Giant drive-thru haunted house experience opens in Bay Area

Talk about a scary moment.

The Fields family was facing the real possibility of having to cancel its annual Pirates of Emerson Halloween haunt at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, unable make dollars and sense of the reduced capacity and other social distancing restrictions that would need to be in place this year.

“We wouldn’t have been able to put the numbers through to justify opening up,” says Brian Fields, who has helped run this popular haunt with his parents, Patty and Karl, for 29 years.

Instead of throwing in the towel, they decided to do something different — something bold — that would work in this COVID-19 age.

“Being the creative family that we are, my dad Karl, Patty and myself put our heads together and came up with this idea of doing this drive-thru,” Fields says.

So load up the car, remember to buckle in tight and get ready to be scared as the Pirates of Emerson evolves into something new for 2020. This massive drive-thru haunt, which covers nearly 10 acres at the Pleasanton fairgrounds, opens to the public on Oct. 2 and runs Thursday through Sunday through Nov. 1.

  • PLEASANTON, CA – SEPTEMBER 22: Brian Fields, vice president of operations for the Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park, stands next to a structure he built to be used at the drive-thru haunted house at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, the longtime Halloween favorite has become a haunted house drive-thru. Vehicles will wind their way through a marked path as they view themed frights while listening to a soundtrack on the radio. The haunted drive-thru opens on Friday, Oct. 2. All tickets must be purchased in advance. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

  • PLEASANTON, CA – SEPTEMBER 22: A scary skeleton figure at the Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park is photographed at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, the longtime Halloween favorite has become a haunted house drive-thru. Vehicles will wind their way through a marked path as they view themed frights while listening to a soundtrack on the radio. The haunted drive-thru opens on Friday, Oct. 2. All tickets must be purchased in advance. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

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  • PLEASANTON, CA – SEPTEMBER 22: Brian Fields, vice president of operations for the Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park, is photographed at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, the longtime Halloween favorite has become a haunted house drive-thru. Vehicles will wind their way through a marked path as they view themed frights while listening to a soundtrack on the radio. The haunted drive-thru opens on Friday, Oct. 2. All tickets must be purchased in advance. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

  • PLEASANTON, CA – SEPTEMBER 22: A scary wild boar lunges out of the wall

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