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Behind the Scenes of a Haunted House

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Behind the Scenes of a Haunted House

photo by Emily Morsett

photo by Emily Morsett

photo by Emily Morsett

Chloe Jones, Editor

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For some people, Halloween means candy and trick-or-treating. For others, it means scary movie marathons with their friends. There are plenty of reasons for Halloween to be a joy – or not – to others, but to the Daniel family, it’s all about their haunted house located on 11th and Walnut.

For more than 20 years, the family tradition has been to set up a haunted house for the community to enjoy. Although it started out as a few people with costumes on the front porch, it then went to a mausoleum off the side of the porch, and has grown to be a spooktacular event for the whole community. Their largest crowd was roughly 1,800-1,900 people on a night, with the smallest being 500-700. On average, the cost is an approximated $1,600.

According to Gary Daniel [haunted house founder], the purpose is to “give the kids in town something to do.” And despite the haunted house’s growing popularity, they do little-to-no advertising.

“The only advertising is basically that sign right there that says when we’re open, and I guess they put it on Facebook. ‘Nightmare-on Walnut-Street’ is the Facebook,” Daniel said.

The family meets together to discuss ideas on Memorial Day. Ideas come from things such as what they’re personally scared of, popular trends or scary movies. It is a voting process that the whole family participates in. After the vote, everyone chooses their scene, and once it’s physically laid out, they choose a room.

“A couple years ago we did twisted fairy tales, so we had a pinocchio workshop and we did a little red riding hood,” Angie Sutton said. “It was all not classic.”

Construction begins on Sept. 1, since the city stopped them from starting a couple weeks before.

“I had a three hour meeting with the city last year, because they told me it was too big and I didn’t have the correct electrical, and I did not have enough emergency lights, and a couple other little odds and ends,” Daniel said. “I shrunk it down this a way, I shrunk a little bit lengthwise and stuff, to appease them. I added one more emergency light, I put extension cords instead of running romex out so I could plug them in. Other than that, that’s about it. The only other problem we have is the weather.”

Crowds gather outside the house in all types of weather and have been known to stand outside shivering, all for the thrill of the scare.

“We like to hear it when people say that we made them pee themselves, that’s always fun, or crying,” Sutton said.

While the family may love seeing every terrified face come through, it’s not all about the haunt. Each year, they set out a donations table and give all proceeds to a worthy cause.

“This year it’s going to a little 8-year old that has cancer, that has leukemia. Last year it went to a little 7-year old that has a genetic disorder called MECP2,” Daniel said. “That has bought him a wheelchair, oxygen thing, stuff like that.”


3 Responses to “Behind the Scenes of a Haunted House”

  1. ZacharyTerry on October 31st, 2017 7:56 am

    i found this article very excited

  2. Zack Wilson on October 31st, 2017 9:48 am

    This article was very interesting and cool.

  3. Emily Morsett on October 31st, 2017 7:36 pm

    Awesome article, also love the idea of using my photograph!

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Behind the Scenes of a Haunted House