What to Expect When the Deer District Transforms into the Fear District

Deer District or Fear District? For the next month the Fiserv Forum area will be rocking both looks.

Scarecrows hate crows (and the reverse is probably true). But spooky scarecrows really hate them. They explained as much on Thursday evening in endless entreaties to passersby: “Help us kill the crows and end the madness. Play the ScareCrow Toss Game,” they said. The two scarecrows jumped around in crazy-looking overalls, and the willing helpers aimed at the implacable crows and missed.

Neighborhood Guide: Best of the Deer District

Such was the unnerving display Thursday evening at Fear District, the slightly astonishing mini-Halloween-theme park now running Thursdays-Sundays until Nov. 3.

Photo by Matt Hrodey
Normally, you would not expect to run into so many in-character actors in the shadow of the Fiserv Forum, but that’s what you’ll find in the in the Deer Street/Fear Street area. Vampires, dead pirates and scarecrows serve as carnival barkers, but carnival barkers with complex back-stories and motivations: A dead sea mate confined to a large skull-chucking area had been doomed to remain there, and another carried around a relative’s cranium, Hamlet-like, saying something about Davey’s Locker.

Oak Island Creative, the Kentucky company that’s putting on Fear Street, held auditions for improv actors and other “scare actors” who could potentially “crouch, stand, and/or vocalize” for long periods of time, in order to frighten people. While the improv types are supposed to mix with the crowd, the scare actors manned three large, one-story haunted house areas themed after vampires, dead pirates and scary corn fields.

Photo by Matt Hrodey

The Beer Garden’s gigantic outdoor TV will be used to show classic horror movies on Thursdays starting Oct. 3 with Halloween (followed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Oct. 10). On opening night, it broadcast the Packer game as the less-talkative ghouls stamped through the three houses and vocalized. One of them asked me in a hungry voice, after I had climbed a low barrier to take a photo, “Did you go the wrong way?” Pennywise would be proud.

The pricing is a la carte: A ticket good for three haunted house visits costs $20 per adult and $15 per child under 13 and adults over 65. The carnival-esque games cost about $5 for three throws with prizes available. Special food, including a “mummy dog,” costs extra, and so do special cocktails, merchandise and a sit-down with a psychic.

On Saturdays and Sundays prior to 6 p.m., the street is a far cheerier place with kids’ activities and fewer ambushes by undead sailors.



Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.