Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour
By Kevin Biksacky
(Photo credit: Jesus Guzman)
I think something's down the hall...
And there were... many, many things....creepy things...
The Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour
was out this past Christmas season. It was a great time had by all. What bus tour, you ask? Why, the Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour, of course!
I suppose I need to explain a few things if you have never heard of such an event. The Lost Souls Bus Tour was an idea that was spawned
originally by Terry Mannix in 2016. His vision was to take people around to see haunted house attractions by bus. He would make advanced
reservations with a few local haunted houses, then charge riders for their ticket(s) all at once. The entire group would arrive at the
attraction and all riders would be ushered in, making it convenient for everyone. Terry needed something to keep the momentum going while
traveling, so enter Japes Palles, who was hired on as on-board talent. The two had partnered in 2017.
Japes' character Brewster Bonesaw
is the host and Brewster loves haunted houses. He is a seasoned actor/ manager in the Chicago haunt community. Japes ....well Brewster
had acted and has been a manager at local haunts such as 11th Hour, Asylum Experiment, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare, and Dream
Reapers. His skills did not keep him in Illinois. He's also worked in Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana and Wisconsin. Brewster loves to talk
and that's what he does. He is the emcee and will not let boredom be a factor. Not on his watch. Let's not forget about Terry who now
fills in all other jobs on the Lost Souls Bus Tour. Terry has done acting and makeup at the Brookfield Jaycees, Asylum Xperiment,
Massacre, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare, and SickHouse.
The Lost Souls Bus Tour has been operating the past few years during the month of October and they operate a few weekends
during the season. The bus departs from a single location. All of their haunt-loving guests are chauffeured around from three to four
specific attractions listed on that evenings' itinerary. Each time they head out, they visit a set of new haunts so planning your trip
is super simple. Going on this tour during the month of October can allow a person to hit the majority of pro haunts in the collar
counties of the Chicagoland area, and the best thing is you don't have to drive or worry about directions. You don't have to make sure
you have enough money, since your ticket purchase was paid for in advance. The best part! It's all VIP access. It's a party on wheels,
Brewster always has a story. He will often talk about the history or factoid of the haunt we are approaching.
So let's talk about the Xmas Bus Tour that I attended this past Christmas season. The pickup point was rather interesting; it
was a sort of "red headed stepchild" of social spaces called Outta Space. We were smack dab in the middle of the downtown Berwyn
nightlife. This location is an event / crafting / art space, a venue with a bar which highly supports craft beer. It is a one of a
kind place and is filled with creativity. In the past, during their October tours last year, they had used Reggies in Chicago and
Evil Intentions in Elgin, with Reggie's Rockin' Bus as the mode of transportation. This time around we had your normal run of the
mill school bus. Now this is fine, and no offense to Reggies Rockin' Bus, but the seating was a bit uncomfortable. Every other
seat faced each other which helps you make new friends... which is great, but interlacing your knees between your new found friends
makes it a bit more intimate. With the bus ride it's a BYOB policy, but don't overindulge, since there are no bathroom breaks while
on the road and limited facilities at the haunts. Plus, you don't want to be the one holding up the group. Brewster is there to make
it fun. There are raffles of items donated from various haunts and local Halloween vendors, social Jell-O shot salutes, and a 50/50
at the end of the night, with the other half of monies raised to tip our driver.
We had the opportunity to visit two southside haunts, Massacre
(Christmas Nightmare) in Montgomery and Basement of the Dead
(A Very Scary Axe-Mas) in Aurora. Both haunts were decked out! Each haunt had transformed all of their scenes, actors and their queue line in full Christmas
themed attire. Both had their photo ops with Santa. Massacre has been noted as the longest running Christmas show to date, and Basement did take the
extra step and invited special guest Kyle Vest from the show Skin Wars as Jack Frost. Massacre and Basement had done an equally fantastic job and
taken this winter celebration adding their special touches. We returned back to Outta Space and were greeted to their evening's scheduled
entertainment, a few local bands with a comedian to fill in the set changes. Pictures with "Santa Bonesaw" and food were provided by Haunted House Chicago.
Holiday haunt events like this allow many actors from surrounding haunts that are not operating in the "off season' to hone their
skills and keep the haunt bug alive. Guest acting at other locations is not only limited to the actors themselves. Makeup artists and
behind the scenes personnel can also stay in "haunt mode" when the availability is presented.
Speaking of other haunts and acting, many
Christmas themed shows
can be found every December in the Illinois area. Midnight Terror
in Oak Lawn, in Forest City Fright Night
Factory of Fear
in Melrose Park and
We are hoping to see more of this trend expanding in the coming years.
October planning for more tours will begin this summer. Some may be geolocated like the Southside tour or themed like the
Haunted Illinois top three for 2017. Japes still wants to bring back some of the added bonuses at the end of the evening that
you would not normally get if you went to visit on your own. In the past, there were offerings like a lights-on backstage tour,
guided FoH haunt tour, or an after party with food and drinks provided, all of which was part of your original ticket price.
Look for Brewster at your local haunt and convention in 2019 make sure you ask about the
Lost Souls Haunted House Bus Tour
This summer, plans will be created to bring more haunts and an expanded zone outside of the limiting borders of Illinois. I can't wait to
see what unfolds this October. I know I'm buying my ticket early. Unfortunately, the Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tour will not be making any
Valentine's Day runs. But many of the haunts noted above will be offering shows, check out the Haunted Illinois list of off-season attractions
to find out their schedule and locations.
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