Danger Run: Spooks Run Wild All Across The Ville!

Follow My Phantom Hearse Across the Entire City (and Beyond) as I Decipher Clues, Brave Haunted Houses and Eat Cheeseburgers on Louisville’s Most Unique Halloween Adventure!

Good Evening, Haunt Fans, it’s The Phantom of the Ville reporting in from the back of my Phantom Hearse at an undisclosed location near the downtown area. Actually, I wish I could tell you my exact location, but my hearse driver apparently took a wrong turn somewhere in the Shively area and I’m desperately thumbing backwards through my Danger Run clue book trying to get us back on track. I’m sure it wasn’t my interpretation of the cryptic clues in Danger Run’s wonderfully whimsical clue book that got us lost. It must be the fault of my hearse driver, Bartholomew Ozias Blackwood III ( I call him Bob *The Phantom), and his apparent inability to follow simple directions.

While Bob gets us back on track, let me tell you about one of my favorite annual Halloween traditions in the Kentuckiana area, Danger Run! The history of the Ghost Run or Spirit Race is unique to the Louisville area, taking inspiration from an old college road puzzle game called Midnight Madness and adding a Halloween twist to the late night fun. If the only Midnight Madness you’ve heard about in this town involves basketball, let me recommend the film, “Midnight Madness” (1980), staring David “An American Werewolf in London” Naughton and Michael “Teen Wolf” J. Fox. If you’re more of a Burt Reynolds type, think of it as “The Cannonball Run” (1981) with haunted houses. Either way, the concept is that you gather the gang together in your own Mystery Machine, choose one of three starting locations and attempt to solve rhyming riddles that are actually encrypted driving directions that will lead you to two major haunted attractions in the Kentuckiana area. You’ll keep track of your exact mileage and the Top 25 groups that come the closest to the actual mileage (“Damn you, Bob! Turn Right! Right, I said!”) over the next four weekends in October will compete in the Danger Run Finals for huge prizes that can be read about on the Danger Run website at www.dangerrun.com/danger-run-includes.

The starting locations this year are all at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores; in the East End at 501 S Hurstbourne Pkwy, in the West End at 6651 Dixie Hwy and to our North at 1350 Veterans Pkwy in Clarksville, IN. You can register to start your haunted road adventure on Friday and Saturday nights in October at any of the above locations from 7PM until 11PM. Enough time has been allotted so that you’ll be able to solve the clues (“It’s a one way street, Bob! Why are you asking ME which way to turn?”), brave the haunted houses and reach your destination before closing time. You will need your own hearse driver, as no single person cars will be allowed to enter, but if you have at least four friends in your hearse you will receive $10 in FREE GAS from Speedway! I recommend someone in the car bring along a flashlight or pen light to read the clue book so the driver can concentrate on the road and not have to turn on the interior lights while driving.

With your $18.95 per person ticket you’ll also get Buy-One-Get-One-Free cheeseburger coupons from Dairy Queen, because you’ll need to fuel up your body in order to keep your mind sharp enough to follow Danger Run’s breadcrumb trail through the many sites and iconic landmarks of the Ville to the haunts. Lastly, you’ll also all get a pair of vampire fangs (“Left, Bob! Your other left!”). I already have my own.

Let me catch you up on our night’s adventure so far. The identity of the haunted attractions participating in Danger Run is TOP SECRET, and I’m under contract not to disclose their names, but they are among the haunted attractions that I have previewed (or will soon preview!) here on the Louisville Halloween website. After deciphering most of the early clues perfectly, we arrived at the first haunt to be greeted by local Louisville radio and television broadcasting legend, Jim Bulliet, who has also been known under his pseudonym, “Danger Boy,” on FM radio channel WQMF. Jim’s brother, Joe Bulleit, has been Danger Run’s head honcho since 1994. Jim helps out every year with media and promotions.

“When we were kids,” says Bulleit, “we had a tree-house that faced the New Albany Drive-In. My brother was somewhat of an electrical wizard and he wired a couple of huge speakers in our tree-house to the sound system wires of the Drive-In just past the woods, and we actually had better sound than the people watching movies in their cars! It was real stereo, man!,” he recalls.

“We had couches and everything up there,” says Bulleit. “We loved getting together and watching horror flicks from the tree-house. That’s where all this probably started.” When Bulleit, his brother and their friends were watching drive-in movies from their tree-house in the woods, it was the Golden Age of drive-in and grindhouse horror. “I remember watching ‘The Exorcist’ up there, and after it was over, everybody was too afraid to climb down and walk through the woods back to the house, so we just spent the night up there.”

After hearing Jim Bulleit’s amazing childhood drive-in/tree-house story, we put on our brave faces and entered the first INCREDIBLE haunt. We were frazzled by creepy clowns, roared at by giant monsters, shocked by lunging specters leaping from their tombs and chased out by the sons of Leatherface. (“Didn’t we pass this same Dairy Queen three times already?”) Then it was time use our FREE $10 in gas at Speedway and start trying to find our way to the second haunt.

That brings us to where we are right now, and I wish I could tell you where that was, but Bob has gotten us completely lost. I think I just saw an armadillo cross the road in front of us and I’m pretty sure that armadillos aren’t native to the Kentuckiana area. In any case, I can still recommend Danger Run as one of the best uniquely Louisville Halloween events for friends and family to share this Halloween season. If I fail to report in later this week with more haunted attraction previews, please file a Missing Phantom report with the local authorities.

The Phantom of The Ville

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