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Clown Popularity Fuels Visits At Haunted Houses

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Tis the season to be scared as haunted houses open their doors for the fall season.

And this year, clowns are all the rage after the newly released remake of Stephen King's It and killer clowns in the new season of American Horror Story: Cult.

Bryan Kopp is General Manager of two of the biggest, boldest and scariest haunted houses in the country, located in the Chicago area - House of Torment Chicago and 13th Floor.

He said their themes play on people's fears, including clowns.

Iconic clown at 13th Floor Chicago haunted house (credit: Facebook)

"One of our themes at 13th Floor this year is called Dead End District: Freakshow, which features a lot of clowns, and our icon character, one of our main characters for that theme is a big, menacing clown with a giant scary hammer," Kopp said.

"People like to be scared but in a fun, entertaining way."

Kopp said they audition actors all summer and employ about 200 people at each location. Each attraction features detailed story sets, animatronic monsters and chilling scenarios.

Artists at work at 13th Floor Chicago working on the costuming and makeup of the actors. (Credit: Facebook)

"We have a team of really talented artists and creators who work year-round to revamp the haunted houses every year. We always do new themes, new characters and a lot of times we do draw inspiration from Pennywise, and It, and video games and other popular horror movies," Kopp said.

He said Stephen King's It and the popularity of Pennywise, the clown will no doubt attract more horror movie fans.

House of Torment returns to Morton Grove, located at 8240 North Austin Avenue, this year for its third season. Guests can expect two attractions with two new themes, including The Swarm featuring deadly insects and creatures, and Nightmare High: Fall Harvest a high school taken over by terror.

13th Floor Chicago in Melrose Park, located at 1940 George Street, returns for its fourth season. Those brave enough will experience two new haunts, Cursed: Purgatory and Dead End District: Freakshow.

Both haunted houses will be open to the public for shows beginning on Friday, Sept, 22 and will run on select dates through November 4, 2017.

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