Brookings-based Fear Asylum strong after 12 years


Hunter Dunteman

South Dakota’s No. 1 haunted house is still running strong after more than a decade of operation in Brookings.

The Fear Asylum is a highly successful haunted house in Brookings operated by Guy Burdick.

“We’ve been voted by about five or six agencies as the number one haunted house in South Dakota for the last five or six years,” Burdick said.

Amongst the agencies Burdick referenced are Insider and Best, two popular national review agencies.

The Fear Asylum has plenty of accolades to its name — including the largest budgeted haunted house in South Dakota.

Top tourism information sites such as rank Fear Asylum in the top 50 in the nation.

Although it now ranks as one of the best, Burdick admits he didn’t know much about haunted houses when he decided to open his own.

“When I started this 12 years ago, I thought it’d be cool to do a haunted house. I didn’t know anything,” Burdick said.

He started by picking a theme, which then left him with the challenge of making a name.

“I decided to do an asylum theme,” Burdick said. “I found a ticketing company called Fear Ticket and thought ‘huh.’”

That’s when he came up with Fear Asylum.

“It was short, catchy and memorable, but tells what it is quickly,” Burdick said.

It quickly gained popularity, as Burdick reported to KSFY amassing 500 to 1,500 guests each night.

“Numbers [each night] may be up a little bit this year,” Burdick said.

The Fear Asylum is open for fewer nights this season, meaning, in theory, more people should attend each night.

With Halloween falling on a Wednesday this year, Fear Asylum will have a mid-week opening, but Burdick said Halloween isn’t the biggest night. He doesn’t expect it to have any effect on business.

While tickets, at $24 online, may be more expensive than other haunted attractions, Burdick said tickets prices are arranged “accordingly.”

“To compete in the industry at the level we’re competing, it costs tens of thousands every year. It’s all movie quality. You could film a movie in my haunted house,” Burdick said.

In fact, a couple of short films have been filmed in his haunted houses.

Burdick said Fear Asylum is just one business under Station 5 Productions.

Station 5 does more than just haunted houses. They also build escape rooms and entertainment centers.

“Some of the biggest houses in the country are having us build for them,” Burdick said.

Reviews of Fear Asylum are raving — it holds a 4.7 out of five on Google and Facebook.

The Fear Asylum has three more nights of operation in the 2018 season.

It will be open  7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Halloween, Wednesday, Oct. 31; 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, Nov. 2; and  7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Nov. 3.

Tickets can be found online at