Pandemic is changing how haunted houses work in Japan, but the terrifying show will go on.

The coronavirus has screwed up a lot of things you can ordinarily look forward to during a Japanese summer. For example, fireworks festivals and new anime movies are regularly two of my favorite ways to spend June-August, but they’ll both be in short supply this year as large/indoor gatherings remain largely discouraged to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But there’s one traditional aspect of summer in Japan that we’ll still get to enjoy: horror.

While Halloween has been rapidly rising in popularity in Japan, it’s only within the last 10 years or so that the spooky October celebration has really caught on. Traditionally, summer is the time for ghost stories in Japan, with many citing the “chilling” effect of being frightened as a pleasant relief during the hot and humid weather.

But with the coronavirus still lurking about, walk-through haunted houses present a public health problem this summer. So instead the team at haunted house design company Kowagarasetai has created what they say is the world’s first drive-in haunted house.

Well, technically it’s a haunted garage, located in Tokyo’s swanky Higashi Azabu district. According to the event’s provided backstory:

“This is a garage where a horrible incident occurred long ago. Now people say that if you park your car inside and honk your horn three times, something will happen.”

Additional story details will play over your car’s radio while you’re parked inside (sort of like the system used for sound at drive-in movie theaters), and while the specifics remain shrouded in mystery, it seems a given that at some point zombies, ghosts, or some other class of the undead will pay you a not-so-friendly visit.

Having guests remain in their cars should alleviate the chance of inter-group infection, as well as ensure that neither you nor any of your passengers are eaten by the hordes of ravenous ghouls.

▼ Guests who give their prior consent will also leave with their vehicle…let’s call it “redecorated” by the zombies.

In keeping with the event’s social distance regulations, all guests must be inside a vehicle, and admission pricing, 8,000 yen (US$75), covers everyone inside your car. However, there is a way for non car-owners to get in on the fun. The drive-in haunted house will be held for two days. July 4 (from noon to 7:30 p.m.) is for people coming in their own cars, but on July 5 (11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.), Kowagarasetai will have parked vehicles for walk-up guests to sit in, for an additional 1,000 yen per car. Each of the provided cars can seat up to four guests and is thoroughly disinfected between sessions, with each car only being used for guests arriving in the same group (i.e. strangers won’t be placed in the same car).

▼ Kowagarasetai says each session is approximately 20 minutes long. Reservations are required, and can be made online here.

While it’s definitely a change of pace from the haunted houses we’re used to, if Zombie Camp was fun there’s no reason a haunted drive-in can’t be too.

Related: Drive-in Haunted House official website
Source: PR Times via Gadget Tsushin via Otakomu

Images: PR Times
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