We started our adventure into haunting in the fall of 1993. Our kiddos were young, and we set up a haunted trail to frightfully delight the brave ones who ventured into our haunted woods. Initially, we invited just friends and family. The next year, they invited their friends, and before long it was a yearly tradition.
Our friends urged us to share our unique Halloween event with the many local haunt enthusiasts. People will come they said, people most definitely will come. Just as in “Field of Dreams” people will travel for miles in the October moonlight just for the experience. They’ll drive down that long dark spooky lane, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive on the dark cool October nights, as innocent as children, anxiously awaiting trick or treat night just longing for the innocence of their youth. “Come in, come in, don’t be afraid”, and they’ll walk off to the queue line and wait on a chilly October evening. They wait their turn to enter just as they did when they were young. They scream with frightful delight as they pass through the terrifying scenes as if they were transformed into a Hollywood movie. The thrill of Halloween has marked a special place in our history. For many, the haunted house experience is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was innocent and just plain fun. People will come they said, People will most definitely come….. and the legacy of Terror in the Woods was born.
From 1993 – 2007 we haunted the woods along the Wapsipinicon River at our property in rural Scott County, Iowa. Year after year tens of thousands of thrill seekers would make the journey out to experience Terror in the Woods. Many waiting for hours just for the thrill of the scare! It was in those early days we asked ourselves how could we turn this event into an opportunity to help others? Hence, our Paying it Forward foundation began first by supporting the local North Scott Food Pantry. Thousands of pounds of canned food and money donations were given to this worthy cause helping many local families in need. As the years rolled on the popularity of the haunt was extraordinary! Families would plan their fall Halloween entertainment to include a trip to Terror in the Woods, a unique experience unlike any other local haunt. The popularity of this event became legendary so much so we were deemed too scary for Iowa! And the search began for a suitable location to expand our vision (or nightmare!)
In 2009, during a severe economic meltdown, we went ahead embarking on a new adventure and purchased the former Rock Island Masonic Temple. Built in 1913, this 28,000 square foot building was the perfect fit to bring our brand of haunt entertainment back to life! At that moment, Skellington Manor took its first breath. We chose the name “Skellington Manor” to bring a bit of flair to the building a creep factor that had a bit of a regal undertone. We continue to reference “Terror in the Woods”, to identify our haunt roots, which continue to thrive! Because of the expansive size and uniqueness of the building, this also gave us the opportunity to expand our brand with other possibilities. By the fall of 2009 we added Murder Mystery Dinners and Wedding Receptions rentals to our offerings. In 2016, Escape Room games were added to the entertainment option list.
Fast forward to 2024. We are truly humbled by the experience. Over the past 30 years of entertaining the Quad Cities, our customer base has grown exponentially and, according to the thousands of 5-star reviews, we are on the right track! We are very grateful for this opportunity to put so many smiles on faces (or nightmares at bedtime), whatever creates a lasting memory! Thank you to our many devoted fans over this incredible journey. Without you, none of this could be possible.
Our Paying it Forward foundation has now partnered with Fishers of Men Ministry and Pastor Joshua Ngao to help families in need across Kenya, Africa. We have assisted in fresh water well drilling projects that impact tens of thousands lives in a positive way. Giving the gift of fresh clean water to those in need opens so many opportunities for Kenyan families. It is truly life changing. We are humbled to think those people were praying for a miracle and a group of haunters across the globe heard their call. We are humbled, grateful and truly blessed to play a role in doing God’s work.
As we look to the future, and the many opportunities this blessing has given us, we are so thankful that God has chosen us to be his tool and touch so many lives in so many ways.
From the bottom of hearts,
THANK YOU for allowing us to be a part of your memories!
Michael and Penni Steen