Kiwanis frighten for 20 charities

By Cheryl Poynor

Pitch black hallways, skeletons, moving floors and hidden doors: It’s exactly what haunted house visitors are looking for.

The Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club will begin its 33rd year of scaring residents when it opens the doors to its haunted house Friday at Hopkins Park.

The haunted house is one of the club’s biggest annual fundraisers.

“That’s our main drive – to get the money and donate it directly back to the community, “ said Andy Small, director of the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club.

The main attractions include The Earthquake Room, The Statuary Hall, The Maze and The Crawl-over. The haunted house also is loaded with ghosts and goblins, intense sound effects and many hidden creatures that might pop out at any point.

“You’re interacting with the people in the mazes, which is something we’ve never had before,” said Jim Barker, the co-chair construction supervisor.

However, the haunted house isn’t just thrills and chills; it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation and hard work to get it up and running.

Each year, the construction crew of 10 to 12 workers begins building the set in early October. The crew working inside the house consists of about 15 to 25 people, as well as 10 to 12 people needed to work concessions, tickets and security outside the house.

“It takes about 500 man hours to put it together and run it,” Small said.

After buying the props and constructing the maze, the members have put about $1,000 in preparation costs to complete the house.

Time spent navigating the haunted house varies.

For those in a group or family, the haunted house could take 20 to 30 minutes.

“A 12- or 13-year-old boy who’s really on a mission could get out of there in around seven minutes,” Small said.

The haunted house costs $6 per person. Coupons are available for $1 off.

There are more than 20 organizations the club donates to.

There also will be a “Not-So-Scary” haunted house from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.