October 3, 2014

He’s profiting from the sum of all fears

We’ve heard many reasons for moving a business, but this one’s a first:

“My dad said I had to get it out of our backyard because it was killing his grass.”

When you’re imaginative high school student Adam Phillips, and you have 2,300 paying customers traipsing through a little shop of Halloween horrors you’ve built in a 30-by-80-foot space behind your parents’ house in Greeley, the sod probably will pay a price.

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So Phillips haunted 15 local businesses until they gave him sponsorships or donations, and the rest is history. Today he and his company, MorbidNights Colorado, are turning the stuff of your nightmares into his dream come true.

Each year, Phillips and his all-volunteer “scare committee” confront the question, “What haven’t we seen before?” and come up with new and original ideas. This year’s creation comes to life from 7 to 11:30 p.m. each Wednesday through Saturday night at 807 17th Ave., next to Textbook Brokers in Greeley’s University Center. Victims – er, visitors – can face their “Fear of All Fears” in what Phillips, now 26, says is “Northern Colorado’s only indoor haunted attraction.” Each room confronts customers with a different common fear: spiders, snakes, claustrophobia, darkness, torture, blood, death and being lost. (Not IRS audits? Maybe next year.)

It all started in 1996 when Phillips’ parents worked at a Halloween-themed fundraiser for Special Olympics at Hyland Hills Water World in Westminster and 8-year-old Adam was recruited to help. That sprouted his idea for the annual backyard setups until Dad put his foot down. After returning from military deployment in Germany, Phillips set up a haunted house in the outlet mall in Loveland in 2010, then at Greeley Mall for three years. On Aug. 15 this year, he acquired the space close to the University of Northern Colorado.

The creativity draws ever larger crowds. Last year, 3,500 patrons attended the MorbidNights event. But for Phillips, that’s not the best part. Twenty percent of proceeds go to area nonprofit organizations, he said, including the Colorado Army National Guard’s Family Readiness Group. Phillips’ day job is as a recruiter for the Guard.

“We don’t make a lot of money,” he said. “We are in the business of scaring and caring.”


Online: www.morbidnights.com


We’ve heard many reasons for moving a business, but this one’s a first:

“My dad said I had to get it out of our backyard because it was killing his grass.”

When you’re imaginative high school student Adam Phillips, and you have 2,300 paying customers traipsing through a little shop of Halloween horrors you’ve built in a 30-by-80-foot space behind your parents’ house in Greeley, the sod probably will pay a price.

So Phillips haunted 15 local businesses until they gave him sponsorships or donations, and the rest is history. Today he and his company,…

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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