CMC Haunted House returns this weekend
By Ashley M. Casey
While many of Central New York’s haunted houses and trails are located in Oswego County, horror enthusiasts and thrill seekers need not leave the northern suburbs to get their jolt of adrenaline. The dancers and families of CMC Dance Company have put on a haunted house since 2002 in Cicero.
About 30 families come together to scare the pants off Central New Yorkers each October so they can raise money to go to dance competitions. The CMC Haunted House was named “Best Boo for Your Buck” by ScaryCuse.com in 2018.
CMC owner Marj Taylor said her sister and her daughter love Halloween — “I personally like Christmas,” Taylor said — so they decided to capitalize on their passion and help the dancers raise money for their trips.
“It was the old Dixon farm. We didn’t want to knock down the barns. I loved the uniqueness of the barns — they were so creepy to walk in,” Taylor said of the property.
The dancers and their families dress in costume, complete with gory makeup, fake blood and prop weapons.
“A lot of the sets that are inside are former dance sets that they danced on throughout the year,” Taylor said. “A lot of it is recycled.”
The haunted house has incorporated elements from past dance sets such as a forest, an airplane and a dollhouse.
The attraction is not for the faint of heart, Taylor warned.
“It is tremendously scary,” she said. “I’ve had women who’ve had accidents in there, I’ve had people who’ve had to come out and couldn’t make it all the way through.”
Taylor puts her acting and makeup skills to good use at the haunted house.
“I never even go walk through the whole thing — I’m the biggest chicken there is — but I can scare people,” she said.
CMC’s 54 dance students range in age from 7 to 18. Dancers under 10 can work in the haunted house with a parent’s supervision.
“It can get a little bit aggressive,” Taylor said of visitors’ frightened responses. “We have a no-touch policy. We don’t touch them and they are not supposed to touch us.”
For scaredy-cats like Taylor, CMC offers a no-scare tour of the haunted house and a Halloween party for younger kids with costume contests and crafts.
The haunted house has become a family affair for CMC alumni.
“We have a lot of past students who participated with us bringing their kids,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the haunted house took a couple years off for renovations. A reporter from Syracuse.com called her to find out what happened to the popular attraction.
“It was a mud pit,” she said. “We didn’t realize how many people enjoy it until the couple years that we took off.”
CMC Dance Company is located near Cicero-North Syracuse High School and North Syracuse Junior High School, which is convenient for teenagers looking to be entertained.
“The location is perfect because we get a lot of the high schoolers and the junior high,” Taylor said. “There’s not a lot of activities for them to do. We have an outdoor movie with a bonfire. It just makes for a nice evening.”
CMC Dance Company’s Haunted House is located at 6092 Route 31 in Cicero. Tours take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 11, 12, 18,19, 25, 26. Admission is $17 per person; group discounts are available. Visit CMChaunts.com for more information.