ALBION, Idaho — Halloween is just a couple of days away and that means it's time for some scary good fun with costumes, candy, jack-o-lanterns, and of course, haunted houses. The Haunted Mansions of Albion is just under three hours away from Boise and is a spooky fun event for all ages.
The haunted mansions are located at the original Albion State Normal School, an old college campus established in 1893. The owner of the Haunted Mansions of Albion said the community petitioned the State of Idaho to bring a college to Albion. The stage agreed to do so if the community would come together and build the first building, which is now a museum.
"Over time, it closed down, and then they had the Magic Valley Christian College come in also during I believe the '60s and '70s," said Heather Mortensen, owner of the Haunted Mansions of Albion. "Then from my understanding, they had a few other small groups come in but then it was abandoned and they boarded up all the windows."
The City of Albion then had to take care of the campus and keep people out. In 2008, Mortensen bought the buildings and took it over, and started the renovation process and cleaning out the buildings.
Actors are hired to increase the spook factor. They show up a few hours before opening to put on their makeup and get into their costumes, which vary depending on their role and which building they are in.
"I just love it. I love the atmosphere, I love all the other actors," said Kaitlan Martinez. "It's just a great place to work. It's fun scaring people, making grown men scream like little girls. It's probably my favorite."
Some of the actors do believe the buildings are haunted, saying they feel people around them and seeing shadowy figures and glowing orbs of light.
"I believe it is haunted, but I haven't seen enough of it to tell you like fully, oh yeah it's haunted," said Clayton Bohon, another actor at the Haunted Mansions of Albion. "I just have some very rare experiences here. I've seen things that I think it's someone else walking through the building and I go and try to say hi to them or something like that and no one would be there."
You still have time to check out the Haunted Mansions of Albion this year. They do close on Halloween and it is encouraged to buy your tickets in advance on the Haunted Mansions of Albion website.
During the rest of the year, the campus is used as a retreat for large groups, family reunions, corporate events or any large gathering. Weddings are also frequently held on campus grounds. There are two halls available for rent and a cottage that sleeps 15 to 16 people. There is also camping available on the campus with the rental of Miller Hall. For more information on the Albion Campus Retreat, click here.