BRYAN, Texas — The sounds of terrified patrons walking through haunted houses were few and far between during last year’s Halloween, as festivities were scaled back due to the raging case numbers of COVID-19.
“We want them to come through and scream and yell, but we don't want to get sprayed,” Cindy Roberts, the co-creator of Fright Nights in Bryan, College Station said.
Roberts first began her scary adventures in the garage of her Central Texas home, during a time when her twin daughters were young enough to still enjoy the spooky festivities, but too old to go trick or treating.
11 years and a few business partnerships later, Fright Nights grew into a spot of over 6,500 square feet.
The virus, though, posed a threat to the business.
“Last year with COVID, we were really worried we weren't going to be able to do it,” she admitted.
However, the pandemic didn’t scare her away.
“We worked with a lot of mannequins that people think they're real but they're not,” Roberts explained the magic. “When it's dark and the lighting is just right,” he continued on while laughing.
A lack of staff is something that usually plagues seasonal business, but this year, it seems more than ever before.
That problem isn't the only one creating challenges for business owners.
“There's also the complaining factor of the supply chain,” Dr. Rob Tennant, the economics chair at Texas A&M Central Texas said. “We don't know how available products will be for businesses.”
Roberts isn’t worried about that though, in fact, many small businesses in the Brazos Valley are looking forward to getting back to some sort of normal.
“They're [small business owners] really looking forward to some new things we have in store, and some of our old favorite events,” said Abigail Noel, the spokesperson for Destination Bryan explained. “This year we're just really trying to encourage the public not just to come for the event but to come, you know, before the event, have dinner and enjoy an entire evening in downtown Bryan.”
A list of events and fall activities in Bryan can be found here.