Shiver me timbers meets ghoulish horror this month in Pleasanton, as the Pirates of Emerson haunted theme park takes over six acres of the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
The event, now in its eighth year at the fairgrounds, will be here for weekends throughout the month of October. And once you enter, you can't escape the spookiness, according to its founder Brian Fields -- not like a mall haunted house where you exit and return into commercialized reality.
"When you come out of one of the haunted attractions, you’re still in this dark, haunted atmosphere," Fields said.
The event officially took root 27 years ago, when Fields and his parents Karl and Patty opened a haunted attraction in their yard on Emerson Street in Fremont, with proceeds going to benefit the Tri-City Homeless Shelter.
It grew and grew to the point where they needed a larger space for the event -- leading them to the Alameda County Fairgrounds eight years ago.
Fields isn't exactly sure how the pirates theme started, but it stuck.
"It's part of our brand name," he said.
The park morphs every year, but this Halloween season it will feature five haunted attractions (including the trademark "Pirates of Emerson"), along with live music, mazes, a misfortune teller, frightmares sideshow, nightly entertainment and more.
Pirates of Emerson opens Friday evening at 7:05 p.m., and will run weekends throughout the month, with additional openings on Thursdays, Oct. 18 and 25 and on the final two days of October -- for All Hallows' Eve, of course, and the day preceding the holiday.
The event will close at 10 p.m. on Sundays and on Oct. 18 and 30; at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday for the first two weekends and on Oct. 19, 25 and 31; and midnight on Oct. 20, 26 and 27.
General admission tickets are $35 at the door and $30 online, with the option for a "Twice Thru" or "Speed Pass" upgrade of $10. Those who simply want to enter and enjoy the music and spooky fairground ambience can purchase a $10 "Landlubber" ticket.
Families are advised that attractions may not be suitable for young children.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit piratesofemerson.com.