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      Haunted houses are scary, money-making machines

      Halloween, the holiday of ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins, has become frighteningly popular for many reasons.

      Haunted attractions, such as haunted houses, are a huge lure to Halloween enthusiasts.

      According to a national retail survey, 20 percent of the 158 million Halloween consumers will go to haunted attractions this year.

      "Sitting on Santa's lap as a child is a tradition, going to haunted houses on Halloween is a tradition, I believe," said Piotr Motolko, who has visited haunted houses since he was young.

      Ripley's Haunted Adventure in Myrtle Beach is one of many spooky attractions in our area.

      Although it is open all year, the Haunted Adventure will do something unique for Halloween.

      This year, the space has been transformed into an insane asylum.

      "Last week when we opened our doors, we were crowded like every day. Just people wanting to come in and be scared," said Ripley Entertainment Marketing and Public Relations Director Jessica Mula.

      Mula said there were a few thousand people in attendance, which she says is a lot for this time of year since peak tourism season is officially over.

      To keep the big crowds coming back each year, those in charge of operating haunted houses in our area said they strive to make these haunted attractions even scarier than the year before.

      "The haunted houses feel like they need to step up their game to catch up with the movies and the TV shows that the guests are watching on TV. So I feel like we've had to step up our game a little more scary, to attract those people to come and to be terrified," Mula said.

      Ripley's would not reveal how much money their haunted attraction brings in each year, but some big haunted attractions across the nation can rake in up to $3 million in a season.