Watch where you step, listen closely and be prepared to crouch, crawl and blindly feel your way through the haunted barns at the Bureau County Fairgrounds each weekend in October.

Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road opened the gates Friday for its sixth season at the fairgrounds.

"You will recognize nothing from last year," said director Dave Mead. "This has been the most labor intensive year."

About 80 volunteers, including actors, technicians, designers and prop operators, have worked since April to get this year's event in shape. But actually, Mead says the work began right after last year's was dismantled.

"We're still tweaking (the house)," he said before Friday's opening.

This year's house, Mead said, is more technically advanced than last year.

"We are far more animated and computer intensive than we've ever been," Mead said.

Many of the props are completely handmade by Dan Clark and Jeff Gilbert, volunteers who Mead says disappear between November and April but when they come back in the spring bring terrifying ideas to the table.

Inspirations for many of this year's attractions have come from top grossing horror movies in recent years including the "Saw" series, which depicts unwilling prisoners being slaughtered in increasingly violent and gory ways.

"Those are the top grossing movies each year," Mead said.

Attractions also will include a haunted hayrack ride and a small corn maze, and Mead promises it still will be an intense experience. Younger visitors are welcome to attend the kid's fun fair, where the lights are on and games are available for the faint of heart.

While many of the attractions are completely different this year than what was featured last year, a few old standbys have been included.

Visitors last year got dizzy inside the vortex, a spinning, neon, tunnel further agitated by 3-D glasses. This year's haunted house features an additional vortex.

"You want to be different; you want to see a totally different concept," Mead said.

Fans of "The Exorcist" will recognize a full re-creation of the scene where Father Damien Karras attempts to coax the devil out of possessed teenager Regan MacNeil, complete with her spinning head and a very animated chest of drawers.

Prisoners will be kept in an actual jail cell used by authorities in Lanark, Ill., from the 19th century up to the 1950s.

More than 2,000 people came to last year's event, Mead said. The advent of the Internet has allowed more people to hear about the haunted fairgrounds - as many as 63 came from as far as Chicago last year.

All proceeds go back to the Bureau County Fair, Mead said.

Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road will be open every Friday and Saturday in October.

From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the lights will be on for younger visitors or those who may not want the full intensity of it. The last tickets will be sold at 9:30 each night, and every ticketholder will see the full show.

Tickets are $7 and that includes the tour through the haunted barns, hayrack ride and corn maze. The Kid's fun fair will request a $1 donation.

There also will be a bonfire each night, and concessions will be sold at the Mummy's Eatery.

"There's no other haunt that can give you what we give you for $7," Mead said.

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