EAST LIVERPOOL They're baaaack.
After several years in flux for a location, the East Liverpool Area Jaycees and its Junior Jaycees chapter have a new home for their popular Haunted House, which opens Oct. 4 for a month-long run in the former Elks Lodge on West Fifth Street.
A special opening night will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 1, and it will then operate from 7-10 p.m. Thursdays and from 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month, with final nights held at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31. Tickets are $7 per person.
Jaycees member Dan Weymouth poses in a “meat locker,” part of a gruesome kitchen scene at the Haunted House. Weymouth is chairman of the building committee. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)
The frightful attraction began as a fundraising project for the service organization in 1977 in the Crooks warehouse which no longer stands. It operated at the Orchard Grove location for many years then, after that building was sold, was held for one year at Thompson Park and then last year in the former YMCA building.
This year, the group was able to acquire the massive four-story Elks Lodge from owner Craig Newbold, who members said was "more than gracious" in leasing them the building through the end of November.
"He's doing us a huge, huge, favor," according to Dan Weymouth, building committee chairman.
Committee members have spent about five weeks transforming the historical building into something quite a bit less elegant than it was in its heyday, using its myriad of rooms and dark corridors as stages for a variety of scary scenes.
A warning: Some of the scenes could be too graphic for the youngsters, and a special children's night has been set aside Oct. 29 for them, but, otherwise, anything goes, from haunted vehicles, bloody kitchens, chainsaws and crematories to the classics: Dracula, baby dolls, coffins and, of course, clowns.
Design committee chairman Brian Steele emphasized that every effort has been made to provide a safe environment for all ages, including security cameras, fire extinguishers, multiple emergency doors and padded corners on stairwells.
"East Liverpool police have been apprised of what we're doing and will be driving by. We want all fears to be artificial; there is no actual danger. We want everyone to have fun but we want fun screams and entertaining scares," Steele stressed.
Also new this year is a huge video projector mounted on the outside of the building which will show information as well as sneak peeks of what's waiting inside.