Just east of Waubonsie State Park on the corner of 278th Avenue and Highway 2, a new structure was completed this month that lights up the night sky on weekends, beckoning to passing motorists. That building is home to “Hwy 2 Hell,” a Christian haunted house that brings to life the horrors depicted in the Bible’s book of Revelation.
Fred Humpal and his wife Shantae recently moved to Fremont County, and he said they moved here specifically to build a Christian haunt . Humpal said he heard a calling from God to do so in 2017, and once planted in his head, it wouldn’t go away.
The two began looking for an acreage, and Humpal said God showed them where to go. They moved into the property located at the same address in November of 2019, and construction on the Christian haunt on the property began in February. He added that they love living here in this beautiful, peaceful county, and the community has been very welcoming to them.
Construction continued right up to the day of the haunt’s opening, and the couple continues to tweak the scenes as the month passes.
The Hwy 2 Hell Facebook page describes the haunt as: “A theatrical Christian alternative to the traditional haunted house.”
Humpal said it is like walking through a play going on all around the visitor. There is a written script so every room has a coherent theme and story line. Actors will talk to the visitors, but no answer or participation is expected. Main characters escort visitors through the 15 scenes/rooms and it takes about 15 to 25 minutes to complete, depending on how fast people move through. There are no startle scares or other usual methods of disorienting visitors and causing fear; Humpal relies on the story line to add the scare element.
“We leave people with things to think about;” Humpal explained, “we try to make the story relatable, that’s where the impact comes from. Visitors can see the dread in the haunt happening in their own lives. They come out with a heavy feeling and things to think about.”
Humpal assured, “It is entertaining as well. We put a lot of effort into our props. People will experience a mixture of highs and lows.”
Like everything else, COVID-19 has made a difference in how the haunt is run. Groups are limited to the people who came in the same vehicle. The advance ticket sales website allows groups no bigger than six people. Customers decide whether they want to wear a mask or not, and some of the actors may also be seen wearing masks.
Humpal said it was pretty easy to maintain social distancing with the way his haunt is set up, and risk was low, but if anyone was still concerned, arrangements could be made in advance to have all of the actors wear masks when a specific group comes through.
Humpal said he knew COVID-19 was turning upside down as far as attendance, and right now everyone goes through one group at a time in response to the pandemic. This could take up to 30 minutes per group, which limits the number of people who make it through the haunt each night. Ultimately, Humpal said quality of the experience and safety of the visitors are more important that pushing a large number of visitors through, though.
Humpal maintains a minimum crew of 12 volunteers to work his haunt, but is still more than happy to take additional volunteers for help with set up and acting.
“We can always use more volunteers;” Humpal stated, “there’s no such thing as having too much help.”
Humpal said this first year had been possible mostly through the hard work of family, his wife, Shantae, his mother-in law’s fiancé, Doug Negel, and his father-in-law, Gary Kruse, as well as other volunteers. Nebraska Senior Softball helped sponsor the haunt and has been a big help.
Hwy 2 Hell is located at 2490 278th Ave. in Hamburg, with the haunt in a structure right next to the Humpal’s home. There is a driveway to the haunt coming in off Highway 2 that is lit up.
Tickets cost $12 and can be purchased in advance at https://app.hauntpay.com/events/hwy2-hell-october2020, or at the gate, using cash or credit card
Show times and dates are:
First show at 7 p.m.
Last show starts at 11:45 p.m.
First show at 6:30 p.m.
Last show at 11 p.m.
Sunday Oct 25th 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Humpal advises to stay tuned to Hwy 2 Hell on Facebook, as they may be open the Sunday after Halloween, too.
Hwy 2 Hell merchandise can be purchased at: https://teespring.com/hwy-2-hell-logo.
As the Hwy 2 Hell Facebook page advises, “At our attraction, you will take a journey into the future apocalypse and get a glimpse of what hell is like. Whether you are a believer or not, we believe you will find our experience very worthwhile.”
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