The Northern Westchester Examiner

Zombies Invade Cortlandt at Scared By The Sound

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The entrance to Scared By The Sound is lit by an eerie red glow.
The entrance to Scared By The Sound is lit by an eerie red glow.

By Dean Tomasula

After 13 seasons of scaring families at its Playland location, Scared By The Sound has packed up its Zombies, Ghouls and Ghosts and moved its haunted house to Cortlandt. Now bigger than ever, the haunted attraction features a Crypt Walk, The Haunted Wine Cellar, a Creepy Morgue, Tunnels of Doom and new this year, the Zombie Zone.

Also new this year is the Pumpkin Blaze, which lines the pathway as you enter the new 13,000-square- foot attraction, noted Dina Sciallo, Scared By The Sound’s manager. In addition, the entire attraction is indoors, which she said will eliminate any weather worries–-something that plagued the attraction in the past.

“Everything is indoors now,” Sciallo said. “Even the line to get in is indoors. For the past three Octobers there has been some crazy weather going on.”

Scared By The Sound’s season runs from October 4 to November 2. It is open on weekends only, and Halloween. The attraction is located at 2305 Crompond Rd (at Route 202). Admission is $15.50 per person.

Connor Costello, son of owner Pat Costello, is responsible for the attraction’s visual and sound effects. He also prides himself in providing an authentic experience, with authentic props. In the library, there are more than 3,500 real books on the shelves. And in the wine cellar, there are more than 4,000 bottles of wine in the racks.

A haunted piano is one of the attractions in the Haunted House.
A haunted piano is one of the attractions in the Haunted House.

Sciallo noted Scared By The Sound was not forced out of its Playland location by Hurricane Sandy. She said the elder Costello was looking to move to a larger facility for a while before the storm. A combination of the storm, slow reconstruction at Playland and political realities forced his hand.

“We’ve grown a lot,” she said. “We started out with about nine actors. Last year we had 75 actors. We overbooked ourselves.” This year they have about 45 actors.

Pat Costello started to look seriously for new space last winter. Hurricane Sandy caused nearly $5 million worth of damage to Playland’s Ice Casino. Its roof and heating system were destroyed and the building sustained extensive structural damage. The county plans to have the roof replaced by the second quarter of 2014. The storm also destroyed most of Scared By The Sound’s electrical equipment and its sets. Hurricane Sandy and an unusual Halloween snowstorm in 2011 ruined the attraction’s most popular weekends of the year.

“They [Playland] couldn’t promise us any space,” Sciallo said. “We couldn’t take a year off,” to wait for repairs to be completed.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Scared By The Sound’s longtime Managing Director Dorina Dilullo died suddenly last year. She was with the company since the beginning and was responsible for guiding the actors.

But, as in the old show business adage, the show must go in. And at Scared By The Sound, it does.

“The big deal is that we are back after two huge disappointments at Playland, we are all enclosed now and the show goes on in memory of our main actor manager,” Pat Costello said in a recent interview.

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