Screamboat: a Steamboat tradition
Graveyard, monsters, surprises highlight this year’s 24th CMC haunted house
Oct. 18, 2023 – Ghosts, goblins, monsters and other scary things that go bump in the night in Steamboat Springs means the Screamboat Chamber of Horror at Colorado Mountain College is here.
The 24th Screamboat will be from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Halloween night, Tuesday, Oct. 31.
The CMC Sky Club and Engineering Club and other students create a large haunted house in the campus’s Allbright Auditorium each year. They also act, guide people through the haunted house, and work behind the scenes building props, costumes and more.
Physical Sciences Professor Paul McCudden is in charge of the CMC Sky Club and Screamboat and said one room this year will feature a graveyard.
“Another one will have monsters drop down,” McCudden added. “We don’t want to let out too many surprises, but it’s scary, spooky and has a lot of fake gore.”
Past Screamboats have featured a cemetery, clowns, ghouls, goblins and creepy dolls, among other frightening treats.
Jimmy Westlake oversaw the project before McCudden inherited it five years ago.
Steve Craig, a recently retired CMC engineering professor, said the project took off when Ric MacNeil — with more than 15 years of experience creating semi-professional haunted houses and walk-throughs — moved to Steamboat Springs.
“We used to have the engineering club build the things for each room,” Craig said. “They did a great job, but now we’re overflowing with high-end props, which makes it easy.”
Every year, a few new fright rooms are included, Craig added. Previous haunted houses have featured vampire and execution rooms, along with what Craig described as a more humorous 1960s room to signify when the first college opened in Steamboat Springs.
Each Screamboat warns that children 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult. Craig said Screamboat is targeted at high school-age and older visitors.
“It might not be as much fun for small kids,” he added. “It’s dark, there are a lot of noises, flashing lights and things jumping out at you.”
Craig said 30 to 35 students help prepare, construct 15 rooms and tear them down after the gore and fun is over in the auditorium. The haunted house usually attracts over 500 people in its three days.
“The town always seems to love it,” Craig added. “Boy, we get a lot of smiles.”
Admission money helps pay for student trips to science and technology-related places. Last year, staff and students visited Alaska to see the Northern Lights.
McCudden recently traveled with students who worked on last year’s Screamboat to the Four Corners area to view a solar eclipse. He said other trips to Hawaii and Seattle, Washington focused on astronomy and engineering.
Screamboat tickets are $20 and $10 for CMC students with ID taking six or more credits. On Halloween night, it’s free for one run through the haunted house for students, again with CMC ID taking six or more credits.