In a riff on “Naked and Afraid,” the blur- and butt-heavy Discovery program in which a pair of survivalists are plunked down in an extreme/remote locale for three weeks without food, water, or undergarments, a “premier haunted scream park” in the Tampa suburbs Berks County, Pa., is permitting patrons to shed the pants that they’d otherwise be peeing in.

That’s right, folks, Pennsylvania can pride itself on being home to the country's first clothing-optional haunted house.

In the coming weeks, Shocktoberfest will be the scene of a whole lot of a whole lot of exposed naughty bits as paying guests can choose to either go “prude” (underwear remains on) or “nude” (Freddy Krueger meets the "Full Monty") while experiencing the park’s steampunk-themed Unknown Haunted House. I suppose if you’re going to submit to Shocktoberfest’s Naked and Scared Challenge you might as well choose the latter option. After all, you wouldn’t want to show up at a naturist park donning your best pair of BVDs now would you?

The Naked and Scared Challenge takes place at the end of the evening and out of sight of “minors and non-participating customers.” After 18-and-over thrill-seekers have their IDs scrutinized and sign a waiver, they then enter a “semi-private preshow building” where they strip naked (or down to their skivvies). After “encountering various fears and phobias, augmented, through the use of advanced audio and 3D video technology” within the haunted house itself, guests exit into a “semi-private fenced courtyard where they will get dressed.”

The Shocktoberfest website notes that "sexual misconduct, inappropriate or disrespectful behavior will be tolerated." And just like the Chick-fil-A at Berkshire Mall, southeast Pennsylvania's naked haunted house is closed on Sundays.

I think I'll pass (unless they'd consider paying me $20). I’m also just a touch confused about the logistics here: Do guests carry their clothes (and phones, wallets, genitalia-covering handbags, etc.) with them while traversing through the haunted house considering that it would appear that they strip and get dressed in separate “semi-private” areas? Are shoes allowed? What do they mean exactly by "semi-private?”

I'm also trying really hard to conjure a visual of what experiencing a steampunk-themed naked haunted house might be like but I keep on picturing a corn maze within a Korean spa.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Shocktoberfest owner and president Patrick Konopelski explains that after 22 years in the business, he was running out of ways to which to up the ante at his already huge/loud/intense/gory park. After seeing “Naked and Afraid” on Discovery, he decided to give nudity a go as a means of further forcing participants — particularly those suffering from gymnophobia — to step outside of their comfort zones. After all, it's one thing to be scared but another to be scared and vulnerable. And not wearing pants. The park calls the experience a "new kind of fear."

The Naked and Scared Challenge has, predictably, received a fair amount of backlash —it has been called a pervert-magnet, immoral, a lawsuit-waiting-to-happen, etc. — to which Konopelski responds: "We are in America. We pick for ourselves what is right and wrong. For those that want to experience it, it really becomes a human right. We are just giving them the vehicle to give it a try." He adds: "It is nothing more than consenting adults being able to use their right here in America to do something they choose to do."

Mercifully, Shocktoberfest’s haunted hayride has not gone nude. Because that would just be uncomfortable.

Via [The Daily News]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Clothing-optional haunted house opens in Pennsylvania
A popular 'scream park' near Reading, Pa. is allowing brazen guests to experience a haunted house while completely nude.