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Get Your Fear On: Return of Pirates of Emerson

Check out one of the most well-known haunted attractions in the United States, found right here in the Bay Area.

Scared of the things that go bump in the night? Afraid of the dark? Does the arrival of fall and the fast approach of Halloween have you feeling like it time to get your fear fix?

Well, spine-tingling terror has taken up residence in Pleasanton in the spooky form of the Pirates of Emerson.

For the third year in a row, the Pirates of Emerson have ghosted in to haunt the Alameda County Fairgrounds from September through the end of October.

An East Bay tradition — and some might even argue a Bay Area Halloween staple — the Pirates of Emerson had a humble start in the yard of Brian, Patty and Karl Fields over 21 years ago.

The Fields lived on Emerson Street in Fremont and used to charge a small admission fee to frighten and delight visitors. The family also collected canned goods back then and donated them to local food banks. After a seven year run on Emerson Street, the family moved the haunted abode to a field they leased from BART.

Three years ago, the Pirates of Emerson made the move up the I-680 to settle in the Pleasanton fairgrounds  and has taken the quintessential house of horror to a whole new level.

Brian Fields said the nationally-known haunted house boasts eight haunted attractions with unnerving names like Scareton, Fractured Fairytales, Archno, Dark Realm, Pirates of Emerson, Mental Maze, Bumpkin Patch and the Corn Walk, that change from year-to-year.

"We change the themes every year," he said. "In addition to the eight haunted attractions, we have a pirate ship stage, bands, games, movies, fortunetellers and all kinds of entertainment that you get with the cost of the ticket."

Fields says this year will be the first time a haunted house will offer a smart phone app that brave visitors can download so they can find pirate ghosts hidden throughout the "corn walk."

The Pirates attraction is staffed by a skeleton crew of about 70 employees and actors. Ten people are hired to build the attractions and Fields brings in five make-up artists to do make-up for the attractions and most of the actors are able to do their own make-ups for appearances outside the actual attractions.

Residents may have seen the creepy pirates make appearances during the Alameda County Fair and even pillaging along the parade route for the centennial parade in June.

Recently, the Travel Channel listed the Pirates of Emerson as No. 2 for favorite haunted attractions in the United States based on Facebook votes. In 2006, Pirates was listed as No. 8 in the country on the AOL CityGuide's 2006 picks for the Top 13 Haunted Houses in the nation and was featured on the Discovery Channel.

The Pirates of Emerson opens on Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 31. Check their calendar before you visit. The cost to visit the Pirates of Emerson is $20 on the weekdays and $25 on Friday and Saturdays.

On October 13 and 14, the Monster Energy Freestyle Motorcross Exhibition will be performing in the parking lot of the Pirates.

Have you ever been to the Pirates of Emerson? Are you going to check them out this year? Tell us in the comments section below.

Monika Harris September 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Don't let Blue Collars comment sway you from visiting "Pirates of Emerson "...could be they closed early, being the first night ....I have been the last 5 years in a row and it gets better each year...it is gory , so the little ones might scare easily....the price is worth every penny...check out the Travel Channel in October for the top 10 scariest haunts ....Pirates of Emerson is #2 Happy Halloween
Pleasanton Mom October 01, 2012 at 05:24 AM
My teenager daughter went mutliple times last year and had a great time. I'm sure she'll go at least a few times this year too.
karen griego October 02, 2012 at 06:02 AM
I've been going for years and it's the best Haunted Houses I've ever been to. I went to the ones at Great America once and didn't even get scared. I went through one of the Pirates Of Emersons Haunted house and My heart was beating so fast I could hardly catch my breath! You never know what's lurking behind every corner. Last year we bought the fast pass and avoided the long lines. The Band that played was awesome . Loved the big Corn field and got lost in it. The smaller maze with the chainsaw was the Best!! I Didn't think I could run so fast lol. I loved it so much I went in a few times. Then I just stayed there to watch the people scream and run away from the scary dude with the chainsaw. The Pirates roam around and flirt and take pics with us. I just Love it and look forward to goinf this year.
Karl Fields October 09, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Blue Collar, as is posted on our web site, we close the ticket and entrance gates exactly 30 minutes prior to the haunted houses closing. The closing times are also accurately posted on our web site. We NEVER close early, but may, on occasion, stay open later. There is no way for someone to actually go in all our houses in 30 minutes. I am truly sorry for the rudeness you experienced. Being a family owned business, we try very hard at customer relations - but looks like we failed on this one.

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