The Lastest in our haunt


The Haunted House

Since 2003 the House of Shadows has been a part of my Oct. fun. The House of Shadows is a haunted house put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Sparta Wis. All proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club.

My first yearat the House of Shadows, my side-kick Greg and I..(actually I was the side-kick) designed a room in the basement of the house. (The building in which the haunted house is run was once an infirmary for the Wisconsin State Child Center. Many children actually died in the building and it is believed to truly be haunted.) Our guests walked through a creepy forest where there were tree trunks that went from the floor to the ceiling. The branches were so thick you almost had to crawl to get through. The tree trunks were made from very large cardboard tubes. We drilled 1/2" holes every couple of inches around the bottom of the tubes, then placed small lights on the floor inside the tubes. We used a fog machine to help create the "atmosphere" for the forest by having a thick layer of fog on the floor. Due to the holes at the bottom of the tree trunks, there were rays of light shining through the fog creating a very eerie glow that lit the path through the forest. 13 bats on fishing line decended from the ceiling creating a scare, but the characters jumping out from behind the trees were the real scares. From the forest our guests moved into a long hallway. Little did they know that when the last person entered, the back wall moved towards them blocking off the enterance and bunching them all together at the end of the hallway. Then the lights went out! There were then 4-6 people crammed into a space that was sometimes as small as a 3ft x 3ft square. While they waited, wondering what to do, a window would quikly open with a character screaming at them. After just a few times seeing our shrink room scare people the way it did, I was hooked.

First seasons shrink room tought me many things that helped me decide what kind of room I would build for season two. The most important thing I learned was how difficult it can be to scare everyone in a group. When a group comes through a room, they are all looking in different directions, esspecially when its totally dark. So in the shrink room, when the window opened with a character screaming, the guests right in front of the window got the best scare. My scare tactic for season two was to scare from all sides at the same time. My method was to build a room inside of a room. The characters would walk into what seemed to be an empty room with a strobe light running. Once in the room, the strobe light would go out. Now in total darkness, the walls start decending from the ceiling. The guests were unaware that as the walls are dropping all around them, as many as eight characters were preparing to scare the hell out of them. As the walls reached the bottom, flashing theater lights came on brighter than ever and all hell broke loose. The results were people falling all over the place.....screaming....and of course, people wetting themselves. Thanks for that. I'd for sure build a room again the next year.

2005, which was my third season, was also my most involved room yet. At this point I knew that my best shot at scaring everyone in a group is to scare from all sides (and even that sometimes isn't good enough). My solution was, to build a room that moves. To begin their journey, our guests walked through a series of twisting and turning hallways. When they entered what they believed to be the last hallway, which was totally dark, a doorway closed behind them. They now found themselves in a 3ft x 8ft room. Not only did it not have an exit, but once the door closed behind them, it didn't have an enterance either! Some audio started then, soft at first but it grew louder. At the hieght of intensity, a light came on outside the room, illuminating a 3ft x 3ft skull hooked up to an air cylinder. It thrashed back and forth against a 8ft barred opening on the side of the room they were secured in. (I used an Animation Maestro, sold here at Haunt Your, to control the air cylinder, a "COLOR BANK" light, found in "lighting and effects", with a timer, to illuminate the skull, a digital audio repeater to control sound, and a 3-pole relay to activate them all at the same time.)

When the lightswent back out, and our guests still screaming about what just happend, the whole room starts moving from undernieth them causing another scare. When the room moved downhill along a 15 ft track, the dim lights came back on again and there were characters that were reaching through the bars toward the guests. Once they exited, they walked down another dark hallway were a light came on lighting up a character hanging from a lift. The character looked as if it was floating in the air. The character then lowered to the ground and followed the group down the rest of the hallway and out of our room.




Thanks to my nieces and nephews, Shelbey, Tiffany, Trever, Tucker, and the many others that played great characters and helped make another fun year at the House of Shadows.

Check out The Haunted House page 2 to see what I did for a room in the House of Shadows for 2009.

Happy Haunting

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