Located in Cincinnati, The Dent Schoolhouse stands as one of the area's best haunted houses. It has also garnered national attention from HGTV, Travel Channel, Top Haunts Magazine, and Hauntworld.com. Crowds now line up every weekend from mid-September through November 3 for a night of fright, but it wasn't long ago that Dent's owners were creating haunted attractions in their Ft. Thomas yards.
By 2004, Dent's co-owners and Ft. Thomas natives, Bud Stross and Josh Wells, had already spent years perfecting their haunting skills by staging yard haunts in Ft. Thomas. The Majestic Nightmare and The Nightmare Manor were once located on Majestic Drive and Rosemont Avenue. When their yard haunts became too large, they knew it was time to move onto bigger, better, and scarier haunts. After purchasing Dent from the Boy Scouts in 2004, they spent their first season working alongside the Boy Scouts and shadowed their work. The new owners quickly learned that their haunted house needed to stand out from others in the area. In order to achieve this status, they knew the haunt needed to be fully themed. The 1950s era former schoolhouse and its history spawned The Dent Schoolhouse's frightening concept of a deadly academic institution. Dent's maniacal janitor, Charlie, now has a cult following throughout the tri-state area.
The team behind The Dent Schoolhouse are always looking for new ways to improve their work. The crew works year-round in preparation for haunting season. As soon as the doors close to the public in early November, the owners are already preparing for the next year's production. Construction occurs throughout the winter and spring months in preparation for their September opening.
Stross promises that this year's experience at Dent is crazier and more horrifying than ever. The entire first floor has been renovated, allowing for new frightening elements to emerge. Also, a new ending has been created, which utilizes school buses unlike anything you've experienced before (there's a good chance you'll never look at a seemingly innocent school bus the same way again). The Dent Schoolhouse's second attraction, a haunted maze aptly named Detention Hall, has been completely re-themed for this season. Detention Hall has fallen victim to a hostile clown takeover. Thanks a lot, guys. Now I'm going to have to face my repressed fear of clowns.
Dent especially appreciates support from Ft. Thomas residents. Stross enjoys seeing someone with Ft. Thomas or Highlands High School attire brave the hallways of Dent. Consider this your warning: Ft. Thomas residents aren't going to get any special treatment once they step into the schoolhouse. In fact, you might be setting yourself up for an even scarier trip through Dent by donning Ft. Thomas-centric clothing. Stross admits to playing on the pop culture of Ft. Thomas while scaring patrons.
It's clear that The Dent Schoolhouse is just the beginning for these Highlands grads, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they create in the future. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing it from a very safe, far away, monster-free distance.