Alameda County's Pirates of Emerson pivots to drive-thru haunted house experience

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Northern California's Pirates of Emerson is considered one of the top-rated haunted houses in the country. For 29 years, Vice President of Operations Brian Fields has orchestrated some of the industry's best scares.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor haunted houses have been shuttered, but that didn't stop Fields from still bringing the scares.

"We had to pivot. We had to redesign it," Fields explains. "We had a couple of weeks to come down and put it together in our head how we could do a drive-in and make it successful."

Fields has created one of the area's only drive-thru haunts spanning 10 acres at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. "I don't think there is anything quite like this out there," Fields shares with a smile. "We have Trick or Treat Town, hillbillies, pirates, clowns."

"Definitely thought Halloween was going to be canceled, but this brings the great spooky season back to us," haunt-goer Jessica says.

With over 45 employees, Pirates of Emerson is intent on delivering some big scares. "There are scares. There's laughs, especially when people start busting out real chainsaws," drive-thru customer Cody shares.

"I knew that it would work. In my head and my heart, I knew it would work," Fields reveals. "We are very proud of the event we put together this year."