This Halloween season, a New York haunted house is putting an inclusive spin on fright night. To help disabled guests get an authentically terrifying experience, the popular Goblin Manor has been redesigned to look just like the local Social Security Administration office, where people with disabilities routinely experience soul-crushing doom and despair. To create a realistic sense of Social Security-style horror, visitors to the new Goblin Manor are asked to line up with no food, water or places to sit beginning at 7:00 a.m., with no guarantee they will receive a ticket to enter.
Robert Green, 27, an SSI recipient and Halloween die-hard, says the new setup is scarier than any haunted house full of chainsaw-wielding hooded figures he has ever experienced. “I mean, wow,” exclaimed a clearly shaken Green. “The Goblin Manor employee dressed exactly like my caseworker and identified only by their last initial really got me. This haunted house really can inspire the same dread as my SSA review!”
Hannah Ellis, who plays the role of a condescending caseworker in Goblin Manor, said that shouting at guests about the possible discontinuation of benefits is rewarding and gives people with disabilities a Halloween adrenaline rush they won’t find anywhere else.
Ellis, known as Miss E among guests, continued, “At first I felt terrible giving dis — I mean … differently abled guests such a fright, but now I realize that we’re giving them a truly spectacular Halloween atmosphere by simulating their darkest fears. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to feel terrified this season and it’s my honor to tailor our haunted house to their very special existential anxieties. It’s, like, super inclusive, and will look really good on my resume.”
Ellis added that Goblin Manor even smells like a crusty federal building and features unexplained early closures on Wednesdays, just like a real SSA office. In one particularly horrifying section of the Manor, guests are interrogated by a staff member specially trained in hassling them about their ability to work. An essential part of training is teaching the staff to achieve the same level of self-loathing as an actual federal employee.
Chad Gates, manager of Goblin Manor, is proud to fill what he calls a “glaring gap in services.” Gates elaborated, “For our differently abled guests who are real Halloween enthusiasts, vampires and bats just weren’t doing it. They needed a scare that was truly relatable, and we have delivered. It’s so fulfilling to scare the shit out of these individuals.”
Goblin Manor will be open through November 1, and those looking for additional “fear factor” can pay an extra $3.75 to ride a struggling paratransit bus through the haunted house. Only exact change is accepted for the paratransit bonus experience and participants are not guaranteed a functioning vehicle.