Havana Haunted Mansion — which runs from September 15 through October 31 at Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs — is an adults-only haunt set in early-1900s Havana. Guests are invited to sip on themed cocktails, each with its own story, and wander through rooms filled with interactive experiences.
"There are two types of Halloween events in Miami: haunted houses and parties," says Drobach, the owner and cofounder of Havana Haunted Mansion and a partner in the Museum of Illusions in Miami Beach. "There's nothing in between, which is why I did the Haunted Circus years ago for families. The Havana Haunted Mansion is not a haunted house, and it's not a party. You drink cocktails, but there's a really cool immersive experience you won't find anywhere else."
As the story goes, the super-wealthy Don Carlos ran an illegal casino inside his mansion until his reckless gambling led to his family going broke. They turned to black magic to regain their wealth, as one does, mysteriously disappearing along with their staff. Word is that their spirits haunt the mansion to this day.
"It's a little spooky," Drobach says. "You may get scared a little bit, but that's not the main point of the event. There are already so many haunted houses. This is more of a theatrical, magical, and mysterious experience than a scary one."
Visitors begin the two-hour experience as part of a group, but eventually they're free to roam around on their own. There are five main rooms plus an outdoor area with activities and a cigar lounge, where guests can purchase and smoke cigars.
Expect to meet members of the Cuban mafia in the casino room and a tarot card reader who can tell your future in another room. And then there's the kitchen, which is inhabited by a witch and where you'll be tasked with overcoming a challenge lest you end up stuck there forever.
In addition to cocktails and cigars, Havana Haunted Mansion will serve dinner for an additional charge. On the menu: Cuban cuisine with some vegetarian and pescatarian options and dessert.
It should also be noted that guests are encouraged to dress up for the experience, but it's not mandatory. That could mean "elegant attire," according to the Havana Haunted Mansion website, or, as Drobach puts it, 1920s-era Cuban fashion.
For Drobach, Havana Haunted Mansion is a long time coming. She opened Haunted Circus two years ago — Drobach says it was supposed to return this year after taking 2022 off until issues with the county forced her to cancel — but she had the idea for Havana Haunted Mansion before that.
"The idea was born a long time ago," Drobach says of Havana Haunted Mansion. "We were supposed to do this event in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, but then COVID happened, and we couldn't do it. And then I moved to Miami and decided to do it here. There's nothing like that here. Our goal is to give people something they're not used to."