Warehouse 31 returns to terrify Pelham

Published 11:39 am Monday, September 25, 2023

By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – David Russell spends 11 months out of the year building a haunted house.

“It’s a hobby, and I do it year-round,” Russell said. “So we’re always changing stuff and tweaking stuff.”

Russell works by day as a civil engineer for the city of Pelham, but for the past 30 years, he’s also been building and designing haunted houses all over the country. Russell has been the principal designer for Pelham’s Warehouse 31 for the last 10 years.

“We go through and change about 30% of the lot every year,” Russell said. “We change everything and make sure it flows properly.”

Warehouse 31 has been providing those in Pelham with nightmares since it was first opened by Jason Sills in 2013.. Sills had previously ran a haunted house in St. Augustine, Florida, but was originally from Pelham and ultimately chose to move back after finding and purchasing the property Warehouse 31 now stands on.

“The haunted house takes up a majority of the building and stays set up,” Sills said.  “It’s too big to take down or anything, but I’ve got a venue space in the front here that we rent out for parties and things like that.”

Along with the haunted house and event space, Sills also owns an RV park right next to the property. 

Warehouse 31 may only be open for a few weeks out of the year, for the Halloween season and Valentine’s day, but it’s a real labor of love for everyone involved in it.

“We have a really good group,” said Brittanni Parten, Warehouse 31’s Marketing director. They come back every year, and they enjoy it. They love the family atmosphere of it. And I think the biggest thing that draws actors in is that ‘Oh, it’s just not like a seasonal thing.’ You make these friends that you keep year-round. It’s just a huge family.”

Parten has been working at Warehouse 31 since it opened and has worked almost every job in the haunted house.

“I have worked everywhere,” Parten said. “I acted for like eight years. I was in the psych ward, the little girl’s room, and in torture so many times. Then I worked every position in the back, and now marketing.”

With Warehouse 31 now entering its 10th anniversary of operation, Parten notes that the haunted house has learned over the years how to balance being scary while also having intricate details for guests to enjoy.

“I think my biggest tip for when people come out is to really look at the scenes,” Parten said. “They’re so detailed. I know it sounds weird to say that the haunted house is detail-oriented, but there are just a lot of little things throughout the haunt that makes it unique.”

Warehouse 31 opened its doors on Friday, Sept. 22, and will be open every Friday and Saturday night from 6:30 p.m. until Halloween. Tickets can be purchased both online and in person.

“I think it’s just exciting to watch people come out and talk about all the new stuff they’re seeing and how much fun they’re having,” Sills said.