I LOVE TEXOMA: Return to Nightmare on Main Street and Dark Water Asylum

I Love Texoma

VERNON, TX (KFDX/KJTL) — Every October, the building on 1620 Main Street in downtown Vernon turns into a dark, decrepit place full of tight twists and turns, hellish creatures and top-dollar entertainment. The Nightmare on Main Street and Dark Water Asylum Haunted Houses are back open for business, and we head back for round two!

To see our original walkthrough of Nightmare on Main Street and Melanie Townsend’s epic freakout, click here.

This time, we’re going behind the scenes to get a better look at how the owner of this freaky frightmare, Donna Graf made this local attraction possible.

“Well I used to do a haunted house at my house because I live in a 100 year old house and people think it’s haunted and I started doing it for church groups,” says Donna, “and then I thought I need a bigger building, so I started this building on Main Street and then 3 years ago we put in Dark Water Asylum and this is our fourth year.”

In case you’re wondering what waits for you inside, Donna says these two haunted houses prey on your deepest fears.

“Nightmare is more of phobias, it’s got your werewolves, your butcher house, and the Dark Water is all about a Dr. McKraken who started experimenting on his patients and it was called Clearwater Asylum, and then patients started calling it Dark Water because it turned so evil.”

Yet, the horrors inside this place were almost locked away this year over fear of COVID-19. Donna decided to open anyway though, to boost morale and kick off the holiday season with a bang.

“That was a hard decision to decide to open,” says Donna, “but all the actors have to wear masks, everybody that comes in has to wear a mask, you have to sanitize before you come in. We ask everyone not to touch our props, sanitize when you leave, and then we sterilize everything in between. We have the lines spaced out and 6 feet apart and you go in with your own group and family, we don’t combine anybody.”

For the most part, Donna says people have been very cooperative and supportive of the new policies put in place.

Donna and her sisters (more commonly known in town as the Sanderson Sisters) are not only working hard to keep people safe, but everyone from scare actors to customers, happy during these hard times.

“The actors is what makes my haunt,” says Donna. “Every Halloween our tradition is that when we get finished, everybody run amuck out on Main Street. They just come and have a good time, we have comedy, we get a lot of scares, and a lot of laughing and it’s just a good time.”

There are about 65 scare actors for Nightmare on Main Street, each one a volunteer. Yet, Donna says this is more like an extended, scary family and instead of pay, she makes sure they’re provided a warm meal with tons of appreciation.

The haunted fun on Main Street doesn’t stop at Halloween either. Donna says she plans on hosting a Christmas haunt with an evil Elf on the Shelf!

For tickets, times and COVID-19 policies, click here.

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