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Halloween Hacks: Building a dark ride in a garage

Instead of the usual Jack-o-lanterns and creepy Halloween decorations, [Rick Murphy] built a dark ride in his garage a few years ago.

In case you’ve never been fortunate enough to see one in person, a dark ride is a track-based haunted house meant to be experienced on a small cart. Usually featuring sound, light, and animatronic displays, dark rides can be just as entertaining now as when you were eight years old.

[Rick]‘s dark ride, “Scream in the Dark” was built in his 2-car garage over a few years. The kids that went though the ride were genuinely scared, but that made the kids in line even more curious – just the reaction [Rick] wanted.

The build is for the most part completely modular. The track is made up of 4-foot square panels that have either a straight track or 90 degree bend. The modular design means [Rick]‘s garage doesn’t need to be a dark ride the entire year. The cart rides on this curved, raised track with the help of a few gear motors and 12 V battery pulled from a Power Wheels.

There’s a great gallery of the interior of the dark ride and a video after the break. If you’d like to build your own dark ride, check out dafe.org for a whole bunch of dark ride and fun house enthusiasts.

Comments

  1. heatgap says:

    Wow! Very cool idea. From the looks of it his hard work payed off. The kids and parents seem to love it.

    For a garage project this has to be one of the best self-made Halloween projects I’ve ever seen.

    Great job!

  2. 1000100 1000001 1010110 1000101 says:

    Wow

  3. Chadious Rexxus says:

    The build was done in 2003, video uploaded in 2006 — I wonder what it looks like today!

  4. Hirudinea says:

    Why wasn’t this guy in my neighbourhood when I was a kid!?

  5. randy says:

    that brings me back to some school tours as a kid. One spot i went to had black dark wooden carpeted tunnels running all around every room in a wax museum at different slopes and the whole class would dive for it and someone would get claustrophobic and then everyone would have to back out again.

  6. AnarKIT says:

    This is downright splendid!

    Just when I thought I had seen all there was to see with DIY haunts, its refreshing to see something so creative and well executed.

    If you’ll excuse me, I must be going back to my own drawing board now.

  7. spooky! :-)

  8. Grovenstien says:

    This is really good! I’m sure this is normally called a Ghost Train, dark ride sounds like a really bad acid trip! Not that I know anything about tripping?!

    • that1guy says:

      Ghost Train? I’ve never heard that term. Dark ride refers to the type of ride it is, and I would also call it a “haunted house” type attraction like at a small fair.

  9. Blue Footed Booby says:

    “All board step right this way
    The dark ride is leaving soon
    Just sign your name on the dotted line
    All I want is just your soul
    Tighten your belt and lets go
    Standing in line to get to the fairground
    Heading to the wicked side
    One way ticket, there is no returning
    Leave your soul at the gates”

  10. Tom the Brat says:

    How great is that!

  11. Ren says:

    It’s this time of year that I especially loathe the Instructables site because of Halloween this, Halloween that…

    Now HaD is doing it…

    • Horse-Pheathers says:

      Yes, how dare people have fun with the most popular holiday in the country? Why, it’s enough to give one the vapors!

      On a separate note: fun build. I wish I had the space and the time to do something like this myself. :)

  12. MrDan says:

    This is great.

    In the UK we call this a Ghost Train. We would call it a Haunted House if you were to walk around it.

  13. James Horecka says:

    I’ve seen this in person, and ridden it. Rick did a wonderful job, including making fresh improvements each year. Delightfully creative, mechanically clever.

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