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Hilo Axe Lounge ratchets up the scares with spooky Halloween haunted house

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One of the children actors helping at the Hilo Axe Lounge Haunted House poses for a photo Sunday night at the lounge. Photo Credit: Chris Nunes.

As spine-chilling screams streamed from the bowels of the Hilo Axe Lounge on Sunday night,  a creepy cacophony seeped through to the floor above. Group after group descended into the darkness with ghouls lurking in the menacing maze.

“It was as scary as I was hoping it would be,” said Victorya Rivera of Hilo.

The Hilo Axe Lounge is freaking out people of all ages this Halloween with its first-ever haunted house attraction, with eight rooms of terror, each with a different theme.

There’s a space with spiders and a room dedicated to the 2002 thriller “The Ring.”

Axe Lounge owner Andrew Hammond said his personal favorite is the “cutting room,” where bodies are cut up and split open under fountains that continuously ooze blood.

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The other room themes, like the haunted house’s actors, can change. But the scariness of the attraction depends on what the group going through at the time wants. Candles are provided that children — or adults — can hold to tell the actors to be gentle. The terror can also be ratcheted up for those looking for even more of a fright.

“What I do is if people really want it scary, then I tell the guide before they come in they want it super, super scary,” Hammond said.

There also are guided tours of the haunted house available.

A creepy jester was part of the frightening fun Sunday night at the Hilo Axe Lounge Haunted House. Photo by Megan Moseley.

Itʻs a hair-raising, terrifying good time for anyone who dares to enter.

The haunted house will be open from 7-10 p.m. Thursday, 7-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7-10 p.m. Sunday and Halloween night. It could stay open later the night of Oct. 31, depending on how many people are down for a fright.

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The attraction costs $10, but that can vary when bundled with throwing axes or special events happening at the lounge.

Hammond had wanted to create a haunted house at the Axe Lounge for a while. When he was a child growing up in Northern California, he didn’t enjoy going trick-or-treating, but he loved getting sweets. So he asked his parents if he could create a haunted house attraction at the family home. Admission was candy.

The Axe Lounge moved into its new location about a year ago, providing Hammond with the opportunity to create a haunted house as an adult.

Hammond said depending on the night, there are between eight and 15 actors who work in the haunted house. All of them are from the island and many are friends of the lounge or who saw the event online and wanted to help out. Some are even keiki, who can fit into places adults cannot.

Rivera, who attended the haunted house with a group of friends, said the actors and actresses portraying the ghastly ghouls were phenomenal and appeared to be taking great delight in scaring the bejesus out of them. 

There’s plenty to do for Halloween, including a haunted house attraction, at the Hilo Axe Lounge at 301 Keawe St. in downtown Hilo. Photo by Zak Silva-Sampaio.
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The screams can be heard even while real axes, knives and other things you can throw are thumping and thudding loudly on the floor above in the axe-throwing lanes.

The haunted house opened on Oct. 13 and has evolved. For Halloween weekend, the Axe Lounge will be kicking it up a notch with a special theme planned.

“We have learned and grown with and changed things along the way to make [Halloween weekend] insane,” Hammond said.

There also will be costume contests on Friday and Saturday nights and Boooo Fest on Friday.

For more information about the haunted house and the other freaky fun planned for Halloween at the Hilo Axe Lounge, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. The lounge is located at 301 Keawe St. in downtown Hilo.

The Hilo Axe Lounge is not the only place this weekend to get in a few scares or celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. For a list compiled by Big Island Now of some of the other Halloween events happening around the island, click here.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, starting out as a reporter and working his way up to become a copy editor and page designer, most recently at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo.
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