Monessen's Castle Blood scares up holiday fun with a 'Spooky Little Cryptmas'
By Stacy Wolford
Published: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
If the Addams Family, the Munsters and Scooby Doo's gang got together for the holidays, Castle Blood would be the perfect place for a holiday party.
The classic television-show characters are the inspiration for the Monessen attraction's “Spooky Little Cryptmas” tours this weekend.
The all-ages tours will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the castle, in the Eastgate 11 complex.
Castle Blood owner Ricky Dick, also known as “Gravely MacCabre,” said that the “Cryptmas” show is something he has been dreaming of having since opening the Castle's Halloween tours 20 years ago. The castle moved to Monessen earlier this year after being operated for years from Dick's home in Beallsville. He also operated for a short time in Bentleyville.
“I always wanted to have events like this year-round, and now we can do this at our new home in Monessen,” Dick says.
Dick has been acting as “Gravely” for 19 years. His daughter, Caitlin Dick of Wilmington, Del., has been helping at the castle since she was a young girl. Her main character is Gravely's daughter, “Skully Pie.”
While the corridors and chambers of the castle are still creepy, Dick says there will be no “scare antics.” The skeletons, gargoyles and other animated creatures who occupy the castle are now adorned with Santa hats, Christmas lights and poinsettias.
Instead of potions being made in the lab, there will be a snowmaker. The Christmas trees range in color from orange to purple.
Even Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer got a makeover, as he can be found wearing a Hannibal Lector-style mask.
“It's still the castle, but it's a little more subdued,” he says. “While the castle is always a bit dark and creepy, kids should be fine.”
In keeping with its Halloween themes, the “Cryptmas” tours will be interactive as visitors will have to complete a challenge by finding magical objects in the castle.
Visitors will be searching the corridors for a crystal snowflake, candy canes and a choir bell.
Dick says he will have a small group of actors working the tours, who are in charge of decorating their own Christmas trees and theme rooms. At the end of the tours, visitors will get to vote on which monster-decorated room is their favorite.
To dress his vampire costume up for the holidays, “Gravely MacCabre” will be wearing a purple, fur-lined Santa cape and hat.
Dick says the holiday shows will be fun.
“People think monsters don't celebrate Christmas,” he says with a laugh. “But, monsters love to get together for the holidays, too. Our family is all together for the season, just like yours.”
Dick is proud of the fact that all of the actors and set designers work on a volunteer basis and look forward to helping out at year-round events.
Following the Christmas show, plans will begin for the next event, a “My Bloody Valentine” in February. Castle Blood also is available for private-party and birthday-party rentals.
“We just had a ‘Monster High' birthday party, which was a lot of fun,” Dick says.
Dick, who drives a hearse as his personal vehicle, says he is still just as passionate about Castle Blood as he was when it first opened two decades ago. And, now that he can have events year-round, he is even more excited.
“I have a lot of great ideas that I can't wait to share,” he said. “It's going to be a great Christmas at the castle.”
Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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