Members of a local writing group transformed the historic hall at 823 Villa St. into a fright house offering graveyard croquet, refreshments and, for younger children or those who don't enjoy being terrified, behind-the-scenes tours intended to make the experience less scary. It was open for business on Halloween night.
The tour was spooky, but was designed to give younger visitors some tools to understand what makes something scary, rather than to induce nightmares, said Jessica Dickinson Goodman, a member of the Social and Critique Writing Group that co-hosted the event.
The haunted house event was also designed to be inclusive, with an accessible version of the tour available upon request, she said. Admission was free, but over $500 in donations for Community Services Agency (CSA) were collected.
"We scared about 300 people in five hours," she said on Wednesday. "Our youngest guests were under a year old and our oldest in their 70s. The little ones loved the behind-the-scenes tour where they learned about the UV light spectrum, lighting design, and set-making.
"I think I might still be partially deaf in one ear from the screaming, but if the donations are an indication, everyone had a good time," said Dickinson Goodman.