From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division
Come on in, my pretties….don’t mind the dark; we’re upgrading the electrical system to stand up to apparitions that go bump in the night. So just follow the person with the flashlight, because nothing could possibly go wrong during your visit to the Haunted Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Navy, right?
At least that’s Laura Hockensmith’s plan from 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. As the chief ghoul for the All Things Creepy Division within Naval History and Heritage Command, Hockensmith will be inviting one and all to come visit her dark and twisty department hidden among the static displays of the National Museum’s Cold War Gallery.
There’s Arachnophobia Alley where creepy, crawlies wait to pounce on unsuspecting prey. Those who make it past the eternal-looping NMCI web will then be treated to Autopsy Avenue. Who knows, perhaps it will be the body of John Wilkes Booth once again being examined at the Washington Navy Yard…but WHY IS IT STILL MOVING?? And over there, could that be the missing leg of Col. Ulric Dahlgren?
Still unscathed? Then peek into Black Hole Boulevard, because what Cold War Museum wouldn’t have a section to feature the Space Race between Russia and the United States? But don’t look too deep, because that screaming from deep within may be the last sound you hear on Earth.
Tours will be from 4-7 pm. for children 12 and under, while those braver teens who know it all may try to make it through from 7:30-10 p.m.
While the sweet innocents…er…children are waiting to enter the haunted gallery, they can take advantage of arts and crafts time, making treat bags, Halloween-themed picture frames, masks and key chains. There were also be Halloween-themed movies playing in the Constitution Gun Deck, Hockensmith said. And what visit to a Navy Yard wouldn’t be complete without a tattoo (temporary, of course).
Hockensmith commanded her first terror troupe in 2006 when it was hosted onboard the Historic Display Ship Barry. It was held every year since then on the ship until 2013 when the base tightly restricted assess following the Washington Navy Yard shooting the previous month. In previous years, more than 1,000 people would attend the free, family-friendly event, depending on the weather.
But this time, Barry is closed to the public while it prepares for annual maintenance and the pier gets renovated.
It takes about a week to set up the haunted galleries, Hockensmith said, and getting the nearly two-dozen actors/tour guides prepared for their night of terror. While getting on base requires a little extra time, Hockensmith said there will be escorts at the Visitor’s Center bringing people in regularly. All they need is a photo identification for those 18 and older.
“We’ve had a few visitors pee their pants, but mostly it’s all for laughs and having a good time,” Hockensmith said.
For event and access information, call 202-433-6897. And just in case, pack some extra diapers…for children and adults.
To read our nod to the Addams Family tune, click here.