The 2006 Halloween season will be the last for Rocky Point Haunted House in Salt Lake City, one of the most recognized commercial haunts in the United States, with about 55,000 people visiting each year.

“To have [Rocky Point] end is almost like losing a family member,” said Greg Andersen, co-owner of Solar Shock Pictures in Ogden. “I’m sad to hear that, but at the same time I can understand, too. [Cydney Neil] has been doing this for 20 years.” Andersen has been involved with Rocky Point for 17 years, first as a teenage actor and later as a sound engineer for the event. His wife and daughter work in the house’s concession stand during the Halloween season.

Neil, who has run the haunted house, which her brother started in Pleasant View as a neighborhood spook alley, for 20 years, works 18-hour days, seven days a week, six months of the year to keep Rocky Point going.

“The purpose of Rocky Point Haunted House was to create a place that could nurture a lot of kids who otherwise would not have had a place like it,” said Neil. “They’re prepared to go out and create their own valuable lives, hopefully in ways that can benefit others. I’m just going to cherish every single second I have left here.”

The house features has become a training ground for aspiring fright artists and for the past 10 years, has been run as a Boys and Girls Club program. “It was more than a haunted house,” said LeAnn Saldivar, director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, “it was a youth development program.” About 300 youth participate each year as actors, and the event’s profits, typically $25,000 to $50,000, are donated to the nonprofit group.

Early this week, Neil told the Salt Lake Tribune that the event had reached the end of its natural life, and that she couldn’t possibly sell “her baby” to another fright master. She said that her time at the haunted house has been a “calling” that is complete.

Of course, Rocky Point Haunted House won’t go out with a whimper. Neil has big plans for giving “her progeny” a proper burial, says the Salt Lake Tribune.

New and regular attractions include:

  • The “Lord of the Rings” set will be replaced by a “Pirates of the Scaribbean” attraction.
  • A slasher wax museum.
  • A haunted museum sharing behind-the-scenes history.
  • Freddy Krueger’s neighborhood.
  • A ghoul filled graveyard.
  • A haunted mansion.

The 26th and final season begins Sept. 1 and closes Halloween night. However Rocky Point will reopen in May for “Scream Break,” a two-week run of the haunted house, and a big funeral.

For more information, visit www.rockypointhauntedhouse.com