt when he had kids, but when they got older, he decided that if they were into it, they could be a part of the fun. He brought the idea to Murtha in January to host the haunted ride in their basement, and she was all in.

He compares the ride to Ghostwood Estate at Kennywood, as people get to ride through the basement as opposed to walking through it like a typical haunted house. Visitors will ride through eleven rooms, and the Springwood Manor website boasts that "while the ride lasts around three minutes, it feels like eternity."

“We have live actors, and a lot of them are our kids or parents of the kids involved so it’s a family affair,” he says. “That’s the kind of audience we’re trying to attract — the parents with their kids.”

The pair are excited to bring something new and fun to the community.

“Nothing gives you a better feeling than scaring people and then hearing them laugh,” Niedzwecki says. “People pay to get scared and that’s the whole point. That’s awesome.”

Murtha adds she's excited to provide a fun activity for locals to attend. “I bet most people have been to a haunted house before, but most people haven’t been to a home haunt," she says.

And Niedzwecki and Murtha aren’t the only ones involved who are excited for the experience — two of their kids, Ryan Sypolt and Katalina Niedzwecki, want everyone to know they are also willing to provide scares.

“Dressing up like an actor, this is going to be really big,” Sypolt says.

Katalina says she's ready for her friends to show up so she can scare them, too. “I’m excited to scare people and see their reactions,” she says. “I’ve always been wanting to do this.”

The home haunt will be open every Friday and Saturday this month starting Fri., Oct. 8 from 6-10 p.m. For those who love Halloween but don't want to be scared, the family will open one additional hour at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 30 for a no live-actor ride through. On Halloween day, Oct. 31, they will be open from 8-10 p.m.
Springwood Manor. Fri., Oct. 8-Sun., Oct. 31. 1738 Pickford St., North Huntingdon. $12 per person. facebook.com/springwoodmanor, instagram.com/springwoodmanor, and springwoodmanor.com

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