It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, it’s cold outside, and things are about to get a lot spookier. All Saints’ Wake is just around the corner in Final Fantasy 14, but there are other ways to get into the spirit while you wait for the new Wake Doctor gear. Nestled on the outskirts of the lavender beds on Brynhildr, brave warriors of light can find the old Haven Hotel. The now abandoned building is home to all manner of ghosts and specters…
The Hollow Haven Haunted House is in Ward 22, Plot 58, and it’s open 24/7 until November 1, 2022. You can drop by and visit anytime, soak up the haunted vibes in 19 separate areas of the house, or even challenge yourself to find all the objects for the treasure hunt. There are also special haunting hours where staff can be found throughout the house ready and waiting to scare you.
“Haunting Hours takes things to a new level,” says Hollow Haven creator Aleu Lyehga. “It’s an immersive improvisational performance. Each ghost is a different character with their own routine, lines and techniques, as well as their own favorite haunts. No two walkthroughs are the same and even two people visiting together can have different experiences. Although not quite a role-playing experience, we do allow role-playing – we just ask that people be courteous to others and respectful to staff.
The team put a lot of thought into their spooky alter egos for haunting hours, choosing the ultimate spooky outfits to ensure they’ll give all visitors a scare they’ll remember. It goes beyond simply choosing creepy glam gear, with the team going one step further and picking the best dye for the job.
“Everyone puts as much thought and effort into their costumes as I do into building any given lair,” Aleu says. “Really, the only ‘rules’ are that it has to be scary, match your character, and you have to use mostly metallic dyes. They make us look ethereal or otherworldly, but more importantly, they make us help make us stand out a bit more when we use the thief’s camouflage ability.
“Tsimh’s character, Ookie Spookie wanted the maid dress to be her main outfit, in metallic red. While we were experimenting with different hats, legs, shoes, etc., I suddenly had an idea. She wears plain cotton tights and the witness’s gaiters, both dyed sooty black (matte) As a result, when not directly under a light source, it almost looks like she has no legs from the everything.
If you want to visit during haunting hours, the Hollow Haven Discord announces when those are currently live. Even if you can’t get around during these times, Hollow Haven is still a must visit.
“During off-peak hours, players can take their time to roam and explore,” Aleu tells me. “Scavenger hunting was introduced as a way to engage people and encourage them to take their time and appreciate all the details. Every housing slot matters, so I make sure items are placed with varying degrees of difficulty. If I could I would add a lot more to the hunt, but I don’t want it to get too overwhelming for people.
“Besides treasure hunting, Hollow Haven has a few other schticks that I bring back each year, the most popular of which are haunted paintings! Players may also always find Alpha too happy where he shouldn’t be, a decapitated head in the turkey, the invocation of Khloe and the “haunted swamp”, which is a garden this year.
This is Aleu’s fifth year hosting the Hollow Haven Halloween event, with this year’s creation taking him over 45 hours to complete. Aleu usually does all the heavy lifting herself – from collecting materials to designing and building – but this year she has had the help of a team of dedicated staff called Boo Brigade. Comprised of Brynhildr’s Tsimh Romana, Axel Pompadoruious, Reed Westergard, Anan’zi Chalahko, and Eona Nialy, the Boo Brigade provided immeasurable help, crafting over 200 Soot Black dyes, providing feedback, and helping streamline the whole process.
Aleu was a regular on the haunted house circuit, often helping out with everything from paperwork to being an active spook haunting the hallways. When she found that her work hours kept her from participating in other haunted houses, she decided to create her own. This happened in mid-October 2018 in an average sized house, so Aleu was more limited on what she could do with the space, and even more limited on the time she had to put it together.
In 2020, after sharing her dismay at how difficult it was to get a large FC house lot, her friends at Alpha’s Heroes FC let her use theirs so she could fully unleash her creativity in a house with 400 item slots to use. From there, the idea sprouted and the Hollow Haven website and Discord were created.
“Until that year, the house was fair,” Aleu tells me. “You could come and explore, maybe sometimes I’d walk around heckling and haunting, but that was it. Then some of my friends wanted to get involved. Alts with appropriate names were created, rogues were upgraded, crash courses in virtual performance techniques were given, and slowly haunting hours were born. Over the weeks, we made up a loose story as we interacted with each other, alluding to the horrific events of the family who once lived in the house.
I recently visited, using the first person view as recommended, and enjoyed the incredible detail of this spooky location. It was much bigger than I expected, with paths that twist and turn on top of each other so it feels like you’re in a maze. There are so many neat little touches you can spot as you explore, and the craftsmanship that has gone into the displays is superb. There was smoke billowing in various hallways, mysterious bookcases opening new paths, floating furniture, strange lights, and squishy pools of blood to walk on.
“Making things scary is a combination of visuals and audibles,” says Aleu. “Lighting, or lack thereof, is very important. Sometimes less is more. Placement matters too. My gargoyle statue, for example, is lit this way by placing a dragon lamp or two inside the statue in different ways. I like to use showerheads, hidden music boxes, barbecue skewers, squishy puddles, etc. to create additional ambient sounds that make the place livelier.
“Blood puddles are really simple! These are Pudding rugs. The various Pudding pieces of furniture make disgusting squishy sounds when you walk through them. With a little Dalamud Red Dye, your brain comes to exactly the conclusion I want it to come to. I also use them for mud puddles.
One of my favorite parts of the house were the haunted paintings, which changed and contracted as you moved around, so they seemed “alive”. Sometimes they turned into portraits of entirely different characters. “I use two methods,” says Aleu. “The first consists of two frames of the same size placed directly on top of each other, each containing a different painting. The other is two of the same portrait placed on top of each other, with one pushed a hair’s breadth in another direction.
Another section that I found particularly impressive was an entirely upside-down hallway, resulting in a very confusing walk through the ceiling to the next door. There are creepy floating heads and mannequins everywhere, which I imagine are even scarier when mixed with the staff members haunting the place.
“The trippy hallway in the basement, the spiral staircase that we ultimately managed to use it properly, and the garden looks pretty fabulous too,” Aleu mentions when asked which parts of the house are his favorites. “I’m also proud that I managed to create a defined path through the house this year, because in the past it was loose. But if I had to pick one place overall… I’d say it’s the area we call “The Dead End”. I was initially struggling with how to end all of this, and the first iterations were very disappointing. The idea is that this place is meant to be as far as you can go. There’s a big angry Ifrit head, walls on all sides, closing bars, and a huge coffin inside. There is no way out, and the only way to escape is with a little help…”
Be sure to visit the Hollow Haven Haunted House while it’s still available. You can find more information on the site or via the Discord.
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