Have you ever wished that you could spend the weekend running around a summer camp deep in the woods that’s mostly known for playing host to a machete-wielding monster? Well, good news: You can. Fans of the horror movie franchise Friday the 13th will be thrilled to know that you can spend the night at Camp Crystal Lake this upcoming April — if, that is, you’re lucky enough to win an auction run by Crystal Lake Tours. And, y’know, if you’ve actually got the disposable income to participate in the auction, because believe you me: Tickets for the Crystal Lake Tours VIP experience will not be cheap.
In real life, Camp Crystal Lake is actually Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, a Boy Scout camp owned by the Northern New Jersey Council and located in Hardwick Township, NJ. (For the curious, “No-Be-Bo-Sco” is functionally similar to words like, say, “SoHo”: It’s a truncation of the phrase “North Bergen Boy Scouts.”) First opened in 1927, it’s the oldest continually operating Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. During July and August, it’s full of the kinds of programs one would expect from a Boy Scout camp — six weeks’ worth of nature, quartermaster, scoutcraft, handicraft, waterfront, and “First Class Adventure” activities that help Scouts earn merit badges in everything from astronomy to welding. Scout troops can utilize the camp at other times during the year, too; however, it’s not generally open to the public…
…Except on certain days.
On those days, the camp reclaims its heritage as the filming location of one of the most iconic horror movies of all time: The original Friday the 13th.
Even if you’ve never actually seen any of the films in the now-massive Friday the 13th franchise (as of this writing, there are 12 movies total), you’re no doubt familiar with its signature villain, the hockey mask-clad machete enthusiast known as Jason Voorhees — although if you’re familiar with the opening scene of 1996’s Scream, you’re probably also aware that (SPOILER ALERT) Jason isn’t actually the villain in the first film: That time ‘round, it’s his mother, Pamela Voorhees. Throughout the first installment of Friday the 13th, which was released in 1980, Mrs. Voorhees stalks and then brutally murders a group of teenagers (including a young Kevin Bacon) who had originally arrived at Camp Crystal Lake to prepare it for reopening. Her reasoning? In 1957, her son, Jason, drowned in the lake due to negligence on behalf of the camp’s teenage counselors. After that, she kind of adapts an “all counselors must die!” attitude, although she eventually meets her end at the hands of Alice, played by Adrienne King, the film’s Final Girl.
Although it wasn’t the first horror film ever made in the slasher genre — not by a long shot — Friday the 13th was part of the era known as the Golden Age of slasher films: The period between the mid-'70s and mid-'80s that gave us Halloween, Prom Night, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The House On Sorority Row, and tons of others. And although Friday the 13th was poorly reviewed when it was first released, it turned out to be incredibly influential; it was essential for cementing in the now well-known trope of the summer camp horror. Shot for an estimated budget of around $550,000, its box office performance resulted in a gross of nearly $60 million worldwide —and it’s had a long, long life among horror fans since.
And now, a couple of times a year, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco opens its gates to Friday the 13th fans via Crystal Lake Tours as a fundraising move, offering tours of the movie’s filming locations and the occasional VIP experience. According to the organization's website, April 2018's tours will be taking place on Friday the 13th (of course) and Saturday the 14th; on Friday, there are three options — the morning tour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at $135 per ticket, the afternoon tour from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at $175 per ticket, and the VIP experience from 3 p.m. to 11 a.m. the next day, with ticket prices determined by auction — while on Saturday, there are two options — the afternoon tour and the VIP experience.
The regular tours are around three hours long and include a meal in the camp’s dining hall — but if you’re lucky enough to snag tickets for the VIP experience, you’ll first take the regular tour, then go on to have an overnight stay at the camp. You’ll also be able to partake in both a “first-time-ever special evening activity” and “exclusive morning activities” with the tour’s special guest — who, in this case, is none other than Final Girl Alice herself: Actor Adrienne King. There’s no info available for exactly what those activities are, but honestly, I’m hoping they’re something like a Friday the 13th-specific version of the Great Horror Campout.
Tickets for the regular tours are arranged via lottery (because, as you might imagine, demand is high). If you want to throw your name into the metaphorical hat, head here and enter your name, email address, and billing address (this is just for future reference—entering the lottery is free; you’ll only have to pay up if you win the lottery and then decide to actually go through with the purchase), and select the tour you’d like to have the chance to buy tickets for. Names are chosen randomly; if you get selected, you’ll get an email that will allow you to buy your tickets — although bear in mind that you’ll only have a limited amount of time to make the purchase. The offer will eventually expire and a new name will be drawn. The deadline to enter your name for the April 2018 tours is 11:59 p.m. ET on March 4.
Tickets for the VIP experience, meanwhile, are sold via auction to the highest bidders. To enter, head here and plug in your name, email address, phone number, and billing address; then select the experience(s) you’d like to bid on and input your bid. The bid should be the highest amount you’d be willing to pay per ticket — although note that, if you win, you might actually end up paying less, depending on what all the other winners bid: According to the Crystal Lake Tours website, “the final price of each ticket for each winning bidder will be the lowest bid ofthe… high bidders.” You can bid on one or two tickets, with the minimum bid being $175 — although the site warns that “winning bids will likely be much higher than that.” The bid is per ticket, too, so bear that in mind if you’re gunning for two tickets.
As is the case with the regular ticket lottery, if you win the auction, you’ll be sent an email with instructions on how to actually complete your purchase — and again, you’ll only have a limited time to follow through if you’re selected, so keep an eye on your email and act fast. The deadline for entering bids for the April 2018 VIP experience auction is 11:59p.m. ET on Feb. 27.
Oh, and hey, fun fact: Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco was also used during the filming of the reality show MTV’s Fear back in the very early 2000s. The season one episode that purportedly took place at “Camp Spirit Lake” was shot at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which was given a fictional backstory for the episode based (very) loosely on the “Princess Doe” case, an unsolved murder of an as-yet-unidentified teenage girl that rocked Blairstown ,NJ in 1982. Hardwick, where the camp is located, is just a few miles away from Blairstown — but there’s no evidence that Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is actually haunted,either by Princess Doe or anyone (or anything )else.
Find out more about the Crystal Lake Tour opportunities for April 2018 here. Good luck!