Nothing says Halloween like having a monster scrub your automobile clean. This fall, take a drive through a haunted car wash where creepy creatures are the main feature. Here are spots to investigate in Nassau and Suffolk:
Tunnel of Terror
In 2020, Five Corners Auto Salon's "Tunnel of Terror" in New Hyde Park scored so much attention the line to enter was a mile long.
"It was our first time, and we winged it," says owner David Rubinstein. "This year we have a better idea of what to do."
The 2021 plan is to get a bit … gory.
"We are going to create a bloodbath through our washing arches. The soap will be all red," says Rubinstein. "There will be actors carrying a body bag and another with a bloody chainsaw interacting with the people in their cars amongst the LED, fog and strobe lights."
Five Corners offers a hand wash instead of a standardized machine wash, which includes waxing and ceramic coatings.
"Some of the characters are cleaning cars while others are walking the line, creeping up behind people scaring them," says Rubinstein. "It’s fun watching people get spooked out."
Proceeds from the attraction will go towards the Child Life Practicum Program at Cohen’s Children Medical Center at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park.
WHEN | WHERE 6-9 p.m., Oct. 22-23, Oct. 28-31; Five Corners Auto Salon, 2080 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park
INFO 516-328-6111, https://ospt.me/J5D2G
ADMISSION $45 per car load ($50 on Halloween, includes a goodie bag), cars must be below 7 feet 4 inches
A Nightmare on Oak Street
Last year, Johnnie’s Car Wash on Oak’s haunted attraction in Copiague was so popular, lines were close to three hours to get in.
"We weren’t able to even accommodate all the traffic. A lot of people had to be turned away because it went into the wee hours of the morning," says owner Johnnie Miranti. "We processed close to 7,000 cars over four weekends. People came from as far as Connecticut and New Jersey."
This time, Miranti is limiting it to 30 cars per hour with online reservations. However, the scares will be increased on what he has labeled "A Nightmare on Oak Street."
"We will be adding more characters than last year and introducing Annabelle from ‘The Conjuring’ and Jason Voorhees from ‘Friday the 13th,’ " says Miranti. "Freddy Krueger from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ will be there every night, but we are geared up to change things around each evening."
Cars can enter on Great Neck Road, then line up on Railroad Avenue near the Long Island Rail Road. While waiting on the queue, characters will be selling beverages (water and soda) and prepackaged snacks (chips, candy, chocolate, popcorn).
Upon entering the track, the car goes in neutral and the nightmare begins.
"The place will be blacked out with strobe lights and fog pouring in. Actors come steps away from coming in your car," says Miranti. "This is an exterior wash. No bike racks or rooftop luggage compartments allowed. Any pick-up trucks must be empty of debris."
Proceeds will go toward the senior class of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School.
WHEN | WHERE Oct. 7-10, Oct. 14-17, Oct.21-24, Oct. 28-31, Thursdays: 6-9 p.m., Fridays-Sundays: 6-10 p.m.; Johnnie's Car Wash on Oak, 521 Oak St., Copiague
INFO 631-891-6111, https://bit.ly/3ilUd6X
ADMISSION $35 per car load in advance ($40 at the door)
HAUNTED CAR WASH & HARRY’S TUNNEL OF HORROR
This is the inaugural year of car wash haunting for Harris Stone who owns both Wantagh Hand Wash and Harry’s Express Car Wash in Rockville Centre. He will be hosting a "Haunted Car Wash" in Wantagh while Rockville Centre will be dubbed "Harry’s Tunnel of Horror."
"I heard about other places in the industry doing a car wash haunt and wanted to join the fun," says Stone. "We are still stuck in this pandemic and you can’t always find something enjoyable to do while staying safe."
The scares will start on the line leading into the washing tunnel where the terror goes full tilt.
"Characters will be creeping up to each car and popping out unexpectedly," says Stone. "Fake blood gets tossed at the car window that washes off. Strobe lights and smoke will be everywhere with Halloween music playing. There will be some funny guys running around too."
Although the 30-minute haunt experience will be similar at each location, the car washing process is different.
"At Rockville Centre, machines clean the car while the vehicles in Wantagh are hand scrubbed by a crew," says Stone. "The hand wash process is more gentle on your car because it’s a softer touch. But the machine wash is a bit more efficient and consistent."
WHEN | WHERE 6-9 p.m., Oct. 20-23, Oct. 25-31; Wantagh Hand Wash: 3434 Sunrise Highway in Wantagh; Harry’s Express Car Wash: 1290 Woodfield Road in Rockville Centre
ADMISSION $40 per car load. Tickets are sold on site on a first come, first served basis. (Wantagh: Text SCARE to 30400 for $5 off coupon; Rockville Centre: Text HORROR to 30400 for $5 off coupon)